Archive for October 19th, 2020

October 19, 2020

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXX!

And here I am back on my miscellaneus tipbits of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of lovely Bretagne, and in my belle France. The days are grayer as Fall is here for good, and the temps played the game of cold mornings and late night and pleasant during the day. Currently we have 17C overcast with no rain with this morning been 5C! What is all this to folks not on the metric system , well easy by now for me thinking in both worlds; now 63F and this morning was 41F. And yes time flies fast when having fun, LXXX is my 80th post on my Morbihan! Thanks for reading me!!!

Let me give you some of the latest from my travels or news….of Morbihan.

Vannes Photo Festival until November 1 2020 free festival ; more here : http://www.vannesphotosfestival.fr/

Salon Habitat 240 expositions about furniture, renovation, energy, decoration ecohabitat and gardens/pools . All November 14-16 2020 at Le Chorus expo center of Vannes. https://www.lechorus.com/fr/salons-grand-public/salon-habitat-et-immobilier-de-vannes

Musée de la Cohue, pl St Pierre Vannes, until November 15 showing Terres et Landes showing work from 1850 to 1950 And now all museums in Vannes are free for 18-25 yrs old!  https://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesloisirs/musees/musee-des-beaux-arts-la-cohue/

At Océanopolis , port de plaisance du Moulin blanc Brest, showing until November 1 2020 the 20th edition of the Festival du Film de l’Aventure Océanographique!  https://www.oceanopolis.com/festival-du-film-de-laventure-oceanographique

Alrékids, 4 avenue Roland Garros, Auray, 800 m2 games park for kids up to 12 yrs old. Mini karting, escaling wall giant toboggans, tyrollenne, trampolins, monkey bridge, football field and many shows for kids. https://recreatiloups.com/alre-kids-parc-de-jeux-indoor/

Ti Hanok cinema Auray Porte Oceane III Place de l’Europe showing the wonderful French film L’enfant rêvé! On October 28th With Jalil Lespert, Louise Bourgoin, and Mélanie Doutey. Story of folks giving their life to the forest especially those in the Jura and romance of course. https://www.cinematihanok.bzh/prochainement

A new place Awen Brew Pub is now open as a micro artisanal brewery with unique beers such as the Awen Blonde, Triple with an North American inspiration all with meals locally produce, a big meeting room and events like concerts and sporting TV showing. Open 7/7 9h to 01h 1 rue Gilles Gahinet, Parc du Golfe, Vannes. https://www.brasserie-awen.bzh/

Casino de Carnac, 41 avenue des Salines Carnac showing October 23 Hommage à Johnny (Holliday) and on November 8, Olivier Lejeune with his show Mieux vaut en rire, comedy. weppage here: https://www.circuscasino.fr/fr/etablissements/agenda/carnac

The Grand West Festival in Quiberon. 1st edition – Cinema & Literature Meetings sponsored by François Busnel. Weekend organized by Le Paradis Cinema, the City of Quiberon and the Port Maria Bookstore. To accompany the Grand West festival, the Quiberon media library honors its American authors and Gallmeister editions. The exhibition Impressions of America designed by Gallmeister editions presents ten illustrations of his novel covers: how does the illustrator conceive of an original work that resonates with a text? What vision of America is thus conveyed by the creator? Cinema Le Paradis, Rue du Phare Quiberon 56170. https://www.facebook.com/CinemaleParadis/

And the tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon on the Festival:  https://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/a-voir-a-faire/agenda/festival-grand-west-a-quiberon

La Sorcière du Château or sorcerer of the castle presents … Hello little and big monsters, The Witch is organizing a creative week to celebrate Halloween during the following dates: Wednesday October 28: creation of Halloween card with scary seals and waxes (5 €) Thursday October 29: Terrifying Halloween Origami (2 €). Friday October 30: Bookmark in Calligraphy (€ 5) Saturday October 31: Disgusting snack and horrifying Halloween makeup (€ 2). It is preferable to reserve your schedule for the workshops in order to respect our health protocol in the face of CoVid. 24 place St Michel Rochefort en Terre 56220. More here: https://www.facebook.com/La-Sorci%C3%A8re-du-Chateau-466389130595998/?modal=admin_todo_tour

A Castle, a Museum, a full moon, pumpkins … Or the curious ingredients of a visit like no other! From Baudelaire to witches, from the Queen of Swords to pagan celebrations, come and rediscover the origins of Jack 0’Lantern by letting yourself be sprinkled with magic and esotericism. Come celebrate Halloween at the Naïa Museum, for a unique event between myths and reality, art and thrills. October 29, 30, 31 and November 1. Visiting times: 14h to 15h and   15h30. to 17h30 . Prices (guided tour + entrance to the museum): 12€ Full prices, 10€ Reduced prices. Guided tour intended for an audience aged 7 to 77, and beyond! Groups will be made up of a maximum of 10 people per visit. Online reservations only.  14 rue du château Rochefort en Terre 56220. More here: https://www.facebook.com/naiamuseum/

The diversity of Brittany, a land of inspiration for many artists in the 19C and 20C, is still unknown to this day by many of us. Through this exhibition, you will discover the interest shown by some painters both inland and along the coast.  The proposed trip from Faouët to Concarneau will be marked by several stops passing through Scaër and Rosporden, or Bannalec and Pont-Aven, but also through Quimperlé before going along the south coast and reaching the city of Ville-Close. The exhibition will highlight the artists’ artistic and ethnographic view of these people of the sea and land and their world through the seascapes and rural landscapes, as well as the scenes of collective life, animated on festive and market days, or the more intimate scenes of life in the marine and peasant interiors, not to mention the work of their daily lives. Bringing together numerous works from public and private collections, this presentation will also include several paintings from the Faouët Museum’s permanent collection and will be accompanied by a richly documented and illustrated catalogue. 1 rue de Quimper Musée 56320 Le Faouët. More here: https://www.museedufaouet.fr/pages/actu/actualite-exposition-une-famille-d-artistes-au-faouet-169.html

Halloween under the theme “it’s raining, it’s wet it’s the pumpkin party”. This season for the All Saints’ Day holidays, from Saturday October 17 to Sunday November 1, the Ferme du Monde is once again offering Halloween entertainment under the theme “it’s raining, it’s wet it’s the pumpkin party”. On the program, sheltered games for families: guessing games, angling in dark water, spider races, story time, and a haunted house. Not to mention the unconditional ghost train. 2 “flagship” days to note: Wednesday October 21: dog sled animation (demonstrations and petting sessions) and Wednesday October 28: make-up workshop for children from 14h30. Children bringing a Halloween-themed drawing will participate in the draw to win a birthday package for 6 people at the Ferme du Monde (valid for the 2021 season). Finally, to thank the disguised children (up to 12 years old), their entry will be offered to them. La Ferme du monde Carentoir, 56910. More here: https://www.lafermedumonde.com/2018/10/19/journees-halloween/

And there you go folks, short and sassy as the old saying goes;;; nothing to start you off on my Morbihan department fall/winter season. Plenty of things to come, stay tune ok. Thanks for reading me and best wishes for the season ahead.

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

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October 19, 2020

Amsterdam, public transports!

Here is one of my classic posts, as been crazy about road warrior trips I give the impression that I am always in a car ! However, you know that if you live in Europe, public transports is a must. I have taken these in many cities/countries of Europe. One of my fun trips were in Amsterdam! Therefore, let me tell you a bit on public transports there!

Granted, I have driven to Amsterdam too lol! call me crazy but I do not said road warrior for nothing! Love the freedom of the road! The main here is the A10 Ringroad surrounding the city connects Amsterdam with the Dutch national network of freeways. Interchanges allow cars to enter the city by transferring to one of the eighteen city roads, numbered s101 through s118. The s100 is called the centrumring, a smaller ringroad circumnavigating the city center. There are free parkings in Amsterdam but not with security and are rather quickly taken so be aware, anyway these are Spinnerij, Diemen-Zuid, Gaasperplas, and Buikslotermeerplein. To find a covered parking in Amsterdam see the choices at parclick webpage with my favorite Centraal near the train station showing here: https://parclick.com/parking-amsterdam/weparc-valet-amsterdam-centraal-station-cs

ams parking centre near centraal apr13

For the fearful or radical ecolos who do not want to drive into city center, you can choose the P+R (park and relay)» Olympish Stadion . This one is better in off season from tourists as when they are in the most it is full usually. Others are  P + R Sloterdijk and P + R Bos en Lommer, P + R VUmc (weekends only), P + R RAI, P + R ArenA, P + R Zeeburg I, and Zeeburg II. The city of Amsterdam tells you all about their parkings in English here: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/parking/

My road warrior experience took me into the A4 then A5 in Holland connecting with the A10 to connect with road s109 then s108 ;museumbrug ;Prinsengracht; Westerdokskade, right on De Ruijterkade to  Centraal train station parking! Great city driving!

As per the pure public transports within the city of Amsterdam you a blend of  bicycles and other public transportation.  The city is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and is a center of bicycle culture. Most main streets have bike paths. Bike racks are ubiquitous throughout the city. Bikes can be taken onto tram 26 or the metro but only outside the rush hour (7-9h / 16h-18h30). A bicycle ticket costs 1.80€ and is valid for the entire day. It can be added as a supplement to a personal or anonymous OV-chip card. Alternatively there is a disposable 1 hour card + bicycle which costs 5€. Do check these prices for updates.

Amsterdam has a large collection of canals (see post). In total over 150 of these waterways crisscross the city and its surroundings, dividing the city of Amsterdam into approximately 90 mini islands. This network of islands is joined together by a vast number of bridges, totaling over 1,000. Today these canals are only suitable for smaller barges, pleasure craft and the canal tour boats. There is however one main exception: DHL (my dear late wife Martine wonderful employer in France) has its own DHL parcel boats that delivers packages across town using the old waterways.

ams centraal canals apr13

As you can already notice, public transport in Amsterdam consists of metro, tram, bus and ferry routes operated mainly by GVB, the city-owned public transport operator. Currently, there are 16 different tram routes, and five metro routes. There are also privately operated water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing operation, electric rental boats (Boaty) and canal cruises, that transport people along Amsterdam’s waterways. A GVB day ticket will give you unlimited traveling with GVB for 1,2,3 , 4,5 up to 7 days ( I have purchased the two days ticket very handy on a OV chipkaart).

The GVB network: https://en.gvb.nl/

ams centraal station right apr13

The metro in Amsterdam is especially efficient to travel to the edges of the city. When exploring the city center trams and buses are more convenient.
The tram is one of the most popular ways of transportation in the city center, the network is large and highly reliable.

it is not possible to travel with standard paper tickets anymore. Traveling using the railway network requires a public transport chip card or a one way ticket. Please note that in order to be able to travel by train the credits on your chip card must be at least  20€. To avoid the hassle of buying a travel ticket seconds before departure of the train it is possible to buy your ticket online. The card to load money is call OV-Chipkaart

Of the 15 tram lines, 9 operate from Amsterdam Centraal train station.  There are 2 tram stop areas on the city side of Amsterdam Centraal station ; one on the eastern side labelled A, for services south- and east-bound, and one on the west side labelled B, for services south- and west-bound. Trams run daily from around 6h(weekdays) and 7h (weekends) to just after midnight.

The GVB tram lines in English: https://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/lijnen?tram&show

There are 5 metro lines such as M50 , M51, M52, M53, and M54 with a total network length of 43 km which includes 39 stations. The Amsterdam Metro first opened back in 1977. Just for reference as do not like to go underground, want to see the city best above ground.

To move in the harbor, best try a ferry , just for the adventure. Each of these ferries is entirely free to use and there is no ticket required. Ferry services are available for foot passengers, cyclists, and moped users.

ams GVB ferry at port behind centraal apr13

Second best to trams ,use the bus in Amsterdam!  Amsterdam’s public bus system is probably the most extensive service offered by GVB with a total of 35 bus lines taking passengers from the city center to the suburbs. There are also 10 night buses which run after dark from Centraal train station to a variety of locations such as Sloterdijk, IJburg, Nieuwendam, Bijlmer-ArenA and more.

The GVB bus network is here: https://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/lijnen?bus&show

There are 10 train stations in Amsterdam.  My experience has been with Amsterdam Centraal. From the station there are regular services with destinations in Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland. The other train station just listing as never used them are Amstel, Bijlmer ArenA . It is close to the Amsterdam ArenA stadium. Holendrecht, Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, RAI Amsterdam Science Parkn Sloterdijk . It allows passengers to change between the directions Amsterdam Centraal, Haarlem, Schiphol and Zaandam.Sloterdijk Hemboog This is an extra stop for trains on the direct railway between Zaandam and Schiphol. Amsterdam Zuid.

ams centraal left side apr13

I have to include here Schiphol Airport which is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal Station . The Airport Express bus 397 operates between Schiphol and Elandsgracht in central Amsterdam every 15 minutes. However, already have a post on the airport see post!

ams schiphol airport transfer line schedule sept17

The city of Amsterdam on public transports: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/policy/policy-traffic/public-transport/

The tourist office of Amsterdam on public transports: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport

My favorite route planner in English webpage 9292https://9292.nl/en

The official GVB travel plannerhttps://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/route

And for the most courageous public transports in Holland as a whole from the tourist board in English here: https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/information/public-transport.htm

There you go a wonderful pocket guide for your moving around in Amsterdam. As said, have experience here by road, plane, tram, and train. Hope this brief guide can help you navigate and enjoy the city better.

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

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October 19, 2020

Lovely Prague, and more!!

Well lets get back to Europe shall we! I always heard of the country even when it was a different name, and had opportunity to come in but did not. Then , all of a sudden, came to it first by 2014 and thereafter came 3 more times until the virus. Prague is nice and the new country of the Czech Republic has interesting sights as well as the new country of Slovakia! Let me tell you a bit about it with new text using some old photos but new in the blog.

I am not going to go into the history because is long and troublesome, already touch base in previous posts. Let me tell you where I went instead. This was Prague, mainly, as well as by Brno and Bratisalva in Slovakia as well as visit smaller towns like Kurosov, Budmerice, Ostrokevice, and Radnov.

I did walk the Prague,and went to the periphery of Praha 10 or Prague 10 district away from touristic center. This is the real city for me. The airport is smallist but easy to move about, not too many stores. I came by air on AF from Nantes to Paris CDG and then Czech Airlines to Prague Havel airport. The airport is in the nearby town of Lestice.

There are many ways to get to the city with buses ,taxis, shuttles etc. I usually took a taxi, but this time try the tourist in me and took Cedaz the private express airport. The ride was 150 K or about 7 euros; every 30 minutes ride is about 40 minutes. You can take it from Terminal 1 exit F or 2 exit E. Very easy nice ride. It stop me right in front side of the Hilton Old Town Hotel. However, as updates goes, the Cedaz service has been discontinued so this is just for the memories ok.  At the aiport had lunch at a nice restaurant in El Mundo del Tabaco cafe. Where I had my lunch with a nice Czech beer Pilsner Urquel. This has also closed so again just for the memories in my blog.

The Prague airport site in English: https://www.prg.aero/en#/

Prague airport T1 passing oct16

prague airport getting to gates C7 T2 oct16

My first stay going in was at the wonderfully nice mansion villa in Praha 10 as well call Hotel Villa, very nice friendly service, good space rooms,and good breakfast, restaurant. They are still there, webpage in English: http://www.hotel-villa.cz/?lang=en

prague hotel villa main ent nov13

However, while in town went out to eat as the locals do for a full feeling of belonging in Praque. I had great lunches at Peugeot Restaurant; very local food and away from tourist, good food and nice prompt service. I went for the menu of Czech specialties and all good. The owners love the Peugeot cars and the rooms are decorated with replicas and posters of them plus scènes from Paris! More here in Czech: http://www.restaurace-peugeot.cz/

prague peugeot resto outside praha 10 nov13

Then, it was a wandering walk thru old town, just missing the Charles river but see everything else.  I stop by the train station which is rather nice and webpage is here: https://www.dpp.cz/en

Also , at  Masarykovo Nadrazi with plenty of tramway and bus service to the city and around it. Also trains as  Hlavni Nadrazi to other towns, webpage here: https://www.cd.cz/en/default.htm

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As I needed to be in and out of Prague ,when back stayed at another wonderful location. I did some ride into town and did some walking until finally settling into my hotel. A new place very inexpensive and very nice, I have already experience knowing the investment guys in the St Christopher’s in Paris, but here it is call Penzion U Krystof in Praha 10 .More info here: https://krystof.cz/en/

prague-penzion-u-krystof-hotel-side-from-tennis-club-oct16

prague-penzion-u-krystof-hotel-lobby-oct16

Nice friendly and no English Pizza Next on 131 Zabehlicka street Praha 10, real good pizzas and a nice pint of Pilsner Urquel beer. all for 6€ lol! Cannot find a webpage for them but it is near the Hamr tennis complex on the above street. Talking about the Hamr tennis sports complex, this is superb, and nice modern facilities. Even a soccer/football local match to watch, and great food at the Piazza d’Oro terrace restaurant overlooking the lake Hamersky. too bad is only in Czech, but the facilities are full, the restaurant was goulasch , rice and a nice krusovice beer for 4€ ;more info  here: http://www.hamrsport.cz/cs/zabehlice/restaurace/

prague-pizza-next-counters-inside-oct16

prague-hamr-tennis-club-entrance-next-to-hotel-oct16

On my way out of Prague and going home I did splurge myself  at the Hilton Old Town Prague. This is  a grand chain and this hotel rank high up. Queen size bed and views of the city in front of you, walking to Namesti Republiky square The room was big ,bath too, wifi, bar, and on the 7th floor nice.  more into the business traveler but families will be in heaven too. More info here: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/prgothi-hilton-prague-old-town/

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And of course, going out with a bang. I went to eat at Potrefena Husa resto and it was fantastic ambiance good food and cheap at 10€ including beer. The beer was local and a bit yeasty but ok. More info here: https://www.potrefena-husa.eu/en/

My evening I went to the Kolkovna Celnice typical Czech resto not far from the Hilton, and it was  a simple business dinner pilsner beers that took the idea of Prague even more enticing Old Czech Kolkovna  platter 900 grams for about 13 euros! More info here: https://www.kolkovna.cz/en/kolkovna-celnice-13

Next day was a soul searching in dark old town Prague; and I took my friends on a walking tour of Prague to find a place locals had brought me before, the Hybernia or 2002 with the brewing pilsner beers and more drinks and be merry, recommended for more time. More info here: https://www.dvatisicedva.cz/contact

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I continue the seach for excellence and we just got in before closing at the Dubliner Irish pub that we should come back. More info here: https://aulddubliner.cz/

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In between i was in the market of Monday morning at Namesti Republiky, colorful by the metro station entrance. I walk around seeing the wonderful buildings such as the powder tower ,muséums, and theaters; etc.

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The tourist office of Praguehttps://www.prague.eu/en

This time took some time into the countryside and even into Slovakia. Hurry trip by car moving fast and eating on road stops but now I saw more of a pretty country.  It was new ,also, to have lunch at the road rest stops like Benzina, Mol, and Viva along the road 1 dir Brno, etc. and into Slovakia. This site will help you find some of the stations : https://www.benzina.cz/en/stations/Pages/main.aspx

bratislava-mol-gas-rest-stop-resto-oct16

And of course the Czech motorway info page is very good for car travel there ! I love it!!! http://www.motorway.cz/

I did had lunch at a nice stop hotel restaurant Atrium near Brno , more info here:https://www.hotelatrium.eu/en

brno-near-brno-hotel-resto-atrium-for-lunch-oct16

I drove by Brno and Bratisalva in Slovakia as well as visit smaller towns like Kurosov, Budmerice, Ostrokevice, and Radnov with lots of country and farms. All nice rolling roads and beautiful scenary. It will be a nice to be back when the virus allows it for in depth look.

bratislava-new-tramway-network-oct16

Otrokovice city hall passing oct16

And it was time to be back to Prague, and my Hilton again before saying goodbye to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The difference was that I always get a taxi and never a problem,only once had to haggle over a price but was easily settled in my favor. This time I hire the Prague Airport Transfer service and English spoken nice ride and good driver. More info here: http://www.prague-airport-transfers.co.uk/

The tourist office of the Czech Republic:  https://www.visitczechrepublic.com/en-US

The tourist office of Slovakiahttps://slovakia.travel/en

There you folks ,another dandy road warrior trip with a bit of help of airplane to get there. Wonderful country side and lots of souvenirs of these trips. Again, looking forward to be back, it was a blast! Hope you enjoy the post as I did.

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

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