Archive for July 17th, 2018

July 17, 2018

A nostalgic look back, Gran Teatro de La Habana!

So  ,therefore, it is time to go back way back in my life when family immigrate and re immigrate we find ourselves with many nationalities and customs blending nicely thank  you. If you have read my blog careful, you will know that I have four passports! yes ! Welcome to the real world.  One of these passports is Cuban ,another is Spanish, later American, and finally I am French. However, it all goes back to the DNA and that is from Tenerife (Candelaria and Pàjara) Canary Islands of Spain.

One of the buildings that most explain the mixture of this immigration back and forth across the Atlantic ocean is embedded in Havana or San Cristobal de La Habana and the great history of the Gran Teatro or grand theater.  I was too young to visited, and when back had no time too many places to find your roots and show the new family. However, my parents told me a lot about it and I just passed by. It is time I give it the honor it deserves in my blog.

The Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso  as it is known today is located in the Paseo del Prado in the block formed by the interceptions of the current streets San Rafael, San José, Consulado and Paseo del Prado.

The theater has been home to the Cuban National Ballet and, on its main stage, to the International Ballet Festival of Havana. Its facilities include theaters, a concert hall, conference rooms, and a video screening room, as well as an art gallery, a choral center, and several rehearsal halls for dance groups and dance companies.

The  old Teatro Tàcon  across from the Parque Central (Central Park) had occupied part of the site for decades, it was named in honor of Captain General Miguel de Tàcon y  Rosique, governor of Cuba between the years 1834 and 1838 in the colonial period.

During the first years of Cuban independence when thousands of immigrants arrived in Cuba from Spain, a new building was constructed around it, preserving the original theater.  It was then known as the Centro Gallego or Galician Center, constructed to served as a social center for Galician immigrants to Havana. The building is decorated with a stone and marble statue as well as sculptures by Giuseppe Moretti, representing allegories depicting benevolence, education, music and theater. On the first picture below you will see part of the old ramparts walls of Havana over 4000 meters long at the time of Spain in Cuba.

Havana Havana

The old theater Tàcon was arguably one of the best in the continent for its elegance, comfort and exceptional technical preparation. Years later, in 1914, the theater itself and the buildings around it were purchased to build in that location the Centro Gallego, which took up the entire block.  The construction of this building, financed by donations of Galician emigrants, began in 1908 and it opened in 1915 with an opera season offered by important artists of the period. In 1985, at the initiative of the prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, the building was renamed the Great Theater of Havana (Gran Teatro de La Habana).

In 1961, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of García Lorca’s death, the board of the Centro Gallego announced that the theater would change its name to that of the Granada poet as  Teatro Garcia Lorca. Then in 1981, the entire complex changed its name to Complejo Cultural del Gran Teatro García Lorca, now under Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso Director of the National Ballet. Finally, in 1985, it received the name of Gran Teatro de La Habana. Following extensive renovations, the theater has reopened on January 1, 2016 and renamed to honor the Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso or Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso.   The principal venue is the Garcia Lorca Auditorium, with seats for 1,500; it provides a stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company, as well as for other dance and musical performances.

During the 19C and 20C performances took place on its stage by artists of the highest rank, such as Ole Bull, Enrico Caruso, Fanny Elssler, Jenny Lind, Anna Pavlova, Antonia Mercé , Ruth Saint Denis, Ted Shawn ,Teresa Carreño , Vicente Escudero, Maya Plisetskay, Clorinda Corradi, Sarah Bernhardt, Wajd Alianabi, Carla Fracci, and Alicia Alonso as well remarkable companies such as the American Ballet Theater, the Royal Winnepeg Ballet, Ballet Antonio Gades , the Ballet of the Colont Theater of Buenos Aires, the Ballet Folclórico of Mexico, plus many other highly respected artists and ballet companies of the times.

A wonderful historical building gone thru many periods and still there. One of the sights to see in Havana indeed.

Some webpages on it are hard to find so will give you a couple to enjoy it, you can always look up the tourist board of Cuba in your country.

Infotur on the Gran Teatro

Cuba Travel on the Gran Teatro

For example for France info can be obtain here

Consulat de Cuba en France :
14 rue de Presle 75015 Paris – Tel : 0145383112- Ambassade de Cuba en France :
16 rue de Presle 75015 Paris – Tel : 0145675535- Office de tourisme de Cuba : 
280 bd Raspail 75014 Paris – Tel : 0145389010
Hope it helps. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!
July 17, 2018

Some news from France CXCV

Back starting the week and already cooler weather with a nice breeze in my neck of the woods , the Morbihan Breton.  and Temps are 22C or about 72F  with periods of cloudy to semi cloudy skies. Inland Paris is at 77F or 25C but cloudy too.

Let me bring you up to the news of my belle France.

By now you should know, France is the World Champion in football/soccer ,yes! A very young rich team won it with great team spirit and minimum ball possession a change from past winners. As their glorious elders-among whom was the coach Didier nDeschamps-, they descended the emblematic Avenue des Champs-Elysées on an imperial bus in front of about 300,000 people, according to a Police source. Overflow by the French patrol air acrobatic team, the itinerary had been marked with barriers to contain the impressive crowd coming to cheer its Champions, winners on the eve of Croatia (4-2) at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.  French Football Federation or FFF in French : https://www.fff.fr/?home

Another great , this time French institution, the Tour de France continues its rounds around the country (see my previous post on this years tour in my blog).   It will be going by Croix-Fry, Glières, Romme,  and Colombière as the tour tackles the first Alpine passes on today, in the 10th stage between Annecy and Le Grand-Bornand (158.5 km). Departure from Annecy at 13h15 (actual departure in 13h35), arrival at Grand-Bornand towards 17h57 (forecast at 36 km/h average). More here: . https://www.letour.fr/en/stage-10

The ranking so far : https://www.letour.fr/en/rankings

Some bubblies to entice your summer, anywhere but better in France.  Of course, as always these are only my personal choices, no prices is needed…..It’s Champagne!

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 , this is a great vintage. This champagne is nervous with its pinot noir base. Chardonnay brings the elegance of white flowers and honey in a balanced field. The miller comes to complete the whole with a sweet fruity.

Champagne Veuve Clicquot Rosé , this is unique by adding red wine to its white wine to obtain a rosy colour and an affirmed structure. Madame Clicquot was still ahead of her time when she created it. If a word had to define it, it would be gluttony. It was born to arouse pleasure with a fleshy mouth dominated by red fruits and brioche.

Champagne Gosset  Grand Blancs de Blancs it has a clean style that it owes in part to the fact never to carry out, during the elaboration of the wines, malolactic fermentation. The wines are therefore always more acidic and keep well. The nose of this 100% Chardonnay is floral. Its flowers exude a sweet scent lemon worthy of those found in Sicily with, in their flesh, bursts of honey. In the mouth, vivacity dominates without obscuring delicacy.

Champagne Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial  this one ,thus comes out of its codes to be consumed with ice cubes, fresh, in a large glass with why not citrus zests. It’s very aromatic. Let’s go. And it’s so good!

Champagne Ruinart Rosé Chardonnay, one of the three main grape varieties of champagne with Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, is his spine. For this rosé, the cellar chief has added Pinot noir. The wine has energy with a wide aromatic palette dominated by red berries and spices. In the mouth, the bubble is lively, the matter greedy on a final dominated by the freshness of the grapefruit.

Champagne Counts of Champagne Taittinger Rosé 2005 It is one of those rare vials where fullness has settled almost naturally over time. This champagne is now coming to its perfect maturity with its aromas of wood strawberries. In the mouth, it is a remarkable balance. We are hypnotized, glass after glass, by its crunchy, its measured gluttony while developing a remarkable acidity.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siécle  this prestige bottle, made up of an assemblage of Chardonnay (55%) and Pinot Noir (45%), is the fruit of three exceptional vintages. It is for this reason that the concept of vintage, dear to all the iconic bottles, is not on the label. This champagne has intensity and delicacy. It offers notes of citrus fruits, brioches and even Acacia honey. In the mouth, it is straight with a balanced mouth touch. Do not serve it too cold because it would not express all its qualities.

Champagne Mumm RSRV Blancs de Blancs 2012 , exclusively chardonnay, come from a single grape harvest. It’s a reflection at some point. This photograph projects in the palate notes of white flowers, citrus fruits with a hint of orange blossom. The mouth is lively but without aggression. The floral mixes with Acacia honey for a thirst-quenching finale.

Enjoy it fully from now is great, Champagne. Salut!

Another Paris innovation and where else!  Take a nap or sleep at the museum every day at 14h, the Museum Quay Branly-Jacques Chirac makes an appointment to the lazy, sleepers and other strollers for an unusual moment of pause: In the calm in its garden, sunbeds and parasols invite you to an hour of sleep . Through the sound backgrounds of the museum’s collections. Tuesday to Sunday.  More on the museum here:  http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/

A wonderful gorgeous event in my area near me at Lorient. A must to see.  The Inter Celtic Festival of Lorient touches all forms of music from the Celtic countries, but also cinema, visual arts, dance, history, literature… Its 48th edition will take place from August 3 to 12, 2018. In the course of the editions the concept of “intercelticism” has been imposed with the promotion of a single region, but of all the nations of the establishment of the Celtic populations throughout history. Artists from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia and even northern Spain were invited to participate in the festivities. Wales as a guest of honor this year. This great event mixes millennial songs, rock, folk, jazz and symphonic works. It even tends to transcend disciplines by including in its programming creations of dance, cinema, visual arts, literature.. The kickoff will be given by the Grand Parade, broadcast on France 3 TV. The 2018 edition will display a selection of artists handpicked. The program with date , site, and performer is below:

Friday  3 August  : – Port de Peche Keroman : COTRIADE / NORDET ;- Salle Carnot : DUO L’HARIDON / NEDELEC / RUZ REOR ;Saturday 4 August   – Palais des Congrès : PEPE VAAMONDE / THE MURPHY SISTERS ;- Quai de la Bretagne : RONAN PELLEN / ANNIE EBREL / SPONTUS / SKOLVAN / E LEIZH ; – Stade du Moustoir : NEW ROSS PIPE BAND ;- Théâtre de Lorient : CALAN / ROBIN HUW BOWEN / ALAW ; Espace Marine : LE VENT DU NORD / DE TEMPS ANTAN / VISHTEN ;  Sunday  5 August  : – Espace Marine : EOSTIGED AR STANGALA / KERLENN PONDI / YANN TIERSEN ; – Théâtre de Lorient : ALAIN GENTY ; – Quai de la Bretagne : KEJAJ ;  Monday 6 August: – Espace Marine : BAGAD DE LORIENT / MABON / CALAN / ALAW ;  – Théâtre de Lorient : GILLES SERVAT ; – Quai de la Bretagne : STARTIJENN / NOON / THE MURPHY SISTERS ;Tuesday  7 August  : – Théâtre de Lorient : JACKY MOLARD / TEJEDOR ; – Palais des Congrès : KIEZ AR BED ;- Eglise Saint Louis : ROBIN HUW BOWEN ;- Quai de la Bretagne : LES FRERES GUICHEN / ANXO LORENZO ; – Espace Marine : DENEZ PRIGENT / ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE BRETAGNE (OSB) / RHIANNON GIDDENS ; Wednesday  8 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : DEUS’TA / SILABENN TRIO ;- Espace Marine : BAGAD DE LORIENT / OUTSIDE DUO ; – Palais des Congrès : ALAIN PENNEC / PADDY KEENAN / ANXO LORENZO ;Thursday 9 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : ZONJ / LES FRERES LANDREAU / SOIG SIBERIL / TRIO ROBLIN EVAIN BADEAU ; – Théâtre de Lorient : TRIO EMPREINTES / JULIE FOWLIS ; – Eglise Saint Louis : MICKAEL GABORIEAU / FABRICE LOTHODE ;- Palais des Congrès : RAG FOUNDATION / BERTRAN OBREE ;- Espace Marine : HAT FITZ & CARA ROBINSON ;Friday 10 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : TANGI JOSSET / WILLY PICHARD / ARNAUD ROYER / ORIAZ ;- Stade du Moustoir : THE SASSY SWINGERS ;- Palais des Congrès : REGIS HUIBAN ;- Espace Marine : ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE BRETAGNE (OSB) / SECKOU KEITA / CATRIN FINCH ; Saturday 11 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : LES OURS DU SCORFF / ’NDIAZ / AMPOUAILH ;- Palais des Congrès : ROBIN HUW BOWEN / RODRIGO ROMANI ;- Espace Marine : MANIC STREET PREACHERS / NOLWENN KORBELL; Sunday 12 August: – Quai de la Bretagne : RED CARDELL / STEVAN VINCENDEAU / LE BOUR / BODROS / DJIBOUDJEP / SYLVAIN GIRAULT / GWENFOL / WIPIDOUP / THOMAS FELDER / UKAN / BODENES HAMON QUINTET.

Main Location for info at  11 Espace Nayel – 56100 Lorient (city center by the marina pleasure boats inside the shopping center same name) Opening hours of the Celtic village are Friday : 19h – 23h , Saturday : 12h – 14h / 19h – 0h , Sunday : 12h – 15h / 19h – 23h , Monday to Friday : 12h – 14h / 19h – 23h More info in French here:  https://www.festival-interceltique.bzh/

And back to Paris for a new park opening up today!   Like if Paris needed another park well here it is all redone and nice.  The highly anticipated Jardin Truillot (11éme) opens to the public after a year of work. This green space of 5 600 m2 long connects the Church of Saint-Ambroise to Boulevard Voltaire, and Richard-Lenoir. On the Voltaire side or  Côté Voltaire, first access to a large lawn of 570 m2, framed by vine plants (Chasselas grapes), where the public can relax and picnic. On the right, a shared garden open to all inhabitants, one arrives on a central plot of clear concrete, also accessible by the third entrance of the garden side Impasse Truillot (street); on the square, a wall of expression was reserved for street artists. And the cast-iron fountain promises to be stormed in the summer. It will be completed in August by a fountain of sparkling water on the side Boulevard Voltaire. Benches and games carved in tree trunks recovered from the Parisian trees complete the ensemble. Finally, a wetland for harvesting runoff takes place next to Richard-Lenoir. It will be completed by a pond after the demolition of a bar brasserie and its hotel La Grosse Bouteille  in the summer of 2019 which will also allow to enlarge the garden. And allow entrance from the garden Truillot side of  Boulevard Richard-Lenoir (11éme). In August, the reproduction in 4 meters by 4 meters of a photograph of Robert Doisneau taken in 1959 and representing the bar of La Grosse Bouteille will be hung at the top of the wall of a building overlooking the garden as consolation for the demolition. The city of Paris has it in French on the future opening but I got them ahead it is open today lol! City of Paris, Jardin Truillot

A site on gardens has more in French: jardinons, garden together on Truillot

Another Paris innovation, we rock for Summer. The Generali balloon or dirigible or zeppeling , located at Parc André-Citroën (15éme)  proposes until 1 September 2018 night flights over Paris every Friday and Saturday from 21h  to 23h. You can fly aboard the Generali balloon  to enjoy an exceptional view of the capital. The balloon  rises to 150 meters above the Parc André-Citroën, in the 15éme arrondissement of Paris for about fifteen magical minutes, the adult rate is 12€, Children under 12 yrs 6€ and it is free for Parisians under 12 years! The balloon can only fly in times of good weather conditions. Feel free to consult them before you come on; more info here:  www.ballondeparis.com

Something nice worth remembering and support. The museum of the world wars in France.  This one is small done by a lover of these old war memories. Real treasure rooms for history buffs. The house is on three levels with the first dedicated to the city of Saint-Maximin (Oise dept 60), the second to the Nazis, and the Resistance fighters, the last to the Allies. You can find pieces of planes, of course. But also old clothes of soldiers, dishes of the third Reich, fuel depots, pavements of concentration camps, feeding cards… Over the years, the relics of that time piled up in his garage. It was not until May 8, 2016 to see the inauguration of the Saint-Maximin bombing museum, the museum is open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon from  14h to 18h. Price: 4€ (adults), 2.50€ (children). Information: Cellular/mobile tel +33 (0) 6.12.12.21.38. More info on a site in French about WWII: Picardie Bombing Museum Saint Maximin

Last, but never the least a nostalgia point for me, or maybe useful to some visitor who dares leave Paris to the suburbs. This was part of my going and coming to work for my initial year in France, and believe me is ok for a visitor to do it a couple of days but you have to do it everyday to work is not fun ,public transports.  The Cergy-le-Haut  train station closes its doors this Saturday and lasts for a month and a half! All users will have to reorganize for the months of July and August. The RER A will be terminated in Cergy-Saint-Christophe until September 2, and then find your own or buses.  The work closing is due to the creation of a fourth track in the station of Cergy-le-Haut. By hosting both the terminus of the RER A and the peak times, the trains of the North Branch of the line L of Transilien from Paris Saint Lazare, (line taken in those early days of Paris) ,the station of Cergy-le-Haut is today the most busy of the network of the Île-de-France . The bus route  45 , which normally does not serve the Cergy-le-Haut train station, will be changed. The bus will stop in front of the 3 stations of Cergy. Plan to lengthen your travel time by the order of 20 minutes….or more!  At the end of the month, from 28 July to 26 August, the RER A will also be interrupted between La Defénse and Nation, making it much more difficult for those working (or visiting this part of the city) in Paris. The RER A in French from the Transilien ïle de France regional train RER transports: RER A Transilien Ile de France region

Their site in English, less info me think. Transilien Ile de France region transports

There you go , up to date. Enjoy France, Paris ,ïle de France region ,the Morbihan and Brittany region, all mines!

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

July 17, 2018

A reminder on the Valley of the Fallen!

Still a controversial issue in controversial Spain, is a must for the history seeker to understand better our world. This is the Valley of the Fallen or Valle de los Caidos. A memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, the practice fields of WWII.

I came as a young teenager with my dear late mother Gladys to see it and help understand it. We must do so from whatever side of the political spectrum you may come in so that all sides learn never again. This is why it is important to visit it with family and children of reasonable age such as more than 10 in my opinion. This is my previous blog post on it here: My previous post on the Valle de los Caidos

The Valle de los Caídos for short  or more precisely in Spanish the Abadía de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos (in English: Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen) is a gigantic Spanish monument, located in the Cuelgamuros Valley (Sierra de Guadarrama ), in the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial in the autonomous community of Madrid, less than 50 km north-west of Madrid.

It was intended to be done to pay homage to the “Heroes and Martyrs of the Crusade”, thus designating the nationalist fighters who died during the Spanish War (1936 – 1939).
Subsequently, in 1958, the Spanish government (still under Franco) decided to make it a mausoleum for all the dead fighters of the Civil War, including the Republican fighters, as long as they were Catholics. Thus, nearly thirty-five thousand fighters, mainly Nationalists but also Republicans, rest in the crypt, not far from the central nave where the graves of Gen Francisco Franco and the head of the Falange party, José Antonio Primo de Rivera are buried.

The construction of the Basilica, in the heart of Castilla, in the north-west of Madrid, a few kilometers from the El Escorial began in 1942. The inauguration takes place, in the presence of General Franco, on April 1, 1959. This tribute to the dead of the Civil War is officially built to reconcile Republicans and Nationalists, allowing all the regions of Spain to send the remains that were deprived of formal burial, ten years after their Burial.

The complex as for lack of a neutral word has a wonderful monumental staircase leading to the entrance of the complex, which also includes a Benedictine monastery since 1958. The Fifteen mysteries of the Rosary are depicted on the massive 10 meters high bronze entrance door, and just below, the Twelve Apostles. The ensemble was made in 1956 the Basilica was consecrated by Pope John XXIII on April 7, 1960. The main architectural feature of the Basilica is that it was dug under a hill in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The total length of the crypt is 262 meters underground. The long tunnel (entrance shaft) that leads to the crusader and transept is divided into several parts. The first part includes access with vestibule (11 meters long), the second vestibule and an intermediate space, while the second part is the high and wide nave of 22 meters with on each side three chapels. A final stretch leads to the crossroads and the transept (41 meters long). Four great characters on either side of the last stretch and dressed as the middle-aged mourners recall the mausoleum of the transept. These allegories represent respectively the army, the air, the navy and the militias. On either side of the crossroads are located the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and the Chapel of the Holy Tomb. The sacristy adjoins these two Chapels while the graves of Primo de Rivera and General Franco are located on either side of the crossroads, one facing the entrance axis and the other towards the choir of the monks. A stone cross of 150 meters high, the largest in the world, surmounts the mountain. Built between 1950 and 1956, it is located above the crossroads. Eight monumental statues are represented at the four corners of its base (the four Evangelists and the four cardinal virtues).

San Lorenzo de El Escorial San Lorenzo de El Escorial San Lorenzo de El Escorial

So far the largest cemetery of the Spanish Civil War was opened only three times. In 1980, following the request of the municipality of Lodosa, 133 bodies were exhumed. Then ten years later, in 1990, the monks made the transfers of remains after infiltration into the sacristy caused too much moisture.  This was done without informing the families. Finally, the last time was in 2010, during a visit of the Committee of Experts created by the Zapatero government after the approval of the law of historical memory.

For the moment, the only signs emitted by the Franco family are rejection of the exhumation and transfer of the corpse. However, both Moncloa (the current government) and the PSOE (ruling political party of Socialists) suggest that the saga of the Franco’s does not have a monolithic position and that the conversations continue.
The government, however, will wants to remove the body of Franco from the Valley of the Fallen, even if he does not have the approval of the family. In spite of this, sources of the executive admit that this negative complicates the process; which is long going on as everything in my beloved Spain.

The actions were done and it will be futile to change the burials thinking that it will permit a better passing when in reality will just re opened old wounds and more division. My personal opinion.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here ,and it is a must to understand the history and the mentality in today’s Spain are

The official Valley of the Fallen page in Spanish : http://www.valledeloscaidos.es/monumento/paso

The Natinal Monuments of Spain org. in English : http://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/monasterios/6258

Spain tourist office on the abbey in English: https://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/madrid/abadia_benedictina_de_la_santa_cruz_del_valle_de_los_caidos.html

San Lorenzo de El Escorial tourist office on the abbey: http://www.sanlorenzoturismo.es/es/abadia-de-la-santa-cruz-del-valle-de-los-caidos

Hope it helps understand the issues and learn history as well as beautiful architecture. The area is surrounded by a beautiful natural park great for families as well.

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

 

 

 

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