Archive for December 8th, 2020

December 8, 2020

Christmas at Vannes !

Well this is the nostalgia of looking over these old posts in my blog, and the thrill of updating revising them to give them new life. And on this season to be merrier, why not Christmas at Vannes!! My capital city from december 2016!!!

As told, I am on Christmas vacation and visiting several places around the Christmas theme. Today ,it was our capital city of Vannes in the Morbihan Breton. The day was humid,cold, foggy, gray, light rain which we brave and temps in the 5’sC or about 44F  but we made it.

Vannes is worth the trip always, it is a medieval city with wooden houses going back to the 14C all intact, no war damage here , so you see the real thing. And even renovation going on of some of the old buildings like the Hotel de Francheville by the corner of the Place du Poids Public and Pl des Lices . Originally built in the middle of the 17C. All done now!

All of course , walking by the splendid Cathedral of St Peter (Cathédrale St Pierre) and also a Basilica minor.  Many other posts here on it, but it is just too hard to bypass.  All around is a beautiful city , left to be discovered by those who seek the flashy cities of every tourist book. I said, Ernest Hemingway wrote and published a book posthumous on “Paris est un fête” or the moveable feast. He was short, a bit more of life and he would have written a second volume, France is a movable feast…

You could not find a chalet or Christmas market here this year, but the ambiance is such that no matter what Christmas is feld, the music over the city loudspeakers sings of Christmas carols and jingle bells, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year songs.

We arrived and parked by the music conservatory in Le Port area, then walk up to the Place Gambetta and the pleasure boats marina. Going under the Porte Saint Vincent into the old city.  Here you notice the kiosque à musique or music kiosk right on the esplanade next to the canal of pleasure sailing and motor boats.  You continue into the rue Saint Vincent, and go up into the Place du Poids Public and next one the Place des Lices.

Here you turn left and into the Rue des Halles and the laberynth of old shops, and nice quaint restos, bars, and even some new ones like the American restaurant style from the 60’s ;Virgin Breizh Diner. You go on in sheer delight to see the stores of La Tapenalgue of great gifts and local produce, then the La Compagnie des Réclames at the Place Valencia corner of Rue des Halles.

You go down to the ramparts and see the historical Lavoirs or laundries of old, with a  beautiful garden and the towers still there with the magnificent kept Connetable tower.  You go back in zig sagging, and see at the Place du Poids Public my favorite wine store in France, Nicolas.

The wonderful place Gambetta is my hangout if ever in town, plenty of fun and late hours here. And of course beautiful views into the canal that goes into the Gulf of Morbihan, one of the most beautiful bays in the world (Condé Nast and Great Bays).  Go back in,and see by the Cathedral , the Place Henri IV with its wonderful wooden house going back to the 14C! to the 17C. Of course, my favorite men’s store was here Loiseau Chemiserie now closed sadly.

Of course, not to miss if coming for the first time the Petit Train or little train ,it will give you a quick rundown of all that is historical and beautiful in the city center.  Catch it at the Place Gambetta.

See the emblematic Burton store (mens/womens clothing) building at Rue Billault, that started out in 1912 as Le Progres. Still gorgeous and renovated as historical building.

Back to the wonderful Rue des Halles, and the Le Hangar pâtisserie, for cakes and sweets delicacies and others goodies. Again, this one sadly closed; here just for the memories. You have other wonderful streets to wandered, such as Rue Saint Salomon, with the Le Comptoir  de Mathilde, a choco sweets boutique. And Rue Thiers, and Place Maurice Marchais where our Hôtel de Ville is located.


We have set up camp for a long time and now fully refreshed and decorated at the Rue Saint Vincent just under the shadows of the Porte Saint VincentLecocq & Folks restaurant , great cappuccinos and café & crème here for a soothing winter day already.  Of course, full meals served too and good price/quality ratio. Webpage:

To find businesses in Vannes of all sorts, including events and parking info, this is the webpage for it , Coeur de Vannes or heart of Vannes in French:

And this year’s Christmas or Noël at Vannes from the city of Vannes

All in all, a nice afternoon in lovable old quaint Vannes, capital city of the Morbihan and my work city ::) Cheers and Merry Christmas to all!!! Hope you enjoy this walking post of my Vannes on a wonderful period of the year.

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

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December 8, 2020

My life in Madrid!!!

Ok so will try to update this one, as it was from 2010 when I started my blog and thought to have a bit of me in it. Even if sad stories, they are all part of me. If you have read my blog, you know that Madrid is special for me. The many times there, living there, having great times there is enough. However, it has something do not know what, another similar place perhaps is Paris or Versailles or even now little Pluvigner all dear homes, and they have been many , or about one domicile every five years!!

However, one can only match one perhaps Versailles or Daytona Beach, or Miramar, cities where marriage or kids were born or live longer. Do not know, do not have the answer but Madrid is very huge, attaching perhaps I know something Ernest Hemingway did not know. Tim Parfitt wrote greatly of it and it touch me , many others have. Again Madrid is simply special. If I go to Spain, to say was there need to past by Madrid. Period. Let me tell you a bit about my life in Madrid!!!

First, my grandparents ,paternal and maternal are from Tenerife, Canary Islands of Spain. Especifically from Candelaria and Pajarà. I, as my parents were born in Punta Brava, La Habana (Havana), Cuba. And due to political sad stories we needed to leave.

I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1970 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft of Cubana de Aviacion, with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I ended in another one!!! Left or right both bad for the human race.

My early life was accompanying my mother Gladys as my father Elio had already escape by boat to the USA in 1967. We were supported there by my father with remittances so we were not dependant on anything or anybody. I was lucky enough thru an old family friend to enrolled in the Real Madrid training camps in football/soccer, baseball, and volleyball. We practice all over mostly in the Ciudad Deportiva or sports city and Casa de Campo installations and baseball at the parque de la Elipa (still the Madrid federation main baseball field today ).

I would go by bus (do not remember the old number! ) to the Ciudad Deportiva in the Paseo de la Castellana. No longer since 2004 or thereabout and now call the Cuatro Torres or Four tower business complex. These four towers are  Torre Cepsa, Torre PwC, Torre de Cristal and Torre Espacio. Closest Metro Begoña on line 10. It is near the inner beltway of Madrid the road M-30 north on Paseo de la Castellana. To the Parque Elipa I went by the old P13 bus line now is the 113.

We lived in a modest apartment or piso at C/Alcala 331, 2do A , Bùzon 67, Madrid 27, or at the 331 Alcalà street, 2nd floor apartment A, mailbox 67, Madrid zip/postal code 28027. This is metro Quintana ,line 5 right there as you come up/ Past the Ventas monumental bullfight ring into working class Madrid. The photo from September 1990.

madrid calle de alcala PF out of metro quintana back right apt used to lived sep90

The time was spent at school, very strict, chasing girls not so strict, and playing sports. Helping my mother as always with her to go out shopping and doing the house work. I was a busy young men. My most memorable experience was going out with the adults who would take me to the different tapas restaurants for a caña ,a glass of beer or chatico, a glass of wine. The favorites hangouts then were Timbales,Casa Paco,Las Cuevas de Luis Candela,Cafe Gijon,Cerveceria Alemana,and many small unkown places all over Madrid.

These outing made it possible for me to know most of Madrid or all at that time. I was helping out those shy by the authorities as well. Something that I am very proud of today. Spaniards do not know yet what they have gain, many wasted on nationalistic fervor that is and can only be dangerous to the health of the country. I went a lot to the Retiro park always memorable, and of course to the Parque de la Montaña  (very famous name in Madrid and Spain history) right next to Parque del Oeste to ride the cable car or Teleferico.

Sports wise, going to Casa de Campo for the Real Madrid training was great. I played in the Alavin,and Benjamin divisions, and were Champions of Spain in 1972-73. The Elipa baseball complex was great too as we played against the US base at Torrejon de Ardoz, as the serviceman kids had a team. Other teams that I remembered were the Abraham Lincoln school (famous name ), Condepols, Piratas, and the sponsored Rayo Vallecano and Atletico de Madrid teams.

I was poor then, and no money to buy a camera and take photos. My only photos are from 1990 when came back visiting from the USA. However, I have only from that period, it was my passport photo!


Madrid will always be one of my homes no matter where I must live in the World. Once biten it is hard not to missed the city friendly casual ambiance. Another city in the trail of Ernest Hemingway !! I left the city on May 10 ,1974 as a resident citizen, to reunite with my father in Perth Amboy, NJ USA. However, been back several times .  From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. Hasta pronto!!!

Hope you appreciate the story , sometimes hidden to avoid getting out of the travel theme of my blog. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 8, 2020

Daytona Beach, road warrior!!!

And well here is a bit more about me! I have written all over my blog that I like the road warrior freedom of driving all over Europe and the Americas. However, why I like it so much my road warrior mentality. Well, first I got my driving license in the NY/NJ border, if you can do it there , you can do it anywhere! And then I moved for university and later living in the Daytona Beach area of Florida home of car/moto racing! And the rest is as they said , history!!! road warrior is me , the freedomo of the road!

However, let me tell you of what is happening in Daytona Beach Florida USA all these years. Just three events, 24 Hrs of Daytona, Daytona 200, and Daytona 500. Get it!

The 24 Hours of Daytona, is a 24-hour sports car endurance race held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is run on a 3.56-mile (5.73 km) combined road course, utilizing portions of the NASCAR tri-oval and an infield road course.

Shortly after the track opened, on April 5, 1959, a six-hour/1000 kilometer USAC-FIA sports car race was held on the road course. Count Antonio Von Dory and Roberto Mieres won the race in a Porsche, shortened to 560.07 miles due to darkness. The race utilized a 3.81-mile layout, running counter-clockwise. Starting in 1966, the Daytona race was extended to the same 24-hour length as Le Mans. The first 24 Hour event in 1966 was won by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby driving a Ford Mk. 1966 also saw Suzy Dietrich enter the 24 Hours event, driving a Sunbeam Alpine with Janet Guthrie and Donna Mae Mims. The trio finished 32nd and, along with another women’s team in the race, became the first women’s teams to finish an international-standard 24-hour race. The regular teams were expanded to three drivers in the 1970s. Nowadays, four drivers compete typically because of the longer night driving.

The anecdote here is that I sneak in to be with the Porsche team right at the track, which was wonderful. Of course ,in those days not much into pictures ,or else just a beach bum road warrior dude! Just memories!

The Daytona Inter Speedway webpage for the 24 Hrs of Daytona event:

And the governing body IMSA on the 24 hrs event:

The Daytona 200 is an annual motorcycle road racing competition held in early spring at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida .The 200-mile (320 km) race was founded in 1937 when it was sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). The original course used the beach itself before moving to a paved closed circuit in 1961.
Daytona Beach had been used by land speed record competitors since 1902 however, by 1935 the rutted beach course began losing its appeal in favor of the Bonneville Salt Flats. In an effort to boost the local economy, race promoter Bill France Sr. arranged for the Savannah 200 to be moved to the 3.2-mile (5.1 km) Daytona Beach Road Course in 1937.

Bill France Sr. looked for alternatives and negotiated with the city of Daytona Beach to purchase a site near the Daytona airport. He arranged financing and in 1957, construction began on the Daytona International Speedway, a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) paved, oval-shaped circuit with steep bankings that permitted higher speeds.The track opened in 1959 and France convinced AMA officials to move the beach race to the Speedway in 1961.

The anecdote here is that when at the university and afterward , I rented apartments there until my parents purchased me a house .While at school, I lived at Hollywood avenue just off Main Str, the epicenter of bike week!! Good times rolled and I was in every bar lol!!


The Daytona Inter Speedway on the Daytona 200

Of course, as said above, this race became the centerpiece of what became known as Daytona Beach Bike Week, featuring motorcycle competitions besides road racing such as motocross and dirt track racing. Daytona Beach Bike Week is a motorcycle event and rally held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Approximately 500,000 people make their way to the rally area for the 10-day event. The festivities include motorcycle racing, concerts, parties, and street festivals. The event is usually held on the first full week of March (including the Fri-Sat-Sun prior to) and the most popular motorcycle rally in the United States.

Official webpage for the Daytona bike week:

And this is not all folks!! In 1991, the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau created a second motorcycle festival event in October, named Biketoberfest (you guest right!) . Biketoberfest is usually scheduled for the weekend immediately following Columbus Day (October 12 holiday), although some participants arrive on Columbus Day weekend and visit for the entire week. Part of the fun is a twelve-mile ride along a scenic route, known as the Ormond Beach Loop and Trail (this is something I used to do in a bicycle 23 miles of it!!) . Daytona International Speedway also sponsors some motorcycle races to coincide with the dates of Biketoberfest.

The official Daytona Beach Biketoberfest webpage:

And this is the big one, huge crowds and lots of fun for all! The Daytona 500 miles race

The Daytona 500 is a 500-mile-long (805 km) NASCAR Cup Series motor race held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida . The inaugural Daytona 500 was held in 1959 coinciding with the opening of the speedway and since 1982, it has been the season-opening race of the Cup series. The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse. Championship points awarded are equal to that of any other NASCAR Cup Series race. It is also the series’ first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start.

The race is the direct successor of shorter races held on the Daytona Beach Road Course. This long square was partially on the sand and also on the highway near the beach. Earlier events featured 200-mile (320 km) races with stock cars. Eventually, a 500-mile (805 km) stock car race was held at Daytona International Speedway in 1959.

The Daytona 500 was the first 500-mile (800 km) auto race to be televised live flag-to-flag on network television when CBS aired it in 1979 (and I was there!)  The television ratings for the Daytona 500 have surpassed those of the larger Indianapolis 500 (which has much larger physical attendance and international attendance) since 1995, even though the 1995 race was available in far fewer homes than the year before.

My anecdote is that I ,also, sneak in to the race hidden in the trunk of the car (back storage area)! so we can get one paying adult and the rest go in free lol!!! Great fun at the times, later they made you open the trunk!!

The official Daytona Inter Speedway webpage on the Daytona 500

The Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, and it has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR as well as its season opening event. In addition to NASCAR, the track also hosts races of ARCA, AMA Superbike, IMSA, SCCA, and Motocross. The track features multiple layouts including the primary 2.5-mile (4.0 km) high-speed tri-oval, a 3.56-mile (5.73 km) sports car course, a 2.95-mile (4.75 km) motorcycle course, and a 1,320-foot (400 m) karting and motorcycle flat-track. The track’s 180-acre (73 ha) infield includes the 29-acre (12 ha) Lake Lloyd, which has hosted powerboat racing. The speedway is operated by International Speedway Corporation pursuant to a lease with the City of Daytona Beach on the property that runs until 2054.

The official webpage on events:

The anecdote is first, my university sits right next to it ERAU , see posts on that grand institution! And Bill France Sr  (died in 1992) lived near my parents and I house in Ormond Beach. Incidentally at this city is what claims to be the birthplace of speed .City of Ormond Beach on it:

So, there is a bit more of my background, born to speed I guess! and love the pavement. Daytona Beach, Florida is another great spot on earth for me and my family;  my oldest son was born there! Hopefully radical elements will not throw away these memories and the free spirit of the road in a car, moto etc. Hope you have enjoy the tour and thanks for reading me.

The city of Daytona Beach on visiting info:

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

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