Archive for August 5th, 2018

August 5, 2018

Plaza de Oriente, Madrid

Back at you and my Madrid. This is heavens territory. Or as we said, To Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday.  This is all Spain in one city, you have, see it and do it all here. Except the beach !

We come to the more old and glitzy area of Madrid, this is an area you come when young to cool chasing girls and impressed them; not the one for cheap thrills, and even today a bit touristic pricey in my opinion. Nevertheless, the Plaza de Oriente is a must to come , especially if first time. Not to be confused to going to the Royal Palace or Almudena Cathedral or the Royal theater; just talking about the walks about here.

Let me tell you a bit on it ,first with the Tourist office of Madrid.

  Tourist office of Madrid on gardens and Plaza de Oriente

And here I go.

The Plaza de Oriente has a nice garden around it too. Located in front of the Royal Palace, these 1.60 hectares of garden are part of one of the most touristic ensembles in Madrid. These gardens were built on the initiative of Joseph Bonaparte, in order to enhance the Royal Palace and the Royal Theater. Since then they have experienced numerous and important renovations. The current design of the gardens, created in 1941, still takes as a reference point the equestrian statue of Felipe IV, but distributes the gardens squarely..

They are composed of seven parterres, populated by shrubs of boxwood, ,cypresses, and magnolias of small size, as well as floral plantations, of temporary character. They are bounded on both sides by rows of statues, popularly known as the Goths Kings, who act as the dividing line of the other two quadrants.

In the middle of the square, the equestrian statue of Felipe IV work in bronze done between 1634 and 1640.  It is done looking  east  towards the Royal Theater following the calculations of Galileo, is escorted by a large part of the collection of statues of the Spanish kings who should have crowned the Royal Palace. The gardens follow geometric shapes that air and give visibility to the façade of the Royal Palace.  Until 1941, they were circulated around the monument to Felipe IV, which occupies the center of the enclosure. Around the statue of the monarch, were located 44 sculptures, corresponding to different Spanish kings, but in 1927 was reduced its number to 20. The 20 statues of the monarchs are located longitudinally, in two rows of ten, on both sides of the central monument. The Calle  Bailén was banished, which separates the square itself from the eastern facade of the Royal Palace, in such a way that the square arrives directly to this building. Other pedestrian spaces were also won on the outskirts of the Teatro Real, while a new paving was made.



Moreover, they are at the center of an important monumental ensemble including not only the palace, but also the Monasterio de la Encarnación. It is presided over by two of the most important buildings of the capital: its Western outline is the Royal palace and the Oriental the Teatro Real. Its north face is formed by the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation, which was expropriated by the orchard of the Priory to integrate it into the square.  A series of small bars and typical terraces border the Royal Theater side in the form of a semicircle. Under the square was built an underground car park, within a project that initially contemplated the creation of a mall in the basement, an idea that was finally dismissed. The remodeling works, concluded in 1996.


There are further subdivision of gardens alongside that sometimes makes you think you are in the same but they are not. These are

The gardens of Cabo Noval, composed mainly of banana plantations, occupy the northern part of the Plaza de Oriente, next to the street of San Quintin, for which the traffic is allowed.

The gardens of Lepanto are located in the southern part of the square. They are defined by Calle de Bailén, which runs to the west, in parallel with the archery of the Plaza de la Armeria; and by the Calle de Vergara, which appears to the south, through a ramp, built to save the slope of the terrain. To the east is the Calle de Lepanto, which lends its name.

You get here easily on the Metro Opera line  2 and 5 ,and bus lines 25 and 39; parking best by Cuesta Santo Domingo 5 near Royal Opera Theater.

Walks here are classic and upper, with the before mentioned historical monuments. The Monastery of the Encarnacion, and the La  Bola (best cocido madrileno in my opinion) restaurant are tops. The Cuesta Santo Domingo where there is a good parking has been totally redone from my days living here, it was narrow crowded old, now it is more flexible and the parking is very good underground.

You are really in Royal Madrid, past the Royal Palace you have wonderful Jardines Sabatini right into the Manzanares river . The nice Glorieta de San Vicente or gate is nice photogenic as well.Walk and wandered on the narrow cobblestone streets all around you and see the real city of Madrid. Hope you enjoy as I do ,and do have posts on many of theses in my blog.

The Royal Theater site is here: Teatro Real of Madrid

Royal Monasterio de la Encarnacion here: Monasterio Real de la Encarnacion

Royal Palace: Palacio Real de Madrid

La Almudena Cathedral: Catedral de La Almudena

Still the best cocido madrileno of madrid even with the tourist invasion lol!  Restaurante La Bola: Restaurante La Bola

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

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August 5, 2018

Chateau de Keravéon , Erdeven, in the Morbihan!

On Sunday, rest day, families here tend to stay close to home or in home. We have seen this tradition more and more broken as Sunday has become a day to go out, and more and more places are open. Is a gradual push towards the modern times, good or bad , do not know.  We are having a heat wave in France and even if Brittany takes the low end of the readings it is still hot. Therefore, we seek places to go out.

Some of my earlier entries in my blog on this area of Erdeven are here:

As it is the case often, we live in the most visited country in the world, for a good reason me think, and there are so many places to see. I am sure it will take more than a lifetime for me to see all. However, I am trying harder. Today was such a day to see something new. We decided to take our dog Rex with us for a walk and get him used to the car. So funny he goes to the front door but won’t go in, need some extra effort to get him inside. Once inside, he is settled down and ok for the ride.


So after some quick look at our tourism guide for the Morbihan, I pick up a place we have not been even if driving just by it off the main road. We went for a walk to the park and gardens of the Chateau de Keravéon! yes a castle. In the town limits of Erdeven along the D105 , D22roads from Auray, passing the town of Ploemel and see the Rue de Keravéon on your right side there is a sign post.

Erdeven Erdeven

20-hectare landscaped park, comprising 3 water bodies, a health course and 2 playgrounds for children. Stylized entrance door, inner enclosure. There are gites rental that were before the old stables and a castle now part of a apart hotel chain Odalys, luxury rental.

Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven

The park of the Château de Keravéon conceals natural wonders: 57 Essences of trees are there. You will find them on the map located at the entrance of the park. All along the paths, the trees and their origins are indicated by landmarks posts.  A small, unsung corner of the park, the Isle of Love is accessible by a small wooden bridge. For sportsmen, the park is home to a health course while the children can have fun on an area of playground for the 2-12 years old (under adult supervision).  With family or friends, you will find picnic tables! They are available on the other side of the enclosure wall.

Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven Erdeven

A bit more on the park from the tourist office of the Morbihan:

A bit of the modern history so to speak that I like.

The last occupant was the viscount of Soussay, after studying as an agronomist, settled in the family chateau in 1937. He was elected mayor from 1945 to 1962, with great ambitions for his town; like the creation of a port for example, since Erdeven is just at the entrance of Etel and its Ria! (river and sea meets) .He resigned his mandate since he was disavowed in this project.

During the Nazi occupation, the coastal situation of Erdeven caused the castle to be requisitioned by the Nazi staff. Thus the Viscount had access to information which he discreetly transmitted to the resistance. .

The chateau enjoyed various fortunes. Having no direct heirs, it was sold. Several owners have succeeds the dependencies and the park, with its walls of stone enclosures, have become the property of the town. You will discover a wooded area of about 20 hectares, an arboretum, a meadow and several pieces of water (with a small island). Be aware that the park, open to all, is very pleasant during the Summer heats (yes indeed!) , it is an ideal lung of air for the stroll, in the middle of the trees more than 100 years old, whether it is sporty or contemplative walks.

The Castle of Keravéon original from the 9C, enlarged in the 17C and rebuilt in the 19C. The ruins of the old fortified mansion are still visible at the level of an enclosure wall. Siege of an ancient seigneury of the name of Keravéon or Kervaviou, quoted from 1275 and owned by Guillaume de Talhouët. Owned by Pierre de Talhouët in 1350. The part of the castle built in the 17C is probably the work of Georges-René de Talhouët. This castle then became the property of the Coislin-Cambout family (whose last Marquis was executed in 1795 by the French revolutionaries), the Botdéru family, and then the Viscount of Soussay (in 1847). It serves as a headquarters of Gen Hoche in 1795, then is burned by the French revolutionaries. It was bought in 1798 by Adelaide de Coislin du Botdéru, who rebuilt the castle. The current castle, top of five floors with its tower, is a 19C building. The House of Guards was acquired by the town of Erdeven in 1981 after the death of the last squire, the viscount of Soussay in 1979. The whole has been transformed into luxury hotels and lodgings. The castle once had a dovecote, a triple enclosure with moats and Bartizans, a monumental entrance flanked by two large towers, and a House of the Guard in carved granite. The portal and the dovecote date, like the building’s low construction, from the 17C.  The castle once belonged to the Géraud-Diamedo family who had turned it into a luxury hotel (Odalys).

The old history is as such

During the landing of the emigrants Bretons in Quiberon, in 1795 (and waiting for English help that never came) , General Louis Lazare-Hoche (native of Versailles and a square on his name there now) obstructed the nobles who were supported by the Chouans (local farmers against the French revolution). His headquarters was installed in the Castle , and the General won the battle, and the defeated were taken prisoner and locked in part in the Orangerie of the castle. Future owners found signatures of nobles on the walls. The visit of the Orangerie will also discover the history of the castle, which dates back to the 9C. To visit needs to be organized by the tourist office as it close to the general public, it is now a luxury hotel

More information on the castle hotel property and the gites lodging rooms in the park and in or next to the castle are

Luxury castle rental apart hotel Odalys chain:

Rental of gites rural lodging chain here more in English:

There you go now you know as well as us. A nice place to spent an afternoon with the family or using it as a bike walk reprise after a day at the beach nearby. Of course , if you have the wonderful idea of staying here the gites are reasonable and nice; the hotel  castle  well is a luxury chain, see the prices ::)

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

August 5, 2018

Plaza de Colon, Madrid!

So here I am again on my dear beloved Madrid. Not a moment goes by not thinking of all the things done here, living and visiting; and both ways. One of the emblematic places in the city is the Plaza de Colon or Colon Square in the upper part away from centro Madrid.

The area is nice, modern ,and upscale. It was my passage when opened the Wax museum around it that my Mom took me. It has been great going to the National Library as a youth, and then many times over visiting with the family. Always great souvenirs of my Madrid. I like to give something on it as in the past just touch briefly on overall blog posts that really deserves one of its own.

To start, the city of Madrid tourist office on Plaza Colon: Tourist office of Madrid on Plaza de Colon

The Plaza de Colón is named after Christopher Columbus(Cristobal Colon). Located at the intersection of the districts of the Centro, Chamberí and Salamanca, the square has a large open space known as the Gardens of Discovery , delimited by the streets of Goya, Jorge Juan and Serrano. The west side of the square consists of a crossroads at the center of which rises the monument to Columbus, where the Paseo de la Castellana is to the north and the Paseo de Recoletos to the south. The square was originally called Plaza de Santiago, or St, James Square. In 1893 it was decided to rename the square to Plaza de Colón in honor of Christopher Columbus.


Erected between 1881 and 1885, this neo-Gothic-style monument consists of a column surmounted by the statue of Columbus (Colon) . Originally placed on the square itself, it is installed from 2009 in the center of the crossroads, surrounded by a basin. This space occupies a surface of 18 700 m2. In quadrangular form, it is divided into two triangular zones. Under the first, to the west, is the Fernán Gómez Theater, the former Cultural Center of the city of Madrid, as well as underground parking. The second zone, to the east, is mainly occupied by the monument of the Discovery of America, inaugurated in 1977. The Spanish Royal Mint stood here previously until 1970. In the vicinity, has risen from 2001 a mast of 50 meters high which bears the largest Spanish flag in the world, measuring 14 meters by 21 meters or 294 m2. There are stairs at the end that take you down to the Oficina de Turismo Colón.(Tourist office at Colon).


The northwest corner of the square is occupied by the Columbus Towers (Torres de Colon), office building completed in 1976, dubbed “the electrical outlet” due to the shape of its top. . In the crossing of the square or Plaza de Colon with Calle de Génova you will see the towers, at its bottom you will see an isle that crosses with Calle Génova, the sculpture with the Women and the Mirror is the work of Fernando Botero. Car parking Empark under the square entrance by Calle de la Armada Española,1 just parallel with Paseo de Recoletos. Also, metro Colon Line 4 and Serrano line 4 and many bus lines.


The theater Fernan Gomez webpage is here: Teatro Fernan Gomez

More on the statue of Columbus (Colon) here: tourist office on statue of Colon

Just around the corner of the plaza de Colon, the Wax museum of Madrid: Museo de Cera de Madrid

And just across the street from the above, the National LibraryBiblioteca Nacional

both of the above have entries in my blog as well.

We, also, stayed in a nice hotel when I first took my girlfriend (1990)  later wife and now late dear wife Martine. It was a moment to impress the new girl and book the Fénix Tryp hotel at Calle Hermosilla just after the Plaza de Colon with windows looking over it.  Now it is a Melia Hotels property. The hotel is an icon for us as well. We even have visited couple times afterward! Deco are the same. Here for the memories: Gran Mélia Fénix Hotel


Other memorable moment of this place is that upon visiting with my girlfriend we needed to take money out, first time needed to do this in Spain for me. Looking ,asking finally at the hotel there was a Barclays bank across from Colon Square or Plaza Colon, 2  and we did!  Well the Barclays left Spain me think, no longer there, it sold their branches to Caixabank.

Right on next street Calle de Serrano a chic upper place of stores, you have a nice shopping center that can be browse at least and get some AC in hot days, El Jardin de SerranoEL Jardin de Serrano shopping

Just below the wax museum, you have the Casino de Madrid, yes a Casino. Casino de Madrid

And just a bit further down one my hunts with my mother and later wife, is Restaurante El Espejo, a glass deco resto very quaint and popular with Madrilenos. More here : Cafe Restaurante El Espejo

A nice place to walk , when you want to be away from the tourist centro areas and see the real working Madrid a bit. Hope it helps.

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

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