Archive for November 20th, 2020

November 20, 2020

Dublin is a lot more than just green!!

And here I go again this time crossing the channel to go to green Ireland but of course it is a lot more than green! I was lucky to be able to visit Dublin! and I like to update revise this post with a note not to repeat pictures or text already elsewhere on my other Dublin ,Ireland posts in my blog!

Well for many  years heard of Dublin  ,in fact used to lived near a neighborhood that was call Dublin for the many Irish immigrants there. This was back in Perth Amboy, New Jersey USA. see posts.

And here I was visiting Dublin for real! And took off from an unusual airport for me which remains to this day the only time I left from there, this is at Rennes! I came flying this time from Rennes St Jacques airport to Paris CDG T2E ,change to T2G for the flight from CDG to Dublin terminal 1. Easy nice connections and good parking at Rennes; if only I arrived very early by 5h15 (5:15am) to open the airport lol! The Rennes airport site is here:

And I landed at the Dublin airport here:


And again I tried the public transport as like to try everything at least once. Once in Dublin, took the airlink express bus to city center. Easy and convenient as it drops you off in the main areas of Dublin central.  The bus was no. 747 webpage:

And, I headed straight to my hotel for check in, this was the historically wonderful Gresham Hotel at O ‘Connell street; third floor and very nice service indeed. Now under the Riu chain, the webpage :




Once in the room, took a right turn out the door to see the city the best way walking both ends of O’Connell St. I went passed the wonderful Ambassador Theatre at Upper O’Connell Street; this is a like a roman amphitheater shape really nice. see post

I came across a nice building that is the Gate Theatre, founded in 1928; another wonderful architecturally done place of fun right on by the city center and O’Connell Street and Parnell Square. see post

Right pass it you see a wonderful church, Abbey Presbyterian Church at Parnell Square, beautiful architecture indeed and worth a look inside which no time this trip. see post

I continue my walks , across the hotel almost, you see the General Post Office ; done in 1818, also, the building where the free Irish Republic took HQ here in 1916. It is now a museum post office, more here:


Up the O’Connell street by the abbey church you have the Garden of Remembrance Irish Freedom park; a lovely place full of history and nice architecture statues. More here:|-6.264127|16


You can see the wonderful Epic Ireland showing the heritage of Ireland for more than 70 million people; a glowing show, and a must to see:  more here:


See the wonderful Samuel Beckett bridge that can be moved ! or the O’Connell bridge my passing bridge. More on the bridges here:


Continue into my walks you see the Spire of Dublin a needle type tower 121 meters high just be ready to bend your head this is high indeed right on O’Connell Street; more on it here:|-6.260294|16

You see around here the Charles Stewart Parnell statue; he was the leader founder of the Irish Parlamentary party.  A nice place to stop from a historical point of view. More on him and the statue here:


You can see the O’Connell Monument, the memorial to Daniel O’Connell, a 19C nationalist leader of which the main artery street is name after.  see post.

I did passed by the Dublin Writers museum showcasing the history of Irish great storytellers, a quaint old building that is the perfect place to go in and read books and plays; more here:|-6.263985|16


Of course, I did stop to eat and drink a must in Dublin ::) Went for lunch at this friendly bar the Parnell Heritage Pub off the ambassador theatre, and the service and food was great, the best fish and chips I ever had with the Clonmel 1650 Irish lager beer just wonderful for 21€. Unfortunately believe it has closed as their webpage is gone. There still a Facebook page and just for the memories will show here:


However, for dinner headed to the Winding Stair resto by the temple bar district. It is, also, kept the tradition of the bookstore it was. Now the restaurant is a lot of fun, great friendly service and good food.  My food here was the McLoughlin’s pressed corned brisket terrine with pickled shallots, capers, dalkey mustard and sourdough toast €12.95 as entrée and the Char-grilled 28 day dry-age Irish beef strip-loin steak with sticky onions, roasted garlic truffle butter and homemade chips €28.00 as main dish. Plenty of Languedoc of France red wine had a bottle of the Domaine de la Provenquiére 2014 Merlot Languedoc 26€: ; with coffee to end it all. Classy place see more of it here:



The tourist office of Dublin

And of course, more on my other posts on Dublin in my blog. This was a memorable trip and just when were preparing to go back we got hit with this virus. It will have to be done in 2021. For now enjoy Dublin and thanks for reading.

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

November 20, 2020

The fortified towers of Havana or La Habana!!!

In my swing updating some of my older posts I came upon this one. Great memories flashing my mind of better times in my Havana. One of the emblematic monuments that got it to be name Unesco World Heritage site in 1982 , was the fortified towers that serve one time as defense of the harbor around Havana. I like to tell you about 3 of them.

I guess can be call fortified towers, for us they were the torreones de la Habana.  As nostalgia sits in, once in a while, looking at my past photos, I came upon the torreones or small fortified towers used for defense along the harbor of Havana. As a boy used to go there with my dear late mother Gladys, and now when back always stopped by. I left Havana, Cuba in 1970 early to Madrid Spain, and came back to it and Cuba in 1984 (for a last farewell to my paternal grandmother who guarded me), 1998 (for a last farewell to my paternal grandfather who guarded me and to show my wife and kids my native land), and 2012 (on a company business trip from France).

The one that always caught my attention was the Fuerte de Santa Dorotea de la Luna de la Chorrera, short for Chorrera. This one was built in 1646! On the English taking of Havana in 1762-63 it was almost totally destroyed and was rebuilt after they left. This tower fortress lies at the mouth of the Almendares river.


The other nice one is the Torreon de Cojimar, built in 1649. This is made famous as it was from where Ernest Hemingway used to go to do fishing and here influenced by it wrote The Old Men and the Sea from which he won a Pulitzer prize in 1952 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.  This one too was rebuilt after the English were expelled unter the Paris Treaty in 1763 (signed at Fontainebleau). Here a bust in memory of Ernest Hemingway was built in 1962.


One more is the Torreon de San Lazaro o Caleta; built in 1665. It was a lookout between the fortress of La Punta and Chorrera tower on a site of the old San Lazaro Hospital therefore its name . This location in the entrance of way of the bay San Lázaro, where many pirates landed and now sits in the property of the park Antonio Maceo by the Malécon (boardway  wall promenade facing the sea).


These are some of the off the beaten path of Havana and well worth the detour to know the city.  San Cristobal de la Habana official name, founded in 1519 by governor coloniser Diego de Velázquez is said by Unesco to hold about 144 buildings from the 14-15-16-17 centuries , more than any other city in the Americas!! webpage Unesco:

The 3 torreones or fortified towers above were done by engineers as such. The Chorrera and Cojimar towers were done by Juan Bautista Antonelli, son of Bautista Antonelli the architect of the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro or short Morro castle. The torreon or fortified tower of the San Lazàro o Caleta was done by the engineer Marcos Lucio.

The tourist office of Cuba

There you go now updated text with same old pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I did seeing them again. Havana great for my soul and memories of youth that unfortunately will never be back.

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

November 20, 2020

Notre Dame Cathedral update Nov2020!

All quiet on the western front! I have been away from these updates and everybody else have been rather quiet too. However, things are moving along and we still have the magic five years to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. 

Let me give you the latest from the French press on the reconstruction with some of my previous posts on the subject for the new arrivals to my blog.

The return of the statues, reopening of the crypt, study on wooden structures is ongoing!! Closed to the public since the fire of April 15, 2019, the Notre Dame Cathedral is gradually coming back to life.

They have been working day and night to dismantle the damaged scaffolding, and for several weeks, they have been setting up a scaffolding over 30 meters inside the cathedral. Dismantling of the damaged scaffolding, state of the vaults, removal of the organ, test site for cleaning and restoration in two chapels of the cathedral.

The archaeological crypt of Ile de la Cité, located under the cathedral, has also just reopened to visitors. There, an exhibition devoted to Victor Hugo and Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, the two key men in the resurrection of the cathedral in the 19C, has been installed since last September 9 2020. Likewise, a brand new souvenir shop has appeared on the forecourt, designed above all to be a place of welcome for visitors/tourists.

A few km away, three statues which adorned the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral such as those of the apostles Saint Barthélémy, Saint Jude and Saint Simon will be exhibited at the Cité de l’Architecture, at the Trocadéro (16éme arrondissement), as part of the European Heritage Days in September 2020. They had been removed a few days before the fatal fire, to be sent to Dordogne for their renovation. Now restored, they are the first of a set of 16 miraculous statues which will find their place once the building has been restored. Next to them, the famous bronze rooster, which was on the spire of the cathedral and miraculously recovered after the fire, will also be exhibited on this occasion.

Regarding the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a study project targeting the spire, the framework and the roof is launched since September 17 2020 by students from 4 major schools specializing in wood. Together, they will be responsible for designing a prototype of an evolving and adaptable wooden frame according to the knowledge which will result from the studies in progress. A first progress report will be made public in mid-December 2020, then the conclusions of this project will be unveiled next January 2021.

The government presented an ordinance which will dispense with a certain number of procedures and obligations to reopen or extend new stone quarries, which will considerably facilitate the restoration work of Notre-Dame Cathedral which has a significant need for freestone. This commitment is further proof of the desire to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the restoration work and achieve the objective set by the President of the French Republic (France) of completing the reconstruction site of this cathedral so dear to the French in five years.

Currently, workers perched tens of meters high are dismantling the gigantic metal scaffolding and its 40,000 metal tubes, a delicate painstaking job that should be completed by Christmas 2020 and will allow reconstruction to begin. A large part of this structure is mounted around the spire for its restoration and badly damaged by the fire of April 15, 2019, has been removed. Its complete removal will be completed in the next few weeks, by the end of the year. This cleaning of the upper surface of the vaults, also including the suction of lead dust, has already been largely carried out. It allowed their examination by the chief architect, with the exception of the crossing of the transept, to the right of the burnt scaffolding. Chief Architect Philippe Villeneuve was thus able to make a rather reassuring diagnosis, allowing access to several spaces in the cathedral from then on.

The removal of the great organ, which began in August 2020 , will continue until January 2021. The 8,000-pipe instrument was not damaged by fire on April 15, 2019, but it is covered with dust and parts of it suffered from thermal variations. It must therefore be cleaned and renovated.

Donations for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral must go entirely to the site. They should no longer finance the operation of the public establishment, the Court of Auditors demanded last week. After the publication of a report on the Notre-Dame site, the president of the Court of Auditors Pierre Moscovici urged the Ministry of Culture to allocate the entire 922 million euros of donations and pledges to the catering works. Of the 922 million euros in donations pledged to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral, he said, the order of 400 or 500 million have so far been collected.

The official webpage of the Notre Dame Cathedral on the agenda section here:

And as promise above, my posts on the situation of Notre Dame Cathedral

Stay tune, once the scaffolds are down, the reconstruction project approve, the work really will begin. Hopefully, I will be around to see this ,at least better look than on my last passage November 2019 in Paris. Always nice and impressed to see the grand monument of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

paris cat notre dame cat under repairs nov19

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

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