Archive for September 14th, 2020

September 14, 2020

Orlando: Gatorland!!

Well this one I am astonished to find some photos on it. It was my early life in Florida USA, and to Orlando came a lot, later and still have family there. I have some posts on Florida overall and Orlando attractions in particular but not on this park yet.

Let me tell you about an attraction that many still come to Florida, Gatorland.

But first , let me tell you an anecdote. When my dear late wife Martine’s older brother came to visit us from the Nord of France, he was eager to see these sort of things. We took them to the place and had his first gator burger without knowing, a prank I did! He found it delicious until he found out, and well too late, he got the taste for it now lol!

Briefly as it has been a while and the new photos here are old ok. I guess from the 1990’s. Maybe before…not sure…

Gatorland is a 110-acre  or 45 ha theme park and wildlife preserve in Florida, located along South Orange Blossom Trail in south Orlando. It was founded 71 years ago by Owen Godwin on former cattle land in 1949, and is privately owned by his family today.


Billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland features thousands of alligators ,including the rare leucistic alligators and crocodiles, and many other animals. Attractions in the park include a breeding marsh with a boardwalk and observation tower,  zip lines an off road swamp vehicule tour a ridable miniature train, alligator feeding shows, alligator wrestling shows, an aviary, a petting zoo, and educational programs. The breeding marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (and one my family favorite films too).


The Gatorland Express, known as Ol’ Iron Horse Express prior to 2001 is a 2 feet or 610 mm narrow gauge railroad attraction inside the park, which first opened in 1961. And still very popular ride , a must when visiting me think.


There just the basics , do not know how to make the post better as the text is mostly from their site which is here:

The tourist office of nearby Kissimmee has a better laidout on Gatorland here:

And there you go folks ,short and sassy just for the memories and hoping it will become yours one day. I know would love to see Gatorland again if life and times allow me to be back. For now life goes on in France!

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

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September 14, 2020

And if I say Royaumont!!

Here is another gem of my belle France that been with the family and hardly written on it! Well digging into my vault of old photos found these and voilà need to have it documented in my blog for the memories and happy times; and sharing with you all! Hope you enjoy it

There is a lot more here at the Abbaye de Royaumont, but I will just touch base from text translation. I came for a couple of the meeting there and as a tourist visiting the premises with the family. Again a wonderful place to visit more with time.

The Royaumont Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery located in the hamlet of Baillon in Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d’Oise dept 95 of the Ïle de France region, about 30 km north of Paris. It was built between 1228 and 1235 under the aegis of Saint Louis, and was then one of the most important abbeys in France. It remained a Cistercian abbey until the French revolution, of course, it was sold as national property and became a textile industrial site. It regained its religious vocation in 1864, until the Combes laws in 1905 (separation of state and religion) . The abbey was then bought by Jules Goüin, and his grandson Henry, industrialist and music lover, opened the doors to artists, organized concerts there and in made it a place of musical and cultural creation. He donated it to the Royaumont Foundation, which he created in 1964, the first private cultural foundation, which since then has managed the premises.

The cloister is the center of monastic life. That of Royaumont is one of the largest of the Cistercian order in France, forming a rectangle of about 47 meters by 48 meters. Each of the four galleries is made up of nine bays, ribbed vaults. Inside, the warheads fall on decorated consoles, and outside, on masonry columns wrapped in small columns. The eastern gallery along the monks’ building was demolished while a spinning mill was installed in the abbey, and rebuilt from the 1870s.



The old abbey regained its religious vocation in 1864, one year after the closure of the factory, when it was redeemed on August 4, 1864 by the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate . Five years later, the Oblates renounced their project for the benefit of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux. The latter made Royaumont their novitiate, offering future sisters four options to choose from: agriculture, education of young girls, instruction of the ignorant and care of the poor.

To Jules Goüin, a great industrialist and president of the Société de construction des Batignolles. The castle monastery becomes a summer residence for his family and the families of his five children. The industrialist could not take advantage of Royaumont for long, where he died on September 10, 1908. The Goüin family had the garden of the Cloister redesigned as a formal garden by the landscaper Achille Duchêne in 1912. The buildings of the abbey then remain vacant. For this reason, one of Jules Goüin’s sons, Édouard, put them at the disposal of the French Red Cross in December 1914 to open a hospital, Auxiliary Hospital No. 301, for WWI wounded.

Finally, on May 15, 1938, the Foyer de Royaumont, place of work and rest for artists and intellectuals was inaugurated. The rooms are rented at low prices, and residents lacking means can benefit from scholarships. During WWII, the hostel had to close and only opened on release to accommodate artists and intellectuals who had returned from deportation or detention. Henry Goüin himself was a prisoner of war and did not return until December 1943, decorated with the Legion of Honor in a military capacity. During the 1950s and 1960s, the former abbey became a meeting place for intellectual and artistic circles on an international scale, with numerous seminars, colloquiums and conferences under the name “Cercle culturel de Royaumont”.

In 1964, Henry and Isabel Goüin created the Royaumont Foundation for the progress of Human Sciences and transferred the ownership of the abbey to it as a donation. It is the first private foundation to see the light of day in France. Its ambition is philanthropic and peaceful, starting from the hypothesis that the study of man in all its aspects and by the different scientific disciplines would one day put an end to hatred, fanaticism, class struggles, revolutions and wars. After an interruption of the meetings from 1968 to 1971, an evolution takes place towards a reflection on biology and anthropology. Today, music and dance have taken a predominant place, leaving literature and poetry aside. A hotel service completes these activities and hosts seminars and conferences to partially finance the maintenance of the whole.

The official webpage for the Royaumont Abbey

The Val d’Oise dept 95 tourist office on Royaumont

And even the Paris tourist office has some on the Royaumont Abbey

The tourist office of the region ïle de France on the Royaumont abbey:

There you it is worth the detour to go see from Paris. From Gare du Nord in Paris direction Luzarches to the Gare de  Luzarches, and then shuttle bus to the abbey during cultural season every weekend.  Of course, here I have come by car starting from Versailles taking ave de Saint de Cloud which continues as the Avenue des Etats Unis to connect with the A86 on the échangeur de Vaucresson past the A13. Continue on the A86 to exit/sortie 2B Bezons cross the bridge or pont de Bezons over the Seine river and continue on road D311 with the Seine on your right hand side bear north to Argenteuil on the A15 get off exit sortie 1 at A115 direction Taverny at the Francilienne road N184 here same as N104 and get off at exit sortie 90 to go over the A16 and get on road D909, this road change number to D922 but is same road continue as it then changes to D909E continue to the Royaumont abbey.

And there you go best to explain it on paper, if you go by car drop me a line here and will connect to guide you by phone. Again, it is worth the detour to see the Royaumont Abbey. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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