Archive for December 2nd, 2020

December 2, 2020

Jaca; Aragon , we come again!!!!

And continuing with my updates and revisions of old posts in my blog I bring you south to the wonderful town of Jaca in marvelous Aragon of my beloved Spain. I have been by here several times and plenty of posts but this oldie needs fresh text. Hope you enjoy it as I do, and thanks for reading my blog.

Here I come again but this time up close and personal. This is another town in my life that passed by so many times on my route to Madrid of my youth, and really never explored it enough. Well, its never too late in life ,and to have the opportunity to be closed tented me for the ride with the family to see it up close and personal. It will once again deepens my appreciation for my Spain ,closer to a new region of Aragon. This is Jaca, or Jacetania and the road to St James or Santiago.

We got into town by the road N330 coming from France by car, as usually but this time we went in. Immediately , you come into the boulevard facing the Ciudadela or citadel or castle of San Pedro on your right hand side, impressive fortified castle and what a way to enter a city! wow!!! I parked by car by the parking Turismo on Plaza Ripa across is the bus station and to the right is the Cathedral right in city center secured underground parking, at the time it was for 6€ all day!

We moved on first by the Citadel like I said its a must to visit, there is a minituare museum of military figurines there too very nice.

Next you should see the Cathedral of San Pedro or St Peter’s huge richly decorated a marvel and UNESCO heritage site, an absolute must to see, its a must.  This 11C jewel of a Cathedral ,construction from 1077, as the site says its an open book of architecture from romanesque to renaissance. Wow!

We were ready and charge for more sightseeing, we walked past the episcopal palace or Palacio Episcopal , a site for those seeking the way of Santiago.

There is a street of the old jewish quarters such as Calle de Ferrenal and Calle de Cambras panels show you the history as you walked. The old coins and money of Aragon is shown on the pavement of Calle Mayor with a plaque to explained it in Spanish. There is a beautiful Paseo de la Constitucion with nice children playground, and music kiosk , many libraries or book stores are here and an open air book market with stands as well . This is the area that takes you to the Puente (bridge) de San Miguel in the back.

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In the Paseo you have the Seminario Diocesano on the side and behind it the Ciudadela. You ,also, can see the quaint Torre del Reloj or clock tower built in 1445, it was once used as a prison. Now its a work office of the region of Aragon, but it can be seen inside too by Calle Sancho Ramirez.

The Seminario Diocesano built in 1926 follow a great tradition in the city of diocese life for teaching the gospel since 1610. A great architecture building on the old walls of the citadel, that passes behind it.

We enjoyed the old ruins of the Ermita de Sarsa or chapel right at a corner with great views over the mountains , it is the abandon Church of a nearby town moved to Jaca in 1970.

Monasterio de Santa Cruz, where the daughter of a king of Aragon Ramiro I, Sancha was brough over from Santa Cruz de los Seros in 1622, (the best preserve romanesque tomb in Spain) the monastery itself was built from 1555.  The order of Benitas of sisters were in charge of the place.

And of course, during the day we ate hehehe! Wonderful Aragonese specialties at the source!

We had our lunch right across the Cathedral while seeing the world go by at Plaza de la Catedral, 3 at Casa Fau, very nice folks , fast service, good food, veal pork chops, fries, roast beef, sodas, coffees, and a bottle of Enate Crianza red 2008 Somontano local wine delicious. All for 16€ per person.

We continue wandering to the side Streets having cheese breads from the local bakeries and did went shopping for sweets to take home at Confiteria/Pasteleria Etcheto , right next to the restaurant above.

We had some goodies for later and wines from Somontano like the Enate again at Bodegas Langa, lots of canned gourmet goodies like ham Teruel, cheeses of Roncal, and wines of Lalanne as well.  Also, in the same area behind back door of the Cathedral. All wonderful and nice to have it at home later.

With all there is to see you will have a full day or more, we rather like the wandering of the old streets and the foods lol! its a state of mind, and so much to be back in Spain.  From here we went to the side at Sabiñanigo on the new A23 and back on the N330a to Jaca, just for the ride on this side, and take a look at city center and breath a bit more of Aragon, Spain

I have written on the above sights and restos in other posts so will keep it at minimum on pictures, just the ones above not elsewhere. Hope you enjoy the post and do come into Jaca, it is also a good base for skiing and winter sports on the Spanish Pirineos/Pyrénées.

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

December 2, 2020

And again Madrid, never enough of it!

And again picking some nice ones to update revise with current links, this is a lovely task. It brings back many memorable moments of my travels in family to dear places like Madrid. Yes let me tell you about Madrid again!

I am lucky enough to come back to Madrid often in the last few years. I used to lived here for 4,and left an image in my mind of good times, never to forget, or as the saying goes Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! I was back in Madrid last week back in 2017.

I arrived on Iberia from Nantes France very early and took advantage of some time off to walk the city and enjoy it fully; walking brings back many memories of youth, and my dear late mother Gladys.  I am very happy with Iberia,(this time) easy flights, good prices and on time, in addition to the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport has been name the best airport in 2017 by a survey of airport users which they proudly post it in the gate areas!

I had some time before the hotel check in so decided to have lunch on the road. Headed straight for the Atocha area and El Brillante. A wonderful place with great views of the train station Atocha on one side and the Reina Sofia museum on the back. Great chorizo sandwiches and a Mahou 5 stars beer and see the world go by you, superbe! webpage: https://barelbrillante.es/

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The Atocha was packed as always and so was the Reina Sofia museum with a line down the stairs all the way to the street at the Plaza Emperador Carlos V!  I did walk Paseo del Prado and saw the Caixa Forum which had some renovation done, as well as the Botanical garden with the entrance doing some work but all open.  The Reina Sofia was showing the great Guernica painting exhibition, so that is why was packed.

The Caixa Forum a great exhibition area right around the triangle of great museums is worth a detour, and the Botanical gardens are one of my favorite spots in Madrid that I have come since a kid…. El Real Jardin Botànico de Madrid.

You should take a look at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that conducts tours with the tourist office, this is a great architecture building and gorgeous rooms right around the Atocha train station. El Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca is located in the Palacio de Fomento from the 19C and gone thru many changes in name and uses until the current one. One of your off the beaten path sites in Madrid and worth the detour.

Up the road from the above and going by Calle Dr Velasco, you reach the Real Observatorio Astronomico de Madrid or Royal Astronomic Observatory to see the sky!  This is another off the beaten path trips to Madrid and it should be encouraged more, I have come here since school age in Madrid!!!

You can go by the paseo de Prado way before the main entrance to the Prado museum and go by the Puerta de Murillo, the south door entrance of the Prado. The building dates from 1786,and you heard it here! Wonderful architecture and a lot of history!  Here you will see a statue of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; from which the square and entrance is name after. Golden age of Spanish painting and he was one of the main one; living in the 17C.

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See the great façade of the Chapel of the Children’s Hospital on the Avenida de  Menendez Pelayo facing the Retiro park. The hospital is Hospital de Niño Jésus.

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And of course, I was able to check in to my usual hotel the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon on Calle del Pez Volador,1 and corner of Calle del Dr Esquerdo, metro Sainz de Baranda line 6 or 9, couple minutes from hotel. Great service, good prices and central to all my needs, very close to Retiro park! webpage: https://www.ayrehoteles.com/en/hotels/ayre-gran-hotel-colon/

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And just head out for the city on my again usual resto, why change when you found the best ::) Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, on Calle del Dr Esquerdo closer to Conde de Casal metro station but about 10 minutes walking from the hotel. And always the same guys,good service, good food and see the world go by on the inner courtyard facing the street or the terrace tables right on the street! They have another one on the other side of Retiro park on avda Menendez Pelayo that is great too as well as others in different parts of Spain. webpage: https://www.cerveceriacruzblanca.es/locales

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I will stop here on the tour, there is more and more personal for me but Madrid is personal up close and wonderful, it really provides some extra to continue back new home.  It was time to visit my father’s uncle in Yunco and my cousin in Aluche. And just to think about it, I will be back with the family in summer !!!

The tourist office of Madrid: https://www.esmadrid.com/en

Again in Madrid, I wish could be saying now with this darn virus. I will be back, it must, Madrid is me, and now with a family trail that have enjoyed it as well. Hope you do too, visit feel it experience it. Hope it helps you come

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

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December 2, 2020

Pont Aven an artist hangout!!!

Again updating my older blog post this one is from 2014!! Well is not far from my house and we have been there several times even from the old museum to the new museum of Pont Aven. Really all is around the paintings but it has several nice areas and great shopping of traditional goodies. We love it and will tell you a bit more so you might love it too!

When we arrive we parked by the harbor parking le port right along the Aven river. For free. We set out into city center along the Aven looking at the nice stores and restaurants and taking a beat as to what to do later on.

The town of the school of painters of Pont Aven more commonly call the Americans.  As it was a Mr Bacon and Mr Wylie who first came here by 1864 and fell in love with the place painting their way attracting others thorought the years including the great Gauguin, and the word stuck even if most were not Americans. We went first to the museum of Pont Aven, as I knew it was under construction for quite a while until finally open beautifully . This is the one showing the great painters of the School of Pont Aven.

The town is there since 1790, but did gather real fame until the American artists began to arrive in 1865.  The American Henry Bacon was the first one, and describe the city as “Its the most beautiful village that I have ever saw until now, with its strange bridge below a river rapids that make turns several wheels of a windmills with the waters going to the ocean ,short distance away”  Bacon while in Paris finds his friends Robert Wylie and  Charles Way, both from the Philadelphia academy,and soon many others come from the USA, London, and the Nordic countries. Others followed such as local boy André Even, Marcel Gonzalez,writer and poet Xavier Grall (bust in main square and promenade after his name), the local heroe of WWII Daniel Lomenech, and the great Paul Gauguin, making 6 trips here from  1886 to 1894; and those that follow him,such as Cuno Amiet, Mogens Ballin, Emile Bernard,Robert Bevan, Ernest de Chamaillard,Henri Delavallee,Maurice Denis,Emile Dezaunay, Charles Filiger, Eric Forbes Robertson,Emile Jourdan, Charles Laval,Gustave Loiseau, Maxime Maufra, Jacob Meyer de Haan, Henry Moret, Roderic O’Conor, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, George Rasetti, Louis Roy,Armand Seguin, Paul Serusier, and Wladyslaw Slewkinski. Too many to detail here but you can see my post on the museum and do stop by…I give you the picture of the old museum before the renovation circa 2013 here

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Next in fame here were the windmills or moulins; by 1880 ,there were 15 here, their names, Haut Bois, du Plessis,Moulin Neuf,Kermentec (painted by Gauguin in 1894), Kerniguez, Petit Poulguin, Pénanros,Scierie Brunou, Petite Tourte, Toulhoas,Rosmadec, Porte Neuve,Ty Meur,Grand Poulguin,and Petit Pénanros.

You have nearby the megaliths stones call Menhirs of Kerangosquer I, and the Dolmens of Kermac or Sainte Maudé.  Walking from the  rue des Meunières towards the place royale you have facades of nice homes from the 17C and 18C.  The Church of Saint Joseph was built in 1872 at Place de l’Eglise, smallist by local standards more like a chapel. We came around to take another look at one of our favorite here the Chapelle de Trémalo, it is believe due to a dating on the door that the chapel was built around 1550. The artist painters who visited and lived in Pont Aven frequented it.

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The Aven river, has a unique toilet hanging over the river, a quant unusual place to visit while in town ::)  Right across the street you have the quant romantic nice promenade Xavier Grall; a wonderful laberinth of trails along the Aven river giving you an allure of old and just perfect for a family walk with windmills and river rapids, nice for a picnic in summer. We always take the walk here!

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We set out to do some shopping very typical nice and good prices for this hidden gem of the Finistére Breton. The biscuiteries or cookie making companies are a boundful here,and we did grab a box or bag here and there on our favorites already from our last visit. The Traou Mad galettes , now under the umbrella of Biscuiterie Loc Maria webpage: https://www.biscuiterie-loc-maria.fr/fr/boutiques

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The biscuiterie de Pont Aven is another gem not this time but have in the past and worth the stop;webpage: https://www.biscuiteriedepontaven.fr/

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We check on the vedettes de l’Aven Maritime a cruise up the Aven river , and into the ocean. Really nice ride but will take you almost all day so prepare ahead. webpage: https://www.vedettes-aven-belon.com/

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We went for some spicy seafood to bring home in jars at the Moulin de Rosmadec épicerie or grocery store, this is an excellent restaurant but more suitable for evenings , my take. The grocery store is right before getting to the resto and they have a small hotel as well; very chic. The items here are a mouthful. webpage: http://, https://www.rosmadec.com/fr/

These are very local goodies you can eat on the spot or take home to wherever you are lodged. The Niniches are the stars of the La Maison d’Armorine, and they have several stores as per their site we go to Carnac most often but been to all of them, superb. The niniches were created in Quiberon and they have won honors for their confection in France as the best candies, they come in many flavors; something unique to buy here. webpage: . http://www.maison-armorine.com/nos-boutiques

Somewhere in the above we stopped by our favorite gift store in the area rivals the other one we like,  ,,,, this is Lever Micheline, cadeaux Bretonnes. Here we got kitchen deco and t shirts with merlin the magician logos and dragons, snakes you name it. They carry the whole range of Breton goodies from food, liquors, to gifts of all sorts and with genuine made in Brittany or France logos. You should be here if in the area. It is at the main street diagonally to the museum, 2 place Paul Gauguin and across from tourist office. No webpage see photo

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The highlight of the trip was to find another Maison Larnicol chocolate store here,  it is one of the original , George Larnicol was born in Quimper nearby. The store is right in city center at 4 Place Paul Gauguin . Lovely place with lots of chocolates, caramels,guimauds yummy gummy chocolates, fish shape chocolates and the kouignettes of many flavors is sublime!!! a must here.webpage: https://larnicol.com/magasins

And of course, we ate lol!! forgot the entry but posted the photos. The wonderful Le Moulin du Grand Poulguin by the harbor back , free parking, and great prompt service with delicious food. We had Breton beers Duchesse Anne Triple 7,5% and kids had Morgane, bio blonde beer. Just to try them. We ate from pizzas savoyarde and Forte to tagliatelle albacore tuna pasta and the Tagliatelle 3 fromages, all with expresso coffee, bread,butter,and water, limonade, menthe syrop drinks, and only 17€ per person tops!  webpage: http://www.moulin-pontaven.com/

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And we had a mouthful of day in lovely quant Pont Aven or the bridge by the Aven river! A wonderful family day recommended to all. Hope you enjoy it and do visit when possible.

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

December 2, 2020

The towns of the Presqu’île de Rhuys !!

And going going going like the old commercial of Duracell batteries you know! It has been a wonderful tour to see these memorable posts again and of course, updating and revising them with proper pictures is heavens. Thanks for reading me.

There is a nice peninsula here full of nice quant towns and beautiful beaches that we enjoy coming to over the years living here. Let me tell you about the towns of the Presqu’ïle de Rhuys!!

11 November 2016 was a day off here or Armistice day 1918 the end of WWI or the Great War; in some other countries such as the USA it is Veteran’s Day with a different meaning. A day to remember especially in France from those awful days past, never to be repeated. Ironically, I am writing the update on this post again on 11 november 2020!

And I said , we took off to some areas we have been before but not in a while right in our wonderful backyard of the Morbihan. We took our car and rode on the N165 to the exit for Sarzeau and got on the D780 road. We were headed for the Presqu’île de Rhuys . We decided not to head first to the better known areas and took some country roads such as the D195 and D20 before getting back into the D780 main road.

We continue to the next village, Surzur. The town has an oceanic feeling crisscross by several small creeks and rivers. It ,also, has several chapels and manors or big homes almost like castles all over the territory. The one we stopped by was the Chappelle de Sainte Hélène. It has a nice simple façade with nice main door dating from the 17C and on top a small bell tower in stone.  The windows are older and of gothic era. The interior is simple  with several nice statues such as the one on Sainte Hélène, The Virgin, Sainte Marguerite, Sainte Thérèse, Saint Mathurin.  We syphon the city center seeing in the distance the Church of Saint Symphorien (Roman style from the 11C)as there was work going on in city center. We continue to the Cidrerie Nicol with it’s wonderful cider products already tasted here.  This is Surzur and its chapels: https://www.surzur.fr/chapelles/

The cider producer Nicol is here: http://www.cidres-nicol.bzh/

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We took a turn back into the main road to reach the main town of Sarzeau. Again a visit was pleasant and not crowded for a Holiday.  You come into literary history here as it is the native town of Alain René Lesage (1668 -1747), a writer that wrote of his times with inspiring work known by us such as the Le Diable boiteux, Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane, and theater plays such as Turcaret, and  La Tontine etc.  One of the greatest actors of the 18C he has a bust in front of the hôtel de ville or city hall of Sarzeau. The always wonderful Sarzeau has many manoirs, castles ,Chappelle’s , fountains of historical value all around and worth a detour. The one we like is the Church of Saint Saturnin right in city center. The original was from 1670 now current one is from 1883, as well as the wonderful Chateau de Suscinio (see post).

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We past by on the parking of the Port de Crouesty seeing the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Arzon, b.1815 but renovations up to 1920,  but we went to the boat pleasure marina for a leisure walk and lunch instead.

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And we arrive at Port de Crouesty. A harbor paradise we love. This is a huge pleasure boat bay all around are shops and restos, tourist office , spa like Miramar La Cigale hotel , the megaliths stones of Petit Mont  ,and great views any time. We have done  bike riding in tandem with Abbis Location, and eaten in several of its restaurants as well as shopping like today!

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And of course, we ate at a new place, O’Brothers bistro (by L’Equinoxe) at 7 Quai des Cabestans . This has a nice terrace covered and facing the quays of the harbor; then a fix building with a hallway between it and the terrace. Inside is cozy and very friendly. We as most arrive after regular lunch hours but so what, we settled for nice pizzas and good cold beers. The giant screen TV allowed to watch the PSG vs Rennes (4×0) first League 1 football/soccer replay as well as the first half of the Brazil vs Argentina (3×0) World Cup 2018 qualifier’s. We had rounds of leffe beers and the owner server counted wrong and came in with a third round, so we say no problems leave it, and he said ok this one is on me !!! Can’t beat the good old Breton positive side of things.. in the Morbihan of course.  Well sadly another resto that is gone by now a while back, here just for the memories ok.

The tourist office for the Morbihan on the peninsula: https://www.morbihan.com/accueil/decouvrir/le-morbihan/les-principales-destinations/presqu-ile-de-rhuys

The tourist office for the Gulf of Morbihan on the peninsula and more: https://www.golfedumorbihan.bzh/explorer-vannes/decouvrir-vannes/incontournables-golfe/

The tourist office of Brittany in English on the peninsula: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/suscinio-and-the-rhuys-peninsula/

Enjoy the Prequ’île de Rhuys a wonderful peninsula of wonders to see and enjoy with the whole family or alone.

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

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