Archive for February 13th, 2021

February 13, 2021

Nice Plouhinec!!!

And my continuing saga to update/revise older posts in my blog, I come back to my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne. This is a place that first was found in my road warrior trips in the area , and we have come back for its natural beauty in nice Plouhinec. Hope you enjoy the off the beaten path trip.

This is another jewel that is nice for a day with the family and only about 40 minutes from my house. On the coast!!!  Seldom mentioned unless in an overall blog post today I dedicate this one to Plouhinec. The day was nice sunny, 15C or about 64F and no wind nor rain perfect weather for a cruise.

Plouhinec ,name of the town is Pleheneg in Breton. The name of the town is formed on the Breton Plou (parish or people) and Ithinouc (Pleheneg) or Ethinoc (deformation of the name of the Breton Saint Guéthénoc), or Ezinec, held in gorse in middle Breton. Another hypothesis would come from the name of Saint Winoc, as is the case for the similar town of Plouhinec in dept 29 Finistère.

The town is situated between the Ria of Étel in the east for 17 km and the small Sea of Gâvres on 5 km to the west. To the south the 8 km of beach overlooking the ocean are part of the largest dune of Brittany which extends from the Pointe de Gâvres to the Fort of Penthièvre on the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon (part of the wild coast of Quiberon) .Plouhinec is located 15 km from Lorient, 35 km from Vannes , the capital of the Morbihan region, and 147 km from Rennes, the capital of Brittany. Access is via the D158 road to the Gâvres Peninsula.

A bit of history I like

In 1793, the French revolutionary authorities decreed the war effort and conscription to resist the European nations at the gates of Paris. In Plouhinec, young people resisted the recruitment by commissioners and parodied the revolution by wearing the white badge (Royals) and declaring themselves aristocrats. During the Chouannerie, peasants revolt against the French revolution the local people who defied the revolutionaries were incarcerated at the citadel of Port Louis. They were eventually release on the exchange of cereal grains as payment.  During WWII, the coastal dune was used by the Nazi Army from 1940 by the construction of the base of the submarines and blockhouses of the Atlantic Wall. In 1944, the Allies decided to destroyed the Lorois bridge (Belz) to cut Lorient’s pocket in half. At the end of this war, the armistice talks in Lorient’s pocket were held at the Café de la Barre at the Magouër (last harbor before the sea).

Of course  ,we could not help it been hungry on the road and nothing prepared with a bunch of men in the car lol! So I remembered a place we ate once and was good with nice views of the bay so we headed for that. It is by the foot of the Lorois bridge on the side of the town of Belz on our way to the peninsula and it is the American’s Snacks, milkshakes, burgers, hot dogs all with an American flag and car plates from several places in the world such as Cuba in a very rustic country decoration. The service always very friendly where everyone even patrons tell you bonjour and au revoir the old fashion way:we love it!  We had plenty but me had my Calsberg blonde beer, with a New Yorker burger, including side order of fries and delicious salad, to end a pineapple and coconut milkshake! lovely … for 19€ !nice…Facebook page:




Some of the favorite things to see are:

The Church of Notre-Dame de Grâce or Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul was built from 1870 to 1873. It is an imposing building of néo gothic style where the high silhouette dominates the houses of the village.

The Pont Lorois bridge crosses the Ria of Étel between Belz and Plouhinec and connects the country of Auray to the country of Lorient. It is the only passage between the two shores.  It is actually in the town of Belz but dividing line with Plouhinec and right on the restaurant above. The Plage de Lînes or Linès beach is one of the best beaches of Plouhinec, it is part of the great Dune site which goes from Gâvres to Quiberon. This is heavens in Summer time, today was deserted which gives you plenty of time to walk and look around and come up with a game plan comes beach season lol!!!

Belz pont Lorois driving on sep22




A couple of webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Plouhinec on the dunes coastal area

My fav beach webpage plages tv on the beaches of Plouhinec

Hope you enjoy this bit of off the beaten path and do explore our wonderful Morbihan and Bretagne, the 3rd most visited region of France, in turn, the most visited country in the World-90M welcomes!!! by UN-WTO. (2018)! And some still wondered why lol!

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

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February 13, 2021

Château de Suscinio at Sarzeau!!

This is a pleasant update as came here in my early arrivial in the Morbihan dept 56 Breton.  My twin boys first class excursion locally was here, and later the whole family came to see it. Gorgeous historical and architecturally stunning me think. Let me tell you a bit on the Château de Suscinio part of the town of Sarzeau in the Rhuys peninsula!


There is much wonderful things to see in my department alone, without going into the region or lets not even go to talk about France ;sometimes is overwhelming and hard to decide where!!!  As much as many have told me how I cover territory , there are many still unseen or hardly touch. This is an example of it. We came to see the area, even thinking for a while of  purchasing a home here. We always drove up and down and sideways but really never had invested time to see this marvel of Bretagne.

I am talking of course about the Château de Suscinio, former home of the Dukes of Brittany and right near me in the Presqu’île de Rhuys (peninsula) .  I finally took the family  to see up close and personal!


The Château de Suscinio is surrounded by water, huge. First, you have the swamps or marshes of Suscinio. The Suscinio marshes are a complex composed of salt marshes and freshwater ponds. A full-fledged hydrographic entity consists of the Landrezac marshes located east of the Suscinio marshes. Near the Gulf of Morbihan, in the town of Sarzeau.


The Château of Suscinio, built at the end of the Middle Ages 13C, and to the second half of the 14C,was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany, and is located on the edge of Mor Braz (Atlantic Ocean) in the town of Sarzeau.

A bit of history I like

The first castle was a manor house for hunting, and built for the Duke of Brittany, Pierre de Dreux, in 1218, between freshwater ponds in the north, marshes of Suscinio and Étiers in the south. In 1229, his son, Jean I   le Roux, continued the construction of the castle, and closed a large part of the forest of Rhuys which would become a hunting park. Duke Jean IV of Brittany puts the castle at the disposal of the English, his allies. The fortress, commanded since 1365 by an English captain, was reconquered for the crown of France by Bertrand du Guesclin in 1373. The constable has dismantled towers, curtains and sleeping buildings. The Dukes Jean IV and Jean V undertake work of consolidation, expansion and construction of the sleeping building after 1380 and of the west building towards 1430 as well as the construction of a new tower . Thereafter, the castle is gradually neglected, the Dukes of Brittany favoring their castle of Nantes (see post). It becomes in 1520 property of the crown of France under king François I who entrusted it in usufruct with the surrounding lands to high figures of the Court, in particular one of his mistresses, who perceive the incomes of the estate.

In 1798, during the French revolution, the castle ,already very degraded was sold as a national property to a fairground merchant in Lorient who exploited it as a quarry for stones for buildings and just junked the sculptures. Purchase in 1852 by Viscount Jules de Francheville, his family did everything possible to save the existing one until the takeover in 1965 by the Morbihan Regional Council, which began its restoration as of today.  In 1975, the Chapel of the priory, burned in 1370, which has a remarkable pavement of about 300 m2, is discovered nearby during excavations, which are ongoing today. This one is studied, restored and exposed in a room of the castle. At the beginning of the 21C, the castle, now open all year round to the visit, regained its medieval fortress form intact.

A bit of a description if I may say so …

The Château de Suscinio, girded with moats deep of 3 to 4 meters, affects the shape of an irregular quadrilateral and probably in the second half of the 13C; flanked by seven towers, including a quadrangular one defending the walls. These towers as well as the towerettes are in their low level of condition, essentially vestiges of the 13C castle; The high body date from the 15C. The entrance is protected by two powerful towers of 12 meters in diameter, a drawbridge preceded by a stone-sleeping bridge and supervised by four lookout posts in the main body. The towers and curtains are crowned by the Breton machicolations, formed by consoles in decreasing pyramid. The enclosure is shouldered by two artillery bastions built at the end of the 16C in the time of the Wars of the League.  Separated by a large courtyard, two housings in granite , are connected by curtains. The courtship was mainly intended as a passageway connecting the East Logis (ducal residence, it includes a ceremonial hall, a wicket with a pass-through, the bedroom of the Duke close to the chamber to be adorned, the ovens, an oratory that overlooks the North tower) at the West building, and also shelter a less important North building in view of the four large mullions that have been pierced and two of which are walled.




Some of my observations as best can describe them are:

The Grand escalier à vis (big stair)  end of 15C  communicated to the rooms in 2nd and 3rd floors reserve to the ducal family and guard troops only.  Salle du capitaine (Captain’s room) was the principal entrance and the rooms of the ducal family created end of the 16C ; it is here that the defense of the castle is planned. From the middle of the 17C the captain and ducal guards no longer lived here.  The Grand Salle (big room) for protocol meetings of the dukes and guests.  Cabinet, a room for secretaries for writing of ducal acts etc.  The mounted horse statue of Olivier Clisson Constable of France in the 14C chief of the armies of the king, was done in 1892 . The city of Vannes put it here when the castle was a museum; Done in 1892, by the same artist who did the arrow of St Michel on top of the Mont Saint Michel.  Room of  Facing of the duke, with three window bays for clarity typical of the 15C architecture. A place to rest and work given way to the grand stair and the working room. A small door allowed the duke to reach the room of the Duchess and their children.  The working room next to the closet -wardrobe of the duke and where the duke took his baths and cleaned himself with servants. The whole travel with the duke whenever he needed to be. Room of facing or parement working and resting room next to the closet or wardrobe of the duke. Ducal oratory to hold Mass in private and pray by the duke and family. It had a gothic style retable under the altar and stained glass of the evangelisation of Christ. It had the arms of the duchy of Brittany.  Wardrobe or Garde robe  of the Duchess, with several servants at her disposal. It had individual baths for her to be cleaned and dressed.  The logis or lodgings on the south were four levels with several windows , this is where the oratory was and the defense of the St Nicolas tower.  The west building from the 15C and the rooms of the dukes, link by an interior stair flank by the New tower or tour Neuve. They seems to be from the primitive castle and oldest parts.  The building on the east dates from the 13C and it is the oldest today only traces and archeological excavations are been held.  The castle is surrounded by a large moat deep of 3-4 meters! It has been renovated in 1970. After excavations it has been found that the moat this deep was not and water around the castle did not began than on around the 14-15C ; it had a clap that allow to release water to the swamps if it became too flooded in the moat.  The principal gate was protected by the moat and the passage was done by bridges , fixed on the exterior and levies on the interior. There was a guard corp in front of this exterior bridge .And this was the only entrance to the castle for wagons, persons etc. One door. Got it!!






If these are not enough to keep you here for at least a day, then come in Summer for beach time at two beautiful beaches such as the Pointe de Penvins beach and the follow up the Landrezac beach. At Penvins you have the small beach and at Landrezac you have the big beach. Behind the castle there is the Suscinio beach and then at the end there is the Beg Lann beach , in all four beaches running one after the other, huge parking space, lifeguard station and camping park. My favorite is Landrezac with 5 km of white sandy beach!  My fav webpage on beaches in France, plages tv on the Landrezac beach:


It is beautiful and you must see it at least once if stopping by here in my lovely Morbihan. Some webpages to help you plan your trip visit here are:

The official webpage of the Château de Suscinio

The Tourist board of Bretagne on Sarzeau and Suscinio

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist board on Suscinio

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist board on the Rhuys Peninsula

There you go ,history, architecture, traditions, and good food, the Morbihan is waiting for you, and will gladly help you enjoy it, I told you its beautiful!!! Oh did I told you about the Château de Suscinio and its beaches ::)

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

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February 13, 2021

Some news from Spain XCVIIII

And this is my latest news from my beloved Spain. Still in the unfortunate situation of not traveling, and even if do most will be closed. Hopefully next summer all will be back to some normality everywhere. As for now, some items to help us plan for the future and enjoy Spain, everything under the sun!

The prettiest train stations in Spain me think

The Atocha Station of Madrid. Known as the Estacion del Mediodia ( midday station)  or Estacion del Sur (south station) in the mid-19C, as a result of a fire that ravaged the original building, the current Atocha station was built, made in 1892. It is a large 152 meter long nave with a curved roof and a glass facade. A classic see post.

Estacion del Norte in Bilbao (North station).  Also known as Abando Indalecio Prieto, inside the station stands out the large window with motifs from the life and customs of the town, which summarizes the history of Bilbao: it contains references to the Basilica of Begoña, the bridge of San Antón, the hamlets, the iron and steel industry, fishing, sports etc.

Canfranc Station, Huesca. Like a gigantic Titanic stranded in the mountains, with its more than 241 meters in length, its 365 windows and its 156 double doors, the Canfranc International Station was the second largest in Europe. To build this modernist-style pharaonic work, the workers removed millions of cubic meters of earth and planted thousands of Albares pines. They also channeled the Aragón river and made a tunnel almost six km long: the Somport.(see post) It has been closed for more than half a century. Passed by it crossing into Spain see several mentions of it in my blog.

Cartagena station, Murcia. The Cartagena train station dates back to the beginning of the 20C, when the city experienced a true boom in modernist architecture due to the Indianos (Spaniards coming back from the Americas) who returned with great fortunes from America. In the building as a whole, the columns and decorative ceramics stand out, as well as the large clock on the arch of the main facade. Currently on its four tracks, with three platforms in total, the Talgo and Altaria trains circulate, as well as medium-distance services.

France Station,(França)  Barcelona. Inaugurated in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the France station is one of the most important exponents of modernist iron architecture in Barcelona. Located in the Born neighborhood. The double metal canopy with stained glass windows that makes possible the spectacular effect of natural light on the twelve routes that compose it stands out. Walked by it but never inside

Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz. Its construction at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the following decade recreate a neo-Renaissance Andalusian mansion, in a combination of Mudejar and Plateresque styles. Was by there but missed going in to see will have on my list.

Toledo station. This beautiful monumental station built at the request of king Alfonso XIII in 1917 on the old station of the city of 1858 stands out for its neo-Mudejar architecture and elements such as the clock tower. Inside, coffered ceilings, plasterwork and baseboards and the chiselled the locksmith, lamps and wall lights. In 2005 the station was restored on the occasion of the arrival of the high-speed train. Wonderful pretty station see post.

Estacion del Norte, (North) Valencia Inaugurated in 1917 after ten years of work, the Valencia station is one of the best examples of our civil architecture. Modernist in style, within the current Vienna Secession. See the numerous handcrafted details: the lobby with a meticulous design of the wooden lockers and wainscoting, mosaic inlays and ceramic decorations with an abundance of Trencadís, tiles … while the roof and the delicate geometric shapes of its façade show the effort so that all objects were a work of art in themselves. Very nice station see post.

Zamora Station. Considered one of the most beautiful stations in Spain, its works began in 1927 but due to successive interruptions it was not inaugurated until 1958, a year after the Medina del Campo-Zamora-Orense-Vigo line was put into service. Its façade hides a caricature of the Catholic Monarchs and is a jewel of Renaissance inspiration, whose arcades and openwork windows are reminiscent of the late Gothic style.

The tourist activities platform Musement has developed a ranking with the most popular towns in each Spanish province. All Spanish towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants were taken into consideration according to the INE and the data from the search volume in Google for the term “what to see in [town’s name]. A good idea to have in mind now for when will be possible to travel again.

For travelers who prefer to visit small towns but with much to offer, Guadalest (Alicante), Pedraza (Segovia), Miravet (Tarragona) and Medinaceli (Soria) are the ideal option, since they do not reach 1,000 inhabitants and have numerous places of interest.

Among the most popular towns, it is worth highlighting Peñíscola, the beautiful coastal town in the province of Castellón. Although it is not the only town by the sea that conquers hearts. Llanes, the beautiful fishing village of Asturias or Hondarribia (Guipúzcoa), with the colorful balconies of its typical houses, also triumph inside and outside its provinces.

Mountain and outdoor lovers will be happy to see on the map Jaca (Huesca), yes! Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia), Albarracín (Teruel)  yes! or Cazorla (Jaén), destinations that allow combining cultural visits and activities in nature. Following in the footsteps of the ingenious gentleman Don Quijote de La Mancha in Consuegra (Toledo),yes!  discovering the Ruta de los Conquistadores in Trujillo (Cáceres) yes! or savoring the best wines in Cambados (Pontevedra), Haro (La Rioja) and Laguardia (Álava) are just some of the plans and experiences that can be enjoyed in the most popular towns of each Spanish province.

More on the Musement webpage here:

Some late wines to recommend and hopefully you can get where you are !

Juan Gil Etiqueta Plata 2018 (Jumilla, about 11 € in Spain). Viñas Familia Gil  in recent decades, it has been one of the main reasons that Jumilla has become a thriving appellation of origin, far from the days of bulk. El Nido is there to prove it, one of the best Mediterranean wines made in this country. And, playing in another league, that of the most affordable prices, Juan Gil Label Plata, an infallible monastrell monovarietal, balsamic and balanced, which is the perfect companion for any type of winter stew.

El Regajal Seleccion Especial 2018 (Vinos de Madrid,14,50 € in Spain) . The finca El Regajal, located in the historic Madrid province town of  Aranjuez, it is unique in the world, since enology and entomology coexist in it. As it sounds: its 14 hectares of vineyards inhabit 77 of the 225 species of butterflies identified in the Iberian Peninsula (hence its label, which represents a lepidopteran). It began to make wines in 1998 and this Special Selection is the crown jewel, with a coupage whose proportion varies depending on each vintage, which includes the five varieties grown on the estate, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. and Syrah and it is perfect to accompany callos ( tripe) . He has a little brother, Las Retamas, less complex and cheaper (8 euros).

And now the modern version of tasting wines in restaurants. I admit my selection is a blend of the old and the new, taken the best from each in my opinion. Choosing the right wine for lunch or dinner in a restaurant can make the difference between success and failure. If you are in charge of doing it, the Metropolis section of El Mundo newspaper has some suggestions that do not fail and warn you against some very common mistakes to avoid.

Before launching into the wine menu selection, it is convenient to estimate a budget. Neither the cheapest wine is the worst nor the most expensive is the best. You always have to ask the rest of the guests about their tastes. If someone does not like white wine or red wine, as much as it is the one that best goes with the ordered dishes, there is no point in ordering it. The solution is to reach a consensus that each one takes the one they prefer. (yes we do from red to rose).

Don’t get obsessed with harmonies. The white with fish and red with meat is a thing of other times. The recommendation in these cases is to opt for a base wine to accompany the meal. (yes we do). That reds are drunk at room temperature is an outdated urban legend. If a red is too hot (which causes the alcohol to stand out and become unbalanced), there is no qualms about demanding that they be put to cool in an ice bucket. Similarly, an excessively cold white tastes practically nothing. (indeed)

Be careful with the glasses. One wrong glass can spoil a great wine. Refuse to be served in catavinos, flutes, pompadour, and the like. Do not be afraid to talk about prices. If the sommelier proposes a “great wine off the menu”, ask how much it costs. Then , there will be no surprises at the last minute. (we know our wines so no need to ask for the price ..)

Ask that they leave the bottle at hand to regulate consumption. If it could not be for reasons of local protocol, unless it is always in sight, to know how much is left and not be surprised that it has finished in the middle of a meal. Yes indeed anyway if order a bottle it will be in your table.

The experiments are done at home and with soda. Maybe you want to try an exotic wine that you do not know and have not even heard of, but even if your companions (unless they are also irreducible cenotaphs), for one day they go out, they prefer to play it safe. (we do tried by the glass first , and if good we ask for the rest of the bottle!) And most importantly: enjoy, enjoy and enjoy your meals.

There you go folks .something to think about from my beloved Spain; hope you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 13, 2021

Vuelta a España 2021!! One of cycling’s best!!

And here I give you an ahead news on one of cycling triple courses we enjoy over the years. Due to the fact in my wife’s family they were/are avid followers , and of course, I join in with the family. As said before we usually used to go by Pau to catch the French Tour de France, and by Castilla La Mancha and Cuenca for the Vuelta a España. Lately this has stopped due to losses in the family and the virus.

However, the 76th edition of the tour of Spain or Vuelta a España is back next August if all goes well as our times tells us lately. Here is the planned lineup.

Two time trials, seven mountain stages, six flat … These are the profiles of the 21 stages of the 76th edition of the Vuelta.
The 2021 Vuelta will have 21 stages with profiles for all types of runners and without losing the essence that has been forged in recent years. However, many unfamiliar places and do not know if the effect will be the same. Here are the stages with day of the week, date, itinerary , distance and type of race.

Stage 1 (Sat. 08/14). Burgos-Burgos. 8 km. CRI
The 2021 Vuelta will start with an individual time trial starting and finishing at the Burgos Cathedral.

Stage 2 (Sun 08/15). Caleruega-Burgos Gamonal. 169.5 km. Flat
Stage 3 (Mon. 08/16). S. Domingo Silos-Picón Blanco. 203 km. High end

Picón Blanco from Espinosa de los Monteros finally made his debut in La Vuelta after years in the plannings. First contact with the mountain for the favorites, with a practically one-port stage, although the end is demanding on a 9 km ascent of around 9% and with ramps that reach 17%.

Stage 4 (Tue. 17/08). El Burgo de Osma-. Molina de Aragón. 163.6 km. Flat
Stage 5 (Wed 08/18) Tarancón-Albacete. 184.4 km. Flat
Because the day between Tarancón and Albacete, despite its completely flat profile, could be decisive if a strong wind rises that could cause fans.
Stage 6 (Thu. 08/19). Requena-Alto de Cullera. 159 km. High end
Stage 7 (Fri. 08/20). Gandía-Balcony of Alicante. 152 km. Mountain
Stage 8 (Sat. 08/21). Santa Pola-La Manga del Mar Menor. 163 km. Flat
Stage 9 (Sun 08/22). Puerto Lumbreras-Alto de Velefique. 187.8 km. Mountain
Stage 10 (Tue. 08/24). Roquetas de Mar-Rincón de la Victoria. 190.2 km. Half mountain
Stage 11 (Wed 08/25). Antequera-Valdepeñas de Jaén. 131.6 km. Half mountain
Stage 12 (Thu. 08/26). Jaén-Córdoba. 166.7 km. Half mountain
Stage 13 (Fri. 08/27). Belmez-Villanueva de la Serena. 197.2 km. Flat
Stage 14 (Sat. 08/28). Don Benito-Pico Villuercas. 159.7 km. Mountain
Stage 15 (Sun. 08/29). Navalmoral de la Mata-El Barraco. 193.4 km. Mountain
Stage 16 (Tue. 08/31). Laredo-Santa Cruz de Bezana. 170.8 km. Flat
Stage 17 (Wed 09/01). Unquera-Lakes of Covadonga. 181.6 km mountain.

Lagos de Covadonga, return to the tour as the outcome of a pure mountain day. But the stage will have another novel element: a circuit prior to the final ascent that takes two laps and in which a new pass is climbed in both: La Collada Llomena, with 14% ramps.

Stage 18 (Thu. 02/09). Salas-Alto del Gamoniteiro. 159.2 km. Mountain
Stage 19 (Fri. 09/03). Tapia-Monforte de Lemos. 187.8 km. Half Mountain
Stage 20 (Sat. 04/09). Sanxenxo-Mos (Castro de Herville). 173.6 km. Mountain
Stage 21 (Sun 05/09). Padrón-Santiago. 33.7 km. CRI

Seven years later, La Vuelta returns to live in Santiago de Compostela its last stage in the form of an individual time trial.

The official Vuelta a España webpage in English:

Cycling news journal on the Vuelta in English:

There you go now be ready plenty of advance notice, this is planning and hopefully we will be able to enjoy in August/September 2021. Maybe see you there, La Vuelta of Spain!

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

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