Archive for November 27th, 2020

November 27, 2020

Cuervo, Jùcar at Cuenca!!!

Well a thrilling tour of my posts had made me update revise many older posts but ,also, find places not told yet and they should. Well I am as told a road warrior but do indulge going up in the mountains for the scenery and do some walks. This I have done in the Province of Cuenca, in Castilla La Mancha autonomous region! I need to tell you about it!

There are two wonderful rivers here, the Cuervo and the Jùcar with even more beautiful springs ,caves, waterfalls, and just plain air beauty. Let me go into the history a bit,and hope you enjoy the post as I.

I was around the birthplace of the Cueva del Nacimiento (birth cave) in one of my favorite mountain villages, Vega del Codorno. It is located at 1450 meters of altitude, in the Serrania de Cuenca, on the banks of the Cuervo River, making it the highest altitude town in the province. Where our house was base at Las Majadas at 1400 meters!

The Cuervo River was born next to the town of Vega del Codorno,  specifically on the western slope of the Muela (molar) de San Felipe, at an altitude of 1490 meters. In this place, water flows from a travertine spring and drains through huge stalactites of calcareous tufa rock  covered with moss, forming long and beautiful jets that freeze in winter, offering a beautiful picture photographed thousands of times each winter ( we come in Summer!). A very beautiful natural environment to be as close to nature as you can be.

The Cuervo river empties into the Guadiela, a tributary of the Tagus, next to the town of Puente de Vadillos, after traveling through part of the Cuenca mountains and passing through the well-known spa and mineral water bottling plant of Solán de Cabras (very good mineral water).

In this place, the water ,when it has gushes from a travertine spring and runs through huge stalactites of calcareous rock covered with moss, forming long streams that freeze in winter, offering a beautiful picture photographed thousands of times every year . At its birth you can see caves behind the waterfalls and chasms in its surroundings and it is relatively frequent that collapses of its tufa barriers occur naturally.

Again ,the source of the Cuervo River is part of the Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park, owned by the Castilla-La Mancha Autonomous Region. This place is accessed from the town of Tragacete, which is about 12 km away by road.

The beautiful Cuervo river spring from the Castilla La Mancha tourist office: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/naturaleza/nacimiento-del-rio-cuervo-54875/descripcion/

The rio Jùcar passing thru the city of Cuenca, and the life of promenades in the shade very nice. It goes around the town up to the mountains and where we stayed at Las Majadas.

The Júcar is a river with a length of 498 km, it crosses the provinces of Cuenca, Albacete and Valencia, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. It was known as Sucro by the Romans. It is born at 1700 meters above sea level, on the southern slope of the San Felipe hill in the Montes Universales, in the place known as the Ojos de Valdeminguete and also near the source of the Cuervo rivers (see above), Guadalaviar- Turia, Cabriel and the Tagus itself, in the Iberian Mountain Range. The middle course of the Júcar could be considered located between Villalba de la Sierra near the Ventano del Diablo (see post) and the Toba reservoir at the beginning of La Ribera, which is already part of the lower course. The most important reservoirs in the Júcar basin are La Toba, upstream from the town of Uña and in the middle of the Serranía de Cuenca; (see post) the Alarcón reservoir also upstream from the town of Alarcón   amongst others.

Webpage on dams or embalses in Spanish on the Jùcar,and others: https://www.embalses.net/cuenca-7-jucar.html

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The source of the Júcar river is located in near the town of  Tragacete, north of the Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park. Very close to the source of the  Júcar river you will find the Molino de la Chorrera. It is a fabulous waterfall through which the water escapes from within the rock itself, creating an image very similar to that found at the source of the Cuervo River (see above).

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It is born exactly on the southern slope of the Cerro de San Felipe, also near the sources of the Cuervo, Guadalquivir-Turia, Cabriel and Tajo rivers; all of them located in the Iberian Mountain Range. It must be indicated that the area of the Serranía de Cuenca is an area of farst reliefs, which has caused that as it passes the Júcar river it creates forms and natural phenomena such as canyons, caves, streams and more natural phenomena resulting from water erosion. You will find several of these examples reflected in the Ciudad Encantada (see post) or enchanted city, and in the Callejones or alleys, since you can appreciate the different forms that the rocks have adopted over time due to the erosion of water and wind.

Of course, I was very closed staying in Las Majadas up in these mountain ranges but for more clarity from the big town of Cuenca ,the ideal route is to go towards Tragacete on the CM-2105 road. From the town of Tragacete, you will find signs that will take you to the Molino de la Chorrera. The Molino de la Chorrera is usually considered as the source of the Júcar river, since visually it is where you can appreciate the birth of water from within the earth. A few meters from the Molino de la Chorrera ,there is parking where you must leave your car and walk up these wonderful beautiful ways.

The city of Cuenca tourist office on the Jùcar riverhttps://visitacuenca.es/es/content/descubre-naturaleza/nacimiento-del-rio-jucar

Our little experience in mountain jogging here was limited to short walks along the road never inland but we saw many folks doing it all over the mountain range passing on the road. Even the house owners where we were took out all kinds of brochures and maps on doing walks,jogging, and even swimming in this are in Summers. Should be fun if into this kind of outing; we just love the scenery! Hope you like the post and be more active on these things. The Serrania de Cuenca is prime location for outdoor activities.

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

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November 27, 2020

The St Johns river!!!

Ok so this is new, because I found me a picture! I like to document my memories in my blog if I can find a picture! In my road warrior ways I criss cross the State of Florida USA many times. I have great memories of youthful reverence in these towns going out and meeting friends, even long time friends that are still in touch with me.

Therefore, let me tell you about the St Johns river of Florida! For starter, my personal recollection tells me of my passing on the SR 40 from Ormond Beach (I lived) to Ocala (cousin lives there) near Lake George. Along SR 17 to Palatka and Gainesville (UF home!), and by Jacksonville (old school friend there) the river on the I 95 and driving a boat on the St Johns passing by Mayport the US naval base! Wonderful memories glad to add them to my blog!

The history and places I love to recount and great memories of passing by these towns for many years. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading.

The Saint Johns River from the Spanish; San Juan del Puerto is the longest waterway in the state of Florida. it stretches over a length of 500 km (about 310 mi), winding through or on the border of twelve counties!. The river is one of the few rivers in the United States to have a north-facing channel. Many lakes are formed by or drain into the river and the maximum width of its bed is 4.8 km, spanning several kms between the towns of Palatka and Jacksonville, the latter city being the largest urban area on the river. The narrowest point of the bed is at its source, a non-navigable swamp in Indian River County. With a watershed of 22,900 square kilometers, the Saint Johns is one of Florida’s major inland wetlands. The river has been the subject of journals by naturalist William Bartram, books by writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and letters by writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Having its source in Indian River County and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in Duval County, the Saint Johns is Florida’s main commercial and recreational waterway. It flows north from its source in the direction of Lake Wales Ridge which is located at an elevation slightly higher than 9.1 meters above sea level. Due to this reliable elevation, the course of water has little current. Indian River County is where the river begins. Originally, it was more of a swamp system, in St. Johns marsh (“swamp”) in west of the town of Vero Beach in central Florida. The upper basin measures approximately 5,200 square km. The river turns into a waterway in the next county, to the north, Brevard County. The stream passes close to Osceola and Orange counties, then crosses Seminole County and enters the Middle Basin north of the town of Titusville. The length of the river through the upper basin is approximately 121 km.

The middle basin of over 60 km long, the river passes through a basin of 3,100 square km mainly supplied by springs and stormwater runoff. This basin, covering part of Orange, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole counties, is home to the greater Orlando metropolitan area. Widening to a bed 2.4 meters deep and about 91 meters wide after leaving Lake Monroen the Saint Johns meets its most important tributary in the middle basin, the Wekiva River. Near this confluence are the towns of DeBary and Deltona.

The riverbed turns north again as it passes through a 190 square km basin through Putnam, Lake, Marion counties and the western part of Volusia County. Slightly north of the Wekiva is Blue Spring, the largest spring in the Saint Johns with over 240,000,000 liters per day. The Florida springs remain at a temperature of 72F or about 22 C throughout the year. For this reason, Blue Spring is occupied in the winter by Caribbean manatees which are protected in Blue Spring State Park. Bordering the northern Blue Spring State Park, is the State Park of Hontoon Island accessible only by boat. The Saint Johns enters the southern tip of Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida at nearly 190 km in area, 9.7 km wide and 12 km long. The Ocklawaha River flows into the Saint Johns and is its largest tributary, with significant historical significance. The Ocklawaha watershed stretches across Orange, Lake, Marion and Alachua counties for a total of 7,170 km2. The towns of Ocala, Gainesville, and the northern suburbs of the Orlando metro area lie within this basin.

Stretching 163 km from the confluence with the Ocklawaha River to the Atlantic Ocean, the Saint Johns lies in the lower basin with a total area of 6,700 km2 in the counties of Putnam, Saint Johns, Clay and by Duval. Twelve tributaries flow into the river in this area. The bed of the Saint Johns widens considerably at the north end of Lake George; between Lake George and the town of Palatka, the river varies between 180 and 800 meters in width and then between Palatka and Jacksonville, it widens between 1.6 and 4.8 km. This portion of the river is the most navigable and river transport is its main human use.The tides cause seawater to enter the mouth of the river and can affect the water level in the middle basin. As a result, much of the river water in Jacksonville is salt water, making it an estuary-like ecosystem.

sanford st john river passing by to Orlando 2009

The final 56 km of the river’s course crosses Jacksonville, a major city in Florida.The United States Navy has two bases in the Jacksonville area: the Mayport Naval Base at the mouth of the river is the country’s second port for the fleet of the Atlantic Ocean, while the Jacksonville Naval Air Station is primarily a Navy airport.

Some webpages on the tourism side are

The Florida tourist board on the St Johns riverhttps://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/jacksonville/along-the-st-johns-river.html

The Jacksonville tourist office on waterways: https://www.visitjacksonville.com/things-to-do/beaches-water/

Some webpages on the technical side of understanding the St Johns river:

The environmental group St Johns Riverkeeps on its protection: https://www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org/about-us/

St Johns river water management districthttps://www.sjrwmd.com/

And those who helps keep it clean as well as creating waterways ,the United States Army Corps of Engineers or USACE: https://www.usace.army.mil/

There you go folks, I feel better. A wonderful part of my Florida now is in my blog! The St Johns river is awesome and unfortunately only one photo afar but it brings memories to have in my blog. Hope you enjoy the story and again thanks for reading my blog. Appreciated.

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

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November 27, 2020

Miramar, FL and beach volleyball !!!

Those were the days of youth and glory! Memories flashing as I look at this old post in my last home in USA! Miramar, Broward county, Florida! And the wonderful corporate sports ambiance that I was part of.

One of the best moments were on the beach volleyball team of my company in the corporate league! This was fun times ,getting together with collegues and going out after work to play some beach volleyball and sometimes practices for the big game! Memories forever!!

Well just cruising on my older posts and came up with this one I like to revise update with the only photo I got as souvenir to remind me of my beach bum days in my dear Florida and playing that sport call Beach Volleyball.

By now establish as an Olympic sport in its two tandem teams we used to play it also, as a regular 6×6 only on sand.  The FIVB organisation for it is here: https://www.fivb.com/en/beachvolleyball

Back in Broward county is where I began to play as an organize team event even if had played before in Volusia county.  I am going way back folks maybe 1998-2003.

Some of the rules are still the same today only we not only played 2×2 but also 3×3 and more regularly 6×6. These rules are : the terrain measure 16 by 8 meters, the net is in the middle at a height of 2,43 meters. The ball is play sending the ball on the two ways with the first two match played to 21 points and if a decisive third is needed we go to 15 points; needing two point difference to win the match if it goes beyond 15 points.

The team need to change side every 7 points and each team can touch up to 3 times the ball. As the service is done to the opposite team , and it is touch/block in any way it remains two touches to the receiving team to get the ball on the other side of the net.  The player who block or touch the ball first can do the second touch. The ball needs to be spiked and not handle with the hand or fingers.  Another thing we played it Co-Ed or mixing boys and girls/men and women on the team in a corporate league.

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And the reason of this post was that I came across the name of my old park where the games were held and the picture. The park was Forzano Park at 2001 Douglas Rd, Miramar, Fl 33025!!! and the info on it from the city of Miramar page is here: https://miramarparks.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Forzano-Field-22

Who knows maybe some of the folks on the photo will show up here lol!! Helloooo!!!

I won’t give away the name of my company or names of players for sake of privacy, (well I am in front left ::))  but the bottom line is, go ahead and enjoy some beach volleyball ,it can rewarding and everlasting friendship. And memories to last ,photo from 2001!!!

The huge choices of parks are in the Broward county page on parks here: https://www.broward.org/parks/thingstodo/pages/sports.aspx

Great to remind myself of these times, and thanks for following along with me on this memory lane journey. Miramar was a nice experience and always remembered

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

November 27, 2020

Valencia from the El Cid to now!!!

The black and white revise posts continue in my quest to provide in my blog up to date information on all my travels; a big task but easy does it. Hope you are enjoying them and thank you for reading.  This time I bring you to Valencia , Spain in August of 2016.

It has been visited in my early teen when family were still in the area, and now many many years later came back to Valencia. It is a major city of Spain and many many things to see which our time could not possibly allowed for all. Nevertheless, well planned I think we hit the main areas that needed  to be visited and might encourage others to do the same; we will be back. And we did years later…

We came in by car on the A3 expressway  passing the viaduc de Buñol,  and getting by the Torres de Quarts and the Puente de las Artes straight to our underground parking garage as planned, this was the parking empart Colon at Carrer del Comte Salvatierra de Alava, 24 underneath the great Mercado Colon. Wonderful choice walk all over from here. New webpage here: https://www.parking.ai/es/valencia/detail-aparcamiento-mercado-de-colon-empark-m-c46519-ppd/

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Therefore, the first thing we saw was the Mercado Colon.  Created as the market of the area of Ensanche and beautifully restored. It is a magical place with plenty of food stalls, and supermarket especialising in meats, seafood, cheeses, wines etc on the below ground floor and restos on the ground floor, way below is the parking. More here: https://mercadocolon.es/en/

And more from the tourist office on Mercado Colonhttps://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/colon-market

From there, we move on by foot to visit as much as the main sights as possible.  Walking is always better than public transport for us;once we parked our car. They were many and we did pretty well and seeing them, we came back years later to see more, see the pictures in their posts.

Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados or Our Lady of the Foresaken; the city patron Saint as well as the Community of Valencia. This is a must  ,gorgeous in and out. More here: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/basilica-virgen-desamparados-basilica-our-lady-forsaken

We reach the Cathedral or Catedral Santa Maria, very nice but a long line so we skip the interior this year. More here; https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/catedral-valencia-cathedral

We went by the Church San Juan de la Cruz, nice architecture of Baroque style ,indeed. Before it was the parroquial Church of San Andrés…More here from the city of Valencia: http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/infociudad_accesible.nsf/vListadoCategoriasWeb/AC7B33289E52608DC12572C200225556?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=&idapoyo=&nivel=15&lang=1

We went to the Church San Martin, there since the Christian conquest of 1238. More here: http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/Infociudad_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosWebListado/813ACEAB7DA3A602C12572C20023FD5D?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=&idapoyo=&nivel=15&lang=1

We passed by the Church Saint Nicolas y San Pedro, a nice Church with lots of history. More here: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/iglesia-san-nicolas-bari-san-pedro-martir-valencia

We took a peek at the Church Santa Caterina and tower right around the Plaza de la Reina. The tower is impressive. More info here: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/santa-catalina-church-and-tower

Again more history and architecture in the Church of San Juan del Hospital, claiming to be the oldest Church in Valencia. More info. https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/san-juan-hospital-church

The Parrish Church San Tomàs Apostol and San Felipe Neri, borrowing the baroque from Rome, nice architecture . More here: http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/Infociudad_accesible.nsf/vDocumentosWebListado/78A24FEADED6C803C12572C20023FD62?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=&idapoyo=&nivel=15&lang=1

Government buildings are dull except the city halls of Europe that can be rich and ornamental sometimes former palaces and manor houses; this is no exception in Valencia where on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (city hall square) you have a beautiful city hall building before you.  More info: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/city-hall

There is a great statue here of Francesc de Vinatea a great heroe of the region opposing the feudal ideas of the king and serve as First Juror . One of his famous phrases and slogans of the time is this one “cada uno de nos somos tanto como vos, pero todos juntos mucho más que vos.” It reads something like ,Each of us is as much as you, but all together are more than you. Democracy rings! but this was in around 1300!

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This is supposed to be the biggest attraction in Valencia, the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or the arts and sciences city actually just outside city center ;not really big on huge complex trying to be all in one , we skip it. However, it is here for content, and more information: https://www.cac.es/en/home.html

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We, also, took a look at another novelty the train station, we are road warriors so the train is only when must on business trips. The estacion del Norte is very nice architecturally thus and it could be visited. Locals call it Estaçio Nord. More info: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/norte-railway-station

And we arrive at the Mercado Central, now this is us, love it, vibrant live, great ambiance and great food and drinks… the center of it. The gorgeous hams was a tentation as well as the great wines to take back to the house. This is a must and for us just enough to be back.  The construction is marvelous and it was already pack with locals and visitors alike. More here: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/central-market

The El Colegio del Patriarca San Juan de Ribera , but just call it the Patriarch. A gorgeous monument showcasing the work of Father Juan de Ribera (Saint).  It is a vast building, we took a peek inside and it is gorgeous. Worth coming back for a detail look. More here: https://patriarcavalencia.es/?lang=en

Another that needed more time was the Museo Nacional de Ceràmica y Artes Suntuarias “Gonzalez Martî” -Palacio Marqués de Dos Aguas. or simply the Ceramics and arts museum. A gorgeous baroque building richly decorated with what it shows. More here: http://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/mnceramica/en/home.html

There is a Plaza de Toros or  bullfight arena here, and rather dull round brick building. It is next to the Estacio Nord train station. More here: https://www.visitvalencia.com/en/what-to-do-valencia/valencian-culture/monuments-in-valencia/bullring

And we headed for the beaches, passing by the Puerta de la Mar arch. The weather by now was cloudy a bit of fine rain so not much action but the beach is long and wide, rather nice. We moved the car and park at the Paseo Neptuno parking garage, and then walk up and down the beaches of Arenal and Cabanyal, and continues into Malvarossa. The paseo maritimo walkway is rather nice with shops and restos and of course hôtels. Plenty of activities in sandy wide beach, something to think about next time with more time.  There is a nice statue mémorial to Antonio Ferrandis a great Valencian actor.

And we came back one more time to home base in the Serrania de Cuenca. Before moving the car from the parking at Mercado Colon we had lunch at Pantalan 5 in the ground floor of the market, nice cold beers and sandwiches of chorizo and potatoes, croquettes of ham and cheese and other goodies for about 8€ per person. Nice simple and grand style lunch in a beautiful place. The Facebook page works better today! https://www.facebook.com/pantalan5/

The Valencia tourist officehttps://www.visitvalencia.com/en

The city of Valencia with monuments link: http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/infociudad_accesible.nsf/vListadoCategoriasWeb/AC7B33289E52608DC12572C200225556?OpenDocument&bdOrigen=&idapoyo=&nivel=15&lang=1

The Community of Valencia region on Valencia: https://www.comunitatvalenciana.com/en/valencia/valencia

There you go you are now all updated and all set to see the best of Valencia me think, and do see the individual posts on these monuments. Hope it helps!

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

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