Archive for December 8th, 2018

December 8, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXV

And on my last post before my last trip abroad of 2018, here I am in my rainy cloudy but mild Morbihan breton. All roads here are clear indeed. Temp 12C or about 54F and foggy. Paris is the same but a bit cooler at 51F, and a lot hotter with the strikes especially on the Champs-Elysées.

In my neck of the woods and getting ready tomorrow early for my trip to Asia , I had to finish some errands in my area. Even in rainy times and knowing how to get around the local barricades especially at the traffic circle of Luscanen in Vannes.

First, we went to Castorama to get back the repair grass cutter ryobi that turns out to be not that good, second time repair and will see the performance now. It is difficult to have a customer service here that can replace the goods, rather than continue to repair it. I will give it one last try. I took advantage to refill for gas/petrol here at the best prices in the area.

From there, we went to Armand Thiery where been our famous fashion store we did our purchases for Christmas. This is very nice modern trendy clothes in nice colors we love as a family.


We went two ways, some went to Joué Club for some model cars and boat purchase for Christmas and some went to FNAC to get some dvd’s ,both walking distance from each other. And we had our thirst calm at the La Cervoiserie beer and take out place between them.



We continue to Micromania in the centre commercial Carrefour to have our boys tapes on video games. We, also, did some Christmas candy purchases at Carrefour and did our groceries as well.

While at cc Carrefour, I was able to finally have the time to stop by the Orange store and take the fingerprint password I had on my phone as it was very inconvenience for me to have this ultra security, never a problem so fingerprint password eliminated!

On our way home , we stop to our favorite bakery in town Boulangerie Delameau to get our fav Breizh baguette. A bit more but a bit better bread too than a normal baguette.


Now home  having some munchies from the work place basket goodies I got with the alcohol free Pear juice as we are very country on the job, meaning conservative.


And while watching the events on TV especially going on in Paris where the yellow vests or jackets are still at it facing 8000 police force with armored cars and all. Most stores including the big dept stores Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps etc are closed as well. France is on the move, and I do not see a slowdown due to the difference in social class very evident here and spread in Europe , the reason the right has made a comeback.

Tomorrow, I have a flight at 6h that is 6am from Nantes airport so hoping no barriers and the long trip out to Asia where I will arrive Monday morning. It will be thru Friday and back home next Saturday. My last business trip of year!!!

I take this time to wish all my readers, family and friends, and visitors, the very wishes for a wonderful Merry Christmas 2018, with much travel, health , and good cheers. Until we read again, bye bye!!

December 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXII

So back for a little nostalgic look at my beloved Spain. And in preparation for my next trip abroad to Asia this Sunday.  Cloudy and about 12C or 54F but no rain, and in my wonderful Madrid is sunny as sun and same temps at mid-day time.

Let me go into my Spain latest news that took my attention

The new local of the Mercado de la Reina (Queen’s Market Group such as Diurno , Mercado de la Reina, Museo Chicote, Terraza de la Reina) , and now the Taberna de la Reina, located at Gran Via, 10, is a different gastronomic space. Castizo, original and Spanish cuisine that recovers the spirit of the old taverns and traditional food houses. The large bar with table area and high chairs where tapas is the perfect place for snack time. The restaurant offers two independent rooms: a large lounge of chairs and colorful tables  ideal for an informal lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere where you enjoy and share classic recipes presented with pleasure , and the room that overlooks the Calle de la Reina, with windows of more than eight meters of height and a roof that is a nod to the Spanish Dehesa, with a family of pigs in real size grazing under a holm oak. Classic stews like the bull’s tail(delicious), the Madrid callos, the Iberian ham 100% Acorn of D. O Guijuelo, etc Grand. More here:

Group Mercado de la Reina here:

Hoyo de Monterrey (something to enjoy in Spain from Cuba, I do not smoke but know how to make them from grandparents teaching) . It presents its first Reserva, in its iconic model: Epicure No. 2, one of the symbols of the brand and one of the most popular Habanos  (cigars) vitolas in the world. It is, without a doubt, one of the robust ones most appreciated by the cigar smoker. The selection of the 2012 harvest leaves for this epicure No. 2 Reserva has been subjected to a long and careful aging process for 3 years. The selected mix has been produced by expert blenders, and has been evaluated in joint tastings organized by the Institute of Tobacco made with more than 50 experts tasters: members of the National Tasting Commission from the most prestigious factories of Cuba, and experts of the Cuban industry and of Habanos S.A., in which evaluate all the organoleptic conditions of the blend  proposals to be selected. It consists of a unique world production of 5,000 numbered boxes, representing the brand’s absolute excellence. Each box contains 20 cigars. They come with a ring that accompanies the traditional ring of the brand with the name of the brand and vitolas.

A bit on the essence of wine and especially that of my beloved Spain. It’s been a long time since the wine stopped being just food. We seek  the experience , a wine that knows how to tell something and transmit its particular history. Everything goes to look for a tipicity, an expression of the origin of where it is born and done. You have to differentiate, because there are no bad wines. The future of wine is not to lose sight of the past, with everything we already know today. The highest degree of differentiation comes from grapes and soil. This is why autochthonous grape varieties are also being chased and rescued. The grape with which a wine is made will be more and more watched. The mark will be the name but the variety will be his surname. Or who knows if vice versa. A new classification of vineyards will also be entered as a result of the intention of rearranging the wine-growing territory of many appellations of origin. In fact, this zoning is already underway in Campo de Borja, in Priorat, La Rioja and Bierzo, to point out those that have more advanced their projects.

Wine tourism has a lot to say in the experience  of wine culture and it will not be rare to finally rescue the wine routes beyond the simple walk through neighboring wineries. The neighborhoods of Bodegas; the underground caves where the wine was made until recently, such as those of La Rioja, Campo de Borja, areas of  Galicia or Castilla y León; The changing landscape during the vine cycle and everything that accompanies the wine from the characters to the gastronomy, contributes to enrich a product with soul that will be exploited by tourism. And they will definitively break the traditional concepts of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and special attention shall be paid to subtitles relating to the elaboration and viticulture as “grain to grain”, “fermented in cask”, “Teardrop Wine”, “on Lees”, “by Bleeding “… The ratings will become more complex but more accurate. The result will be an even greater increase in brands that, contrary to what can be thought, benefit the  lifelong  by representing a safe value. A vibrant world full of novelties, with a dizzying figure close to the 20,000 references looking for a perhaps smaller audience, but definitely more select. Wine is presented as an increasingly richer, more varied, more complex and much more numerous world. Translation by me from El Confidencial newspaper. And Wine/Food from Spain official webpage here: Food and Wine from Spain

The prestigious Maison de Champagne Louis Roederer announces its alliance with Martín Berasategui, the most Michelin-starred chef in Spain, for which the 3-star Michelin restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte (Guipuzcoa) becomes the official ambassador of Louis Roederer in Spain. Louis Roederer, for many the most prestigious Champagne house that today remains independent. Louis Roederer made history also this 2018 being the first champagne of the world to receive 100 points of the prestigious publication Robert Parker. In addition, Louis Roederer Brut Premier was awarded in 2018 as the best champagne in the world by the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), the most prestigious competition in the sector, known as “the Oscars of champagne and sparkling wines”. The restaurant here:

The Champagne Louis Roederer here:

About 400 years ago came to the world Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the most universal painters of history although his date of birth is not known exactly and only consists in the records that was baptized on January 1 1708 in Sevilla, with the experience of an early orphan and the plague at the gates of the great metropolis of the 17C, became expert in scenes customs as young beggars  or  children eating grapes and melon’.

But it is sure that he did not spend long periods of time away from his hometown. On one of these occasions he traveled to Madrid to meet his countryman Velázquez, already seated as a chamber painter at the service of king Felipe IV. His connection with royalty gave him a status of great Baroque genius. Four centuries later, the art historian Pablo Hereza deserts the idea through his documentary review ‘ Corpus Murillo ‘, which draws the figure of a teacher with enough creative freedom  to reach quotes above his counterparts in the Court. The launch of the book was part of the events with which the city council reinforce the genius of the artist. As a great climax, this past Thursday opened  to the public the first exhibition anthological in the Museum of Fine Arts, composed of almost 70 works of Murillo from the UK, France, Germany, Mexico or the United States that the public can enjoy until March 17, 2019. The exhibition is entitled  ‘ Murillo IV Centenario ‘, with the aim of making the figure of the great Baroque name in Sevilla better known. More here: Fine Arts museum of Sevilla

More in the city of Sevilla on Murillo 400 anniversary are:

This is the exhibition of  Aplicación Murillo: Materialismo, charitas, populismo or  Application Murillo: Materialism, Charites, populism, an exhibition with five spaces that demonstrate the validity of the work of the painter in the 21C. More than 600 works of artists make up a sample in which you can see works by Picasso, Man Ray, David Hockney, Jean Luc Godard, Víctor Erice and Patti Smith, among others. Given the breadth of the exhibition, this can be visited in five permanent spaces in Sevilla such as in the Santa Clara space, the exhibition hall Atín Aya, CICUS, the Hospital de la Caridad and the Hospital de los Venerable de Sevilla. In addition, there will also be specific points of the city dedicated to this exhibition such as the Patio, the Cultural Factory Center or the co-working room of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

The musical innovations that were being lived in the Europe of the 17C. The Turina space is the place chosen for the performances and where the orchestra Capella Cracoviensis will parade with the program ‘ Seven Deadly Sins ‘, the formation  Marco Beasly ‘ which brings to Seville its program ‘ Odi et amo ‘ as well as the grouping Alternative history. That the figure of Murillo again has the relevance of the one that was enjoyed in life, back in the 17C, when he became the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Baroque. More here: Espacio Turina Sevilla

A bit of philosophical thought here as I do try to bring me back to Earth. Franz Kafka: “No escribo como hablo, no hablo como pienso, no pienso como debería pensar…”or in English would be something like “I don’t write as I speak, I don’t speak as I think, I don’t think how I should think… ” Think about it in today’s world.

And now for the season to be merrier , Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends, family that looks at my blog.

From last Friday November 23rd Madrid Lights up for Christmas. The lighting, for which more than 7 million LED lamps have been used, has counted with the creativity of different Spanish architects and designers. Streets like those of Jorge Juan, Marcelo Usero, Pedro Laborde, Boltaña or Gran via (whose luminaries emulate a starry sky, with a cat trying to catch the Stars), premiere design. In addition to the traditional lights and chain, the firs and cherry blossoms will illuminate spaces in the center and in the districts such as the Glorieta Carlos V( roundabout), the Matadero ( slaughterhouse)  or the Plaza de Oriente.

From November 29 to January 6 2019, the bus transports of Madrid (EMT) and the City Council of Madrid make available to the citizens a special service of tourist buses discovered to enjoy the illumination and the Christmas decoration of the capital. The route of the already traditional Naviluz, which lasts 40 minutes approximately, has a unique stop of access and descent in the Plaza de Colón (in front of 30 Calle Serrano) and an optional stop only of descent in the Gran via, to the area of No 49. The traject is done by going to the following streets Calle Serrano, Puerta de Alcalá, Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Gran Vía, Callao, Jacometrezo, Santo Domingo, San Bernardo, Gran Vía, Calle de Alcalá, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, Calle Velázquez, Calle Ortega y Gasset y Calle Serrano.This runs are done between 18h to 23h (last trip at 22h) every day except Dec 24,31 and Jan 5. More on the bus ride here:.

And if planning for 2019 in my beloved Spain is not too late, here are some suggestion for something off the beaten path in Spain, everything under the Sun.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the most charming places on the peninsula. Thanks for that , it became the home of the Game of Throne. Its success is due to its composition: An island beaten by the Cantabrian, a narrow bridge and a beautiful hermitage. More info:

The gorge of the Gaitanes is a canyon dug by the river Guadalhorce in the municipality of Alora, famous for the path that runs past it from the heights. This road, in its beginnings, allowed the maintenance of the water channel. The path of the king, inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, is 400 meters high and requires prior reservation to be able to access it. More info:

Brihuega has been known for a long time with the addition of Jardin de la Alcarria, thanks among other things to the lilac color of those fields in which lavender is cultivated. In the middle of July is celebrated in the city the Festival of the lavender. The rest of the year can also be visited for only 2 euros.More info in Spanish:

More than 300 meters of free fall where the water fades to collide with the rock of the mountain, that is what awaits you in the waterfall of the Nervión. The beauty of the place lies in the impetus of the flow, so it is recommended to visit after a period of heavy rain or thaw. Otherwise we will find a dry gorge, since most of the river Nervión passes through the interior of the mountain.More info:

Considered the Versailles of the Middle Ages, Medina Azahara, this summer, also as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The place is the perfect complement for your visit to Cordóba. Tickets to the place are free for residents of the European Union and 1.50 euros for the rest of the visitors.More info:

To enjoy some salt mines is the Cultural Park of the Mountain of Salt (parque cultural de la montana de sal), in the municipality of Cardona, Barcelona province. After closing the mining site in 1990, it ended up becoming the park that is now since  2003. In it you can see the history of the industrial exploitation of the valley and visit the interior of the galleries of the mountain of salt in a guided tour to 86 meters of depth. The price of the ticket is around 21 euros. More info:

Fervenza do Toxa is a spectacle of water, light and sound, formed by a waterfall of the river Toxa between the parishes of Pazos and Martixe, in Silleda (Pontevedra), considered the highest in Galicia in freefall. The route to this waterfall allows some detour as the one that leads to the Pazo de Oca. An idyllic place in summer (inviting to the bath) and in winter, when the waterfall flows full of water. More info:

Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!


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December 8, 2018

Alma, has a name in Paris, Pont de l’Alma and Place de l’Alma!

And here I come to you with another street, bridge ,square of my eternal Paris. Well, I told you there are so many, impossible to name them all,and all beautiful in their own way… However, to me , there are only a few all around the 16éme, most of them.

Let me tell you about the gorgeous combination of the bridge or Pont de l’Alma,and the square or Place de l’Alma. Paris of course!!! I have given metro and bus connections but the best is to walk it from wherever you are, Paris is walkable indeed,and once inside is the best way to see the city of lights!

The Pont de l’Alma is a bridge that connects the Quay Branly (7éme arrondissement, on the left bank) to Avenue de New York (in the 8éme and 16éme arrondissements, on the right bank). On the right bank, it separates the ports of the Conference and Debilly, and on the left bank, those of the Gros-Caillou and the La Bourbonnais ,connecting the Quai d’Orsay with the end of Avenue Bosquet and Avenue Rapp , in place de l’Alma.  Its name commemorates the Battle of  Alma (1854) during the Crimean War. Its name recalls the victory of the French and English won over the Russians on September 20, 1854, on the banks of the River Alma (Crimea).  The north end of the bridge is served by the Alma-Marceau metro line 9 and the south end, by the train station of the RER C pont de l’Alma as well as bus lines  42, 63, 72, 80 and 92.


A bit of history I like

The bridge was built from 1854 to 1856 and was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856. For the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the bridge was doubled upstream by a footbridge, known as the Passarelle de l’Alma . From 1970 to 1974, the bridge is completely replaced, due to its narrowness and compaction.

The Pont de l’Alma is located near the tunnel where the Princess of Wales (Lady Diana) was mortally wounded in August 1997. This tunnel, often referred to as the pont de l’Alma tunnel, is actually between the bridge and the Place de l’Alma. At the overhang of this tunnel stands the flame of freedom, a real size replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty. This monument, offered by the International Herald Tribune in 1989, commemorates the Franco-American friendship and thanks France for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. It was diverted from its initial function and spontaneously became a place of contemplation for the admirers of the deceased princess.


On the old bridge, each of the two piers was decorated, upstream and downstream, by a statue representing one of the four regiments that had bravely fought during the Crimean War: a Zouave and a grenadier, a hunter on foot and a gunner.  The bridge rebuilt between 1970 and 1974 with only one pile, 142 meters long for a 42 meters wide, only the Zouave was retained (but not on the same side), and the other three statues were moved.

The Hunter on foot is visible from the A4 highway against the south wall of Gravelle in the Bois de Vincennes; the Grenadier is in Dijon, birthplace of its sculptor, on the avenue du Premier-Consul,, facing Lake Kir; the Gunner was offered and transferred to the La Fére (Department of Aisne 02),  dear to the heart of the Gunners, where, until 1993, the 41st Naval Artillery Regiment was based.

The statue of the Zouave serves as a popular instrument for measuring the floods of the Seine river. When the level of the Seine reaches the feet of this Zouave, the lanes on the banks are usually closed. When the water rises to the thighs of the Zouave, the Seine is no longer navigable. During the historic flood of 1910, the water rose to the shoulders. As a result of its replacement in 1970, the Zouave now appears to be lower than originally, contrary to what is commonly accepted. At the same point, the floods it reports are less severe. The administration measures the level of the floods at the pont de la Tournelle.


There is some additional info on the tourist office of Paris below for the bridge

Tourist office of Paris on the Pont de l’Alma

The place de l’Alma is a square of the 8éme and 16éme arrondissements or district of Paris. It is about 110 meters long and is located at the meeting of Avenue de New York and ,Avenue du Président-Wilson, Avenue George-V, Avenue Montaigne and the cours Albert-Ier.  It takes its name from its vicinity with the pont de l’Alma(see above), which commemorates the Battle of Alma (1854) during the Crimean War. This site is served by the Alma-Marceau Metro station  line 9  and the pont de l’Alma RER C station  as well as by the Alma-Marceau bus Lines 42, 63, 72, 80 and 92.


shot from the pont de l’Alma

The square was created by the decree of March 6, 1858 and aligned, between the avenues of New York and President-Wilson, by a decree of March 9, 1897.

The square is famous for its flame of freedom, replica of the flame of the Statue of liberty. This flame, offered by the International Herald Tribune in 1989, is installed between the square and the beginning of the bridge, overhanging the tunnel where Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997 in a car accident. It serves as a monument to the memory for many admirers of the princess.

Some of the things to see here are :

At No. 3 by the corner of the Avenue du  President-Wilson was the Café le Yacht Club Français, held by the photographer Eugène Druet and which he abandoned in 1903 to open an art gallery at 114, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.

At the west entrance of the Cours Albert 1er , the Polish poet and patriot Adam Mickiewicz was sculpted by Antoine Bourdelle.

The Place de la Reine-Astrid is located at the corner of Avenue Montaigne and Rue Jean Goujon. The Monument of the recognition of Belgium to France was inaugurated in 1923. A sculpture representing the Seine  was placed in 1962.

Beautiful area on the side of Avenue Bosquet and Avenue Rapp,near the Tour Eiffel. Where I have spent many times and love it. Hope you do too when visiting the eternal Paris.


shot from avenue Rapp

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

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