Archive for November 18th, 2020

November 18, 2020

A Coruña here I come back !!!

And again, revised update text and links from a memorable trip to Galicia Spain. This time I take you back to A Coruña! I will leave the photos not shown elsewhere me think. Hope you enjoy it as I did redoing it

Well almost exactly a year I came back briefly to A Coruña and always pleasant from the tricky airport to the ambiance and the food.  It was a long flight driving first to Nantes airport, then catching Iberia to Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas T4, which already has become like a second home lol!!! Then the Iberia transfer to A Coruña airport.

Going went easy but the return was hell, Iberia was one hour late in arriving, and when the connection at Barajas thinking will miss the flight went to the customer service desk, saw a long line! Then looking at the boards realise my flight was still boarding! (held because of the flight delays of the day) ,ran like a mad man to the gate K85 and was able to catch the last bus to the plane!!! Arrive at Nantes took my car and finally arrive home by midnight! I will try never again to take Iberia, two trips with them and two delays!!

The Coruna airport site for reference:  http://www.aena.es/en/a-coruna-airport/airport-guide.html

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I took a taxi this time very nice friendly talkative guy and he took me to the scenic ride down the road along the bay into the center of town and back to my hotel; this was my request. The cost was less than 15 euros and I arrive at my hotel.

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The Attica21 hotel is my repeat hotel here in the wonderful neighborhood of Matogrande very nice modern from the 20C architecture. The area is surrounded by nice hôtels , great restos and gyms too!

The Attica21 Hotel webpage: https://www.attica21hotels.com/fr/hotel-attica21-coruna/

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Here had the opportunity to walk into places already guided before by locals such as the SoHo Café and Bogart Baar and a new one Fire Capitano just across the street from the hotel.  Every lunch or dinner was an adventure. I also, try the restaurant in the hotel where a buffet menu of 15€ was awesome quality /price.

I give the links for the restos here:

Soho Caféhttps://sohocafecoruna.com/

Bogart Baar,no web but a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BogartBaar/

Fire Capitanohttps://www.klikin.com/commercessites/#/commerceInfo/57c4550651355801000f99ef

I did some walk around and took a car trip to Sada outside A Coruña and on to Lugo, not much time there just passing city center for a quick look.

lugo-on-road-fr-coruna-c-may16

On the way back stayed one night and no pictures at another wonderful hotel. The AC A Coruña Hotel part of the Marriott chain just at the entrance to the city,and half way to Sada. The hotel was very nice, friendly, with all amenities I needed. The rooms was big, and the bed; and it has a great breakfast resto with all you can eat included in the price of the room, and the AC Bar was great , cold drinks and light meals. One to consider when in town, even if a bit away from the coastline beaches. webpage: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lcgco-ac-hotel-a-coruna/

As a side anecdote all this was around the holiday of St James  ,Santiago, St Jacques the famous saint of Galicia so so!!  It was July 25th the feast of St James or Santiago, the patron saint of Galicia and Spain. It was a day off, so my old friend from Real Madrid days Nilo came to pick me up at the hotel. The poor man drove 110 kms to see me, I thought it was closer.

However, the trip ,the company was like family. We drove to Xove, passing Ferrol, Viveiro, Oviudo, Cabanas, St Ciprian has a beautiful beach sitting next to Xove. He took me to the next town San Cibrao en Galician or San Ciprian in Castilian,  and I step into a wonderful beach of Torno or praia do Torno.

The beaches around Xove: http://: https://turismo.xove.es/praias/

The local council on the beach at Tornohttp://www.concellodecervo.com/web/publico/turismo/praias-e-calas/praia-do-torno

We have a saying that once a Real Madrid fan, Madridista, you are always one and welcome the world over. Here is home ground and it is no different. We walk all over town stopping for tapas and drinks in so many places I lost count lol!!! It is a faster pace one that I need to get back in shape for it. The locals dont stop eating, drinking,and talking all day long.

We made a meal at the finca or family terrain just overlooking the nice beach of San Ciprian, and we had salmon, and percebes, and salads, plus white wine of Ribeiro, and it was fun all afternoon. I had some adjustments to make but was able to hold on the day and come back to A Coruña to the AC hotel before next morning going back home. A memorable trip never to forget and we are still in touch of course.

The tourist office of  Galicia on A Coruñahttps://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/cidades/a-coruna?langId=en_US

I encourage those readers to visit A Coruña is really a small but nice city to visit and friendly folks as well as the rest of Galicia. Hope you enjoy the post and the personal story.

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

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November 18, 2020

Once again Madrid ,always heaven on earth!!!

And I continue my zesty quest to update my older posts with revise up to date text and links. I will put pictures if not seen elsewhere in my blog, that is the idea. Hope you enjoy these old posts as much as I do writing them. And food for thought for my new readers. Thanks in advance !

And of course, once again Madrid, always heaven on earth ,yes indeed!

Madrid the city of my youthful movida and lucky enough to visit often nowdays; this time was a short 3 days but did I had fun as always!!

Landing in T4 Adolfo Suàrez Madrid-Barajas airport on Iberia; and taken that quick trip on the metro line 8 to Colombia connecting with the line 9 to Sanz de Baranda and my hotel as usual lately the Ayre Gran Colon Hotel. webpage: https://www.ayrehoteles.com/en/hotels/ayre-gran-hotel-colon/

It was a Saturday so the night of Bruce Springteen concert at the Bernabeu stadium, he was staying in the Westin Palace,the hotel of my business conference and all was busy trying to get a glimpse in vain. lol!!

I took the plunge to go out at night walked those wonderful lively great Madrid night time always busy never a dull moment. Madrid just breathing its air feels great, rejuvenating, stronger; I walked all over km after km it was fantastic. Stopping here and then for a caña or jarra (bigger glass of beer) looking for that Mahou or Meau!

Getting my typical real souvenirs at Arte Toledano in Paseo del Prado, you find the finest of Toledo and Madrid here with medieval armor museum and ceramics, portraits etc gifts for all tastes and genuine Spanish. Unfortunately, now closed! Here just for the memories.

Took a look at Atocha train station always imposing from the Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V, and the many restaurants around it. It was the train station closest to my piso or apartment when living here and a must to stop by.

In my walks I past by the Fuente de las Cibeles and Fuente Neptuno the main venues in victory for the Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid, respectively. On Sunday took part in the outside festivities of the  King’s Cup or Copa del Rey, between Sevilla and Barcelona at the Calderon stadium. Sevilla maravilla was short and Barcelona won but the ambiance was great. A point to make is seeing all those Catalans taken pictures in front of the Congreso de los Diputados (Spanish parliament) lol! And the great statue to Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra the writer of Don Quijote!!! It shows you is not all what the media points out.

Moving along in my walks passing the Cine Ideal ,founded in 1916 in the site of the convent of the Footed Trinity  or Convento de los Trinitarios Calzados; later in 1932 was adapted to do teatrical shows and Spanish Zarzuelas theater plays , and finally in 1990 came back as a cinema. My mother used to bring me here as a kid !!! It is at calle del Doctor Cortezo, near the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, but you can see it from Calle Mayor! Just for my memories webpage: https://www.yelmocines.es/cartelera/madrid/ideal

And walked by the Teatro Calderon who was built in 1917; before it was call Teatro Odéon,   located at Calle Atocha, 18 just in front of the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. Theater and Spanish Zarzuela with performers like Plàcido Domingo! webpage: https://teatrocalderon.es/

You see wonderful architecture and places to see Madrid from above and eating out right on Calle Alcalà like the Instituto Cervantes, a wonderful place to expose the Spanish language and culture all over the world; the building is a fantastic architecture marvel. For info webpage: https://www.cervantes.es/sobre_instituto_cervantes/informacion.htm

You go on to the Plaza de España and the complex in honor of Miguel Cervantes Saavedra the writer of Don Quijote and the elements of Sancho Panza on one side and Dulcinea on the other. The Plaza de Oriente with its marvelous Teatro Real; actually a bit further back in the Plaza de Isabel II.

Not to forget the small quaint medievel Plaza de la Villa off Calle Mayor, this is the govt city hall annex of the city of Madrid. You can see here the Casa Lujanes with its tower, Casa de Cisneros ,and Casa de la Villa where the city hall is located ,with the statue to Alvaro de Bazan, hero of Lepanto amongst others.

Just a wonderful town, a must to see in Europe, the No 2 most visited country in the world according to UN WTO statistics, and well deserved. See it to believe it. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

As an anecdote while doing this trip, my team the Real Madrid became last night the winner in penalties kicks of the 11th Champions league title, the most in history, the greatest of all time. Hala Madrid !!! for eternity. The French coach Zinadine Zidane became the first Frenchmen to ever won the Champions as player and coach! Real Madrid webpage for reference: https://www.realmadrid.com/en

The city of Madrid tourist officehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en

So now you have it and me updated on my beloved dear Madrid. Looking forward to be back once allowed by the virus. Stay safe you all and again thanks for reading me!

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

November 18, 2020

Madrid is like home!!!

I like that title, Madrid is like home!!! Really, each time I feel like a fish in the water… Wonderful memories, finding it meeting it and getting to know my future wife there, and my Mom showing me around the roots; yes Madrid is like home!!!

I am updating, revising these posts of old going to when I started my blog and bringing them to life pershaps to my new readers. Hope you enjoy it as I do doing it. Reminder, most if not all  of the monuments here I have photos in their individual posts.

In a way, I am very lucky to be able to visit Madrid often, couple times a year sometimes 3. For those new to my blog, I lived in Madrid in the 70’s in another era as a teenager, and it has impacted me greatly over the years. My Spanish from my grandparents of Tenerife, allows me to move easy in the city as well.  It’s a memorable event each time, like the first time.

I came from my adopted country of France, and as always in the last few years come out of Nantes Atlantique airport. This time came on Iberia to Adolfo Suàrez Madrid Barajas airport on terminal 4. Very easy trip going and coming. I had my usual rendering of Màs Q Menos resto in T4 and my usual turrones, chocolates ,and vinos of Spain to bring back. I had a drive to my hotel. The hotel is the by now my home away from home , good , they all know me there now lol!  Ayre hotels and the wonderful Gran Colon at 1 Calle Pez Volador corner with Calle del  Dr Esquerdo.  The metro station on line 6 or 9 is Sainz de Baranda or Conde de Casal. However, I do not need to go underground to see the city only use it to come in from airport when nobody can get met.

The first night had a mission to go out and walk to my old baseball playing field in the Polideportivo La Elipa, I walked over the passarelle of the beltway road M30. This road was built just as I was leaving Madrid with my dear mother, and now it’s a major road encircling Madrid on the first beltway, as by now there are several others! It took me about 20 minutes walking to reach La Elipa, and memories began to flash back. In previous trip, did not had time to stop by.. La Elipa back in 1971 was just a playing field that the US air force base in Torrejon de Ardoz had built so the kids of the servicemen could continue playing the American game of baseball.  It was just a playing field, couple of stands and period. I played for a team that was sponsoring the baseball initiative, the Real Madrid CF in a league of 8 teams that included the Rayo Vallecano, Atletico de Madrid, Condepols, Piratas, the school Abraham Lincoln, etc.Don’t remember them all. The ride was taken on the P13 that now is bus line 113, the same!!!,and subsequently took it. The Madrid baseball federation is now based there, and they still play baseball there!!! Now with a huge complex of 3 municipal pools, running trails, and a full cafeteria. It was a moment to reflect on those beautiful times of youth that just won’t or do not want to let it go away. Especially, seen my Mom sitting in the stand watching me played the feeling is awesome. Madrid is like home.

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However, friends came to me to have lunch in their town of Rivas VaciaMadrid and we had lunch together at Palacio Criollo, an Argentinian steakhouse. I had my bife chorizo very good and tender, with the cruzcampo beers and coffee, great experience even if for most visitors this is a bit far off, line 9 of metro and then walking.  This is their webpage: http://www.palaciocriollo.es/

rivas vaciamadrid palacio criollo resto argentino setna jul15

By the way one of the top baseball teams in Spain today is from Rivas Vaciamadrid ,even if this year they are not doing well. Real Federacion Española de Béisbol y Sofbol or the Royal Federation of Baseball and Softball of Spain webpage: https://www.rfebs.es/beisbol/20201104/cronica-jornada-9-division-de-honor-de-beisbol-2/

I came back late at the hotel and decided after a full day running around to eat at the hotel restaurant which is nice and a view of the street Dr Esquerdo.

The second night there, decided to go back towards the  Retiro park, a wonderful park in the heart of the city and my hangout as a teen and still in love with it , or love all the things I see there ::)  I set out on foot as well best way to see any city and Madrid is no exception. This was my itinerary on foot. I left the hotel Gran Colon , and headed out to Dr Esquerdo street, walk towards conde de casal, but turn right on ave de Nazaret , this took me to plaza del Niño Jesus (square), here reach avenida de Menendez Pelayo and the Retiro park was on my right hand side. Flashes back already as every building every turn almost every house got to think, “I was here”.

I continue on Menendez Pelayo until the traffic circle of several streets but stayed on right hand side to hit Paseo de la Reina Cristina; this is a wonderful boulevard going down to Atocha, and of course passed by the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha Church, very nice At the end it joins avenida ciudad de Barcelona with a nice monument to the fallen, and you see the Repsol gas/petrol station and of course Atocha on the back cercanias trains entrance. Aand went inside, there had my soul searching boy mind and had my whopper at Burger King ! yes, can ‘t help it ok so what is good and from Florida another of my love spots in the world.

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It was time to remember, to go back in my mind to those wonderful days of youth and see all the crowds in their routine of traveling in Spain by train. I too, went out of here many times since those days. After some soul searching, headed back to the hotel following the same route, took about 15 minutes. Time to rest and say one more time Adios Madrid, pero recuerden, Madrid al cielo y un hueco en él para mirarla todos los dias. Or Good bye Madrid, but remember, From Madrid to heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!

Madrid is like home!! Indeed. I hope you enjoy the post even if from a visiting point of view as to me is beyond the simple visit. Enjoy it live it share it and  maybe one day you can visit too.

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

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November 18, 2020

Lisboa one more time is better!

Again, in my saga to update , revise, and put new text and or  photos into my older posts continues. This time I take you over to the wonderful Lisbon, Portugal! Hope you enjoy this most memorable visit

One more trip to Portugal , in Lisbon short and sassy trip, the opportunity is always there. It has been a year since I last visited this wonderful city and country. So here is again Lisbon, Portugal. Have to say know the country well, speak the language and my oldest son godfather is from there..Faro.

I flew straight from Nantes Atlantique airport to Lisbon on Sunday. After driving about 1h30 from home to the Nantes airport on the N165. I was afraid of having the flight cancelled as was using TAP , and they were on strikes early May, but was fortunate enough the flight was handle by Portugalia regional carrier for TAP and was ok, flawless.!!

Once landed at Lisbon airport, the hesitation is to take a taxi as last time, but trying to be all places and see all, needed to take the public transport just to try or to be able to said I was here::)

Landing at Terminal 1 the way out was easy well posted except the metro signs, but I would think is easy, I speak Portuguese so an extra advantage me think. Once outside the terminal, you see the metro entrance even with TV telling you about the incoming and outgoing flights, you go straight to the ticket machine. There was a small line with only four machines! but it move fairly quickly. I got my refill on my previously purchased card from last year, took two trips at 1,40 euros each. Then went on to the red or vermelho line to Saldanha and here took the yellow or amarela line to Cidade Universitaria, got up to street level here and walk on rua afonso coma pinto all around to my hotel on foot ,about 10 minutes.  Walking past the University stadium and café , and the hospital Santa Maria. It was hot about 30C so thinking not to do this again, better a taxi.

The Lisbon airport webpage: https://www.aeroportolisboa.pt/en

The metro of Lisbon webpage: https://www.metrolisboa.pt/en/

I got to my hotel the Marriott Lisbon at Avenida dos Combatentes, nice spacious hotel if a bit out of the city center. The Marriott put me on the 15th floor with a great view of the city. The shortcomings was far from center and the bar right in the lobby and smallist. The rest was perfect, with great service, spacious rooms and baths, nice outdoor pool with terrace, nice restaurant, and very modern facilities. Webpage: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lispt-lisbon-marriott-hotel/

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First night, it was free time, and as I have been here before and it has become a habit to stop by each time in town, it was going thru renovation last time I heard and temporarily move to Rua de Santa Justa 54. I was to meet friends here and I end up been the tour director of the rest that came from several countries.  So I made them all take taxis and went to Restaurante Pinoquio at praça dos Restauradores. The funny story is I thought we were 3 and did not made reservations. They call their friends and by the time we got in the restaurant we were 12! Nevertheless, I managed myself to get them all in, my spot in Lisbon I told you so. webpage: https://www.restaurantepinoquio.pt/home-en/

After the above, we were there very late and still hungry after so many pints of beers so after, closing, we just took a left turn into the next street Rua do Jardim do Regedor, from Praça dos Restauradores, and hold up a café bar with about 10 of us. Nobody remember the name of this place lol!!! We stayed until about 2am (02h).  We had a stew of beans lobster, shrimps, gambas, and potatoes with cold salted side dish of shrimps and local mussels going down with  nice local Sagres beer!!Got a taxi back to the hotel……oh yeah!!!

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Next full day, I had a dinner at the Solar dos Presuntos, a very special famous people restaurant. Located at Rua Portas de Santo Antão 150. The restaurant was served a chunk of codfish with vinho verde white wine not my favorite there either so those in my table who mostly were the good guys from the night before agree and we kind of switch to beers. The website: http://www.solardospresuntos.com/

Before arriving here I was convince to have a bus tour of the main sights  such as Belem and the harbor area in Lisbon, a different way of seeing the city as I am always with a car here or metro. A tour bus is not my cup of tea , hardly see anything well, but was the group votes!! And I lost!!!

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After the famous restaurant meeting a group of about 8 decided is time to hit the road and were so delighted with Pinoquio that we went back there for drinks this time. Another round of good times and cheers before heading again by taxi to the hotel. Of course!

I check out of the Marriott as needed to make a business run to Coimbra by car lol! and back into the local hotel that I always stayed when in town at Exe Parque Hotel at Rua Largo de Andaluz just behind the praça Marqués de Pombal and heading down to avenida da Libertade. This is a very modern spacious hotel tuck into the old section of Parque metro station and only about 7 minutes from the square Marques de Pombal. And as time flies this hotel was sold to Holmes Place, sadly many memories here coming to Lisbon since 2012! Here just for the memories.

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And I walked the area again as it is wonderful. Right up of Marqués de Pombal is the park or parque Eduardo VII and down you have libertade, then square restauradoresRossio square and  train station, and square  comércio. And the side streets of duque de Loulé and the picturesque  Mouzhino de Silveira street.

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It was then time to be back at airport and time for my next trip again back to Coimbra on the A1 road. Had my usual meetings there ,in the region of Barraida wines, and was taken back to Lisbon at night. Here I met other group and  head out to watch the Champions football/soccer match of Real Madrid vs Juventus at the Bairro Alto area and chose a resto with TV’s all over call the Marisqueira M at 100 rua do Norte.   I had nice company but unfortunately my life team lost this time; well we have won 10 more than any other club by far…..Hala Madrid! Resto webpage: https://www.facebook.com/marisqueiram/

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And time to get my TAP back from Lisbon to Nantes, pickup my car there and drive 1h30 home on the N165 road. And that is all folks, another nice visit to wonderful Lisbon, and quick business in Coimbra! Hope you enjoy the post and looking forward to be back.

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

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