Archive for September 3rd, 2018

September 3, 2018

Back to South Africa!

Well it has been a while on South Africa. Many times we hear of far away places that we would like to visit one day; South Africa was one of them for me. I did not go into the famous safaris but did mostly city dwelling trips and even took public transportation; that is fine with me as cities are it with a beach even better.

I had the opportunity to visit the country twice lately, once in 2012 and then again in 2015, and both times proved to be an experience ,even catching up with friends from my previous life in travel forum VT. The memories will be kept until next time.


I like for my sake and your interests to recall a bit of the places I have been not including those on far away from these cities for which I have no pictures.

East London is a city on the southeast coast of South Africa in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province. Still as far as tourism it is known as Buffalo City. The city lies on the Indian Ocean coast, largely between the Buffalo River and the Nahoon River , and hosts the country’s only river port.


John Bailie, one of the 1820 settlers , surveyed the Buffalo river mouth and founded the town in 1836, a memorial is on Signal Hill commemorating the event. The city formed around the only river port in South Africa and was originally known as Port Rex. This settlement on the West Bank was the nucleus of the town of East London, which was elevated to city status in 1914. The existing port, in the mouth of the Buffalo River, adjoining the Indian Ocean, began operating in 1870. The unusual double-decker bridge over the Buffalo River was completed in 1935 and to this day, is the only bridge of its type in South Africa.

Things to do here with time which I did not see

The East London Zoo; East London Museum, Inkwenkzezi Private Game Reserve, and the Mpongo Private Game Reserve.

The tourist office for this area of Buffalo City (East London) is here: Tourist office of Buffalo city

Moving on to Sandton, this is basically a chic suburb of Johannesburg. Sandton is an affluent area situated in the Johannesburg Municipality, Gauteng province. The name comes from the combination of two of its suburbs , Sandown and Bryanston.


I am told that Zandfontein, Driefontein  is the name in Afrikaans and Dutch for Three Springs/Fountains and Rietfontein is Afrikaans and Dutch for Reed Spring or Fountain of Reeds; both encumbered what was to become Sandton. After the demise of Apartheid, Sandton initially formed part of the interim Eastern Metropolitan Substructure, and in 1996 came to be included, along with the former towns of Randburg and Roodepoort as part of the newly demarcated  City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality thus losing its separate municipal government and town status. Despite this, Sandton is still unofficially earmarked as a distinct region of the city and operates as a macro-suburb.

Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Center , one of the largest convention centers  in Africa. The Sandton Central commercial node, centred on the suburbs of Sandown and Sandhurst has some of the best and most expensive commercial properties and offices in South Africa.

Sandtoncity, ranks among the largest shopping centers in Africa with all to do for a day, more on it here: Sandton city shopping center

Sandton houses the flagship station of the Gautrain (taken and easy nice convenient) rapid rail link. The station is located on the corner of West Street and Rivonia Road. The system has direct connections to OR Tambo International Airport and an inter-city commuter service from Pretoria through Rosebank to Park Station Johannesburg. More on the transit network here:  Gautrain rapid transist network


A webpage with a bit more information on chic Sandton is here: Sandton Central

The South African tourist board : Tourist office of South Africa

There you go a nice experience in exotic South Africa. A wonderful experience and new friends, looking forward for a repeat.

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

September 3, 2018

Let’s go North in the Morbihan to Josselin!

Well it’s time to tell you again about the wonders of my department 56, Morbihan of Brittany. It has so much to offer , no wonder is the third destination of the French! for vacations and very prize to live here. You have forest, lakes, rivers, monasteries, castles, churches, things to do galore, the beaches, the sea goodies , the cider ,the galette hey hey wait a minute. I am trying to tell you about a castle!l

Anyway, France is a country of wonders, no doubt why no 1 most visited country since numbers are kept which is like after WWII. We are heading for 88 million this year and we only have about 67M folks lol! But, let’s get into the wonderful city of Josselin , cradle of Brittany’s history and France.

Ok so what else, I like to remind you of these wonderful places and a bit more on the history I like

Josselin is in my beautiful department 56 of the Morbihan, in the region of Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh. It is located between the Rennes/Lorient Expressway  (N24) and the Nantes-Brest Canal on the river Oust. Located 44 km from Vannes, 73 km from Lorient and 81 km from Rennes, and and 50 km from me. It is the name of the one who built the castle of the same name. This Josselin was one of the sons of Guethénoc, Count of Porhoêt, who lived from the year 998 to the year 1040.

A bit of history I like

Josselin is a town probably created around the year 1000 by Guéthénoc, son of the Duke of Brittany Conan Ier the Wrong. This viscount of Porhoët would have built in this place a first wooden castle around the year 1008 and which will be destroyed by King Henry II Plantagenet in 1168. His son Goscelinus gives his name to the new fortress, Castellum Goscelini, from where Château-Josselin then to Josselin town is name and which offers a relative security.


According to the legend, in 808, a laborer discovers a statue of wood in the brambles which allowed his daughter, blind to be born, to find the sight. Following this miracle, a Chapel and then a Church with still some remains from the 12C and finally a Basilica are built in the place of this discovery. In this Basilica, a fresco recalls the struggle of the thirty that took place halfway between Ploërmel and Josselin in the Hundred Years War. Josselin was a main government district between 1790 to 1795, where a revolutionary military commission was held. Nothing much to tell from the great wars.

The one thing to see here is the Castle.

A must is the Château de Josselin,(much of the history of Brittany and France). Built between 1490 and 1505 by picking up many elements of the Louis XII architecture style. It is one of the points of the Triangle Rohannais (three great fortresses la Chèze, Josselin and Pontivy) which has for center the village of Rohan, the nominal fief of the House of Rohan. Guéthénoc, cadet of the ducal house of Brittany, Viscount of Porhoët, Rohan and Guémené, a member of the family of the Counts of Rennes, would have left the feudal motte of Château-Tro in Guilliers to build in this place a first wooden castle around the year 1008.


In 1154, Eudon de Porhoët, stepfather, Regent and guardian of the young Duke of Brittany, Conan IV, brought together the Breton lords to deprive his son-in-law of his rights. He was defeated by Henry II Plantagenet, King of England and new Duke of Anjou, with whom he took refuge with Conan IV. Around 1170, Henri II came in person to direct the demolition of the castle and filled with salt to keep the walls in ruins. The fortress was raised as early as 1173 by the Viscount of Porhoët Eudon, an ally of the king of France. Then the castle is passed on into the hands of several great families foreign to Brittany, including the Lusignan, the Counts of Alençon and the Perche. In 1370, the latter agreed to cede Josselin, Castle and town to Olivier V de Clisson in exchange for the barony of Thuit, near the town of Falaise. From the existing castle, Clisson built the best armed fortress of Brittany: A feudal enclosure of 4 500 m2, with a chattel-residence and ramparts of 25 meters dotted with nine towers and a huge dungeon of 26 meters diameter and 32 meters high. In 1389, Clisson was banished from the Kingdom of France and was sentenced to death by Duke John IV. He fled to his stronghold of Josselin, but John IV soon made the siege of the castle. Dotted with truces, the struggle with the Duke of Brittany will continue until his death. After the death of Olivier de Clisson, the castle became the property of Alain VIII de Rohan (heir to the viscounts of Rohan), who married Beatrice, daughter of Olivier de Clisson. His son Alain IX de Rohan began to build a dwelling that he was leaning on in the towers and the courtship.


In 1488, the Duke of Brittany Francis II took the castle and demolished it partially in order to punish John II of Rohan for his support of the French party opposed to him. His daughter Anne of Brittany gave it back to John II, banished from Josselin because of their adherence to Protestantism, the Rohan had to let the governor of Brittany, the Duke of Mercœur, make their castle a base for the league opposed to the new King Henry IV. The history of the castle remains obscure for many years, but the war of Succession of Brittany makes it its military role during the episode of the war of the thirty in 1351 as from Josselin depart the thirty supporters of Charles of Blois (for battle of Auray) under the leadership of Jean de Beaumanoir.

The castle passes into the hands of the Rohans, whose rise is affirmed in the 15C. In 1603, when the viscounty of Rohan was erected in the duchy-paired by King Henri IV, Henri II de Rohan, the chief general of the Protestants, transferred the siege of his power to the castle of Pontivy. During the wars of Religion, he revolt against the royal power. In order to punish him, Cardinal Richelieu dismantled the dungeon in March 1629 (in two times, as his mass was imposing) and three towers, but spared the Renaissance building. In 1694, after the Battle of Camaret, the castle served as a prison for the English soldiers.


In the 18C, the Rohans, living at court, no longer reside in the castle which is unfurnished and neglected. The castle reverted to prison in 1758, after the Battle of Saint-Cast, and then sheltered nearly 1 200 prisoners of war. In 1760, in the face of the decay of the fortress, Louis III of Rohan Chabot demolished what remains of the two large towers that frame the first gate and the drawbridge. In 1776, in order to provide work for poor children in the region, the Duchess of Rohan established a cotton mill in the rooms on the ground floor. During the revolution, the municipality requisitioned the castle and settled there to hold its meetings. In 1799, the castle was returned to the Rohan family, in a very degraded state. In 1822, the Duchess of Berry, on her adventurous tour, convinced the Duke of Rohan to restore it, and portraits of that time, including one dated 1828, show a very dilapidated castle, with the long roof collapsed in places. Around 1835, Charles de Rohan-Chabot, tenth duke of Rohan, decided to undertake a proper restoration of his home, which was largely dilapidated. The construction site starts around 1855, and work continues until open to the public around 1930.

The castle is presently inhabited by the 14th Duke of Rohan, Josselin de Rohan, withdrawn from the affairs of regional or national politics, and his family. The gardens and four large rooms on the ground floor of the chateau, the long dining room, whose top of the panelling is carved up to date with the names of the Duke Alain, his parents, his wife and children, the living room , an antichamber and library containing 3 000 volumes and old portraits. Many works of art are exhibited: paintings of Old masters . On the stables have been rearranged to accommodate the Dolls museum. ,a collection enjoyed by the Duchess of Rohan. The French garden were created at the beginning of the 20C along the front of the Renaissance facade of the castle. A rose Garden was built in 2001 and has 160 roses belonging to 40 different varieties. An English garden, also created, extends to the foot of the ramparts along the river. This garden presents rare species of azaleas, camellias, many rhododendrons and centenary trees only open in heritage days and go to the garden event.

Josselin Josselin

Other things to see are

The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Roncier, also a parish Church, built at the end of the 12C and several times enlarged and modified. It houses the tombs of Olivier V de Clisson, Constable de France, and his wife Marguerite de Rohan. There is a pilgrimage here and one of the most important of the Morbihan, after that of Sainte Anne d’Auray (for Sainte Anne).



Fontaine Notre-Dame-du-Roncier still called the Miraculous Fountain dated 1675, restored in 1958 is a fountain-wall.  The Chapelle Sainte-Croix founded in 1060 at the place-dit le Prieuré , including the 11C nave with flat bedside, the massive tower and the lateral chapel. The granite Calvary representing Christ in the Cross, Saint Laurent, Saint John the Baptist, Sainte Anne Crowned and the Virgin and the child at the foot. The Church of Saint Martin, which depended on the Saint-Martin Priory of Josselin founded in 1105, became a parish around 1400. It was very revamped in the 17C, the nave was destroyed in the 19C and a chapel was rebuilt in its place. It is important for the Breton Romanesque architecture because it reproduces the real Benedictine plan. The Carmelite Convent of St. Joachim says of the retreat, Sisters of Wisdom was built from 1640, enlarged in 1750 and the Chapel was rebuilt in 1975.  There are only restored remains of the convent of the Ursulines of Notre-Dame, which were established in 1646.  The Benedictine Chapel known as the congregation was built from 1702 and surmounted by a belfry in the 19C.

Josselin Josselin

The City/Town center or downtown between the Basilica and the Castle is made up of medieval half-timbered houses and stone houses. The house of the place Notre-Dame built in the 15C;the house dated 1538 to pilasters in spindles on the ground floor and the wood of 3 rue Georges-Le-Berd, the old Grande-rue, that of rue Glatinier dated 1602 , the one called Maison Morice at 21 rue Olivier-de-Clisson those of 27 rue Olivier-de-Clisson that of the 4 place of the Resistance, that of the Rue des Trento, those of 5 and 7 rue des Trento; Two houses rue Saint-Michel, the building of the 16C of 3 rue des Devins ‘ mansion built in 1763 at 6 rue des Devins le logis du 4 rue Olivier-de-Clisson, the only one of this time in stone. With the ancient ramparts, the Oust river forms the boundary of the medieval city. The Mall is a tree promenade in the heart of the city.

Josselin Josselin

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my blog posts are

Official Chateau de Josselin:

City of Josselin on heritage and castle:

Area Brocéliande tourist office on heritage and castle of Josselin:

Tourist office of Brittany on Josselin:

You have a beautiful old town here and a gorgeous castle, a must to visit in the Morbihan. Hope it helps your plans. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 3, 2018

A revisit to La Trinité sur Mer!

So as Summer is beginning to fade away, and Fall is upon us as well as the return to work, let me bring you up to date on a beautiful harbor town in my beloved Morbihan Breton. This is boater’s heaven indeed!

I have already been several times to La Trinité sur Mer or the Trinity on the sea, this is an idyllic setting for an afternoon or morning beach time. It is just south of me a few km easy.

La Trinité-sur-Mer was created in 1864, in the Department 56 of Morbihan in the region of Bretagne. The city stretches over 800 meters along the Crac’h River, where the large, well-sheltered estuary hosts the many oyster parks destined for the spat harvest. A small fishing port, a busy marina and shipyards bring a great animation to the seaside city which has beautiful beaches along the peninsula of Kerbihan.

A bit of history I like

It was from the 13C that traces of the village and its port were found. Saline activity is very important for several centuries. The village developed around the maritime trade and the small community prospered. But in 1931, the government took a protectionist measure to promote the collieries of France. Maritime trade stopped in La Trinité-sur-Mer. The village then turned to fishing. The old auction, demolished in 1923, was rebuilt, and the schooners left the place for the fishing boats. Today, the fishing port has turned into a marina with the rise of nautical tourism. The oyster is also well-present at La Trinité-sur-Mer.

la trinite sur mer

la trinite sur mer

Things to see

The Kerisper Bridge joins Saint-Philibert by crossing the river Crac’h. Originally, it was a steel bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel and inaugurated in 1901. It was destroyed in 1944 by the Nazis and rebuilt between 1956 and 1958, in the form of an arc bridge of 203 meters long. Several Megalithic sites such as the alignment of Petit-Ménec; covered driveway of Er-Roh; Dolmen of Kermarker;Dolmen of Mané Rohr; Dolmens of Mané-Kervilor, and tumulus of Er-Velenc-Losquet. Also, Saint Joseph’s Church.

la trinite sur mer

The two large beaches exposed to the south on the bay, the Kervillen guarded by a SNSM and the Men-Du emergency station in front of the island of Stuhan to which it is connected at low tide by a tombolo, welcome the swimmers and lovers of fishing on foot in low tide; With their leisure clubs, and equipped with public toilets and showers, they are accessible to people with reduced mobility and lined with car parks. Smaller beaches exposed to the East open on the channel of the Crac’h, crossed by the numerous pleasure boats that join the port: They also allow the fishing on foot in the mudflat of the Vaneresse, discovered at low tide and stretching all the long the channel to the port, but also swimming at high tide in reserved spaces forbidden to navigation.

La Trinite sur mer

La trinite sur mer

For eating the Aux Terraces de la Plage is a great creperie (the local food delicacies) done in many shapes and colors ::) this one with a great view of the harbor at the beach of Kervillen.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my blog posts are

City of La Trinité sur Mer:

Tourist office La Trinité sur Mer :

Tourist office of Dept 56 Morbihan :

A lovely port marina and full of restaurants, even one overlooking the harbor. See it in my previous posts.

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

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