Archive for September 6th, 2018

September 6, 2018

Church Notre Dame des Victoires at Angers!

So why not Angers, the city has lots of history and wonderful monuments while sitting just at the door of the Loire Valley and its wonderful castles !Wait Angers has a castle too but in the less known region than what most call the valley of the kings. Nevertheless, it is worth a detour

Of course, I have written before on Angers just do search in my blog. Today , I like to tell you about a Church, yes just a Church but not just any Church, you know Churches whether you believe who is in it or not, are the real history , and architecture, and customs of a region or country. This is the case with Churches in France in general.

The Church Notre Dame des Victoires of the city of Angers in department 49 Maine et Loire region of Pays de la Loire is located in city center at the Place Louis Imbach.


Enlarged, in bad conditions, in 1842. In the 1880’s, the construction of a real Church financed by the bequest of a parishioner, Marie Guitton, died in 1883. But a long court procedure ensued and the bequest was reduced by half. The call to donations was indispensable; the generosity of the parishioners will cover almost half of the expenditure. Nevertheless it was necessary to cut in the project… and the steeple disappeared from the plans.

The Church Notre-Dame-des-Victories is a Romano-Byzantine style Church with a very attractive architectural and aesthetic balance, bathed in intense light. Completed in 1904, the Church was enriched in the 1930’s and 1940 by the windows of the choir. A voluminous canopy that enshrined the high altar was abolished in the context of the conciliar reform of Vatican II.  In 1841, the parish of the first Chapel was affiliated with the archconfraternity of Notre-Dame-des-Victories, created in 1836. In 1960, the Church obtained the use of the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the name of Notre-Dame-des-Victories.


An architecture eye from an amateur eye, tell us that the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victories, is 64 meters long by 25 wide. Its two-colored outward appearance results from the association of Tufa and shale rubble in horizontal sittings.  The nave comprises five spans separated by fairly thin cylindrical columns (60 cm in diameter), extended by three other spans in the chorus. Apart from the capitals with vegetable motifs on their tops, the absence of siding on these columns offers a very pleasant contrast to the ensemble of Byzantine decorations and sculptures of the nave and the choir. This contrast ideally enhances the face of bulging vaults. These vaults, built in Tufa, are called Angevin or Plantagenet style. Finally, the presence of white glass windows in the nave brings a very high brightness to the Church. Thus presented, the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victories can boast a magnificent balance both architectural, artistic and decorative, as beautiful as the eye can see.  The height of the vault  is 18.50 meters. At the crossroads of the transept, it is 22 meters. The Church has no steeple.  Finally, the frieze that crosses the whole Church at half-height, above the windows, and consisting of interlaces, traces the litany of the Virgin.


The Church Notre-Dame-des-Victories cross is made up of very classical paintings, without great stylistic research. Attention will nevertheless be drawn to the station “Jesus is condemned to death” on the left, recalling what this condemnation represents for the human race. “Who Killed Jesus?” is a common question. Behind the responsibility of the Sanhedrin hide conflicts for power. And this in all civilizations. A true educational story to see and behold.







These are webpages that will help you enjoy this Church fully; it is again worth a detour, even if little is written on it. Shhiuuuu is a find ::)

Tourist office of Angels on transports

Cathedral webpage on the Church in French

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




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September 6, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVI

So can’t get away too far from my beloved Spain, here I am back at you. And it was my first day back at work after Summer vacations lol! Life goes on indeed…

The Summer is back to normal in most European countries after a nice Summer break in which we partake in long vacation periods; like mine was three weeks. I like to bring you up to date with some news and some more ideas to visit Spain, everything under the sun.

Before delving into that “paradise closed to many, gardens open to few”, as defined by the ancient Nasrid capital, Granada. You have to explore the surrounding region of La Vega, where are the true origins of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, in his year, now that is fulfilled 120 years of his birth and 100 of the publication of his first work, “impressions and landscapes”. In my favorite Spanish poet, love it.

The sierra Parapanda mountain range as a backdrop. There, the museum Casa Natal Federico García Lorca remains a strange bubble in a town that has undergone profound transformations since the late 19C. The house, which preserves much of its original decoration, belonged to the palace, the family of Matilde, the first woman of her father, whose destiny and tragedy would serve as an inspiration for his barren theater play. He only lived in it three years before his parents moved to another building in the same town. In 1907, they moved to Asqueroza, now call Valderrubio.  In this other town of La Vega, near the sugar mills that would make his family rich, they would try several houses before taking root in number 2 of Calle de la Iglesia (church street), now converted into the House Museum of the Poet. In which would return again and again until 1925,  a stone’s throw is the house of Frasquita (Bernarda) Alba that will soon be a museum.

Although you cannot take a step through Granada without finding his footprint, there are a score of key places that every lover of the poet and the work of the author should know. To the new Federico García Lorca Center. It is located near the cathedral where Mariana Pineda is buried.  Federico was a perfect guide to his city and, as he did with so many friends, would lead us to the Puerta de las Granadas up the Cuesta de Gomerez from Plaza Nueva. There he  would show that “Alhambra, Jasmine of sorrow where the moon rests”. The Puerta del Vino (wine’s gate)  inspired Debussy and a lot of singing jondo, like the one that could be heard in the Plaza de los Aljibes (cisterns square) during the first festival dedicated to the most emotional side of flamenco; he helped organize it in 1922.

Before entering the Alhambra, we would discover other treasures such as the Carmen of the Martyrs, curdled with reminiscences of his very admired San Juan de la Cruz. The Church of Santa Maria, where he once came out as penitent, or the tavern of the Polina, today turned into the museum of the singer Antonio Barrios. There used to be the poet with many artists of Granada. Looking out from the windows, we would be surprised to see the Albaicín Hill transformed into that “wonderful Atlantis”.   The Rinconcillo del Alameda, in the Plaza Campillo, which is now part of the Chikito restaurant, or the sidewalk of the Darro, from where we would climb the Albaicín, entering in some of its most secret cármenes (flower streets). The next stop would be in the Sacromonte to listen to the genuine flamenco. And then you have to go to the hermitage of San Miguel, one of its favorite places and where Granada is contemplated in its splendor.  The end is the Huerta de  San Vicente (orchard of St Vincent), his last refuge, the site that possibly best represents it and has been preserved as he left it before going to the House of the Rosales, today converted into the Hotel Reina Cristina. There, a few days later, they would stop him in that fateful month of August of 1936 and then assassinate him, like so many others, in the vicinity of Viznar and Alfacar, about 10 km from Granada. More info here: Tourist office of Granada, Route of Federico Garcia Lorca

And Tourist office of Province of Granada on Route of Federico Garcia Lorca

The lauréates towns of my beloved Spain on the Unesco list of world heritage sites are Avila, Cáceres, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Toledo, Córdoba, Cuenca, Alcalá de Henares, Ibiza, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Mérida, Tarragona, Baeza , and Úbeda. Out of the 16, I have visited 13 all except  Baeza, Ubeda, and Ibiza.

Race is the name of an auto drive cinema in Madrid, must see it. This is the largest auto cinema in Europe and the last inaugurated in Spain on February 24th, 2017. Its surface extends to 25,000 square meters and has 350 parking spaces. This open air cinema is located in the district of Chamartín-Fuencarral (Calle Isla de Java, 2) and proposes a mixed billboard that alternates author films with premieres. In summer it also offers 160 hammocks for those who prefer to leave the car at home. Popcorn, hot dogs, burgers… The restaurant has a menu with different options. All you have to do is book what you want and wait for it to be taken directly to the car. Of course, you need a car, but clostes cercanias is Fuente de la Mora C1, C7,and C10 and metro station Begona Line 10 than change to metro ligero or light train line 1. More information:   RACE Auto cinema of Madrid

Best Patatas (potatoes)  Bravas of Madrid; this is my old neighborhood in the old real Madrid of my teens years, and they are still kicking strong since 1963; this is Docamar, Calle Alcalá, 337 in the Quintana neighborhood of Ciudad Lineal district. Metro Quintana line 5.  The task is occupied by a single cook and by his hands where on a single day more than 2,000 kg ( 4408 lbs) of peeled potatoes are cut into quarters. The sauce, secret of course, has a taste of paprika and is quite hot  (also take out home in liter bottles). Many locals attest to the truth, they are the best in the city… Ration price: 4.20 euros. More info here: Docamar

The first edition of Duero International wine Fest, the wine-growing congress whose axis is the Duero river and its course ,influence by the different denominations of Castilla y León, which also add the appellation of Origin Bierzo, influenced by the Miño river basins. And the Sil, and the Portuguese appellations of Douro and Porto, whose vineyards and wineries are located in the basin of the last stretch of this wine-growing river, one of the most important in the world.  It will be held at the Evolution Forum in Burgos from Sept 7-8 ( a bit late I know but keep the dates for next year)  with a program of lectures and masterly tastings that are already depleting their time before the beginning of the meeting.  The meet will be attended by  Fernando Mora (MW) on the topic , the great wine-growing rivers of the world, exploring its geographical diversity and the peculiarity of its vineyards; Or the one that the winemaker Álvaro Palacios imparts with the critic of Elmundovino  Juancho Asenjo about the wine classifications of Villa, classified vineyard (Vina clasificada) or great wines of classified vine (Grandes vinos de vina clasificados). The critic for Spain of the influential publication the Wine Advocate, Luis Gutiérrez, will tour the Douro’s runway in its Portuguese part during a masterful wine tasting of Douro and Porto.  The program of this first edition is the work of an advisory committee chaired by Pablo Álvarez, CEO of Vega Sicilia, and coordinated by the journalist and director of Lavinia Spain, Juan Manuel Bellver. Among the members are also winemakers of prestige as José Manuel Pérez Ovejas, technical director of Viña Pedrosa, and characters with extensive experience in the world of wine as Berciano, founder of Alma Unique wines, journalist Pilar Molestina, Co-author of the Wine Yearbook of  El País newspaper or the winemaker and President of the regulating Council of Ribera del Duero, Enrique Pascual. More info here: Duero International Wine Fest

In addition, Burgos will reinforce its character as wine capital with two other initiatives between  September 6 and 9, namely , the International Wine Competition Zarcillo Awards, endorsed by the International organization of the Wine  (OIV) and with the participation of tasters from all over the world; And the above Duero Festival of Wine, which will open historic palaces and unique buildings that open their doors to the wineries and allow them to present their elaborations to the general public.

More on Zarcillo Awards: Premios Zarcillo 2018

Last leave you with a nice city that I like a lot for been there in the last few years and many friends both business and football/soccer that have kept up with each other for almost 20 years now. La Coruña: The star of the promenade is the imposing tower of Hercules (Avda. de Navarra, S/n). Built in the 1C, it is the only Roman lighthouse still in operation in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009. You can visit its interior and climb to the top of its 51 meters high, the views are worth it for only 3€. The elegant Marina area, which proudly exhibits its marina and its houses with white galleries. By one of its arcades access to the Plaza Maria Pita, where stands the impressive town hall, a modernist building built in 1918. From here, you ascend a staircase to the Old City, the oldest part of La Coruña, which can boast Romanesque churches such as the enchanting collegiate Church of Santa María del Campo or the Church of Santiago, which dates from the 12C and where you must admire the beautiful capitals of their columns. In this area, there are the houses-museums of two exemplary Galician, María Pita (Rúa de Herrerias , 28) and the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán (Rúa Tabernas, 11). Another fundamental stop; the Plaza Azcárraga square with its leafy trees. Getting lost in this maze of alleys and squares is a pleasant way to end the visit to this melancholy city open to the Atlantic. More on tourism there : Tourist office of La Coruna

And they you have it ,all ready for the Fall season! and visiting my beloved Spain is always a possibility. Enjoy it fully.

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

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September 6, 2018

Royal Basilica Our Lady of the Foresaken, Valencia!

And I am by Valencia, a wonderful city by the Mediterranean often overlook for others but this one rank up high in my travel books! Trying not to repeat myself I did a post on the Cathedral where I mentioned my attachment to the city. And of course ,it has many wonderful things to see.

However, if monuments are measure , I would skip all others and head for the Basilica of the Virgin of the Foresaken or Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados. This is a must, I dare to say ahead of the Cathedral.

The Basilica of the Virgin of the Forsaken stands out for being the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Forsaken, Patron Saint of Valencia and all the ancient kingdom of Valencia today. It boasts basilical rank thanks to the Pontifical brief signed by Pope Pius XII on April 21, 1948. Specifically, it is located in the Plaza de la Virgen, opposite the allegorical source of the Turia river,  and its ditches (Rascanya, Tormos, Mestalla, Mislata, Rovella, Favaro, Benàger i Faitanar and Quart).  Two of its gates give to this square, and a third gives to the passage that separates the Basilica to the Cathedral, joined both by a superior arch. In this third door there is a latticed window through which you can contemplate the interior when the Basilica is closed and you can contemplate the illuminated Virgin. Excavations carried out in the Almoina indicate that the area where the Basilica is located corresponds to the Roman forum of the city of Valencia. In fact, several ashlars from the main façade of the basilica are tombstones and inscriptions from the Roman era.


A bit of history I like

The presence of the image of the Virgin, according to various historians, dates from 1414, being its findings wrapped in the legend of the angelic construction. Initially its recumbent configuration, arranged on the coffins of the executed, had a small pillow that made advancing the head. This fact, it made that when it was erected, it was seen with its characteristic head inclination; calling it Geperudeta ( little bended). King Fernando the Catholic in a Royal privilege, granted the title to his historic brotherhood with the name of ‘ Verge dels Innoscents e Desamparats ‘ (Virgin of the innocent and forsaken) on June 3, 1493. The visit of King Felipe IV to Valencia in 1632 and the circumstance that through the intercession of the Virgin will justify his victories at Fuenterrabía and Tortosa, led to the promotion of a new and Royal Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the foresaken. The Royal Chapel of the Virgin of the Forsaken, was made between 1652 and 1666.

The wonderful architecture of it

The composition of the first Church is framed in a Tardo-renaissance  designed, characterized by its classicist sobriety, constructive sincerity and economical, enhancing the values of proportion, symmetry and equilibrium. Inside, the discovery of the original ornamentation of 1666, composed of paddings, florets and enrolled children’s Angels intertwined with borders in the interspaces of the dome, leads us to a severe building in its conception, characterized by its whiteness, combining, to perfection, the idea of the Renaissance centrality, with the Baroque dynamism of the elliptical space, topped in a cupola. Between 1683 and 1694, and in a fully Baroque designed with Greek cross with flared arches and oblique architecture, the Chapel of the Virgin is built, as a shrine-sanctuary, linked directly to the central-elliptical space, through its total spatial interconnection, considering itself as a unique case in the history of architecture. In 1701, in full Baroque effervescence, a new inner dome was executed, theoretically, from the outside, according to the discovery of this research, on which Antonio Palomino made the great pictorial composition.  During the 18C to 20C, the Royal Chapel experienced successive and important transformations such as neoclassical reform, romantic and historicist performances etc with substantial modification of the sober and austere initial renaissance approach, providing of great formal and material wealth. The internal approach of strict symmetry with respect to the two orthogonal axes of the elliptical plant, was moved to the external image, by means of the definition of three facades clearly symmetrical with respect to the vertical-central axis. The disposition of the accesses, double in the facades to the square and the Calle de la Leña (firewood)  and centered in the façade to the Cathedral, together with the vertical layout of the lantern, reinforced the centrality and symmetry of the composition.



The intervention in the cupola of the Basilica of the Forsaken of Valencia has served to recover all the color of frescoes painted by Antonio Palomino in 1701, but has also rehabilitated the name of this artist and Cordovan scholar, chamber painter of king Carlos II , whose pictorial work has taken centuries to recognize, although today it is considered fundamental in the mural production of Spanish Baroque. Palomino currently considered one of the most interesting figures of the transition period from the 17C to the 18C, left a notable footprint in Valencia , which could be greater if the 1,200 square meters of vault painted in the Church of the Saints Juanes (would be the greatest fresco in the world) would have survived the four fires that almost devastated the Church during the Spanish Civil War. He then went on to take care of the vault of the Basilica of the Virgin, in which, following the fashion of the late 17C, it was intended to reform its interior appearance. Palomino was in charge of putting the sky to that cloister ,with its balconies and columns, which is seen today inside the Basilica. Their capitals still show the black effect provoked by the smoke of the candles and that made practically invisible the work of the Cordovan painter ,especially in the upper area of the altar.


Coinciding with the replacement of the main altar, it was decided to reform the Virgin’s dressing room, gaining in monumentality thanks to the treatment of the walls, the vaulted solution of the covered wrought , the change of pavement and the auction of the Estancia. The walls were surrounded by a dark marble plinth and at the angles columns with red marble stems with Corinthian capitals.



The stained glass set consists of seven stained glass windows with modernist nuances marked by the style of the time, are located in the seven spaces of illumination of the central nave of the Royal Basilica. The stained glass windows symbolize the litany of the Holy Rosary and venerate the Virgin representing the patron saint of Valencia’s such as: Door of Heaven, Ivory Tower, Mystical rose, roots of Jesus, throne of Wisdom and Morning Star. Six of them are located in a symmetrical way illuminating the ovoid vault, while the seventh, at the apex of the oval, reaches its symmetry when juxtaposed with the image of the Virgin of the Forsaken. This last window is of bigger dimensions than the rest and folding, it functions like a door of access to the narrow interior cornice that runs through the drum to allow access to the others. The main window is linked to the Royal Brotherhood of the Virgin of the Forsaken where two innocent infants are depicted praying at the foot of the cross, the stained glass reproduced the text “Pray for us. “ These seven symbols are framed inside a baroque Chapel whose representation comprises two columns of ionic capital bearing a half-point arch and a triangular pediment. This set is repeated in the seven stained glass windows being all the same size except in the central symbol of allusion to the Virgin.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official webpage of the Royal Basilica:

City of Valencia:

Official webpage of the Basilica:

Tourist office of Valencia:

There you go another jewel by the Mediterranean and worth a detour in the city of Fallas. Enjoy Valencia.

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




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