Archive for August 22nd, 2019

August 22, 2019

The Big Wheel at Brussels!

So looking back I guess have not told you about the Big Wheel in Brussels during Christmas time. It is a magical place and one of my family’s favorite spot. Therefore, it is time to render the credit it deserves and write a bit on it ok.


This is an awesome time to be in Brussels and its shows by its Christmas market been rank right up there with the best in Europe. The European Best Christmas Market organization voted Plaisirs d’Hiver the seventh best Christmas market in Europe! More here: European Best Destinations best Christmas markets


Winter Wonders or Plaisirs d’Hiver ,the big holiday market, done in the center of the City of Brussels. No less than 270 stands make up this magnificent market, which crosses most of the historic center for more than 2.5 km. The event is organized around the Grand Place of Brussels and around the Bourse, on the Place de la Monnaie, Place Sainte-Catherine and Place du Marché aux Pisissons. It’s a very nice family festive environment which we have enjoyed for several years while the boys were younger!!



However, as the boys grew the attractions became a bit more daring and I had to climb the big wheel or Ferris wheel or Grande roue  to watch all these animations and all this high agitation. And even if the hulls are largely glazed, it is better to take your scarf and  hat, and a lot of courage lol!


Do you know the Paris Ferris wheel was inaugurated on the Boulevard du Midi in Brussels, in the extension of the pedestrian area?. It will be accessible from 27 November 2019 and will then go to Ghent.

The Ferris wheel is 55 meters in diameter and 60 meters high. It has 42 cabins that can hold up to six people, for a total capacity of 252 people. In comparison, the Ferris wheel of the Foire du Midi rises to 44 meters, while that of the Plaisirs d’hiver rises to 50 meters in height. The latter will be accessible from November 27, shortly after the disassembly of the Paris Ferris wheel on the Boulevard du Midi. The Ferris wheel was purchase by a forain duo from  Place de la Concorde in Paris for 3.5 million euros. A wheel 70 meters high will soon be installed on the Parisian square. Stay tune for that.


A wonderful place to be at Christmas and even if far away we all need to plan right? Go there. Enjoy the Ferris wheel or Grand Roue at the Plaisirs d’Hiver Christmas market in Brussels Belgium.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

Official Plaisirs d’Hiver in English

Tourist office of Brussels on the plaisirs d’Hiver event

The text is all new, the photos are from 2015. Enjoy them and be there, I will try to be there again even if my boys are now men!  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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August 22, 2019

Going south to Chetumal in Mexico!

Let me bring you across the ocean to a place very familiar to me not only for the many trips over the years there, and good friends ,but with locals coming into my family hailing from DF and Merida to boot.

I have gone down Mexico way to the beautiful Quintana Roo State and the wonderful city of Chetumal near the border with Belize.  Let me tell you a bit on Chetumal ok. Chetumal is the state capital of Quintana Roo and is located at the extreme south of the Yucatán Peninsula, this city is bathed by the Caribbean Sea at Chetumal Bay.

A bit of history i like

In the pre-Columbian period, it was the port of an ancient Mayan state that stretched north of Belize. The revolt of the Maya peoples against Mexican rule, known as the Yucatan Caste War in the 1840s, drove all Hispanic people from that region; many settled in the city of Corozal, today Belize. The modern city was founded in 1898 under the name of Payo Obispo. The city was populated by settlers from Belize ,including refugees from the Caste War and English nationals.

The city is on the border with Belize. Every weekend, residents of neighboring Belize come massively to the Chetumal markets, because in Belize life is much more expensive than in Mexico so they tell me. Chetumal is especially the point of arrival of many buses or planes coming from other regions. It is also from Chetumal that one can go to northern Guatemala and Belize.

Some things to see here are

Cultural Center of the Fine Arts (Centro Cultural de las Bellas Artes), located in the center of the city. The building is housed in what was the school Belisario Domínguez, which was the first school of Quintana Roo.

Museum of the Mayan Culture (Museo de la Cultura Maya), considered the largest and most comprehensive museum in the state dedicated to the Mayan culture. It has an important collection of authentic and reproductions of classical works, and tells the development of Mayan culture, its origins, as well as various aspects of their daily life. The museum is very well designed to understand the traditions, beliefs and way of life of the Mayans. More from the Cultural ministry here: Mexico Culture Ministry on the Museum


Museum of the City. Tied to the Cultural Center of the Fine Arts, dedicated to the exhibition of photographs, tools and documents that tell the story of the founding of the city.

There are various monuments around the city such as the monument to Renacimiento or rebirth of the city (after the hurricanes) , and the lighthouse monument by the beachside.



While at it we ate and enjoy it at the great shopping mall ,Centro Comercial Las Americas,located at the area of El Encanto on Avenida Constituyentes and avenida Maxuxac with 48 stores including a big hypermarket Chedraui, Liverpool dept store ,and outside a McDonalds , Burger King, Applebee”s, and Inside a great VIPS Insurgentes Km. 5-025  which we use for our lunch. Go bottom Restaurantes to find them hit Quintana Roo here:   VIPS Quintana Roo Chetumal

The Centro Comercial Las Americas shopping center more info here: Facebook page of Plaza Las Americas Chetumal



Oh yes important how I got here lol! I took a flight on Interjet Airlines ( a nice low cost in Mexico) from Mexico city to Chetumal airport, about 2 km from the city and a small country strip with two flights per day. Here we rented a car and drove around to  Chetumal. More info here: Chetumal Airport


And I stayed here! City Express a nice down to earth chain of hotels already in various countries in Latin America. Once the night arrive we stayed  at the City Express hotel in Chutemal city center or downtown. Nice clean rooms ,AC ,breakfast resto, lobby with TV, and free parking, view of the city.  More info here: City Express Quintana Roo Chetumal

Some webpages to help you plan further your trip here are

Grand Mayan coast Mexican Caribbean on Chetumal

Zona Turistica site on sights to see in Chetumal

Mayan Beach Garden site on things to see in Chetumal

Belize ‘s take on Chetumal

There you go a wonderful paradise still not so much touch by the hordes of tourists and extreme sublime beauty all around. Hope you enjoy the post on Chetumal, me looking forward to a repeat!

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

August 22, 2019

The streets of Nantes!

So  ,after writing so much on the monuments of the city of Nantes, need to tell you a bit about its streets all a natural architecture delight for the eyes. This is my departure city with an airport out west and friends there and so much to see , several posts in my blog.

Nantes is in the department Loire-Atlantique No 44, and the region of Pays de la Loire , its a wonderful airy and open city. The air here is that they like to belongs to Bretagne region and not Pays de la Loire, a debate is ongoing. The Breton language is taught in schools since 2007.

There is an airport Nantes-Atlantique of growing use of passengers, and my base airport. The webpage is at


I have taken the local train here TER Pays de la Loire as well as Bretagne especially to come to the airport with an express bus service. The schedules for the region TER is at   TER Pays de la Loire Nantes . The train station in Nantes is at Blvd Stalingrad,very close to the castle. From Nantes you can take the TER to Rennes and then connect with the TGV to Paris Montparnasse in about 2h25. And if going further into Paris to Denfert-Rochereau take the train to Massy TGV, and there take the RER B direction CDG airport and descend at Denfert-Rochereau in 3h or continue to the airport CDG Roissy in 3h24 total trip.  Of course, you can do the same in the opposite direction.


The navette bus or airport shuttle runs from the train station in Nantes to the airport Nantes-Atlantique and vice versa almost every 20 minutes I take it regularly and is very punctual and nice ride; more here: Airport shuttle bus Nantes


In Nantes have taken a couple times the tramway and bus just for the gôut or taste of it because I walk if not drive into it on pleasure trip. The above train/shuttle bus is when going on business trips.  Use bus 54 or tramway 1 for a nice ride on major points of interests. The local network is TAN, more info go here to itinéraires :  Nantes bus tram network TAN

Driving you know me by now its heavens for the road warrior ,and Nantes is great if at rush hours of work time can be hectic with traffic jams. It has a boulevard periphérique or beltway just like Paris or Bordeaux, but its the second biggest with 43 kms only behind Bordeaux. This is due to the estatuaries of the river Loire which has a huge port and the traffic had to be directed around it. It has given two numbers to this road in the north it is the A844 and on the south portion is the N844, you take autoroute A811 that connects with the bigger autoroute A11 at exit/sortie 22 with the exit/sortie 42 of the linking road A811. It really is lot easier than explained as I always drive around. Plenty of parkings under and over ground, my is by the castle of the dukes of Bretagne or Gasclin or the train station. My best rides into the region of Pays de la Loire is to connect with the boulevard periphérique into the countryside, quick and easy. This Fandom is in French but gives you a good map and exit/portes information: Beltway around Nantes information

I leave the history and monuments to my other posts , which can be found by doing search Nantes on the right hand column in my blog front page.

Nantes is very nice around the Loire river and main sights streets which has an abundance of beautiful architecture on many buildings and a pleasant walk me think. Streets such as the quai de la Fosse, cours Saint Pierre, and Saint André including the Castle, Cathedral area , and the district of Bouffay, the island Ile Feydeau, and the district Graslin. The district of Bouffay is the old quarters around the Cathedral that includes a wonderful Théatre around the Place Graslin; the Place Royale where the fountain represent the Loire river, the palais de la Bourse where it is now the tourist office, at the place St Pierre you will find the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul,  You cannot miss the Passage Pommeraye a commercial gallery of exquisite architecture inside.

The cours Cambronne is wonderful with about 180 meters long by 50 meters wide and many mansions. as is the cours des 50 Otages, with about 800 meters long and 65 meters wide, where you can see the wonderful Hôtel de la Pelouse and the the tour de haut pas ,what’s left of the gate or Porte Sauvetout. And do walk across the Pont Anne de Bretagne a bridge with two piers spanning the arm of the Madeleine, and arm of the Loire separating the city center of Nantes from the island of Nantes. The Anne-de-Bretagne bridge has 4 lanes entirely dedicated to vehicles as well as two bike paths and two sidewalks. There is talk of redoing it with an esplanade.


On the wonderful Rue Voltaire started in 1777 , you have the wonderful History and Debrée museums. A bit more off the beaten path comes to see Haussmannien architecture at Place du Général Millinet located in the neighborhood Dervallières – Zola. It is since 1894 name in honor of General Émile Mellinet, a Nantes officer who distinguished himself notably during the conquest of Algeria. It was built on the site of the castle of Launay-Godetière and its park, which received the Siam’s Ambassadors in 1686. The Count of Artois ;future King Charles X welcomed the Emperor of Austria Joseph II in 1777.

The  rue de la Barillerie around the market ,pedestrian street in the district of Bouffay. The street connects the allées Jean-Bart and Penthièvre to the Place du Change. It is joined by the rue Haute-Casserie and by the rue de la Bléterie. It is rectilinear, paved, and is part of the pedestrian area of Bouffay. It is name Barillerie because coopers have established their activity there. The Rue de la Barillerie resumes the layout of the Gallo-Roman roadway of Antiquity . See the reliefs of the Enfants Nantais at the corner with rue de la Paix.


The rue de Verdun, almost rectilinear, it connects the place de Pilori to the Place St. Pierre and is about  210 meters long, it crosses the rue de Strasbourg half way. See the half-timbered house at No 15.  The rue St Denis is a paved road, open to vehicular traffic. Rectilinear, it connects rue de Verdun to Place Dumoustier, a little west of the cathedral. It crosses rue du Général-Leclerc-de-Hauteclocque. The street is cut in two after the opening of the rue de Châteaudun, renamed rue du General-Leclerc-de-Hauteclocque, around 1870.The church Saint-Denis is probably built in the 7C, and rebuilt in the 18C. It was a 20-by-18-meter on the No. 9 of the current street. The church was sold as national property during the French revolution, and converted into a dwelling and business house. The inner courtyard retains certain elements of the church such as the bedside leaning on three columns, a staircase leaning on another column, and the cellars that are ancient crypts.



Hope you enjoy the walks it is a large territory but we are used to walking here, you might need to adjust your timing. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to walk Nantes, city of Dukes of Bretagne today in another region but historically and sentimentally still in Bretagne. Walking is great!!! Nantes too!!!

The tourist office of Nantes in English: Tourist office of Nantes in English

Tourist office of Loire Atlantique dept 44 on Nantes in English: Tourist office of dept 44 Loire Atlantique on Nantes

Pays de la Loire on Nantes in English: Tourist office region Pays de la Loire on Nantes

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

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