Archive for June 6th, 2020

June 6, 2020

Parque San Julian, Cuenca!

Well this is another soft spot for us, as spent many vacations there over the years and even with the family in Summers. Cuenca is Unesco heritage site but it has more a  lot more. We like to walk a lot , we always figure is the best way to see a city once in it. The architecture and the city comes out alive right in front of your eyes with time to indulge on its past.

However, once in a while we stop by the greens of the city, the parks and gardens , the lungs of any city. Cuenca is no different and here we have very nice memorable moments with the family. I have written many many posts on Cuenca and surrounding, but again failed to tell you more about the Parque San Julian in city center, and it is time.

For the geographical part, Cuenca is in the Province of Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of the kingdom of  Spain. The parque San Julian is in still the old to new lower town right next to several government buildings including the main post office. Very close to important streets such as Carretería, Tintes, Aguirre or Las Torres, and located a few minutes from the Old Town of Cuenca.

A fundamental enclave in the social life of Cuenca. Venue of pleasant walks, moments of relaxation and classy events. It saw the light in the old orchards of the Huécar river, back in the 1920s when known as Canalejas park. Since then, almost 100 years later, it continues to be frequented every day by dozens of people.. Its has restaurant terraces for a drink on the hot summer days under the shades of the imposing trees of Parque San Julian.. The expansion of the city in its lower part, where formerly there were only vegetable gardens. This is how Carretería arises and what we understand as the Cuenca expansion, that is, Parque San Julián and surroundings.


The mosaic of a part of the temple, as well as housing unique plant species, outdoor sculptural works by Luis Marco Pérez and bronze fountains, still in operation. Housing statures and busts, sometimes too hidden, of characters that were important in the city. The Parque San Julián park, has always been that, the just the parque or park. Much of the population of Cuenca gives it from the moment it becomes something very significant for this city: a meeting place for people of all ages and conditions, an unbeatable stage for all kinds of shows, a showcase for different cultural activities, a platform to publicize the most diverse ideas, proposals, etc. or simply an oasis in the middle of the desert.

The parque San Julián, as had been announced some time ago, will be the first two spaces in the city center to be reformed with part of the funds from the Sustainable Urban Development Strategy (Edusi), for which the Cuenca City Council has announced the convening of an ideas competition. So you better act quickly before its all change for the worse me think.

It was a resting place after a long walk in the city or a place for lunch while doing our rounds on foot. The family enjoyed much and always each time there made plans for a stop. Memories forever with my dear late wife Martine.


Hope you enjoy it as much as we did/do and visit once in town for the bigger monuments already mentioned in my previous posts on Cuenca. The parque San Julian is very nice indeed.

For reference, tourist office of CuencaTourist office of Cuenca

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

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June 6, 2020

Fuente de Cibeles, Madrid!

Another emblematic monument of my beloved Madrid that I have only written in pieces embedded in general posts is the Fuente de Cibeles. Omg , I need to do a post on it alone! So much the affinity of mine to the city and lived not far from it.!! Well , better late than never as the saying goes, here is my take on the Fuente de Cibeles of Madrid.


A bit of history I like

It was conceived within an urban remodeling plan in the 18C, on the initiative of King Carlos III, who planned to beautify the kingdom’s capital according to the aesthetics of neoclassicism. The project included a series of sculpted fountains with classical mythological motifs such as the Neptune Fountain, and Apollo Fountain, a Museum of Natural Sciences , now the Prado Museum, the Royal Botanical Garden, the landscaping of the area and other proposals that ultimately did not materialized. Due to the beauty and amenity of the square, once it was finished, it was known among the people of Madrid as the Salón del Prado or the Prado room, and immediately became one of the most popular squares in Madrid.


From a historical anecdote, it seems that this fountain was originally intended for the Gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia (see post), but when the wide Paseo del Prado began to be remodeled, the fountain was placed in front of the Buenavista Palace, very close to it, at the entrance of the Paseo de Recoletos and looking towards the other great fountain, that of Neptune. Between it and the palace there were some small buildings where the Militia Inspection and later the Presidency of the Council of Ministers was located, until in 1780, the whole group burned down; and the fountain of Cibeles was installed in 1782, however it did not work until 1792.

In February 1895 the Fuente de Cibeles was moved to the center of the square adding certain modifications such as the elaboration of a new group in the back and placement on a platform of four steps three meters above the ground, locating the goddess looking at the first section of Calle de Alcalá (my street!). Until 1981 there was no restoration, but the last one was done completely in 2016.


And a bit more on the Fuente de Cibeles fountain.

The fountain of Cibeles sits in the Plaza de Cibeles square, and its one of the most beautiful in Madrid.  It sits in the junction of Paseo del Prado,and Calle de Alcala (my street !). The sculpture fountain is named after Cybil, the Greco-Roman goddess of nature, showing her sitting in a chariot drawn by two lions holding a scepter and a key. The pull of the wild lions symbolize the power of nature or of the goddess, the figures took about 10K kg of stones . The Fuente de Cibeles; is the work of architect Ventura Rodriguez and sculptors Francisco Gutierrez Arribas for the Cibeles figure, and Roberto Michel for the lions, Miguel Jimenez for the decoration elements of the chariot.


Around the square or Plaza de Cibeles ,you will see important buildings (many written already see posts) ;such as the Palacio de Communicaciones (post office)  or Cibeles or CentroCentro according to the times ,  and today its the mayor’s office of Madrid, built between 1905-1917. At the northeast side of the square you have the Palacio de Linares, built in 1875, now houses the Casa de America or House of America displaying a collection of paintings from Latin America artists. In the northwest portion of the square, you have the guarded Army headquarters which is house in the building of the old Palacio de Buenavista, first ordered built by the Duchess of Alba in 1777. On the opposite corner you have the Banco de España or the Bank of Spain, built between 1884-1891.  The Cibeles is the meeting place for all victories of the famous Real Madrid CF football/Soccer team every time any championship is won, which has been often. FIFA club of the 20C and still battling for the 21st, as well as  IFFHS  European club of the 20C. Reach it on metro Banco de España line 2 or Bus lines 14 and  27 very nice ride and take you to Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

For reference the tourist office of Madrid on the Cibeles fountain in English: Tourist office of Madrid on the Cibeles fountain

This whole area is very nice for walks and wonderful architecture and history abound, not to mention very near the Retiro park as well! All part of my growing up as a teenager in my Madrid!! Memories forever and repeat every year, Madrid is it, and the Cibeles fountain is a big part of it. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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June 6, 2020

The State of Sao Paulo: Cravinhos, and Franca !!

And I will come back to the Americas. I have several posts on Brazil and its cities and these two were left with little or nothing. As it is part of my dots on the world map , I decided to give them a post of their own. Hope you enjoy inland Sao Paulo State of Brazil.

Therefore, here is my take on the roads of Brazil, and coming to meet new cities and new ambiances in  Cravinhos and Franca of the State of Sao Paulo.

First a bit of history I like on Cravinhos.

Cravinhos is in the state of São Paulo. In 1876, the Cravinhos farm was bought by the Querino brothers because it is a fruitful region for coffee planting. The red dirt on the land here was a magnet from families from as far as Rio de Janeiro to settled here and cultivate the coffee of wonderful aroma we can see and taste today .The name Cravinhos comes from the Cravina flower ,the fact that on such a farm there was a plantation of carnations, small carnations; which were found in large quantities at the Cravinhos Farm beds and in the region.

In 1893, Cravinhos was created as a district in the town of Ribeirão Preto. It was dismembered from Ribeirão Preto in 1897, and installed the following year as a coffee village. At that time the largest number of immigrants were Italian, coming from Sicily, Calabria, Campania and Veneto.

I came here by car on the road SP-330 of the State of Sao Paulo. Passing visiting the real countryside and mingling with the locals I stayed at the nice city hotel  Onyx Inn Hotel right off the road or Rodovia Anhaguera -SP-330 exit 295.  The hotel arriving at night was nice spacious friendly and a good restaurant for a bountiful breakfast. More on the hotel here: Onix Hotel Cravinhos


The city of Cravinhos on its history in Portuguese here: City of Cravinhos on its history

From Cravinhos , we continue almost to almost the Minas Gerais State line and visit the wonderful town of Franca in the State of Sao Paulo; with its great artificial lake.

A bit of history I like on Franca.

Franca ,the region history tell us was called Sertão do Capim Mimoso near the Pardo and Sapucaí rivers begins with the pioneers starting with the flag of Anhanguera (the son), in 1722, who built the Caminho de Goiás, or Estrada dos Goiases or roads that connected the city of São Paulo to the gold mines of Goiás, which at that time belonged to the Captaincy of São Paulo.



From then on, the famous landings of tropeiros (cattle ranchers cowboys) began to emerge, places where the Paulistas (folks from Sao Paulo) stopped to rest there and the pack animals during the trips they made in their search for gold in the interior of Brazil. The landing that gave rise to the city of Franca was known, at the time, by the bandeirantes (explorers bounty hunters ), for “Pouso dos Bagres” or well of Bagres.

In 1819, Franca was visited by the French naturalist Auguste de Saint-Hilaire who left the following account of the place: “The village of Franca, where I landed, is pleasantly located in the middle of vast pastures, in an uncovered region, sown with scrubland. and cut by deep valleys”. In 1821, king Dom João VI created the “Vila Franca Del Rey”, which was only installed on November 28, 1824. In 1856, Franca is elevated to the category of town. Now with a large influence of Italian immigrants the city is know for its shoes making. Franca participated in the Paraguayan War with the Franca Volunteers and also engaged during the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, in which six citizens died.

Franca has an altitude close to 1,040 meters, and for a long time was known as Cidade das Três Colinas (the city of three hills) because it developed under three hills, that of Estação, Centro and Colina da Santa Rita, which are separated by the main streams of the city. Also in Praça Nossa Senhora da Conceição square is the mother church of the city. The construction of the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceição started in 1898 and was opened for worship in 1913 and restored in 1980. It is located in the city center. The town also has a nice park with benches and full of shops and restaurants around it .However, the thing here is to head for the beach and just laid low; this is inland Sao Paulo State nothing to do with the capital city of the same name ::)

We came to Franca by car on the  road SP-334 named Candido Portinari road.  And we went straight for the artificial lake beach rather nice and now empty but in season it is packed. We had lunch at the Restaurante Barraçao right across from the lake beach.  We had the buffet all you can eat churrasqueria with plenty of meats and a nice brahma beer to boot, just lazy living the best, if I can only be retired lol! They have a Facebook page here:Facebook page of Restaurant Barraçao



The city of Franca on its history in Portuguese here: City of Franca on its history

And there you go folks, another dandy in my world map and many souvenirs of friendly encounters in inland Brazil. Life is slower but more fun in the countryside. Hope you enjoy the road warrior trip to Cravinhos and Franca in Sao Paulo State of Brazil.

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

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