Archive for March 22nd, 2021

March 22, 2021

Trafalgar square, London!

And on our visit to London, the family rode and walk all over. One of the places we enjoy was Trafalgar square and I did a post way back. I like to bring it to life again as a memorable moment of my family’s travel in Europe, England, London. Hope you enjoy as I!

I have been there a few time , couple times with the family on vacation and several other by me on business trips. London is more as like going back over the pond, but a bit more aristocratique. We love the night life and the free museums but the walk so wonderful to walk.  In walking nothing tops going over the big squares and my favorite there is Trafalgar ,so therefore, here is a bit of honor on Mr Nelson.

Trafalgar Square in the neighborhood of Westminster in London is name after the battle of Trafalgar by Cape Trafalgar opposing the French-Spanish navy vs the British in 1805. The square is very lively and we like it. Trafalgar Square is at the intersection of Charing Cross where it connects with  Whitehall (in turns connecting to Parliament Square), The Strand, The Mall (connecting to Buckingham Palace via Admiralty Arch), Cockspur Street ,and  Northumberland Avenue, while on the north the square ends on the Pall Mall extension, and  Duncannon Street.

Other than several embassies  there , you have the National Gallery, one of the most important museum in London and the Anglican Church St Martin-in-the-Fields  built in the 18C on the spot of an earlier Church built in the 13C that was in a field between the City and Westminster.  Many famous people have been buried at St Martin’s including Nell Gwynn, mistress of Charles II , the painters William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds and the renowned craftsman Thomas Chippendale. There is a statue of king James II in costume of an emperor. In the center of the square there are two fountains one with LED colors. The fountains reduced the open space available for public gatherings and reduced the risk of riotous assembly.


The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13C and originally contained the King’s Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash in 1820 designed, but progress was slow after his death, work started in 1829 and the square did not open until 1844, when the northern terrace of the National Gallery was done.  It was in 1842 when Nelson’s Column was erected at 52 meters high and a pedestal of granite, a chapter in bronze and the statue itself of 4.50 meters high representing Admiral Horatio Nelson that lost his life in the battle of Trafalgar.  Nelson faces south, towards Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. South west is Admiralty Arch, the entrance to the wide ceremonial drive to Buckingham Palace called The Mall. The monument is surrounded by four sculptures of lions protecting the statue that were added in 1867.  Legend says the lions were done from the metal of the French navy that was defeated by Admiral Nelson and on a high that he can see his navy anchored in Portsmouth.


Anecdotes are a few here are my favorites in this square has the smallest police station in London, a cylindrical building in the southeast corner of the square; these days the police phone box is used as a storage room by the cleaners. Norway always sends a huge Christmas tree that stands in the square, as a token of gratitude for Britain’s help during the Second World war. The tree given is between 60-70 feet tall and is decorated with approximately 500 white lights. If you want to see the lights on the tree switched on, this always happens on the first Thursday in December. In 1876 the Imperial Measures were set into the north terrace wall. Surveyors can still check ‘Perches’, ‘Chains’ and other archaic measures against feet and yards. When the central staircase leading to the National Gallery was added, the measures were relocated to the bottom steps.

In the square there are two plinths for sculptures on the north side of the square. A bronze equestrian statue of George IV originally intended to be placed on top of the Marble Arch was installed on the eastern plinth in 1844, while the other remained empty until the late-20C. There are two other statues on plinths, both installed during the 19C that were later removed. The Gift Horse was installed on the fourth plinth in 2015. It is a model of a horse’s skeleton with a live display of the London Stock Exchange. There are three busts of admirals against the north wall of the square. Those of Lord Jellicoe by Sir Charles Wheeler and Lord Beatty, by William MacMillan were installed in 1948 in conjunction with the square’s fountains, which also commemorate them. The third, of the Second World War First Sea Lord Admiral Cunningham was unveiled alongside them in 1967.  On the south side on the site of the original Charing Cross, is a bronze equestrian statue of Charles I ;it was cast in 1633, and placed in its present position in 1678. The two statues on the lawn in front of the National Gallery are the statue of James II to the west of the portico, and of one George Washington, a replica of a work by Jean-Antoine Houdon, to the east  that was a gift from the Commonwealth of Virginia installed in 1921. For over 150 years the plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square, commonly known as the ‘Fourth Plinth’, remained empty. It was intended to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV. A failure to gather sufficient funds for its construction meant it was never realized. In 1999 it was decided to use the plinth for the temporary display of modern sculpture.

Nowdays, the square holds several events some of these were used for two sketch portions from BBC’s comedy series named as ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. ‘Olympic Hide and Seek’ sketch also starts here. It is featured in ‘V for Vendetta’ comic version as the location where V’s met the army and defeated them, without a single fired shot. The Square was also the location of the successful ‘World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra’ on 23 April 2007.  In May 2007, for the campaign by London authorities to promote “green spaces” in the city, the square was grassed over with the 2,000 square meters of turf for two days. In July 2007, a parade was held on the square and concert was arranged for the 60th independence of Pakistan from the British. Besides all these activities every year the Sea Cadet Corps holds a parade in honor of Admiral Lord Nelson and the British victory on the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October), over the combined fleets of Spain and France at Trafalgar.

London Underground’s  (subway/metro) Charing Cross station on the Northern and Bakerloo lines has an exit in the square. The lines had separate stations, of which the Bakerloo line one was called Trafalgar Square until they were linked and renamed in 1979 as part of the construction of the Jubilee line, which was rerouted to Westminster in 1999. Other nearby tube/metro/subway  stations are Embankment connecting the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines, and Leicester Square on the Northern and Piccadilly lines. London bus routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 all pass through Trafalgar Square at least before the virus.

We came by car , parked by Earl’s Court, and take the tube or double decker buses in, and walk walk a lot with a pint you go further lol! Some webpages to help you plan your trip and more on Trafalgar square to follow:

The city of London on Trafalgar square

The London tourist office on Trafalgar square

Hope you enjoy the ride on Trafalgar square, and do count as seeing it on your next visit to London. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 22, 2021

Shopping in Madrid!!!

Ok this is not my strongest subject but dare dwell on it. In my one of my favorite cities in the world and very dear sentimentally to me shopping was heavens. In a city not really known for shopping you are missing on something. I did this post back in 2016 and feels needs update on text and links; hope you enjoy it as I remembering these memorable places. This is shopping in Madrid!!!

I was just back again from Madrid and looking at my blog, have not updated the shopping in Madrid since I started blogging! Therefore,it’s time for me to do an update now. 

Rather than give you individual store webpage I will just tell you about them. My favorites that I have stop by or my family still there shopped are these:

Oh yes El Corte Inglés department store, a classic for many many years (they took over another of my old  favorites Galerias Preciados).  The nice stores are by the Puerta del Sol and just coming out left on Nuevos Ministerios line 8 coming from Barajas Adolfo Suarez airport.

The Street to be. At Calle Serrano 16 is the main store of Carolina Herrera for a complete wardrobe of men, women and kids as well as accessories.  They have move from Serrano and now at Calle de Lagasca, 21  you have Matarranz, for the house deco, bedding ,bath all with natural products. 

For high end shoes go to Calzados Bravo at Calle Serrano 42, great Spanish shoes with pure leather ,for over 50 years of service. Of course, the ultimate Spanish porcelain/ceramics at Llàdro in Calle Serrano 68; the very essence of Spanish beauty for your home.

For fashion clothing for men and women go for Purificacion Garcia, purely Spanish styles; ready to wear for you; At Calle Serrano 28 by plaza Colon  or Calle Serrano 47. 

For men’s suits made to order go to Echeverria at Paseo de la Habana 17 (closed here for the memories) near the Bernabeu; business suits were always right. The official men’s wear of my Real Madrid CF is Pedro del Hierro, and of course have a suit from them! They are sold in Cortefiel stores like the one at Calle Serrano ,29. Part of the same group that owns Springfield and Women’Secret.

Not for me ok but ladies underwear or lingerie, my women go often to Andrés Sardà at calle Ramon de la Cruz 14 near Plaza Manuel Becerra; if you want to buy simply Spanish.

For real local sports store go to Décimas, the one at the shopping malls  Vaguada or Principe Pio; I preferred the Vaguada. Individual store at Gran Via 29.

For my watches well I was a Casio men for yeears and always reliable , easy to find anywhere in the world even to change a bracelet.  I have since change to the mobile phone or cellular phone for the time and al. Here for the memories . Official resellers in Madrid are at Baroli , calle de Gabriel Lobo, 7 near metro Cruz del Rayo o Republica Argentina. Also, at El Corté Inglés dept stores.

For perfums, the stores Perfumeria Madrid Paris in Madrid since 1943! The one at  Avenida Reina Victoria 27, near metro Cuatro Caminos . And the one for perfums cosmetics toiletteries etc is Perfumerias Julià for the local touch. Calle del Carmen 2 , just around from the Puerta del Sol , just great!

For gifts souvenirs, decoration, there are many, but i have purchase at Bazar El Pulpito at the famous Plaza Mayor 11. By the side of the Arcos de Cuchilleros. At paseo del Prado 10 you have the Objetos de arte Toledano, (now closed in 2019 after 60 years here for the memories) wonderful store for many years there and always stop by.

And of course, why not a Real Madrid souvenir to take home, the best club in the history of football/soccer ::) Many stores now but the original is go to Santiago Bernabeu stadium. However, been closer to the centro or city center there is one nice store at Calle Carmen,3.

For knives kitchen stuff, the house kitchen all good brands,  see Cuchillerias Simon, Calle Virgen de los Peligros 10, near metro Banco de España or Sevilla.

A quaint  pharmacy and near an area of ladies of the night (much better clean now) but the pharmacy has everything you need for anything at good prices is Farmacia Montera at Calle Montera 9 near metro Sol. Not far there is Farmacia Mayor at Calle Mayor 13, plenty for the travelers’s need there too ; and the closest one for me (Calle Alcalà 331) for years is at Calle Alcalà 321 , Farmacia 24H, under new name and management. And if one to go to a pharmacy and history go the oldest one in Madrid since 1578!! Farmacia Real Botica de la Reina, Calle Mayor 59. It has many unusual things such as recipes by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quijote) and Calderon de la Barca etc.

Gourmet are plenty in Madrid and my favorites over the years are the huge supermarket AlCampo (Auchan in France) at the shopping center la Vaguada by metro line 9 Barrio del Pinar. Of course many other supermarket such as the Hipercor of El Corte Inglés, by Vista Alegre at Avenida de la Plaza de Toros; there is a nice size one, metro line 5 (my old home line! ) ,there is another good one at Calle Retama ,8 metro Mendez Alvaro line 6 .And my gourmet favorite by Paseo de la Castellana 196 ,the Sanchez Romero with inside cafeteria too.

For eyeglasses , near my old home there is Optica Roma by Plaza Manuel Becerra 28, and Calle Alcalà 388 near metro Manuel Becerra line 2 and 6. And Soloptical for the chain lover, this one at Plaza del Emperador Carlos V near Atocha train station.

You have electronics and information technology in the FNAC store near Nuevos Ministerios metro train station off Paseo de la Castellana 79  ,here as my boys love it. Other are MediaMarkt, Plaza del Carmen, 2. And Electronica Embajadores for all kinds of gadgets in all forms calle de Embajadores ,138 metro Delicias line 3 and cercanias trains C1 and C10.

Generally speaking, Madrid can be put into shopping areas as well. The luxury shopping is around the Streets of Serrano and José Ortega y Gasset in the Salamanca district. Then, you move on the vanguard areas of the movida such as around the districts of Malasaña,around the Streets of Gran Via, Fuencarral, and Corredera Baja de San Pablo.  Also, the areas from Calle Fuencarral to Paseo del Prado, the district of Chueca is the underground movement in fashion.  Moving to the center you have the Plaza Mayor and surrounding, as well as the Gran Via area ,especially around the Streets of Preciados and Carmen. The Rastro for the bargain hunter.

You move up north to AZCA near Plaza de Castilla, and the Streets of Orense, ave del General Peron, Raimundo Fernandez, Villaverde , etc.  And if you have the heart for the Madrileños then go beyond the M30 ave de America, de la Paz into the non touristic areas along Calle Alcalà near the Monumental bullfight arena and into Calle Alcalà out further, you hit my neighborhood, great choices and great prices.

The Madrid tourist office on shopping areas:

I am not into guides as better to know the territory like me than reading a guide, but this TimeOut for entertainment and shopping is very good, here is their shopping in Madrid:

 Enjoy shopping and enjoy Madrid. An event walking shopping the streets of this wonderful beautiful city that needs to be discovered more when possible.Hope you have enjoy the post and look forward like to come back shopping in Madrid!!!

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

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March 22, 2021

Granville and La Manche 50!!!

And I will update for you and me this wonderful trip to the confines around the Mont Saint Michel and beautiful Granville. A memorable visit with the family back in November 2017, one of our last trips together…………….

So on the run of a promise to my wife to visit a religous seer to see over her illness, we set out Saturday for a little village in the dept 50 La Manche in the region of Normandie. We went by car of course about 2h45 on the N24 by Rennes onwards on the A84 to N175 to  Villedieu-les–Poêles  and then the D924 to the  D35  and Le Loreul…!!! A very small town but quant nice.  We passed by pleasant little villages that are the true flavor of France, big cities are famous and concentrated ,but the little towns is what gives me in to France; the joie de vivre, la vie est belle!!!

Le Loreul is a country town just our hosts big horse lovers and famous in France, for privacy won’t mention name but he is a winner of the prix d’Amérique horse races  and others. We went for a private visit with the family and it was nice. Finish early and only other things to see is the simple Church Notre Dame next door on road rue de la liberté or D35. We passed by Champrepus on the D924 and it has a nice Church St John the Baptist on the D924 road. 



Then, we went on for Granville. I have not been here in many many years and as always visiting Mont Saint Michel, we decided for our time to visit Granville. We were glad we did, a nice town my family enjoyed even if very hilly. You need to concentrate in one area and then  move on by car to the next one low town or high town (basse ville ou haut ville).


The city has a wonderful ville haute or high town area with gorgeous views over the city and the sea. The pointe du Roc is magnificent and plenty of old bunkers from WWII on the Atlantic wall construction by the Nazis. The walkpaths are wonderful and you need to be in good shape to walk all these.  Passing by the fishing harbor and then the pleasure marina with all those restaurants/bars along the way is nice.




Nice museum of arts and history; but we had no time for it; the name is the musée d’art et d’histoire de Granville , as well as the musée d’art moderne Richard Anacréon. The best part for us was the walk on the streets low town and high town both times moving our car; to be closer. The ambiance is turn of the century and rather chic; worth the detour…

We did went inside the Church Notre Dame du Cap Lihou because it is in us to do so on all towns we visit. Here a Chapel exists since the 13C in granite stones. In this Church Christian Dior was baptized in 1908.  The choir was done from 1628-1641 and the ambulatory; the big nave was done between 1643-1655, and the Chapels of Saint-Clément (patron of marines) , and Notre-Dame du Cap-Lihou ( the virgin found in fisherman netting first in 1113) were added in 1674-1676. A century later were added the western façade 1767, and the sacristy 1771.  There is an organ built in 1660-1662 that is quite nice. Very nice Church and worth the detour.


As we needed to eat again before leaving so not to do dinner at home we stop by on a wonderful place, very friendly, fast service, nice folks and great food quality/price excellent. Crêperie La Bolée, 17 rue Lecampion, in city center but away from the harbor area. We had an assortments of galettes and other goodies, but I had the Terroir which is with slices of duck, camembert cheese, and cooked apples!! sublime; the had share a dish of cheeses four kinds including of course more camembert::) expresso coffee, along a bottle of Chateau Pique-Ségue Bergerac rose wine 2014…very good! All for 21.90€ per person! You have more of it in the Granville tourist office:

A nice place as we like, a nice welcome, a quiet atmosphere and without a headache, here is for this place whose décor has recently been revised. On the card side, as the name suggests, here we like crêpes and the galettes , but not only! mussels and chips are good, served in quantity, and for an incomparable value for money! The terrace in summer is a superb spot of the city. Thanks for the memories!!! A pretty personal pic of yours truly and my dear late wife Martine! There fighting her cancer……




The Manche dept 50 tourist office on Granville:

The Normandie region tourist board on Granville:

The city of Granville on Upper Town heritage:

And on the way back we took the other road D973 passing into Avranches to hook up with the A84 back home. Avranches we know too, had runs for lunch and dinner there many times ::) The day was entirely foggy heavy in some sections so it was a good idea not to go to MSM anyway. We will need to do another zig zag trip in our belle France and already some ideas for next weekend. For now enjoy Granville as we did!

You all enjoy your weekend wherever you are, and remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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