Archive for April 16th, 2020

April 16, 2020

A restaurant and bulls of San Clemente!

So coming back to one of my fav regions of my beloved Spain with many memorable family moments over the years. Of course, I have written many posts on the area and its towns but sometime I feel did it in a general way . I would like to give them life in a more detail post of some of the things to see we liked.

This is the case of the town of San Clemente, in the province of Cuenca, Autonomous Region of Castilla La Mancha, Kingdom of Spain. A memorable restaurant and the bullfighting arena. For reference, San Clemente is located in the south of the province of Cuenca, 110 kilometers from the capital city of Cuenca, and 80 from Albacete, on the banks of the Rus River and at the convergence of highways A-43 and AP-36(toll). Although we came on the N310 from Villanueva de la Jara.

San Clemente

The restaurant bar Cerveceria El Carmen is on the Plaza del Carmen a relatively off the beaten path town and restaurant. We were on our road warrior tour of the region and decided to take a look what was there and of course once in town felled hungry. We saw this quant resto right on the square with a nice statue of local workers in rather residential area. Looking for the real my Spain told the fam this is the place to stop and eat. It was and still is a memorable moment in our lives , the whole family enjoyed very much and cheers of beer glasses followed by a great local food in a very friendly family environment we love so much. This one is one for a lifetime with my dear late wife Martine and boys; already looking forward to travel again and pass by here again, recommended.

San Clemente

San Clemente

The Cerveceria El Carmen where we had our lunch for the day !  Plenty of tapas chorizos fritos, tortillas de patata, ham croquettes, etc and the nice cold beers just what the summer calls for it,and all under 9€ per person! Nice ::)

San Clemente

San Clemente

There is no webpage only mentioned in the San Clemente tourist office here:  Tourist office of San Clemente on restos bars and El Carmen

This is an independent webpage restaurant guru on the Meson El Carmen:

At the town, there were nice monuments many already mentioned in previous post on San Clemente but for the purist in me, the Plaza de Toros was nice.

San Clemente

The Plaza de Toros of San Clemente was built in 1908, and known as La Carmencita for emulating the bullfighting arena in Valencia in a small way. It was inaugurated on August 29, 1908. After a deep and complete restoration, it was reopened on April 23, 1995 in a poster formed by “El Litri”, “El Cordobes” and Adolfo de Reyes who fought cattle of Mariano Sanz Jiménez.

San Clemente

One more reason for celebration around traditional bullfighting of this town, which dates back centuries, with documentation that testifies to this bullfighting hobby as early as 1538. The plaza de Toros of San Clemente has walls of rammed earth with brick surrounds and stone plinth with a crowned crown of rammed earth and pointed arches in all gaps. The geometric decoration predominates, mainly the rhombus. Three pediments crown the main access.

San Clemente

The city of San Clemente with a virtual view of the Plaza de Toros: City of San Clemente virtual view of Plaza de Toros

Toursit office of San Clemente with civil monuments to see as the Plaza de Toros in Spanish: Tourist office of San Clemente on plaza de toros

City of San Clemente with a general view of what to see in Spanish: City of San Clemente on things to see

And there you go a one two punch visit to quant off the beaten path San Clemente; you read it here in my blog and recommended to all. One of the routes of Don Quijote as well; the eternal dreamer of Castilla La Mancha, this in Spanish here: Ruta de Quijote on San Clemente

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

April 16, 2020

The wines in confinement!!!

Well how do you cope with this confinement and the love of wines. Well , I like to know the winemaker and go to the property before I start buying their wines. Over the years I have come to be more picky choosy and narrow down my choices but always on site.

Now with this wuhan virus we got, yes I call that , there is little movement and no winery visits. So we are force to order online and luckily still have it delivered! This is what I did last week receiving my first lot of Bordeaux from Nicolas. I am still waiting from my supplier wineries in Amboise-Touraine, Pays Nantais, and Jurançon areas.

So what to order for drink now, and keep and the essentials I need to have in my cellar. Well , looking at various publications I follow here in my belle France , I have narrow it down to my favorite list. Here they are folks, I am sure you can order them from you neck of the wood, at least most of them.


Bottles ready to drink

DOURTHE No 1 2018; Bordeaux white. Pleasant sensation of freshness, liveliness on the palate.

CHÂTEAU FOURCAS-HOSTEN 2012 ; Listrac, red. A nice successful wine, tender, precise, ripe and velvety.

CHATEAU CASTERA 2015 ;Médoc cru bourgeois, red. Seductive, full-bodied, supple and fruity.

To still keep in the cellar are:

CHÂTEAU LA TOUR CARNET 2015; Haut-Médoc Grand Cru Classé, red. Ample, powerful, elegant, carried by firm tannins. Let it ripen for 20 years.

CHATEAU MEYNEY 2016 ;Saint-estèphe, red. Powerful, racy, precise, tannic, it will age at least 20 years.

CHÂTEAU MONBOUSQUET 2015 ; Saint-Emilion grand cru, red. Rich in fruit, crunchy, generous. Keep for fifteen years.

HAUTS DE SMITH 2015, Pessac-léognan, red. Second wine from Smith Haut Lafitte, suave, seductive, fruity.

CHATEAU SIRAN 2016 ; Margaux, red. Superb, round, delicious, intense, juicy, charming, harmonious.

CLOS LA GAFFELIÈRE 2016 ; Saint-Emilion grand cru, red. Fruity, dynamic, structured in its youth.

CHÂTEAU TALBOT 2010 , Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classé, red. Grand, fine, powerful, fresh, dense. Will keep for life.

CHÂTEAU LA LAGUNE 2016 ; Haut-Médoc cru Classé, red. Fresh, elegant, long palate, tight tannins. Guard: 15 years.


Bottles ready to drink

LOUIS JADOT Convent of the Jacobins 2017, red. Delicacy, lightness and fruity flavors of Pinot Noir.

To keep in the cellars

DOMAINE CHANSON Pernand-vergelesses premier cru Les Vergelesses 2015, red. Concentrated, fine but solid tannic structure. Keep: 10 years or more.

BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS; Beaune-grèves premier cru Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus 2015, red. Exceptional distinction and aromatic finesse. Guard: 15 years.

The essentials

JOSEPH DROUHIN Saint-Véran 2018, white. Floral, fruity, cheerful, round, very fresh.

LOUIS LATOUR ; Chassagne-montrachet premier cru La Grande Montagne 2017, red. Of great finesse, full, crunchy.


Bottles ready to drink

TAITTINGER ; Prestige Rosé. Gluttony, freshness, generosity, abundance of red fruits. To keep in the cellar.

PHILIPPONNAT ; Royale Réserve, white. Width and power for this cuvée which will ripen in the cellar.

GOSSET Great Vintage 2012, white. Freshness, richness and complexity in unison for this champagne to keep.

POL ROGER; Brut Vintage 2012, white. Intensity, flexibility, balance and complexity for this vintage with excellent aging potential.

The essentials

DRAPPIER ; Brut Nature without sulfur, white. A great 100% pure, fine, ripe, delicate pinot noir.

CHARLES HEIDSIECK; Brut Réserve, white. Beautiful aromatic richness for this ample and precise wine.

DEUTZ; Brut Classic, white. Elegant, fresh, dense, lively, long and structured.

BOLLINGER; Special Cuvée, white. Racy, powerful, intense, of great depth.

BILLECART-SALMON ; Rosé Brut. Suave, airy, lively, elegant, fruity (wild strawberries, raspberries …).

RUINART ;White of whites. Very round, with citrus and mineral notes, a refreshing finish.

Afar from the world:

VEGA SICILIA; Valbuena 5 ° 2015, ribeira del duero rouge. This very great wine produced by a legendary Spanish house can wait until 2050.

ALMAVIVA 2016 Puento alto red. Complexity, charm, elegance, personality in this Chilean wine that will keep for 20 years. (House of Mouton Rothschild)


Bottles ready to drink

DOMAINES PAUL MAS Côté Mas 2018, IGP Pays d’Oc, white. Easy, full of charm, very aromatic.

GÉRARD BERTRAND ; Gray white 2019, IGP Pays d’Oc, rosé. No frills, fresh, fruity.

DOMAINE OTT; By Ott 2019, Côtes-de-Provence, rosé. Fresh, elegant, tense, thirsty and java.

MIRAVAL 2019 ; Côtes de Provence, rosé. A fruity, light, refreshing wine.

To keep in the cellars

CHÂTEAU DE PIBARNON 2017 ; Bandol, red. Powerful, silky, mineral, elegant, racy tannins. Guard: 10 years.

CHÂTEAU LA VERRERIE ; Grand Deffand organic 2017, luberon, red. Generous, sunny, opulent, marked tannins. Keep: 15 years and more.

CHÂTEAU SIMONE 2015, Palette, red. A very great wine from Provence, complex, structured. Guard: 10 years.

The essentials

MAS AMIEL; Maury 20 years old, red roussillon. Very nice freshness despite its 98.7 g / l of residual sugars.

There you go hope it helps you as a starter or to think your own, wine is pleasure even in the worse of times it brings us together, I share it with my boys and why not maybe one day with one or more of you. In Vino Veritas.

Enjoy them with moderation of course, but drink the nectar of the gods. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


April 16, 2020

Old Hotel Faus Hutte, Villanua!

This is a road taken many many times since 1990. It’s nostalgic for me and brings me many good memories now even more. This is the first trip i took with my girlfriend, back in 1990 to show the Frenchie my  Spain; and later my wife Martine for almost 28 yrs before the F cancer took her away from me in 2018. I am talking with deep emotions about a very small town in Aragon, call Villanua. My personal post with photos was done on May 15 2018.

Years go by and we keep traveling by here between France and Spain, even visiting from USA and of course later more once living in France. It all started with the Hotel Faus Hutte at the town’s entrance next to the Repsol gast station, and a beautiful story of friendly Pyrenees mountain welcome on a dreary night by 22h in September 10 1990 just to get to Madrid for my birthday. Over time the hotel owners passed away and first retired and the hotel was change to Hotel Lacasa  ,and we were surprise of the change but still there. Then, by 2016 a new ownership and completely new direction under the name of El Albergue Villanúa . The old Hotel has been renovated in 2016 to convert it into a hostel and offers rustic décor with parquet floors and wood finishes typical of mountain hotels. Despite the reforms carried out, it has maintain its essence and the pure rural style and the decor indeed. They can change the name a thousand times but it will always be our Faus Hutte mountain hotel. Thanks for reading this post.



The new webpage for the Albergue Villanua with the section Collaradeta that is the old Faus Hutte is here in Spanish: Official Albergue Villanua on Collaradeta


A bit more on the quant mountain town of Villanua

Villanúa is in the autonomous community of Aragon, province of Huesca, where the Aragon valley widens. At the foot of Collarada peak  at 2,886 meters .It is a tourist locality near Jaca and the ski resorts of Candanchú and Astún, and 12 km from the French border by the Somport tunnel. Administratively the locality is in the north of Aragon in the area of Jacetania.

Villanúa communicates by the A-23 highway with Zaragoza and Huesca, and with Pamplona by the A-21. However, the old road passing by city center that we love to take each time is the N-330 road. By now the A23 Z40 (beltway of Zaragoza) and the local to the French border N330 are my second home!!

Again a bit of history I like on precious Villanua. The first historical reference of Villanúa appears in the Cartulary of Santa Cruz de la Serós in 992, the creation of this new City, of free men, with lands and rights recognized by the King is earlier, from the 9C, it follows the repopulation with inhabitants of the Bearn and as a counterweight to the Lord of Visigothic ,the origin of village of Aruej   6C who controlled the valley which is opposite Villanúa, although at that time the valley was abandoned. There is a tradition of strong emigration to Latin America and to France of these younger sons who inherited neither house nor land.

The things to see are the small Church of San Esteban .This church dates from the 11C, but various modifications, particularly in the 17C, made it lose its original Romanesque characteristics. The historic center of Villanua has preserved the evidence of a bygone era, the fountain of the four sources, the old city/town hall with its portal and its Gothic openings, the coats of arms on the houses, the alleys, and passages, the stables transformed into homes.

The cave of “Las Güixas”, with the area characteristic of limestone subsoil of Villanúa and its neighbour Borau, develops the underground network of Lecherines, whose total depth exceeds one thousand meters and the length exceeds fifteen km. More on the caves here in English: Tourist office of the Jaca area or jacetania on the cave

The dolmens, the railway viaduct, the hermitage of San Juan and the abandoned villages of Cenarbe and Aruej, with its small Romanesque church of the 11C are reasons to walk in this territory crossed by the Aragón river and by the Camino Aragones, itinerary of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, with its pilgrim fountain. There is plenty of nature walks here with guides into the Pyrenées.


The city of Villanua on its location: City of Villanua on location

Tourist office of Villanua on things to do in Spanish : Tourist office Villanua on things to do

Tourist office of Aragon on the Pyrénées and mention of Villanua in English: Tourist office of Aragon and Villanua

And now feel better in showing this sentimental spot of my beloved Spain, Villanua will always be in my heart. It is a beautiful natural spot where our Earth can be seen at its fullest , mountain walks, and wonderful skiing as well as gorgeous caves and a huge mountain tunnel. Recommended for the whole family, enjoy Villanua and Jacetania and Aragon of my Spain.

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

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