Archive for October 29th, 2018

October 29, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVIIII

And here I am on a cloudy cold Autumn day in the Morbihan Breton and thinking of my Spain, and of course , cannot be too far from it. Already plans to go back!!!

There is always something going on in Spain and their tourism is climbing so much already on the steps of France, the all time no 1 leader according to the UN-WTO. And this is even with the political haggling of usual Spain; if not they will be no 1 long ago.

I like to give you the latest info according to me hehehe! well…..

Valencia is a good choice to take children to gain knowledge. In the City of Arts and Sciences, known for its iconic architecture, children can find a section dedicated to them in which specialized monitors will teach them small scientific concepts in a fun way. The museum also organises the ‘ science on stage ‘ workshops, which children can sign up for. More info: https://www.cac.es/en/home.html

There stands out the Chocolate Museum, in Barcelona where activities are organized for children between 0 and 7 years ranging from the experimentation with chocolate for the little ones until the blind tastings so that the older ones learn to distinguish the aromas of this product and to differentiate between variants of the same. It also offers workshops for the whole family where you can learn how to make chocolate lollipops. More info: http://www.museuxocolata.cat/?lang=en

Almeria has been chosen this past Wednesday as the Spanish Capital of gastronomy in 2019 after its candidacy was left alone in the struggle organized by the Spanish Federation of Hospitality and the Spanish Federation of Journalists and Writers of tourism. More info at Foods and Wines from Spain(official): https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/whats-new/news/new-detail/almeria-spanish-capital-gastronomy.html

Some picturesques towns to visit in my beloved Spain off the beaten track a bit,suggestions ok.

Cadaqués, Girona . Located in the Cape of Creus-Alto Empordà, this fishing village is one of the most beautiful in Catalonia and the easternmost of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1998 it was declared a Natural park. Its peculiar beauty made Salvador Dalí choose it as a summer residence and his house-museum is the most visited of the town. Its white houses in front of small coves, its steep alleys and its walk to the lighthouse of Cala Nans are its hallmarks. http://www.visitcadaques.org/?lang=uk&sec=

Laguardia, Álava . From the top of a hill and surrounded by a great wall, this medieval-rooted town is the capital of the Rioja Alavesa, on the left bank of the river Ebro. In its old town, considered one of the most beautiful in the Basque Country, highlights its Plaza Mayor arcaded and its Paseo del Collado, which borders the place with the extensive vineyards appropriating of the landscape. I recommend the night visit to the bodegas Solar de Samaniego, converted into the wine cathedral with the impressive murals of the Australian Guido van Helten. https://laguardia-alava.com/index.php/en/

Lastres, Asturias. Located on the top of a cliff over the Cantabrian Sea, this seaside town is one of the most visited in Asturias, especially since it was recorded there the TV series Doctor Mateo (for Spanish viewers). Its urban center, declared a historic complex, leads you to a maze of narrow cobbled streets leading up to the 18C Church of Santa Maria de Sábada. https://en.desdeasturias.com/la-villa-marinera-de-lastres/

La Alberca, Salamanca. It was the first town in Spain to be declared a National Historic site in 1940. Its facades, full of colors and flowers, are very popular. This town, integrated in the region of the Sierra de France, is also famous for its cobbled streets and its characteristic arcades. The villa was already constituted in the 13C and associated with the crown. http://www.laalberca.com/GB/index.php#

Villanueva de los Infantes, Ciudad Real.  This village of La Mancha, where Francisco de Quevedo died, and whose streets also crossed Lope de Vega and Miguel de Cervantes, was declared a National Historic site in 1974 by the archaeological sites found there, belonging to the Copper Age and the Bronze Age. Highlights the monumental ensemble around its main square built in the 17C and the more than 250 shields that look on its facades. http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/villanueva-de-los-infantes-13531/descripcion/

Chinchon, Madrid. Perhaps the most picturesque town in Madrid with a medieval square that still preserves its typical 15C houses, with its wooden balconies and arcades and where it was proclaimed King Felipe V in 1706. It’s Castillo de los Condes (Counts) is a must visit, as well as the purchase of anise, garlic, oil and wine. http://www.ciudad-chinchon.com/turismo/en/conoce-chinchon/lugares-interes/edificios-historico-artisticos.php

Aínsa, Huesca declared  National Historic site complex since 1965, this villa located in the Hautes-Pyrenees of Huesca is one of the places that frequent more tourists. It stands out its medieval old town and its stone houses, arranged in a staggered way.(see writing below)

Morella, Castellón .This town, guarded by an enormous military fortress of almost two kilometers and located at 1,000 meters of altitude, possesses sixteen towers and an impressive castle. It has witnessed battles of El Cid Campeador or the war of succession. His undisputed beauty has made it a World heritage site. http://en.morellaturistica.com/

And let me take you into the wonderful Pyrénées from where I drive all the time north south ,west east sublime. One of the entrances to the Pyrenees is located in the municipality of Aínsa-Sobrarbe this year has been chosen as the capital of rural tourism in Spain. It is the first municipality in Aragon in number of rural houses (37) and places to stay (262). The Unesco World Geopark of Sobrarbe-Pyrenees, which has a heritage with more than one hundred geological interest sites. Therefore Escaparural.com,(I rent from it very much recommended) the digital platform dedicated to the promotion of rural accommodation, had chosen it rural capital. The webpage for rentals is here: https://www.escapadarural.com/que-hacer/ainsa

The peculiarities of the old town of the village of Aínsa. Each street has a history to tell, since, in the antiquity, each one stood out for hosting the houses of certain social classes. For example, in the Calle Santa Cruz lived the people who belonged to the lower, like artisans and laborers, whereas in the Calle  Mayor, or Calle Gonzalo I, emphasized the buildings of the nobility. It does not matter which of the two streets you walk, as both lead to the Plaza Mayor and the castle. From the Torre del Homenaje (tower of the homage)  of the fortress to the main entrance, passing through the parish Church of Santa Maria, famous for its crypt and the belfry with spectacular views to the nearby places. Also the old Town treasures a Jewish bath discovered 400 years ago. Also you have to visit the ecomuseum of the Pireneica Fauna. It is not a common cultural space, but an interpretation center open 11 months a year dedicated to the animal world of the Pyrenees. In it it is possible to admire birds of prey incapable of living in freedom for having received  physical damage. From a real owl to a toed eagle, through a kind of bearded vulture. The latter is the only  Osteófaga Bird of the world, i.e. capable of ingesting bones. You can admire from 200 to 400 birds that come down from the mountains when they leave for food, fed twice a week in winter and three in summer. In addition, all those who become partners can enter three times a year in two enclose glass booths to take pictures of the vultures.

Another indispensable museum is the Traditional Crafts and Arts museum, a private collection, preserved in an old manor house, which houses more than 1,500 pieces from the 19-20C. From pottery and ceramic objects to blacksmiths ‘ instruments, such as curious pica-shaped horseshoes, through woodworking tools, knitting utensils and a kitchen of the period with fireplace included.  A few kms from Aínsa, the Latorrecilla rises beyond its architectural peculiarities, there is another reason why it is worth going there: the bees. The beekeeper Paco Parra and his family, in addition to selling artisanal honey, have devised my friends bees, a classroom of nature where they perform guided tours dedicated to the life of drones, worker bees and queen.

Lleida’s AVE train station is just over an hour’s drive from Aínsa. You can also reach Zaragoza or Huesca and then drive. On the website of the city/town hall of Aínsa : www.villadeainsa.com.

More on local tourism from the municipality Ainsa Sobrarbe here: Tourist office of Ainsa Sobrarbe on heritage

Moving down to my fav region of Spain other than Madrid you have a beauty many times visited and worth the detour.

In the province of Cuenca, in the heart of the Quijote route and an hour and a half drive from Madrid, Belmonte stands out for the unique beauty of its urban center, its stately buildings and its important monumental patrimony, one of the richest in the area , which has earned it the title of good of Cultural interest town. It includes its most recognized enclaves, which crown the two hills that surrounds the beautiful walled village of La Mancha: The Collegiate Church of San Bartolomé and the Castle of Belmonte , both buildings of the 15C. The castle, built in 1465 in the Cerro de San Cristóbal on a previous fortress, by order of Don Juan Pacheco, first Marquis of Villena and authorized by King Enrique IV of Castilla. Privately owned (descendants of the Empress of the French Eugenia wife of Napoleon III), the enclave has become a tourist destination thanks to its exhibitions, museums, theme park, historical recreation days, medieval battles and dramatised sessions, which transport the public to bygone times.

In Gothic-Mudejar style, the castle is a national monument, with a star-shaped structure around the courtyard (plaza de Armas). It was the refuge of Juana la Beltraneja at the end of the 15C, prison of the Napoleonic troops during the War of Independence (1808), residence of the Empress of France Eugenia de Montijo (1857), Convent of the Dominicans (1885) and prison during the Civil War ( 1936).

As the Sun falls, the castle becomes a frightening place and what better time to check it out than the Halloween weekend. Those interested in touring their halls and darker corners can do so from 1 to 3 November (from 20h to 01h.), dates in which the spectacle of terror will take place call Virus. More info here: http://castillodebelmonte.com/en/virus-halloween-2018/

For about 45 minutes, the public, distributed in groups of no more than 14 persons will go through the different areas of the fortress in which they have unpleasant encounters. Attendees will also participate in the story, know first-hand some of the characters who inhabited the castle centuries ago and have to follow the instructions that will indicate them during the tour. The dungeons, torture rooms and the most gloomy corners of the castle will be the scenarios of this event, not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart problems or under 12 years. More info at the Castle site here: http://castillodebelmonte.com

To complete the tour, it is obligatory to take a walk around the newly opened theme park Trebuchet Park, located at the foothills of the fortress and inside its walls. The enclosure houses 40 real-size, perfectly operational siege machines, rebuilt with the utmost historical rigor based on existing documentation. The sample explains the importance of such weapons during the Middle Ages, in which the sieges were much more numerous than the open-field battles. More info :http://castillodebelmonte.com/en/trebuchet-park/

Of this neo-tasca, put with modesty but with luminosity in a small side of Calle Edgar Neville ,for those who have not yet learned the new street, is the old Calle General Moscardó, have opted for the fixed menus, changing every day according to market.

They serve as total surprises that the diner will see arriving at your table without prior description, and only with a question about possible allergies. This fashion, which certainly saves work and avoids wasting time, can be somewhat irritating, or at least puzzling, for the traditional customer who prefers to study a menu card and choose between their offerings. But the surprise menu is here to stay, and you have to get used to it. Ignorance of what you are going to eat turns the choice of a wine into a Russian roulette game. White, red, sparkling? Light, powerful? The portions are small, and on occasion the Iberian ham found it even less. But the good level of each dish leads you to accept it in good measure, in addition, announce until December 2018  an interesting promotion for its second anniversary: a 30% reduction on the bill. It’s going to be something to take advantage of…!!!

Something to taste different in Madrid. Lúbora, Calle Edgar Neville, 39  .Webpage: http://www.lubora.com/

And finish with the arts , sublime romantic, wonderful for the senses in my Madrid.

Legend of the transgression, icon of the modernity, precursor in the naturalness and declaration of its bisexuality, the Reina del  Art Deco (art deco queen) Tamara de Lempicka is the protagonist of the new exhibition of Arthemisia, that will be seen in the Palacio Gaviria until the next  February 24 2019. 200 works, from more than 40 private collections, museums and lenders reveal, in this first retrospective dedicated to Lempicka in Madrid, an unknown dimension of the creator, besides, of course, to illustrate magnificently her artistic trajectory. The work of Tamara de Lempicka, a journey that reveals the aesthetics of the 1920s, the geometry of Cubism, elements inherited from Futurism and a powerful influence of the Bauhaus coexist in the exhibition with photographs (with Dalí, with Otto Preminger…), Lamps, furniture, vases, screens… and other Art Deco objects, and with dresses, hats and delicate shoes (designs by Salvatore Ferragano), proposes an immersion in the environment in which she developed her art as a the painter. Where:  Palacio de Gaviria, Calle Arenal , 9. More info here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/tamara-lempicka-gaviria-palace

There you go for my Spain, worth a detour I say lol! Spain , everything under the sun.

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

Tags: , ,
October 29, 2018

The traditions of Brittany, Locronan!

So now let’s tackle a serious tourism and heritage subject in my old beautiful Brittany. Tradition with the Bretons is very strong even now, and the legacies of the past are well maintained with their language pushing and the religious beliefs, here strong. One town stands of many on this example.

I like to talk to you today about Locronan in the Finistére dept 29 of Brittany. A town full of traditions and beautiful architecture not to mention history. Enough for me to love it. Taken the expressway N165 (no tolls) you go to exit D770 and then take the panels saying Locronan on the D39 then D63 to Locronan.

Locronan  is a town in the department 29 of Finistére in the region of Brittany.  The important architectural heritage of Locronan, preserved very early, allowed the village to be a member of the network of Small Cities of Character. Locronan is also today gratified of the label of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Around the church, the roofs of the village are works of art. From its Belle Epoque, the village has preserved a centrally paved square adorned with a well, the vast Church of St. Ronan, and Renaissance houses in granite.

Most Beautiful Villages of France on Locronan

Small Towns of Character in France on Locronan

The Montagne de Locronan (Menez Lokorn in Breton) with its 289 meters of altitude is one of the highest points of the Black Mountain massif characterized by outcroppings of granite on an axis starting from the Pointe de Raz and going up to Lizio near the moors of Lanvaux.  The place of Plas Ar Horn, at the top of the Priory Mountain, which is backed by Locronan, offers a splendid panorama of the Porzay Plain, the Ménez-Hom and the Bay of Douarnenez as a whole.  Its name means “the consecrated place (of the Hermitage) of Saint Ronan”, lok meaning consecrated place in Breton. The ancient archives sometimes call Locronan, Saint-René-du-Bois .

The town  of Locronan is 15 km west of Quimper and 5 km from the sea (Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Douarnenez, Kervel beach  which is part of the commune of Plonévez-Porzay). It is about 110 km from my house.

A bit of history I like

In Roman times, Locronan was at the crossroads of two Roman routes, one coming from Quimper and heading towards the peninsula of Crozon, the other heading towards Douarnenez. Saint Ronan later installed his hermitage (at the site of the present chapel of the Pénity, adjacent in the southern part of the Church of Saint-Ronan), which explains the Christianisation of the town. The main square of Locronan is located at the crossroads of two Roman roads as above.

The existence of a church is attested from 1031 because on this date the count of Cornouaille Alain Canhiart donated the Church of Saint-Ronan to the Abbey of St. Croix of Quimperlé following his victory as he would have implored the rescue from Saint Ronan and won against the Duke Alain III of Brittany and known as the “Battle of Ronan” . Later, the Counts of Cornouaille carried a great devotion to Saint Ronan.

The region was Christianized in the 5C  by Saint Ronan, an Irish hermit. The contemporary oral tradition wants Saint Ronan to travel every day in penance to the circuit of the petite Troménie, and every Sunday that of the Grand Tromérie. The city of Locronan forever keeps track of its passage since we now name it Locronan, the locus (space) of Ronan.  In St. Ronan’s Church, the statue represents him with mitre and lacrosse as a roving abbot or bishop. This is a famous town here, only about 800 inhabitants but famous for its Grande Tromédie (second sunday of July) a religious and historical procession of 12 kms.

As early as the 14C, hemp flourished almost everywhere in the Locronan region. From this production is born an industry of windsurfing, the sails of Locronan would have thus equipped the Invincible Spanish Armada and Shakespeare cites it even in “Coriolanus” (act II, Scene I). It was at this time of prosperity, halted a time by the destructions linked to the Wars of the League (Locronan was looted in 1594 by the Spanish troops, then successively by the war captains  of which belongs  most of the architectural treasures of the granite mansions of the Place de l’église  and the surrounding streets and, of course, the Church of St. Ronan and the small Chapel of the Pénity adjoining it and housing the lying of the Saint (15-16C). Since 1914, there were no more hemp sails artisans in Locronan.

The square, endowed in its center of the old town’s  well, long only source of drinking water of the town, takes its full dimension every second Sunday of July during the Troménies, but even more every six years during the Grande Troménie (next in 2019). The square is lined with 14 granite houses that make up a remarkable architectural ensemble, testifying to the richness of the canvas merchants and other notable people who built them in the 17-18C, including the canvas office and the Hotel de la Compagnie des Indies. The current  rue Moal was the old rue des Tisserants(weavers).

Locronan is famous for its troménies: The Grand Troménie, a procession that is held around the limits of an ancient sacral space, which has become a Leigh (Tro Leigh, now  “Troménie “), every six years (next in 2019). Between two Grand Troménies takes place annually la Petite Troménie, the 2nd Sunday of July.

72 soldiers from Locronan died for France, including 48 during  WWI, 17 during WWII, and 7 during the other conflicts of the 20C.

Things to see, the first one is a must!

The Church of St. Ronan, (15C), and its Chapel of the Pénity where is the tomb of Saint Ronan. The Church was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the gifts of the Dukes of Brittany Jean V, Pierre II and François II. It is erected at the site of the Chapel of the Priory depending on the abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé. Its arrow, struck three times, was finally demolished in 1808. The Church is 43 meters long. The width of the building increases in the last spans of the southern collateral. The big Western Tower, which has lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is noticed inside. The Tomb of Saint Ronan is in the Chapel of the Pénity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII appended to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Pénity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only the western one, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of Kersanton, supported by six angels carrying coats of arms; Two angels stand by his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The recumbent of the Saint shoves with his left hand his butt in the mouth of a monster and he blesses with his right hand. It is huge in treasures, from statues of saints, St Barbe,Ste Marguerite, saint Herbot,Saint Maurice,Saint Fiacre,St Therese de Lisieux,Saint Yves, saint Apolline, etc etc, all over, an altar in golden sculpture ,the tomb of St Ronan, the Chair done at Quimper, and a nativity scene just for the season, was great.

locronan

locronan

La Place de l’église with its well In curbstone, destroyed in 1932 by a bus, but rebuilt since . The buildings of the Place de l’église date from the 17C and 18C, with the facades of bluish grey granite. The Hôtel Gauthier 16-17C at Place de l’église city center. The camp des Salles ( halls), referred to as Goarem-ar-Salud an ancienne Carolingian camp.

locronan

The Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle (15-16-18C), dedicated to Saint Eutrope. The stained glass windows were made in 1985 according to drawings by the painter Alfred Manesser. The Chapel also houses numerous stone statues, including those of the Virgin Mother, the Holy Trinity and a descent of the Cross. Nearby, the Calvary and the fountain, offered by a canvas merchant named Conan, date from 1698. This chapel is mentioned in the Testament of Jean Le Moine of 1439. It constitutes the fifth station of the route of the Grande Troménie.

locronan

The Museum of Art and History, created in 1934, presents the great moments of the history of Locronan on the ground floor (1st Fl US) and a hundred paintings and drawings representing the Finistère on the first floor (2 FL US), as well as the earthenwares of Quimper. On the ground floor, you can discover a real weaving workshop (stage of the Route des canvases de Bretagne). A loom of the 18C is presented there as well as many tools necessary for the textile work of hemp and flax. In the 16C, this was what made the wealth of Locronan. In this space, we also discover the secret of making Breton costumes and the exhibition of some traditional costumes. As for the first floor, almost a hundred paintings  are exhibited alongside some costumes of the Porzay. The paintings represent the attachment of some men to this city and thus constitute the testimony of an artistic life in Brittany at the beginning of the 20C. By the men who frequented it but also its history and its architecture, the Museum of Locronan is an exceptional site to discover.

The Mountain of Locronan, (Menez Lokorn), have exceptional views, and the vitality of the legend of St. Ronan, the undeniable historical interest of the secular tradition of the Troménie, and more. It is a hill located on the towns of Locronan, Quéménéven and Plogonnec, with an altitude of 289 meters, offering  panoramic views  on the Bay of Douarnenez, the Cap de la Chévre and the Ménez-Hom. It houses the Chapel Ar Zonj, dedicated to Saint Ronan, and the chair of Saint Ronan, both constituting stages of the Troménie. Its north face is surrounded  by the bois du duc (duke forest)  while its southern slope is laid out in hedgerow.

Some webpages in addition to my previous post to help you plan your trip here and it should be a must especially at Christmas time.

City of Locronan at Christmas market

Tourist office of Locronan

Tourist office of Finistére on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

And there you go , well arm now come and see this beauty you won’t regretted, for sure. And, remember as always, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

%d bloggers like this: