Archive for June 5th, 2019

June 5, 2019

Universidad de Alcalà de Henares!

Coming back at your with another historical gem of my beloved Spain. This one can be arranged to be visit , a higher learning institution way back but of great historical, cultural and architectural value for any lover of it and travels. I have just touch base on it but need to tell you more.

I will tell you a bit more on the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares university in the city of Alcalà de Hénares, Comunidad de Madrid region.

On May 20, 1293, King Sancho IV of Castilla  granted a licence to Archbishop of Toledo, García Gudiel  to create a Studium Generale (General Survey, as they were then called University studies) in Alcalá de Henares. On July 17, 1459 Pope Pius II granted a bull, requested by Archbishop Alonso Carrillo de Acuña, “for the erection of three chairs of arts and grammar in this Alcalá study.” These last chairs, survived of that general study of the 13C, were integrated by Cardinal Cisneros in the new University. Cardinal Cisneros , who had been a student of the general survey, created from this the Complutensis Universitas  or Complutense University or Alcalá or Cisneriana  through three pontifical papal bulls granted by Pope Alexander VI on April 13th,1499.

The University of Alcalá, Universidad Complutense or Universidad Cisneriana was the university that existed in  Alcalá de Henares. Founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros, during the 16-17C, it became the great center of academic excellence. In 1777 it was separated physically and organically from its Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso (college), and was renamed Royal University of Alcalá, with headquarters in the old building of the Colegio Maximo of the Jesuits of Alcalá de Henares.

alcala de henares

The junior colleges created by Cardinal Cisneros were: the College of St. Peter and St. Paul, uniquely linked to a religious order, the Franciscan, who was the founder; The College of the Mother of God (known as the College of Theologians) to study theology, although medical studies also stood out in it; The College of Santa Catalina (known as the Artists;Bachelors in Arts or physicists) to study Aristotle’s physics; The College of Santa Balbina (known as of the logical ones) because in it were studied this and other philosophical and theological disciplines, corresponding to the first courses of arts;  The schools of San Eugenio and San Isidoro (from the Latin and Greek grammars) that merged into a single call from St. Ambrose in the 17C.

alcala de henares

After the death of Cardinal Cisneros, from the second quarter of the 16C, the lower schools of the religious orders began to proliferate (Augustinians, the Convent of San Basilio de los Basilios, the Carmelites, Barefoot, Cistercian, Clerics Minor regulars, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Mercedarios footwear and barefoot, and Trinitarian footwear and barefoot), of the military orders, of dioceses (like the minor College of Saint Clement martyr or of the Manchegos), of Royal Foundation (by Felipe II, like that of San Felipe and Santiago, called “of the King”), and private foundation (like that of Santiago or of the Knights Manriques, that of Saint Catherine Martyr or of the Greens, that of Saint Ciriaco and Santa Paula or of Malaga, the minor School of Saint George or of the Irish) , expanding the university city with about thirty smaller schools.

alcala de henares

In 1777 the government  power of the University and of the Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso was separated, by means of new statutes and the grouping in 1779 of several minor schools in the new Junior College of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. In 1836, under the reign of queen Isabel II, the university was transferred to Madrid, where it took the name of Central University. In 1836 the university was integrated together with the teachings of the Royal Studies of San Isidro and the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid in a single institution, thus creating the Central University of Madrid, which over time became the current Complutense University of Madrid.

The buildings that had previously hosted the University of Cardinal Cisneros were auctioned and passed to private hands in 1845. Today, the heirs of these neighbors of Alcalá remain the owners of an important part of the buildings that formerly formed the university, the so-called University square or manzana, which are rented to the current University of Alcalá.

In their classrooms, they taught and/or  studied great masters,and illustrious men, such as Antonio de Nebrija, Santo Tomás de Villanueva, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Ignacio de Loyola, Domingo de Soto, Ambrosio de Morales, Benito Arias Montano, Francisco Suárez, Juan de Mariana, Francisco Vallés de Covarrubias, Antonio Pérez, San Juan de la Cruz, Mateo Alemán, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Melchor Gaspar de Jovellanos, Andrés Manuel del Rio, Fray Diego Morcillo, Blas Ortiz, etc.

There are several buildings of it and will take a good whole day to see them all but all are worth it. In addition, the city center around Plaza de Cervantes is very nice and plenty to shop and eat. Enjoy the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares for its history, architecture, and social values of over the centuries.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

Official University site on its history

Tourist office of Alcalà de Henares on the University

Official tourist office Comunidad de Madrid on the University

And there you go another gem of my beloved Spain to dwell on in your visits to the lovely historical city of Alcalà de Henares, and its wonderful University. Enjoy it

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

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June 5, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXXIII

Hey, its time for another round of news on my belle France! Well the weather has turn cooler and cloudier and rain call for the rest of the week. Today we have no sun and temps of 15C in my neck of the woods and tomorrow more of the same. By the city of lights we have 16C and will go to 20C tomorrow so they said.  Let’s get some news of my latest roundup ok

The dept store Printemps, meanwhile, began to reinstall the gates that closed the historic building located at the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue du Havre (coming out from the Gare St Lazare !). The grilles were installed in 1881 during the rebuilding of the store created in 1864 by Jules Jaluzot and his wife Augustine, and ravaged by a violent fire. They were then abandoned in 1930. Visible until now by the agents in charge of the maintenance of the department store or the groups during the guided visits, these works will be able to be admired by the customers and the walkers as soon as the doors of the store are closed, at 20h, starting in October 2019. More on the store at Haussmann here:

All along the Ourcq canal there are nice changes. The Pouchard halls are an old tube factory built in the late 1940s. The building along the stream, which houses the municipal theater, is rented by the city/town hall to a private owner. “The Great Greenhouses of Pantin”. An 80,000 m2 complex comprising offices, a hotel, a restaurant and public spaces … At the request of the city/town hall, the developer will keep a hall and a half to keep track of the site’s industrial past. New buildings will be contiguous and a footbridge will be built in the extension of the Rue du Cheval Blanc. Opening, its website evokes 2021. A marina in New-Port. Having your own boat moored at the Ourcq canal!  By the end of 2019, some 40 rings should be set up to allow boaters to park between BETC and the Elis plant where the watercourse is expanding.  Since December 2012, a bridge allows the T3B tramway to cross the canal. This new line has improved the service of the district with the creation of the Ella-Fitzgerald station, at the foot of the Grands Moulins. Its users can go to the gate of Asnieres (Hauts-de-Seine) or Vincennes (Val-de-Marne). More info on the Ourcq Canal here:

And on the Great Greenhouses of Pantin in French here:

They will soon roam the soft grass of the valleys of Azerbaijan. Freely!. Three European bisons, born in Thoiry Zoological Park (Yvelines dept 78) , were selected as part of a reintroduction program in Azerbaijan led by WWF, almost a century after the official disappearance of the species in the wild. Present throughout Europe, including in France until the 18C, this direct cousin, even if  smaller of the American bison, had undergone the full whip the extension of the agricultural zones and the reduction of its natural habitat. They will definitely be left free on the wooded slopes of the Shahdag Nature Park, not far from the borders of Russia and Georgia. Thoiry zoo had already participated in four reintroduction operations in Europe during the last ten years: three in Romania in 2009 and 2015 and one in the Bialowieza forest in Poland in 2009. After the three animals had left Azerbaijan, the zoo still has nine individuals in its enclosures. Wonderful zoo! More on the zoo castle here:

Notre-Dame Cathedral, an American passion. Americans, who had long supported the maintenance of the cathedral, have been particularly busy since the fire. But on April 26, 2019 some 2,500 Americans, of all ages and faiths, gathered under the Byzantine-inspired mosaic cupolas of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, all feeling a little French. The success of this evening of support, hastily organized by the French Embassy and several associations, including the Friends of Notre-Dame and the French-American Cultural Foundation, confirmed the intense emotion aroused on this side of the Atlantic by the disaster. Oh yes we will rebuilt, thank you USA!!! More info here:

And the French American Cultural Foundation known for years, more info here:

Go and taste the “Chirac”, a burger bearing the name of a former president and a lover of calf’s head. We find this same transatlanticism almost paradoxical in Big Fernand, who sells hamburgers with names well known such as  the Paulin, Basil, or Lucien. Great place the Big Fernand. And yes alas, while proud of its culinary heritage, France is the second country consuming hamburgers and fries, behind the United States, ahead of all its European neighbors. The round meat loaf has dethroned ham-butter sandwich since 2016. It even came out of fast-food, to impose on the menu of classic restaurants. More on the resto here :

All is told in the book “Une histoire de hamburger-frites  “ Pub Robert Laffont, 172 p., 12€. But the craze is not new even if most visitors think that it’s because of its famous fast food chain. It was Jacques Borel ,who launched the first fast-food in Paris, in May 1961: a franchise of the Wimpy chain at rue du 4-september,2eme.. A bit info from Wikipedia tells us that Wimpy was a British international restaurant chain created in Chicago in the United States in the 1930s by Eddie Gold. The name “Wimpy” comes from the famous friend of Popeye J. Wellington Wimpy (“Gontran” in French version), great lover of hamburgers, created in 1931 by E. C. Segar. The first country to take a license for this brand was England in 1954. There were up to 20 restaurants in France 15 in Paris and 5 in Province ), The Wimpy will disappear in the late 1960s because of a disagreement between the new franchisee and the British parent company. In 1975, the Wimpy de Lyon, during the works of the metro at rue de la République, was open. The Wimpy of Toulouse was also opened at the beginning of the 1970s, before being replaced then, on the same site, by a McDonald’s, place du Capitole. More on the book here:

The National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Center and the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris practice the temporary exhibition of the permanent, playing with the abundance and variety of their collections. Old adage indeed,  the museums presented so-called permanent collections on the one hand, and temporary exhibitions on the other. A museum which, today, sticks to this management risks seeing its visitors neglect what it proposes to them every day for the benefit of what it shows a few weeks. Since 2015, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris practices the temporary exhibition of the permanent, playing with the abundance and variety of its collections, indeed just a thought here!. These institution are well know, their webpages to follow

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci , the Condé Museum in the Domaine de Chantilly presents an unpublished exhibition entitled “The Mona Lisa naked”, until 6 October 2019. It is around this unknown and iconic work, true archetype of universal beauty and ideal in its time a cardboard (or a quilted drawing used to postpone a composition on a panel, 74.8 cm high and 56 cm of width), which is part of the permanent collection of the Condé Museum. “Leonardo da Vinci or his workshop: “The Mona Lisa”, circa 1510-1515 – charcoal and white lead on paper” This drawing is a rare and fragile board preparatory to a painting. It represents a model, probably ideal (between the feminine and the masculine) borrowing the pose of the Mona Lisa of the Louvre. Recent scientific analyzes have shown that this work was performed by a leading artist in Leonardo da Vinci’s studio: there is also a good chance that it will be the artist himself.  This drawing is the most enigmatic work in the Condé Museum’s collection. At the time of its acquisition at a price of gold in 1862 by Henry of Orleans, the Duke of Aumale, it passed for a preparatory drawing of the painter for the execution of the painting of the Hermitage, in Saint Petersburg, also given for a Leonard Da Vinci at the time. Then both were disallowed, relegated to the rank of workshop copies. Friends of the castle we are and its wonderful: more info castle museum here:

For info, the Friends of the Domaine of Chantilly webpage is here: Friends of the Domaine of Chantilly in English

During  this coming  weekend, from 8 to 9 June, NATURALIA takes up residence in La Rotonde, for a weekend under the sign of food, greenery and music! Naturalia Bio Market resumes service for a second season. It will transport you to a green bubble where you can enjoy animations that will make you want to consume better, to consume organic. After the food, place for the animations! Yoga, naturopathy consultations, relaxation area with reading and games, alone or in groups, with or without children. Radio Nova will be present both days to take care of the musical programming, while you discover the band Miel de Montagne live Saturday from 18h to 19h. The Bio Market NATURALIA From 8 to 9 June 2019 at Lat Rotonde  6-8 Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 19éme. More info on the market here:

And do go eat even if not bio at La Rotonde right there with wonderful views, great food, and great ambiance; more here:

And last something visitors may not notice but they do as it comes up with prices of overblown Paris, thanks to visitors and foreign investors! In Paris, it is hard work to find permanent lodging more so than elsewhere in France, we know it. Between the exorbitant price, the bad insulation, the 6th floor without elevator, the 10 m2 room or the bad location, difficult to find a correct accommodation. Yet, a neighborhood remains affordable. And it is precisely in the 13éme arrondissement or district of Paris that the price per square meter has only slightly increased  by + 4% since 2014!  The Gare (station) neighborhood is one of the cheapest and most extensive in the capital. This quartier or neighborhood is as such , it is the 50th neighborhood (see my posts on arrondissements and quartiers of Paris) , limited to the north by the Boulevard Vincent-Auriol, to the east by the Seine river , to the south by the towns of Ivry-sur-Seine and the Kremlin-Bicêtre and to the west by Avenue de Choisy. In this area we find in particular the Asian quarter and the south part of Paris Rive Gauche.  According to Le Parisien journal from which the article was taken the square meter is only 8 158 € against 15 254 €  for example in the Saint-Thomas d’Aquin 7éme arrondissement. You now know where to look!!

And now enjoy France, a movable feast to be written ! And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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June 5, 2019

Our eating in Rome!

Very simple title but I feel for our sake to remember them in one post. We have gone to Rome as a family vacation and rented apartments to do our own cooking shopping in local markets. However, as we venture out into the city we do need to eat on the run. Therefore , we had some encounters I will like to share in my blog with an unique creative post, Our eating in Rome lol!

There is so much to eat there and I only going to mention the ones I have been with the family vacation as on business trips there is another world altogether. So therefore, here is my take on eating in Rome.

Oh wait let me give you a shopping center where we found a great German restaurant oh yeah! Call it world mobility but there is choices everywhere. The shopping center is Porta di Roma or Gate of Rome just a bit outside the city center but we took the bus!

The shopping center of Porta di Roma is a wonderfully laid out, modern shopping center which offers a number of services for its customers  Inside this mall, there are cafes, bars, restaurants, and a children play area, including a train that brings children on a little tour. Among the many stores you’ll find clothing stores, sport equipment, accessories for men and women, shoe stores, electronics, hair dressers, skin care shops and many more. Porta di Roma also has a large movie theatre and an ample parking garage. To get to Porta di Roma, take the n. 38 bus that leaves every 10 minutes from Termini train station in the direction of Baseggio. The shopping center is at the end of the line Baseggio-Centro Commerciale Porta di Roma. More on the center here: Porta di Roma official webpage

Reviews on Yelp: Yelp reviews on Porta di Roma Mall


The restaurant we found here is Weiner Haus! A German beer house with plenty of sausages and beers of course! The whole family love it!!! Here is their webpage and you look for locatoin Porta di Roma as there are several in Italy: Official Weiner Haus



Then, let me tell you about Gustando Roma, this is a bit touristic near the Colosseum so the prices are a bit high but the ambiance in the basement is sublime and worth it; of course the food is good. Enjoying Rome in the shadow of the Colosseum, along the promenade of Fori Imperiali, you  are  enjoying Rome. And it rises exactly like the small Flavian amphitheatre built inside, which surrounds part of the room highlighting its best specialty: ice cream! More on official page here: Gustando Roma resto and ice cream parlor

They ,also, have a Facebook page lol!! Gustando Roma at Facebook


Il Gelato di Procopio (sort of like the ice cream of pinochio) we come back for the moment! Again and again, we even found out one of the servers spoked French . They ave excellent ice creams, choice of various fragrances. A special stroke of heart for Pistachio and Procopio that are just sublime. Perfect value for money. And always catch it on the way back to our apartment as is very near metro Bologna. Here is their review on Yelp : Yelp on Il Gelato di Procopio

And they also, have a Facebook page here: Il Gelato di Procopio on Facebook


One of our all time favorite and even stop on business trips is the Grand Caffe Cavour at Piazza  Cavour. Of course, don’t get me wrong this is just for a beer or coffee business meeting, etc while enjoying the beautiful Piazza Cavour square. The food is not that good. There is some info on them at Facebook again… Grand Caffe Cavour in Facebook


And last but not least let me remind you of our family stay in the aparment in Nomentano district walking distance to Metro Bologna and the wonderful bus 62 that goes all the way to the Castel San Angelo!! This was That’s Amore Holidays at Via Rodolfo Lanciani, 1. The fortunate location of the apartments allows quick bus or metro trips to the old town and the famous monuments of the Eternal City.  The area is full of local, shops and typical restaurants ,like the above Il Gelato di Procopio. At this time the name has change as our last time was in 2016 do not know if same owner but the place looks the same now under the 3B Home name. More here: 3B Home at via Rodolfo Lanciani 1 Rome




And we shop our groceries on the way to our apartment at Carrefour Market on Viale Ventuno Aprile, 23 very near the via Rodolfo Lanciani. Friendly staff and all you need for a nice home cooking a la Italian!  The supermarket webpage Carrefour Market supermarket

And there you go a perfect Roman holiday on your own apartment; been in hotels a lot, once in an apartment your life is change forever. The one above has elevator/lifts and on a nice residential area and a nice park like a Il Villaggio dei Galli (village of the Gauls) for children and walks down the same via Rodolfo Lanciani street, parking is easy in front on a tree shaded area. More on the park here: Village of the Gauls in Via Rodolfo Lanciani Rome

All as said a Roman Holiday! Hope you enjoy it and do think about an apartment next time in Rome. and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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