Archive for December 30th, 2019

December 30, 2019

Parliament of the UK! Westminster!!

On our trips in Europe lucky we have been able to visit several countries and of course England would have been on the list and it was. I have visited many times on business trips but had one visit with the family.

One of the nice things to see there is the Palace of Westminster or British Parliament, and like to give you a glimpse.

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, is the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The palace borders the north bank of the Thames river and lies to the west of the city, in the London Borough of the City of Westminster.

London

The oldest section of the palace, Westminster Hall, dates back to 1097. The Palace of Westminster was originally used as a royal residence, but no English or British monarch has lived there since the 16C, following a major fire in 1512. However, most of the building dates from the 19C, as the palace was almost completely destroyed by a new, even more devastating fire, which occurred in 1834.

One of the most famous attractions of the Palace of Westminster is its Clock Tower, officially named “Elizabeth Tower” on the occasion of Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012, which is home to Big Ben.

London

The palace of Westminster is a huge complex of more than a thousand rooms, contains in addition to the rooms of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the offices of parliamentary committees, libraries, halls, dining rooms, bars or even gyms. It is the site of important official ceremonies, and especially that each year of the opening of the parliamentary session (the State Opening of Parliament). The Palace of Westminster is closely associated in spirit with the two Houses of Parliament, as is sometimes evidenced by the use of the term Westminster to refer to Parliament.

The current Palace of Westminster has several towers. The tallest and most square, the Victoria Tower, is located at the southwest corner of the building and stands 98.5 meters. It was named after the reigning monarch of the time, Queen Victoria. The tower houses the Registry of the House of Lords’ Record Office, which despite its name is used by the two parliamentary chambers. Its top bears a flag, whether it is the Royal Standard when the sovereign is present or more generally the Union Jack. It is indeed at the foot of the Victoria Tower that the Sovereign’s Entrance to the Palace is located, used notably during the opening ceremonies of Parliament or any other event. involving the arrival of the Head of State.

The Central Tower dominates the middle of the palace. Its height of 91.4 meters makes it the smallest of the three main towers of the monument. Unlike its neighbors, the Central Tower is surmounted by an arrow located immediately above the central vestibule, in an octagonal shape.

The northwest corner supports the most famous tower of the Palace of Westminster, the Clock Tower (Elisabeth Tower), 96.3 meters high. The tower houses the Great Clock of Westminster, which has a dial on each of the four sides. The Clock Tower also contains the five bells of the palace, which ring quarter-hourly. The largest and most famous of these bells, officially called the great bell of Westminster, is much better known by its nickname of Big Ben. It is the third heaviest bell in the whole of the United Kingdom, weighing around 13.8 tons.

Official Parliament on the heritage

Official Parliament on visiting info

And there you go can’t missed while visiting London and now is the time to see it from Europe. Hope you enjoy it as we did

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

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December 30, 2019

Paris 16 arrondissement and La Gare…friends.

As there is talk of a meeting in Chicago in September 2020 I thought to bring back this post of the visit of the folks who share a moment with me and now will be hosting the meeting in their city Chicago. These are the old folks from the Virtual Tourist travel forum now defunct but many memories and friendship of several travelers over the years.
I am still open minded on going to Chicago in Sept’20 will see down the road in 2020 how it goes with my job duties and vacation.
For now enjoy this visit and why not do something like this from folks here reading my blog passing by France. Cheers and best wishes for 2020 for all

Paris1972-Versailles2003

Well today was a very special day indeed. I am back at home in Versailles,and had some friends coming over from Chicago USA. We discussed things in other travel forum and they were making a trip around cities in Europe. Of course, Paris had to be included.

We teamed up with some local friends, an American and a French lady, and with the couple from Chicago we had lunch at my suggested restaurant La Gare, Chaussée de la Muette , line 9, metro Muette in the 16 district or arrondissement of Paris.  It is no surprise to my readers as it is my fab resto in Paris, not only come here with family even for Sunday brunch but all visiting friends gets a taste of it lol!!! webpage http://restaurantlagare.com/

Needless to say the conversations were funny, witty, nice, friendly, and of course long…We had our lunch reservation for 13h…

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December 30, 2019

The Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarburg of Germany!

And continuing my memory lane tour of neighboring Germany we stop with the family in Saarburg. I have come to Germany several times, less with the family but this one was a huge summer vacation we rented a house and use it as a base to see most of western part of Germany. The Rhineland-Palatinate, is very nice indeed and Saarburg is one of the gems.

Again on my wandering routes in Germany , this time we visited the town of Saarburg on the south on the crossroads to Luxembourg on the N2 and then in Germany you take the 407 or B51 all great routes. Saarburg is best known for its cascades of the river in city center or downtown.  We got up early and went for it even continuing down the road 10 in Luxembourg; but this is Saarburg Germany.

The moment you enter the town you notice its quant pretty architecture and lively city center, it was a nice welcome to a new town in our world map, Saarburg.

As said, it has a very lively city center or Am Markt area, a nice municipal museum or AMuseum , the cable car or Sesselift , the Church of Saint Laurentius (see other post), the Protestant church of great controversy for its ties to the old Nazy regime, and the best is the Cascade. There is,also, a nice river terminus for river boat rides.

The Am Markt is a lively area full of restos and shop circumvolving around the river Leuk that passes thru the center of the city ,very quaint, romantic and nice for an evening walk or day. The municipal museum of Amuseum sits in an old windmill from the 1300’s with a special unique running canal next to the houses and above the river to slow down the water pressure. It shows the history of the city and temporary painting exhibits. More info here in German: Official AMuseum of Saarburg

Saarburg

saarburg

saarburg

The Cable car or Sesselift is a nice thing to do as you go up to the hills overlooking the city and the vineyards. It cost 3,80 euros per person. Right next to the church of same name you see the Laurentius Gate that was the entrance in the middle ages from lower to higher town.

saarburg

saarburg

Last is the Cascade ,right around the bridge Auf Dem Graben the area is known as Little Venice. The bridge spam the Butter Market , the houses here have been on oak poles for centuries on the Leuk river, the town’s people changed its direction in the 13C to have enough water to extinguish fires. Further on is the real cascade where from the iron bridge on high viewing points you can see enormous water masses of the Leuk plunging more than 20 meters over cliff cascades right into city center. In order to stabilize the banks, the 20 meter high “Tümpelsmauer” wall was built in 1641.

saarburg

saarburg

Below the iron bridge on the area known as the Standen and on the other side of the Esplanade full of restos and bus terminal you have the river boat terminus for boat rides on the river Saar on the great Saar Stern boat. In German, more info: The official Saar Flotte of river cruisers

saarburg

The tourist office of Saar in German on Saarburg here:  Tourist office Saar Obermosel on Saarburg

Nice town , Saarburg, lively on the center and great river rides. A wonderful day trip with the family.

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

 

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December 30, 2019

The Saar and Saarbrucken, Germany!

So, let me take you out of my belle France into our old neighbor of Germany. I have been here several times ,university alumni living there, and family ties by marriage. The country was not far from me while living in Versailles so easy trips there. Once moved to Bretagne we did went renting a house in the Saar region and traveling as base all over. It was a memorable trip.

I have taken those photos and updated the text to bring back these memories of family trips in Europe, in  the Saar of Germany, and in Saarbrucken. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading.

Saarbrucken

We came down to a new city for all, Saarbrucken. I wanted to see it simply because there they build my FORD !!!(actually in Saarlouis but you see the factory on the road)   and I am a FORD men!!!  We drove from our home base in Oberemmel on the national road B51/E29/620, fast and little traffic! all the way to Saarbrucken and along the way finding new towns one we later came back to it!  We came into the nice parking at Europahalle shopping center at Trierer street, here https://www.q-park.de/de/bei-q-park-parken/stadt/saarbrucken

Saarbrucken is in the frontier state of  Saar,the smallest of the German states in area and population so they said. Very well connected at the cross roads of Europe and easy to France. It goes by the French expressways or autoroute A4 to Paris by the A320, and the Germans A1 to Koln , A6 to Luxembourg, Mannheim, and the A8. It is 392 km from Paris and 728 km from Berlin and 308 km from Brussels. Very close to Luxembourg at 99 km.  The A620 is an urban road that we took and very nice .  To Strasbourg by the  A1 linking with the A4 . You can go around the city sort of like a beltway on the  A8 and come into the city by the A1, A623 and A620.  As said this later one is nice and is along the Saar river and goes thru the city center of Saarbrucken.

It is by train on the TGV/ICE line Paris-Frankfurt and regional French and German trains as well as an airport 9 km from the city. The TER trains are been financed by the Lorraine of France and Saar of Germany. There is a tramway stop at Sarreguemines. A special Saarbahn is a tram train transfrontier connecting Lebach in the Saar to Sarreguemines in the Lorraine  long of 44 km with a stop at Saarbrucken.

Saarbrucken

A bit of history I like

Saarbrucken was mentioned for the first time in 999AD and its origins comes from the Celts and Romans. At the Middle Ages the city was the capital of the county by the same name created in the 11C from Saargau that became the possession of the Counts of Saarbrucken  of the House of Nassau-Weilbourg in 1381 until the French revolution. French revolutionary troops occupied the town in 1793, and was annexed to the French Republic and later Empire  by the Treaties of  Campo Formio in 1797 and  Lunéville  in 1801.

In 1815 with the Treaty of Vienna ;Saarbrücken  becomes Prussian.  The war of 1870 saw the town changing hands  with the French building fortifications on the heights of Spicheren that comes down to Saarbrucken. The town is attacked and the Prussians take the town. After the treaty of Versailles of 1919, the Saar territory is place under an international administration for 15 years and Under the Society of Nations (UN later) Under French control, the capital was Saarbrucken. In 1940, the French department of the Moselle was attached to the region of Gau where Saarbrücken was the main city and took the name of Gau Westmark.  The protectorate after WWII allows for the French to administered the region of the Saar, and was not part of Germany from 1947 with its own constitution. After ,the integration into West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany , Saarbrucken becomes the capital of the State of Saar.

Many things to see here and all walkable, we did a lot of walking once parked underground and it is great. We always said the best way to see a city is to walk.

We went into the old palace square or Schlossplatz full of museums from casements ,history, regional arts, and the old city hall; we climb the old walls of the old castle and saw breathtaking views of the  Saar river below.

Saarbrucken

Saarbrucken

We went around to see St Jakobs Churchold city hall or Rathaus ,museum of Sacred Arts, Basilica St John, the new city hall and tourist office, St John’s Church, Ludwig’s Church, old palace or castle of Saarbrucken, Historical museum and underground casements, regional Saarland museum of objects found in the area;old castle walls. Also, the Parliament of the Saar building, St Michael Church , the market of St John, and the French consulate building. There is an interesting National Theater of the Saar with 3 rooms, in German they are Staatstheater, Alte Feuerwache and Sparte.  The Staatstheater, is located along the Saar river and was built in  1937/38 as a gift from the National Socialist regime (Nazis) to the Saar following the referendum of 1935 that annexed the Saar to the third reich. You can see the nice Saar museum or Archeological museum as well as the nice gardens of the castle that was originally in terraces to the Saar river and was arranged in a baroque garden between 1760 and 1765.

Saarbrucken

Saarbrucken

Saarbrucken

We did our shopping at the Europa Galerie, and visited our favorite Galerie Kaufhof, as well as had our lunch in the Europa Galerie at a German bakery chain and salon de thé , the Bäckerhaus Ecker. All easily found walking and enjoy it the walks in city center nice shops and bars!

Saarbrucken

Saarbrucken

Saarbrucken

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The tourist office in English for the city is here : http://www.saarbruecken.de/en/tourism/saarbruecken/sights

Saarland tourist page on Saarbrucken: https://www.visitsaarland.co.uk/Media/Cities/Saarbruecken

There you go a nice town on a beautiful silhouette of the Saar river , great shopping! and nice architecture. You can spend a quick whole day here or two as we came back again for another look on same family trip. Enjoy Saarbrucken, Saar of Germany.

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

 

 

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