Archive for October 7th, 2020

October 7, 2020

The Crémants of the Loire!

Hello there y’all! Well once in a while I indulge myself in writing about a favorite pastime of mine over my life. The wine aficionado in me have taken me to some incredible properties and unforseen countries in search of the nectar of the gods. Wine!

And of course, we have some pretty good ones here in my belle France to say the least… An area dear to me for several years now even before moving closer was and is the Loire. Oh yes the Loire borders a river 1006 km , the longest in France, and it is long lots of territory covering several regions and departments of France, from the Ardèche to the Loire-Atlantique. I have written before on the wines per se, but this time let me tell you a bit about the crémants or sparklers of the Loire. You know we cannot call it that other name of bubblies for reasons you know too. This territory for the crémants goes from the appellations of Anjou, Saumur, and Touraine, so narrowing down the Loire!

The measuring body or governing body as you wish was the AOC Crémant de Loire,and it shows up only in 1975. All 250 kms of it or about 155 miles. But wait, let me tell you the interesting story of the Crémants de Loire!

This regional appellation applies to sparkling wines, especially white, sometimes rosé, produced according to the traditional method, with a second fermentation in the bottle and a period of maturation on lees of at least nine months. Its geographical area, very extensive, runs along the Loire and its tributaries, the Vienne, Indre and Cher, over approximately 250 km, and covers 318 towns. It is superimposed on that of the AOC Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Cheverny. The majority of the production comes from the Saumur region, where numerous cellars carved into the limestone of tufa constitute an ideal environment for the production and storage of these wines. In this sector, sparkling wines have been made since the beginning of the 19C. Many of the appellation’s grape varieties are those from different areas of the Loire Valley. This diversity in terms of grape varieties, soils and climates creates a fairly wide range of characters.

The Saumur tourist office on the Crémant de Loire in French: https://www.ot-saumur.fr/Appellation-d-Origine-Controlee-CREMANT-DE-LOIRE_a16391.html

If Chenin is the star white grape of Crémant de Loire, Cabernet Franc is undoubtedly its Reds grape counterpart. But they are not alone so far, because several grape varieties make up a mosaic that Crémant de Loire can take advantage of: chardonnay, pinot noir, grolleau noir, grolleau gris and even a very original orbois, of which only one remains. extremely rare arpents in Loir-et-Cher. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d’Aunis can also partially enter the grape variety. These are elegant wines with a beautiful crystalline color with gray reflections for the whites and salmon or cherry for the rosés. They have little aging potential and reveal all their freshness and complexity within a year of being marketed.

In its white variety, the Crémant-de-Loire has a more or less pale yellow color, adorned with silver or gold reflections. The bouquet of whites is complex: white flowers, white or yellow fleshed fruits, dried fruits embellished with brioche, butter and honey notes. he white crémant-de-loire is full-bodied, generous and fresh on the palate, embellished with richly fruity flavors.  Some pairings are as an aperitif, chocolate cake, or raspberry pie or similar.

The color of the rosés variety offers a varied color chart, ranging from salmon pink for the palest to dark raspberry or cherry pink for the more intense. The rosés exhale aromas of strawberries, raspberries, currants and other small red fruits. Rosé Crémant-de-Loire is delicious, fresh and rounded.  Some pairings are as an aperitif, fish, white meats, and apple crumble or similar.

The Loire Valley wine assoc on the Crémant de Loire in English: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en/node/11579

Some of the bigger names here and all good, recommended.

Etienne Bouvet created the Bouvet-Ladubay company in 1851, thus associating his wife’s name with his brand name. Within a few years, the fine sparkling wines of Bouvet-Ladubay, Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire, were exported worldwide. An expertise recognized by the granting of more than 460 medals in 40 years. Along the 5 km of galleries, visitors will discover all the stages of winemaking with, in the heart of the cellars, more than 1,000 oak barrels and a sunken cathedral made up of 35 monumental sculptures. Including: Contemporary Art Center, 19C theatre, wine-tasting school, and seminar rooms.

Veuve-Amiot Cellars you come to a world of elegance and tradition…In 1884, Elisa Amiot, the widow of Armand Amiot, decided to found her sparkling wine company in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent. A woman of character, she set herself a challenge to meet her own expectations: develop and sell a prestigious Saumur wine known worldwide for its quality. The guided tour of the cellars dug in tufa limestone and of the modernized production site in operation allows the visitor to follow all the development process according to the traditional method. The commented tasting of wines from the company comes with valuable tips on combinations of food and wine

With its majestic position overlooking the Loire, harmoniously perched on the hillside, the site of Gratien & Meyer seems poised between heaven and earth. The Art Deco architecture of the building is as stunning as the unique view over the area. The visit gives access to vast tunnels dug into the tuffeau during the Middle Ages, where 5 million bottles are ageing. A stenographic journey illustrates a century of work founded in tradition and expertise. The visit details the winemaking process of sparkling and still wines from the harvest to the tasting.

A pioneer for the Loire fine sparkling wines, Jean-Baptiste Ackerman founded in 1811 his famous company in spectacular cellars dug in tufa limestone. He started the development in the area of Saumur Brut and Crémant de Loire in the traditional way. Embark for a “Journey to the Centre of the Bubble”, a unique scenography, and let yourself be carried away by the magic of art in the caves. The Ackerman Company has joined its know-how with fontevraud-la Scène to select artists whose ephemeral works of art brighten the space. A tour punctuated by videos, entertainment and games for the whole family. Tasting of the iconic wines of the Company.

Since 1885 the house of Langlois-Chateau has retained its family atmosphere and is a remarkable wine site. The vines overlook the cellars, which are dug into the tuff eau. The site offers “Behind the Scenes at the Winery”, a presentation in 4 acts: 1 – Introduction to oenology in the wine school. 2 – Visit of cellars with wine presses and fermenting tanks for white and red wines. 3 – Visit of 300 meters of underground cellars, to understand the different stages of the traditional method. 4 – Commentated, comparative tasting of still and sparkling wines.

The Anjou area tourist office on the houses of crémants de Loire with further info on each : https://www.anjou-tourisme.com/fr/decouvrir-lanjou/pratiques/en-vins-et-recettes/appellations-anjou-saumur/cremant-de-loire

These are all good value, great quality/price ratio and more and more drank here. We love it, and stock on them, even some lesser known properties I like to tell you briefly with some bottle labels.

The M Cuvée des Anges rosé of the Montlouis sur Loire cooperative; more info here: https://www.cave-montlouis.com/visite-degustation/

Montlouis sur loire coopérative M cuvee des anges bubbly loire

The Mlle Ladubay rosé a discounted product of the Bouvet-Ladubay house, more on them here: https://www.bouvet-ladubay.fr/visiter-vous-reunir/

st hilaire- st Florant Mlle ladubay cremant de la loire white bubbly

My favorite of those above, the Vouvray Tête de Cuvée Charles de Villeneuve of the Vouvray cooperative. More here: http://www.cavedevouvray.com/fr/editorial/10/81/les-fines-bulles

vouvray tete de cuvee bubbly white cave coop

These are wonderful bubblies for simple occassions such as birthdays, mind you no set level to enjoy these anytime as we do just this week ::) The Crémant de Loire are excellent, try them.

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

October 7, 2020

Paris and the Biévre!!!

Ok so this is a rather historical post , maybe long but  necessary to tell on my eternal Paris. We have heard the stories of this river and some are fascinating. I had worked assignment on 21 rue de Biévre  in the neighborhood or quartier of Saint-Victor in the 5éme district or arrondissement of Paris….. for quite some time and found out several years back about the Biévre river of Paris. Now there is some push to have it reopen into the open air, and it is interesting to know. The reason for this post, is the possibility of the Biévre river coming afloat again in Paris. Bear with the lecture please, I love history and when it comes to Paris….

The Bièvre river originates in Guyancourt (Yvelines dept 78) ; and which flows into the main collector of the Paris sewers. The Bièvre once flowed into the Seine river at the Gare d’Austerlitz train station after a 35 km route in the departments of Yvelines (78), Essonne (91), Hauts-de-Seine (92), Val-de-Marne (94) and Paris (75). The Bièvre rives rose in Guyancourt at an altitude of 150 meters, and it flows into the Seine river at the limit of the 5éme and 13éme arrondissements, at an altitude of 37 meters.

The Bièvre river, which was the second Parisian river, has been completely covered, in Paris since 1912, and in the suburb of Antony in Gentilly in the mid-1950s, except for short sections recently updated. Its course, from its source to the regional nature reserve of the Bièvre basin in Antony   (92) is, for the most part, in the open air. This stream perhaps takes its name from the Latin biber, bièvre, formerly designating the beaver, which disappeared in the 13C in this area, but beber also means: brown in color, like its waters. In 1787, the name of this river was Ruisseau des Gobelins or stream. Goblins were legendary, anthropomorphic and small creatures from medieval European folklore. However, rather than these legendary beings, the river owes its nickname to Jean Gobelin, a Flemish who settled on the banks of the Bièvre in 1443 and who was the first of a long dynasty of dyers who created the Manufacture des Gobelins district.

The Biévre river ran thru the Yvelines at Guyancourt, Buc, Les Loges-en-Josas, Jouy-en-Josas, and finally in Paris: the 5éme, 13éme, and 14éme arrondissements, at the limit of which is the confluence with the Seine river, on the left bank (rive gauche)of it. In all, the Bièvre crosses 15 towns such as  Guyancourt, Buc, Les Loges-en-Josas, Jouy-en-Josas, Bièvres, Igny, Massy, Verrières-le-Buisson, Antony, Fresnes, L’Haÿ-les-Roses, Cachan, Arcueil , Gentilly, and enters Paris at the Poplars postern between the old bastions nos. 85 and 86 of the old Thiers enclosure. The upstream course that has disappeared from the Bièvre is enhanced in Montigny-le-Bretonneux,(78) the urban center of the new town of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines , built in the 1980s. The source of the Bièvre, the urban canal, the Church of Saint-Quentin des Sources and the square of the sources are an evocation of this. At the corner of avenue des Prés (nice ride sorry memories) and rue des Coquelicots in Montigny-le-Bretonneux near the Paris-Rambouillet railway line, the source is symbolically materialized by a disc 25 meters in diameter designed in 1992. Only the pond of Minière, the least extensive of the three, had been created in 1688 by Colbert to participate in the water supply of the Palace of Versailles .Downstream of the pond of Val d’Or, the Bièvre passes under the D 91 road (yes!!) then next to a wastewater treatment plant and runs through the national forest of Versailles. The Bièvre leaves the territory of the town of Guyancourt in the forest 600 meters downstream from the pond of Val d’Or and feeds the pond of Geneste dug in 1948 to protect the town of Buc (right next to Versailles) from flooding.

The Bièvre flows downstream from the Vauptain mill, the single arm flanked by the hiking trail splits shortly before it passes under the Route de Petit-Jouy road at Loges-en-Josas where the missing town’s washhouse was located. Arriving from Loges-en-Josas, the Bièvre enters the territory of Jouy divided into two branches. the natural branch to the north which runs through the Bas Prés park runs along Avenue Jean-Jaurès passing near the train station.   Then ,going to Paris it raised an artificial arm which passes under the railway line then under the Pont d’Austerlitz bridge built in 1805 by virtue of an imperial decree signed by Napoleon during the battle of Austerlitz to establish the route des Lodges. This arm which actuated the wheel of the Saint-Martin mill at the corner of the route des Loges and the rue de la Liberation then widens into a large dug along the rue de la Liberation on the other side of the domain of the castle, currently campus of HEC (One of France most prestigious grande écoles or colleges).

Since the valley has been backfilled to a variable depth that can reach nearly 20 meters in the south of the 13éme arrondissement of Paris, the traces of the river are rather tenuous (and no photos tant pis!).   As in Buc (78), the Bièvre was divided in Paris into two arms, the dead Bièvre, its original course, and the live Bièvre, a raised arm parallel to the east which operated the wheel of several mills. The two arms which separated at Gentilly upstream of Paris, joined in a single arm near the Saint-Médard Church in the 5éme arrondissement. The Bièvre river enters the territory of the city of Paris under the Kellermann park which was located outside the fortified enclosure of Thiers in the former park of the Lazarists depending on a religious community and then forming part of the non construction zone after the construction in 1844 of the enclosure of Thiers. This part of the town of Gentilly was not annexed to Paris until 1925. The Kellermann Park, built in 1937, has removed traces of the old river course from the town boundary with Gentilly to rue du Docteur-Leray in the 13éme arrondissement, successively under the ring road, Kellermann park, boulevard Kellermann, the Petite Ceinture and rue de l’Interne- Loeb. Beyond, the route of this sewer deviates from that of the old river. The Biévre river ran along rue du Moulin-des-Prés on the even side, passed under rue de Tolbiac forming a loop north of this street returning to the corner of rue Bobillot. After the creation of the rue de Tolbiac in 1875, the loop was removed and replaced by a bypass which ran along this street, below to the south,under the current Square des Peupliers.

After acquisition by Paris in 1881 and destruction of the Moulin des Prés, the diversion along the rue de Tolbiac was replaced by a sewer, the Pascal collector, under the rue du Docteur-Leray and the rue de la Colonie, extending into the rue Vergniaud, rue Vulpian, rue Pascal and rue Censier. Before its suppression in 1881 in this part of the 13éme arrondissement, the Bièvre river live formed a second meander to the south of the rue de Tolbiac then from the rue de la Colonie to the corner of the rue Auguste-Lançon and the rue Boussingault and then went north parallel to the current rue Vergniaud. This branch crossed the current rue Daviel at no 13. The bottom of the valley was backfilled by 14 meters during the 1880s which reduced the slope between rue Vergniaud and rue Barrault from 40% to 10% and thus allowed the extension to the Butte-aux-Cailles ,the rue Daviel, previously limited to the edge of the sharp arm. The old filled bed is occupied by gardens and outbuildings at the back of large buildings on the odd-numbered side of rue Vergniaud.

The two arms of the living and dead Bièvre river were very close under the present boulevard Auguste-Blanqui, formerly boulevard d’Italie. This boulevard was the old wall of the Fermiers-Généraux under which the first underground passages of the Bièvre, a double water postern, were built in 1784. The Cité Florale between the streets Brillat-Savarin, Auguste-Lançon and Boussingault was built on a dry pond. The passage of the sharp arm of the Bièvre is visible at 12 boulevard Arago through a low private access door, between two buildings. The open space between the buildings leads to Boulevard de Port-Royal at the cinéma Escurial . The passage de la Bièvre live under the Boulevard de Port-Royal on the side opposite the cinema Escurial is marked by a gap between the buildings at no. 12bis and no. 14 giving a view of the former reach Valence behind the rue Valence. The Biévre river branched off to the left at the location of avenue des Gobelins and flowed in front of no. 4 and no. 2. The entrances to the Pascal reach of the dead arm are visible through gaps at no. 28 on the boulevard de Port-Royal , at the other end, rue Pascal at the corner of rue Claude-Bernard. The wall built in the middle of the riverbed when it was covered in 1905 still exists, delimiting the riverside properties. Contrary to what the medallions on the ground on rue Pascal indicate under the boulevard de Port-Royal bridge and further on the sidewalk of even numbers, the Bièvre river did not pass under the street but behind the buildings and did not cross it on the corner with rue Claude-Bernard. The rue de la Clef, rue du Pont-aux-Biches on this section before 1868, crossed the river by the pont aux Biches which is manifested by a slight bulge. The university buildings between rue de la Clef and rue de Santeuil took the place of the Halle aux cuirs or leather’s hall opened in 1866 and destroyed by fire in 1906. Further downstream, the wall along the access road to the underground garage at 25 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire is the one built in the bed of the river when it was backfilled in 1904.

After rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, the Biévre river flowed between rue Poliveau and rue Buffon in the courtyard of the maison Sœur Rosalie (Sister Rosalie house currently private schools and high school) then in an area dependent from 1779 on the National Museum of Natural History (which in the time was the Jardin du Roi or King’s Garden). The curve of rue Nicolas-Houël opened in dead end in 1902 (the Museum having opposed the creation of a public road up to rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire) corresponds to the last bend of the river which then passed under Boulevard de l’Hôpital and Gare d’Austerlitz to flow into the Seine between the metro viaduct and the Charles-de-Gaulle bridge. After passing under Boulevard de l’Hôpital, the Bièvre river was divided into several arms surrounding one or more islets depending on the period and received the open sewer of the Salpêtrière, the hospital’s pollution spillway.

A bit of the history of the river I like

In the Neolithic period, the course of the Bièvre river corresponded to between the Pont d’Austerlitz bridge and the Pont de l’Alma bridge, to that of the current Seine river. During successive floods, the Seine would have captured the old course of the Bièvre from the Pont d’Austerlitz to the Pont de l’Alma. The two rivers would have swept the silt that separated them between the current train stations of Lyon and Austerlitz and the arm of the Seine to the east of the current neighborhood of the Marais was gradually filled. The current confluence of the Bièvre and the Seine was thus formed east of the Sainte-Geneviève mountain in a delta marsh between two arms of the Bièvre leading to the location of the current bridges of the Archdiocese and Austerlitz. . After wandering, the confluence would have been established upstream of the Austerlitz bridge. In the 12C, coming from Saint-Médard, the Bièvre crossed the faubourg Saint-Marcel and the lands of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève, meanders in the middle of marshes (between the current rue Poliveau and Buffon) and flows into the Seine near the Austerlitz bridge. In the 16C, on the night of April 8 to 9, 1579, a brutal flood of the Bièvre, later qualified as the “deluge of the Faubourg Saint-Marcel”, swept away twelve buildings, drowned dozens of inhabitants surprised in their sleep, and damaged seriously the domain of Nicolas Houël, herbalist, pharmacist and philanthropist. During this flood, the water rose 4 to 5 meters, reaching the second floor of the houses. And we talk about climate change now !!

paris metro line 5 over viaduc d austerlitz feb16

At the very gates of Paris at the time, on the lands of Alez, near its natural mouth in the Seine, the Bièvre was diverted in the 12C from its natural course by a canal dug to supply the old Saint-Victor abbey. The diversion was located at the Didier bridge where a dam was built on the site of an outbuilding that the National Museum of Natural History has owned since the 18C between rue Poliveau and rue Buffon. The canal followed the Jeannel alley of the clos Patouillet , the Becquerel alley and the alpine garden in the Jardin des Plantes, passed under the culvert of rue du Ponceau (later rue de Seine, now rue Cuvier), then followed the western ditch of the Jussieu university campus to rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. The Arch of the enclosure of Philippe Auguste allowed it to cross the wall. It still exists (visit one Wednesday a month) under the post office located at the corner of rue des Écoles, at under 10 meters, altitude 17 meters, which gives an idea of the erosion of the Sainte-Geneviève mountain in five centuries. In 1356, Etienne Marcel had a ditch dug along the walls of Philippe-Auguste to the Seine which was doubled a few years later by a second larger ditch as part of the work ordered by Charles V for the fortifications of Paris. These ditches absorbing water from the intramural Victorins canal, the monks were authorized to build a new canal parallel to them as far as the Saint-Bernard gate. Its route was located east of rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, the mouth where the Aletz mill was located near the Saint-Bernard gate, currently at the site of the Institut du Monde Arabe!.

The drained intramural Victorins canal became a receptacle for refuse and was then gradually filled up until the 17C. Until the integration in 1724 of the faubourg Saint-Marcel into Paris, the course of the Bièvre river was outside Paris. The banks of the Bièvre experienced an influx of industrial activities. The tanners expelled from the surroundings of the Place de Grève ( today Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville) by a royal edict of February 1672 settled in the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, joining the dyers. The former saw the river as a sewer, while the dyers needed pure water. We can see a stone engraved on the wall of the Manufacture des Gobelins 8 rue Berbier-du-Mets .The Biévre river gave rise to complaints and recriminations against the pestilences of slaughterhouses, hospitals, sewers, tanners,and other dyers, all of whom complained in turn about the mills causing frequent interruptions of flow on such a shallow slope. The Paris City Council decided in 1826 to channel the Bièvre. The work started in 1828 was completed in 1844. The 3.6 meters wide masonry canal with 2 meters high piers was bordered by 4 meters wide banks of free access except in the ruelle des Gobelins (current rue Berbier-du-Mets) where their width was limited to 1.5 meters. The pipeline channel did little to improve the situation, as the riverside establishments continued to dump their waste, adding to the wastewater from neighboring streets.

The Bièvre river enters Paris between the Porte d’Italie and Porte de Gentilly crosses by several arms, which are only infected streams, the faubourgs Saint-Marcel and Saint-Victor, and ends in the form of a covered sewer on the quai de l ‘Hospital. This river feeds many tanneries, laundries, dyehouses and, among others, the famous Manufacture des Gobelins factory. Although the width of the Bièvre does not exceed 3 meters, this river was formidable by its floods. Haussmann and Belgrand noted as early as 1860 that the only possible solution was to suppress the Bièvre in the open air. The covering of it lasted for fifty years, encountering a lot of opposition and requiring costly expropriations. The last reaches still in the open air in intra-muros Paris, Croulebarde, Glacière and Valence under the homonymous streets were covered in 1912.

And after this long historically recount that I love to tell you and thanks for bearing with me, the main reason of this post comes to this info.

A project for the rebirth of the Bièvre river is supported by many actors, associations, in particular by the association Amis de la Vallée de la Bièvre and by planning unions bringing together the communities concerned, the Mixed Syndicate of the Bièvre watershed SMBVB for the whole valley and SIAVB for the upstream part. The realization of these developments began in 2008. The Kellerman Park was remodeled in order to become a lagoon by its organization and the water plants which are arranged there, and in which one finds in a spontaneous way mallards and herons. A body of water was created in 2015 in the 13éme arrondissement in the Jardin Charles-Trenet garden on the edge of the Rungis train station eco-district in memory of the nearby passage de la Bièvre. Every year in the spring, a Bièvre walk is organized from the Seine river with the departure from the square of Notre-Dame at midnight to the source in Guyancourt with 4 trails. The one I have friends telling me about is the marche Nordique or Nordic walking of 11 km departure from Versailles at 8h.

Some webpages to help you understand the above even if in French….

The marches or walks of the Biévrehttp://marche.bievre.org/index.html

The Biévre Friends organisation on history and more! http://www.bievre.org/

The Project to restore the Biévre in Paris SMBVBhttp://www.smbvb.fr/

The Project to restore the Biévre outside Paris SIAVB: https://www.siavb.fr/riviere.aspx

So there you go maybe one day a historical river of Paris will see the light again, and that I am totally in favor of. Looking forward to the event, follow my posts. The Biévre is the living history of Paris somehow hidden under its streets. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you.

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

October 7, 2020

An exotic stop, Singapore! Redone!

Ok so this is part of the slow down in travel lately even if it is coming along fine within the region of Bretagne. I did this post on a nice little anecdote escapade whatever a while back and rather than re blog , I am redoing the whole post. Bear with me and hope  you enjoy it. Again thanks for reading my blog.

Ok so here I go into the exotic connecting trip. Well there is a story to me been here, and was hidden in small bits of previous posts. This is the time to tell all.  I was going to final destination Indonesia, and on my way there I needed to transfer at Chiangi Airport in Singapore. Never been here, had never any idea of been here, and just by chance I landed here. Always a nice experience checking out a new place.

Singapore overpass on thomson road nov12

Upon landing at Chiangi airport for my connection, I realised that my passport (French) was almost expiring lol!! Never occurred to me in my years of travel, which are many, to have to worry about expiration dates on a passport. Well ,there is always a first.  The bottom line , was not allowed to continue my travel to Indonesia. So what to do? Well change plans go to another country ,as I did. I needed to do something or waste the travel money. I in my old world brain, thought that the embassy can put a page on my passport and I could go on. Well not so fast old traveler.

I went out of Chiangi, so was practically in Singapore! I needed first to get me a hotel. Well the Ibis was fine I figure, French chain Accor no problems ;only to found out ,it was super expensive here (as find out most is) , the charge for the night was 162 euros!!! for an Ibis , you know. Ok so I pay.

Next day, ask for a taxi to take me to the French embassy/consulat to fix my passport. The first taxi driver the Ibis hotel call, was not sure of where the French consulat was and look at a paper map guide lol! I say no way lets get out of it, went back to the hotel and ask for another taxi. This time he knew where the French consulat was!! Well, the French rigueur told me that the reception was pretty cold, not even allowed in the building!!! I was interviewed by a security guy (not French) who relay my message inside, and came back saying no changes possible in passport as it was biometric!!. Oh well ,whatever happened to the good old days where you can just add a page to the passport!

Singapore corner of Baliester rd and thomson rd nov12

Singapore on way to airport nov12

My Ibis Hotel: https://all.accor.com/hotel/6657/index.fr.shtml

So, I needed to change plans and call in my contacts in Vietnam who happens not to worry about dates on passports at least at that time; did not require my passport to be 6 months before expiration but they needed a Visa! Call my office in Vietnam and they send me the visa right away to my mobile telephone. I flashed the visa to the airline staff ,first yes, then no needed a paper copy! ok so from a phone lol! The staff told me there is a Crown Plaza hotel at the Chiangi airport, rush to business center and it was closed!  Ask the reception is an emergency needed to open the business center! how can this be close! She hurried up and opened it for me. Got to email my visa to her desktop computer to print the Visa and rush back to the Vietnam Airline to get on the plane and finally landed in Vietnam. End of story, the rest was easy.

The Crown Plaza Hotelhttps://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/fr/fr/singapore/sincp/hoteldetail

The Chiangi airporthttps://www.changiairport.com/

singapore-lobby-t3-changi-airpt-feb13

singapore Chiangi airport T3 terminal mar15

An experience, to tell the grandchildren , eventually. First and only one so far, but can imagine the hesitation and stress of it all. No thanks. Need to check those darn dates on the passport. Of course, this was so far the only time it happened, not bad on 40 years of traveling but a nice old story nevertheless.  So, this is my experience of Singapore, two days ,one night and thank you. The island nation has a lot to offer but it is very small , and expensive. Unfortunately with all this hectic episode photos are rare and few.

A bit about the country some I pick up there and some from the web.   Singapore is officially the Republic of Singapore, a city State and island country at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia’s Riau islands to the south, and peninsular Malaysia  to the north. Singapore’s territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets on 130 sq km or 50 sq miles!. The main island is call Pulau Ujong. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia;  the Johor-Singapore Causeway  in the north and the Tuas Second Link  in the west.

Singaporean residents pay high prices for their cars and there is a lot of public transport on bus, Taxis, Train (MRT and LRT) with the networks of SBS transit and SMRT Corporation.  There are six at least taxi companies, who together put out over 28,000 taxis on the road. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap compared to many other developed countries. The Chiangi International Airport is wonderful and a treat just to stay there ! It has been rated one of the best international airports by international travel magazines.  Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil. However, English is the common language, and is the language of business, government, and the medium of instruction in schools.

A brief history I like to get to know the place you go better

Stamfort Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the British East India Company. After the company’s collapse in 1858, the islands were ceded to the British Raj as a crown colony.  It gained independence from the UK in 1963 by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but separated two years later over ideological differences , becoming a sovereign nation in 1965.

The Singapore tourist officehttps://www.visitsingapore.com/en/

An interesting place indeed, exotic as far as Asia and maybe worth a longer stay to see more. I just have a dot in my world map as been here in Singapore.

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

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