Archive for April, 2021

April 30, 2021

Church Saint-Germain-d’Auxerre in Navarrenx!!

And continuing my rounds of updates on older posts on the deep France which brings many memorable moments of family travel, let me stop in an unique off the beaten path town of Navarrenx and show you a bit of the Church Saint Germain d’Auxerre! This is my deep France , and we love it. Hoping you do too!

The territory in expansion is not really big but the treasures in it are huge. And coming back to the deep south I came upon the nice historical Church of Saint Germain d’Auxerre in the lovely town of Navarrenx.  The Saint-Germain-d’Auxerre Church is located in Navarrenx, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques dépt 64 of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.  It is a fairly old Church whose origins date back to 1551, under the reign of Henry II of Albret. Its steeple, as can be seen at present, dates from 1731. This gothic style Church, relatively rare in this part of France, measures 41 meters in length for 21 meters wide.  Following the arrival of king Louis XIII, wishing the final end of the war of religion, in Naverrenx in 1620, the Catholic cult was indeed restored. The patron of the Church is Saint-Germain-d’Auxerre, whose painting adorns the back of the Church. The Saint feast is on July 31st. The organ was built around 1850, but it is not signed so builder not known for sure.


This was the so-called Edict of the Union of Béarn. At Naverrenx, in favor of the entire integration of the kingdom, the king attended the solemn Sunday Mass at the Saint-Germain-d’Auxerre Church the following day. Two days later, the edict was finally approved by the Royal Council. Above the gate is a laurel wreath with the shield of France, completed according to the visit of Louis XIII. On the other hand, the current common coat of arms is characterized as a bluish golden Fleur de Lys replacing the old coat of arms.


The main portal of the Church Saint Germain d’Auxerre is distinguished from four large-scale paintings, including those granted by Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie de Montijo. Indeed, after treating Eugènie, future Empress, Doctor Jean-Baptiste-Prosper Darralde became a resident of Navarrenx, then Mayor of this town between November 1841 and December 1845, finally was appointed ordinary doctors of their Imperial Majesties, towards 1857. Hence, during the visit of the Imperial couple to Navarrenx in 1859, Napoleon III thanked him because of numerous treatments, notably those of the Empress, by granting the Church four paintings. The gifts of the Emperor and the Empress were successively arrived while they were copies of the masterpieces.  With their biblical subjects, these great paintings at the door invite the Pilgrims of St. James, during the the re start of their journey, to keep their spiritual prayer on the way. These paintings are:

Nativity of the Virgin MarySaint Germain, Patron of the Church and parish; Piéta of Adele de Kercado, this Piéta is accordingly exactly attributed to Mademoiselle de Kercado, who made numerous copies of masterpieces at that time; And this is a reproduction of the piece by Lodovico Carracci. The Ascension of Jesus, unlike the other three paintings, this work is nothing but an original by François Dubois, already completed in 1848, and which arrived at the Church later, in 1859. This is a work of the Ascension of Christ.




Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Navarrenx on history/heritage

The Béarn Gaves tourist board on Navarrenx in English:

The Béarn Gaves tourist board on the route to St James at Navarrenx

This the real old France we came to know in books and old films, lovely pure and simple with lots of architecture, history and more; the food of course is delicious and so are the wines of the Béarn! Enjoy Navarrenx and the Church Saint Germain d’Auxerre as I do!

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

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April 30, 2021

Cathedral of Sainte-Marie of Oloron-Sainte-Marie!

And moving right along in one of my favorite areas of my belle France, we went deep! We have been passing by here for several years until one time we settled in Pau and began to see the region up close. One of my pleasant surprise was quant tranquil Oloron Sainte Marie. Let me update this old post on one of its emblematic monument, the Cathedral Sainte Marie!

And why not stay a bit longer in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, a nice town between lovely Pau and the Pyrénées to Spain! I cannot count how many times by here, since 1990! Read my previous posts on the town. It is a nice stepping stone into the mountains, the wines, the history and the architecture. Speaking of which , let me tell you about another gem of my belle France.  The Cathedral of Sainte-Marie in Oloron-Sainte-Marie  department of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques 64 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. I will make it brief, promise.



The Church of Oloron was destroyed in 848 by the Vikings when they ransacked the city.  It was around 1102 that the Viscount of Béarn Gaston IV the Crusader decided to build a new cathedral that  began to build on the left bank of the gave Aspe (river). It remains from this 12C Cathedral especially the Romanesque portal protected by the steeple-porch as well as elements in the transept. The new cathedral dedicated to the Virgin was begun at the beginning of the 12C.

The nave was built in the 13C. The present sacristy, former Chapel of St. John the Baptist, was built in the late 13C or early 14C. The  Church was partly burned by lightning in 1302. The choir and bedside are rebuilt in the 14C. Two lateral vaulted chapels of liernes and third-party warheads were added in the late 15C or early 16C. The Cathedral was enlarged  in 1749 by constructing four lateral chapels with altarpieces on both sides of the nave and creating a new decor. This Cathedral was the episcopal seat of the former Diocese of Oloron, which was abolished in 1802 (separation of Church and State). In 1909, the Bishop of Bayonne was given the title of Bishop of Oloron and Lescar. Since that time the diocese of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron has a mother church (Cathedral of Bayonne) and two co-Cathedrals (Cathedral of Oloron and Cathedral of Lescar). The restoration of the Cathedral was undertaken from 1859.




In front of its Romanesque portal, a 12C, defensively-styled steeple-porch surmounts a slate roof. The main eardrum is adorned with a carved cross descent. The Romanesque portal is the work of two sculptors who are distinguished by their technique. One of them is called the Master of Oloron. With his workshop, he worked on the roads of Compostela, the main theme of the descent of Christ’s cross is very rare in a church at this side. This representation takes up the account of the death of Christ given in the Gospel according to John:. Around the cross, you can see on the left, Mary, mother of Jesus, hands on the heart, Mary, mother of James, kisses the Hand of Christ who has been liberated, a character who holds the body of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea holds pincers to denial the left hand of Chris, and the Apostle John with a hand against his cheek to manifest his deep sorrow. Above the horizontal traverse of the cross, two busts, which represent the sun and the moon to recall the darkness that occur at the time of the death of Jesus. At the foot of the Cross, a Crimson. Under the Crimson has been carved a calf or bull’s head whose interpretation is not assured.

The treasure is made up of articles of Goldsmiths, cabinetmaking and liturgical garments dating from the 17-18C. It is housed in the restored and rehabilitated North lateral chapels.  A curious and imposing cabinet of the 19C, presenting a collection of priestly ornaments from the 14C to the 17C  worn by the bishops of Oloron including a veil, a handle, a stole, two jumpers, three dalmatiques, and two screeds. A nativity scene and figures from the 1Q of the 18C.  Orfrois representing Saint Denis, Sainte Barbara, a holy bishop, the Veil of Véronique held by two angels dating from the 16C. Goldsmith’s pieces from the 16C to the 19C.



The Organ was built between 1647 and 1652. The organ was restored in 1771. The organ was dismantled at the French revolution. Aristide Cavaillon-Coll installed an organ in the 17C buffet in 1870. Stained glass windows were laid in the 19C after the restoration of the Cathedral. A stained glass window depicts Mary’s presentation at the Temple and the Annunciation. Another, representing the Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus and Saint Joseph, from 1867.

There you go a bit of history I like which always look forward to when visiting these places and talking with the local people its just an amazing experience. I was glad to spent more time in the city, see my other posts, there is nice wines, chocolates and food here to keep at least me for a long time… Been the importance of the Cathedral in terms of local folklore, it is not a big size nor highly decorated but worth the detour if passing near or by Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Oloron Sainte Marie on heritage

The Pyrénées Béarnaises tourist office on Oloron Sainte Marie

The Béarn Pyrénées tourist board dept 64 on the Cathedral

And there you go folks, another dandy in my belle France and a deep region bordering with Spain, the real country just what I like the best. And the Cathédrale Sainte Marie of Oloron Sainte Marie is a nice place to stop while in town.Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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April 30, 2021

Gan on the Pyrénées Atlantiques 64!

Let me bring this old post to life again for the road warrior memories of my southern France near border with Spain. Many years by here, and always an exhuberant glory of going there. I like to update our stayed in Gan (as many passing by!). Hope you enjoy as I.

So let me bring you down to a beautiful area and wonderful wines. I have enjoyed with the family for many years and even been base at Pau to just drive around the whole region. It is a pity not better known, as it is worth a detour for an off the beaten path area of my belle France.  The city of Gan is best known for its wine, which I have done another post on it. However, it does have a nice Church which again is very little credited and it is a nice stop while in town. It goes to saying have wine and take time for the Church. Let me tell you a bit more on this quant little town. Gan is a town in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept 64 in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, and only 9 km south of Pau.

The St. Barthélémy Church was rebuilt near the ancient church of St. John which was restored in several phases between 1811 and 1930.  The St Barthélémy Church has an 18C gilded wooden altar, enamelled Way of the Cross of ceramists Cazaux, stained glass windows of Atelier Mauméjean.. The Atelier Mauméjean is one of the main actors in the decoration of the stained glass. They are the work of three generations of Mauméjean the oldest being a Saint Peter of 1891 the most recent dating from 1939. The 18C gilded wooden altar located in the left ambulatory is the oldest room. The restoration of the church in 1920 and entrusted to the Abbot Annat priest of Gan who will follow the complete remodeling work of the Church to be consecrated in 1922 by Monsignor François Marie ,Bishop of Bayonne.





Gan is a large French wine-growing town with permission to produce the following appellation wines:   Béarn, comté de Tolosan; and Jurançon. (see post)The Béarn is a French AOC label (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée))   and a European AOP label(Appellation d’Origine Protégée).  The Comté de Tolosan is a European label IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée). Note that the IGP label replaces the VDP label (Vin de pays) since 2009. It also has the word “regional “. The word “regional ” means that the IGP has the legal area of wine production of the widest possible. As it is fixed to a whole region which can bring together several departments.  The Jurançon is a French AOC label (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée ) and a European AOP label (Appellation d’Origine Protégée ). We love and are direct with the cooperative at Gan for jurançon and béarn wines, delicious at affordable prices!

The city of Gan on heritage–henri-iv-et-henri-dalbret

Official bastides fortified towns of the Pyrénées Atlantiques on Gan

The Béarn area tourist office on Gan

Its market is usually open from 8h to 13h in city center. These times can vary depending on the weather and the season.  There you go a nice stop for us always on the way in or out of Spain, and we stop by Gan  too. As said, we have even stayed at Pau and wondered around this area for several years. Very nice places and should be seen more by all. Hope it encourage you to do so.

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

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April 29, 2021

La Elipa, Madrid! souvenirs forever!!!

And coming back to nostalgia posts updating this one was a thrill and very happy to see it again and updated for you and me. This is one of those little places one do not think visiting but then again I was living in Madrid. Living and visiting are two different things; what you go through you do not forget and when all was fun and happy times ,souvenirs forever my Elipa! Let me tell you a bit more ok.

I come to my nostalgia, my souvenirs of youth in a city that will always be mine, Madrid. I have written so much on it in my blog over the years, but as always when you have so much to share ,you seen to forget the little spots that brings out the real joy in this much travelled men. Ok so I would like to share it with you, a nice piece of my life’s history. I will take you to a very off the beaten path of MadridLa Elipa and its old but wonderful baseball field.

The Elipa  is a neighborhood in Madrid located in the district of Ciudad Lineal. It borders to the north with the Carmen neighborhood, to the east with the cemetery of the Almudena, to the south with the district of Moratalaz , and to the west with the Avenida de la Paz( peace). The Elipa is located around the Avenida del Marqués de Corbera, most if not all the buildings are from the decades of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The area’s lung is a pine forest in which a national school is located. This pinewood was quite small due to the construction of the M-30 beltway highway (finished around 1974) , although many of its inhabitants mobilized to avoid its disappearance. And now a great beltway of inner Madrid. Very near where I used to lived!

A bit of history I like on the area

The area of La Elipa today was between 1212 and 1219 the Lujanes, a former lineage from Madrid, had a lordship in what would be known as the Elipa. It was granted by the king to Miguel Ximénex de Luján, who named it in memory of his wife, Phelipa de Vargas. At the beginning of the 19C, the Elipa belonged to the municipal district of Vicálvaro. Towards 1880 in Madrid, it was necessary to build a new modern cemetery of great capacity, but since there was not an appropriate land in the city, the new cemetery was made in the area of Vicálvaro, so that the large piece of land of the new  cemetery was bought to Vicálvaro and annexed to Madrid towards 1886, this is today the necropolis of the Almudena. In the year 1951 the municipal district of Vicálvaro was annexed to Madrid due to the great urban chaos that existed in the area of the current neighborhoods of the Elipa and  district of Moratalaz and because Madrid needed space to grow.  As envisaged by the Ministry of Housing, the new urban projects improved in quality, thanks to the intervention of the private initiative. For example, a neighborhood of this type was that of the Elipa. Until this time ,in the 1950’s the current  Calle San Maximiliano and Avenida de Marqués de Corbera formed a single road, which was known as the Calle de la Elipa. The construction of some blocks of flats, which had their entrance through the avenue, gave the main route of the neighborhood its current width.

As far as transports ,many taken by me since my early teens living there were initially old bus as private vans belonging to a private company that connected the Plaza de Manuel Becerra with the cemetery of the Almudena ( bus line P-10) and the neighborhood of Quintana (my old home area!) with the Vallecas (bus P-13 ,and the one I always took to reach the Elipa baseball field see below). These vans, which circulated in the Elipa, became the lines, of the new Madrid transport network  E.M.T. (Empresa Metropolitana de Transportes) the nos. 110-210 and 113 (running the same route as my old P13!). In  2007 was inaugurated the Metro station of the Elipa, belonging to Line 2 and located in the Avenida del Marqués de Corbera, corner with Calle Santa Felicidad.

On the border with the district of Moratalaz is the sports center of the Elipa, which despite its name does not belong to the district of Ciudad Lineal, but to Moratalaz. In this sports center, apart from swimming pools and other sports facilities, is one of the few fields of grass for baseball in Spain, where they play and train, among others, the Municipal school of baseball of Madrid. This is my old playing field visited nowdays when in the city and still looks wonderful; lots of youthful memories here, and it makes me feel young when by here! I give you now some webpages to help you understand the baseball here. First from the city of Madrid on the sports complex, and then the Spanish Baseball/Softball federation on the school of baseball of Madrid.



These are long links could not make it shorter, sorry.

The city of Madrid on the Elipa sports complex

The official Spanish baseball and softball association on the Municipal School of Baseball

And of course a bit more on the history of this La Elipa sports complex the home base of baseball in Spain  and today it is ,also, the school. Many memorable moments of teen years here!!!

The baseball field of La Elipa, in the district of Moratalaz, has more years than the Vicente Calderón stadium (now gone) or the stadium of Vallecas. So much so that it is the oldest in Europe. Its concrete, sand and turf have been a living witness to the history of this sport in Spain and its struggle to grow in the Spain of football/soccer fame. Not many know it, but there was a time, between the 1960’s and 1980’s  not only Real Madrid CF (my TEAM in baseball I played as well as football/soccer and the other sports I follow such as basketball), F.C. Barcelona or Atletico Madrid had baseball sections, but was taught in schools and at least in Madrid, everyone who wanted to start a team received from Castilian Federation , the balls, bats and gloves to do it for free. Two American teams made up of military of the bases of Zaragoza and Torrejón de Ardoz (played in the Elipa field as well!! ) joined in on this league that counted about 8 teams including the Abraham Lincoln School, Condepols, and Piratas teams!! (what a bunch of memories here) . The Latin American exiles fled from the dictatorships of their countries, did joined in and help improve the level of baseball here.  Spain did ok with winning the European title of 1955, several sub-championships, and especially the Olympic Diploma of Barcelona ‘ 92.


When touring the corners of the field today, one intuits that in that form of decadent beauty hides the memory of a time past full of great moments. Its cracks rust and flaws are like the scars that tell us about the hard road that has come to get here, and at the same time, are signs of the strength it treasures; like saying, “I’m here to stay.” With a seating capacity for just over two thousand people, it will go thru one of the most important reforms in its half century of history. They have change the sand and the little natural grass that is not dry for a synthetic surface, easier and cheaper to conserve, and the changing rooms are going to be built again. A facelift for an installation that holds firm the ups and downs of this sport. That is still available, as for 55 years, of those who want to venture into the romantic struggle of minority sports, or those who want to feel the distant homeland a little closer. Indeed so much nostalgia and memories here to last me for a lifetime; Madrid will always be Madrid in heaven with a hole in the sky to look down it every day. Thanks Elipa!!!



And thank you for reading it. Its one of those simple spots that means so much to me and reminds of my dear late mom Gladys efforts to bring me to La Elipa. Indeed memories forever. and hoping you are a fan of baseball and stop by and see it, looks like any small US town baseball field!!

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

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April 29, 2021

My Metro line 5 of Madrid!!!!

This is a memorable older post that love to revive update for you and me. This is what it started it all for me and my Madrid. This is where I lived for four beautiful years and many returns, and I lived right off the Metro Line 5 of Madrid in the neighborhood of Quintana and the district of Ciudad Lineal! Let me happily tell you about it.

Now I am in nostalgia lane , let me bring you up another memorable moment of my life.  As far as my youth, public transport was it, of course.  So when living there and even for souvenirs’ sake when visiting, I take the metro or the bus lines, much less the cercanias trains.  One of my fav things to do, as not really a tourist but a long time resident coming back, is to take my teen years metro line 5 of Madrid. Again, words of mine cannot express the joy of riding this line, bringing friends and family to ride it and especially my sons over the years! This is it line 5 metro of Madrid, it has evolved as Madrid!

I have written on it briefly in between posts before, but as it is so much me, feel obligated to make you read on it along, sorry ::) It is awesome ride really, try it!! And I do take it just to go back to my old piso or apartment and reminicent of youthful nice days when there with my dear late mom Gladys now. I have taken my Dad, my dear late wife Martine now, and my sons alone to this spot; its like a pilgrimage for me , need to do it. My piso or apartment above floor with my Dad Elio visiting below!!


The Metro line 5 crosses the city ,and consists of 32 stations which make up a 23.2 km route between the Alameda de Osuna and Casa de Campo stations. Here is a map I took do not remember from where but it shows the metro of Madrid map from 1975! At that time the line only reach Ciudad Lineal!!! and back to Callao!!

Mad plano-metro-1975

Unlike most Metro lines in Madrid, its route does not run almost entirely below the main roads of the city, but at least on its way through the city center , between Alonso Martínez and Acacias, it runs through the underground of the city without  correspondence with scarcely any surface street. It is, therefore, one of the first lines that passes to a greater depth to that of the others in the center of the city, in part to not overlap with them in the correspondances, but also in part by this lack of coincidence, since under the buildings the tunnels usually are  run more deeply for security reasons and space.

The Metro Line 5 as such was inaugurated on June 6, 1968 between the stations of Callao and Carabanchel, although they are part of its current network two sections previously inaugurated and belonging in its day to other lines, such as my section  between Ventas and Ciudad Lineal was inaugurated on May 28, 1964 as part of joining with Line 2. In October 1977, and on the occasion of the construction of the railroad line between Aluche and Móstoles (line C-5 of Cercanias trains), the section between Aluche and Carabanchel was incorporated to the line 5, moving of the latter to the station of Aluche the head of the lines  5 and 10. In 1980 the line went east to Canillejas, (here lived my aunt and then in the early 1970 ‘s was going by electric tram from Ciudad Lineal!)  and was extended under the Calle de Alcalá (I lived right on it!!!) until its end next to the road to Barcelona (A2).


In the summer of 2017 the line closed to change the catenary (from wire to rigid), to change the signaling to a new one and to renew four stations of the line (Canillejas, Torre Arias, Suanzes and Aluche). From August 20 to April  2019 will close the station Gran Via and trains do not stop by for the installation of elevators/lifts  and the connection of the station with the vicinity of Sol.(this is ongoing due Summer 2021).  Crossing the city from northeast to southwest passing through the center, is one of the most important lines as far as travelers are concerned. It covers important axes such as Calle de Alcalá or Calle General Ricardos, giving service to very populated neighborhoods of the capital. It connect with:

Line 1 at Gran Via . Line 2 in Opera and Ventas. Line 3 in Callao and also in Acacias by long correspondence. Line 4 in  Alonso Martínez and also in Diego de León by long correspondence. Line 6  in Oporto and Diego de León. Line 7 in Pueblo Nuevo. Line 9 in Núñez de Balboa.  Line 10 in Alonso Martínez and Casa de Campo. Branch at Opera. Renfe  trains near the stations Aluche and Piràmide and also in Acacias by long correspondence. On bus lines of the network  2 Intercity buses at the Canillejas and Ciudad Lineal, from  network  4 in Oporto and Aluche, and from network 5 at Aluche and Campamento.

The metro line 5 stations (which you will notice are some nice sights stops): Alameda de Osuna, El Capricho, Canillejas, Torre Arias, Suanzes, Ciudad Lineal, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, El Carmen, Ventas, Diego de Léon, Nuñez de Balboa, Rubén Dario, Alonso Martinez, Chueca, Gran Via, Callao, Opera, La Latina, Puerta de Toledo, Acacias, Piràmides, Marqués de Vadillo, Urgel, Oporto, Vista Alegre, Carabanchel ,Eugenia de Montijo, Aluche, Empalme Campamento, and Casa de Campo

It seems to be projected the expansion of the line, making it corresponds with line 8 in a new station under the Avenue de Logroño, between the stations of the line 8 of the Campo de las Naciones  and airport terminals T1-T2-T3, creating the possibility to continue by the same avenue to Barajas station.  As for its opposite end, the line ends in Casa de Campo, where Line 5 is constituted on a central platform between the two of line 10.  By the station’s own configuration and the position of the tunnels on both lines, the addition of a new platform to line 5 is not ruled out as in Principe Pio, but the possibilities of destinations for the extension are of a questionable utility . The configuration of the same route of the line, looking preferable to bring more direct lines to those neighborhoods,according to Madrid metro news.

Some webpages to help you visualized this wonderful metro line 5 of Madrid are:

The official Metro de Madrid on line 5:

The official CRTM regional bus lines of Madrid connections from metro line 5:

Above for my nostalgia you can click on the bus symbol in Quintana and it brings you to journey planner, you put in 113 bus line and this is the one I used the most to La Elipa sports complex; which in my days the bus was call P13( see next post).

The city of Madrid EMT bus network you can take from my Quintana line 38 to Manuel Becerra square and then take line 146 to Cibeles stop and then walk to Puerta del Sol or any other sight in between. EMT journey planner webpage:

Of course, the metro line 5 on Calle de Alcalà  is right by no 331 (my apartment) and if you go to no 299 Calle de Alcalà, you can take the bus line 113 to Elipa and the Almudena cemetery and the Elipa sports complex! Enjoy the ride into real local Madrid! A wonderful right where you will combine off the beaten path trip into real every day life in Madrid with wonderful monuments sights. Hope you enjoy the post!

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

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April 29, 2021

Plaza Mayor of Trujillo!!

And here coming back to my deep Spain, an area seldom visited and huge in monuments, history and architecture of Spain, Europe and the  Americas. I like to bring you to a special spot in Trujillo,updating an older post on the Plaza Mayor!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

This is pure Extremadura and my best there is Trujillo. I have written before posts on the city, but would like to showcase its main square, Plaza Mayor.  Therefore ,here is a brief introduction to something that is a must to see in my beloved Spain. The Plaza Mayor of Trujillo.  The Plaza Mayor of Trujillo, province of Cáceres, autonomous Region of Extremadura constitutes an architectural space of great beauty and monumentality, is the neuralgic center of the city where all the roads converge, in it dominates the architecture of the 15C  and 16C and is surrounded by buildings of great tourist interest. It is a beautiful Renaissance square that occupies a huge space!


The old town contains many medieval and Renaissance buildings. Many of these were built or enriched by the Conquistadors born in the city. These include, the conquerors of Peru, Francisco Pizarro and his brothers,  as well as Francisco de Orellana and Hernando de Alarcón. In the center of the square the statue of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru made in bronze in 1927.


The plaza Mayor is surrounded by beautiful and historic buildings like the Casa de Las Cadenas; called as is because of the chains that hangs from the lintel;  allegedly deposited by Christians liberated from the moors. Palacio de los Marqueses de Piedras Albas;on the Support of the balcons of the square renaissance style. Palacio de los Vargas-Carvajal; with a corner balcón on the square and two eagles. Palacio de los Chaves-Cardenas; with a facade in columns in spiral gothic style .Palacio de la Conquista; plateresque style , with a wonderful corner balcón.This building was for many years for people who enlisted to go to Peru and raised by Hernando Pizarro, the brother of the Conquistador of Peru. The Church of  San Martín ; 14C and 16C it has a a door of Gothic strokes called of the files because it is decorated with them, which houses an interesting altarpiece. The Church de la Sangre (blood); baroque style, where it is buried Gabriel, in it stands out a dome of brick.

trujillo-palace-of-the conquista pizarro-pl-mayor-sep12



The noble houses, generally less ancient (16-17C), are here lightened with arcades, loggias or corner windows. The Plaza Mayor, original by its irregular layout, its successive plans connected by wide staircases and the wide variety of noble houses that border it, is evocative of an ancient art of life such as the gates or Portal del Lienzo,and  Portal del Pan.  The Palacio de los duques de San Carlos 17C today houses a convent of cloistered nuns.  The Torre del alfiler (Needle tower), superb Mudejar steeple occupied by a stork of course!



There is rare to see so much history,architecture of great beauty preserved in just one square! Love it!!!  This is Trujillo, a must to see I am telling you!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must me think,are:

The Trujillo tourist office at the Plaza Mayor with contact for further info.

The city of Trujillo on heritage

Ministry of Culture of Spain on Trujillo in English :

The Extremadura region on Trujillo things to see

A better me think private webpage on things to see in Trujillo in Spanish:

Trujillo is nice all around and on previous post told you about what to eat;and others. I just leave you with the main square, Plaza Mayor ,and hope that you too come to see this marvel of my beloved Spain.

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

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April 28, 2021

The beaches of San Sebastian!!

And now back to the lovely city of San Sebastian and its wonderful beaches! I am updating this older post on the wonderful beaches of the city. They were always a reason to be here along if any, but read my other posts on San Sebastian ,is a lot more than beaches. Anyway, hope you enjoy the post as I.

There is snow in Spain as well and my favorite areas are covered already so why not bring on the beaches of San Sebastian!  I came here with the family including my Dad (my dear Mom Gladys had already passed away in France 2007). Even while living in Madrid never made it here, so ironically finally went to these wonderful beaches from France. I am talking about the Zurriola and La Concha beaches of San Sebastian.

The beach of Zurriola is one of the three beaches of the city of San Sebastián . It is located between the mouth of the Urumea river and Mount Ulía, and has an approximate length of 800 meters. Facing the elegant and quiet profile of the beaches of Ondarreta and La Concha, the beach of Zurriola has been consolidated as a beach with a younger profile and suitable for the practice of surfing (it is the most open beach and with strongest swell in the city) and to have  the Jazz Festival of San Sebastian and of competitions of bodyboarding, surfing, skateboarding and similar events. The practice of nudism is allowed since 2004, being one of the few Spanish urban beaches that allow it.


This is the beach area where we parked each time there by the Kursaal Congress area Gros neighborhood , really across from the beach! There is a more popular beach but we still preferred Zurriola of all the beaches there, more intimate, and local. Of course, better for the younger crowds.

Do not want to tell you more as plenty on these popular Zurriola beach,therefore, will give you some webpages to help you enjoy your visit here:

The San Sebastian tourist office on Zurriola

My fav beach webpage Plages TV on Zurriola

The city of San Sebastian/Donostia on Zurriola

Moving . on to the more popular La Concha beach. La Concha Beach is located in the Bay of La Concha in the city of San Sebastián. Located west of the mouth of the Urumea river, separated from the same by Mount Urgull and the center of the city and housed in the Bay of La Concha, the island of Santa Clara closing the bay. It has an average length of 1 350 meters, an average width of 40 meters and an average surface of 54 000 m².  It is a sandy beach and shallow, in which the tides travel often limits the surface useful for use. It can be considered a beach of urban environment and massive use. Of the same bay form the beach of Ondarreta, more familiar, and not frequented by us.

san-sebastian-playa-de-la-concha-to city

The shell railing (barandilla) extends from the city/town hall of San Sebastián to the Ondarreta beach, and only changes design in the area of the Caseta Real (Royal Hut) . To know the origins of this architectural element we go back to the time when queen Isabel II reigned and in which San Sebastián was visited by royalty. The handrail was  built in 1910 and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1916. It was placed by sections and the previous railing was moved to the Paseo de France. There is a stretch of railing totally different from the rest is where the Caseta Real was formerly. Right next to Thalassotherapy La Perla.  My memorable picture (me and Dad) on this post and showing my proud Paris Air Show polo!


La Concha is the most popular beach there and one of the best in Europe. Do not want to tell you more as plenty on it. Here is looking at Santa Clara island

san-sebastian-la-concha-beach to santa clara island

The San Sebastian tourist office on La Concha

The city of San Sebastian/Donostia on La Concha

My fav beach webpage plages TV on La Concha

There you go plenty of beaches in San Sebastian to choose and enjoy it with your family in nice San Sebastian or Donostia (basque). Always a pleasant visit by my family. And important to know the weather in advance you can count on Spain official meteo service AEMET. Enjoy your time here in Summers of course.

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

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April 28, 2021

Lacanau Océan in the Médoc!!!

And now let me update for you and me this wonderful older post to our favorite off our area beaches. And even if a bit cool now, the sunny season is about to start, good time to do some planning for the future. Let me tell you a bit on Lacanau-Océan in the Médoc!!!

Why not tell you a bit on a more sunny nice weather area we love so much and spent many summers there. This is a bit of a mix bag for me as can combine the best wine and the world with beautiful beaches.  I will be telling you a bit more (as several posts in my blog already) on the Médoc; yes this area many call it Bordeaux for its wines but is not Bordeaux administratrice as it is a peninsula away from the city and full of gorgeous mansions of wine chateau fame . However, most do not know that  a bit to the west of this river of Reds is the wonderful Atlantic ocean and its gorgeous beaches of the Médoc peninsula. Let me bring you to one we love Lacanau-Océan, the beach resort and Lacanau Ville the city proper.


Lacanau is located in the Gironde dept. 33, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The town of Lacanau, crossed by the 45th parallel north, is thus situated at an equal distance from the North Pole and the Earth’s equator (about 5 000 km). Lacanau is located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Médoc, west of the Dept of Gironde, 42 km north-west of Bordeaux. The Ocean coast of Médoc offers a line of more than 100 km of beaches made of fine sand.

There are three natural areas: the beach and the dune call Côte d’Argent or Silver Coast; the Landes Forest (Landes du Médoc), which, unlike the rest of Gascony Landes, is not the result of the intensive afforestation of the 19C; and the lake of Lacanau, one of the great Landes Lakes.

The town is composed of several zones: Lacanau-Ville, consisting of the village. Lacanau-Océan, (the one we always stayed here) area on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A seaside resort, it appeared at the beginning of the 20C. Sketched during the period between the two wars, it developed in the years 1960-1970, as part of the development of the Aquitaine coast. Lacanau-Océan is separated from Lacanau-Ville by the road D6 and 13 km and the lake of Lacanau-Lac, composed of several hamlets such as Talaris, Le Moutchic, le Tedey, Longarisse, La Grande Escoure, and Carreye.

We always come here by car unless a once in a while business trip to Bordeaux but not into the Médoc, there only by car. However, Lacanau is served by several bus lines of the regional bus network such as line 702, which departs from the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean train station; line 611, which joins the Lége-Cap-Ferret; line 714 connecting Lacanau-Océan to Lacanau-Ville; line 715 which connects Lacanau-Océan to Cussac-Fort-Médoc; and the 716 line that connects Lacanau-Océan to Macau. Webpage:

Villas popped up from the sands and were completed for the most part in 1906-1907: The Primavera, the villa of the founder of the resort, Pierre Ortal, unfortunately destroyed at the end of the 1970’s. In its place, was elevated a modern construction, which is not the ugliest among those built in those years, but it is only a meagre consolation. The Chalet Bonnamy (the current hôtel de la Côte d’Argent), and the Villa les Mouettes of the Princeteau family, all three having been the first built on the Boulevard de la Plage. At the same time, Villa les Genêts and hôtel Marian (current Hotel Australien). On the current street allées Ortal,the beautiful site of Jean Émile Faugère the most beautiful residence of the station that the descendants of this man invest still in summer and Villa PH alias Plaisance . During WWI, American soldiers set up a seaplane base and a flight school at Moutchic, which will then become a sanatorium and then a medical-school center.

Things to see are plenty but will highlight in black my favorites ok

The beaches of the city of Lacanau have been awarded the Blue Flag label (pavillon bleu) are are superbe. The intersection of the 45th parallel north and the 1st meridian west of Greenwich is located on the territory of the commune !. The Lac de Lacanau for boating enthusiasts. Lacanau has two churches, the Church of Saint Vincent located in Lacanau-Ville, of the 18CC, and the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Flôts in Lacanau-Océan, of the 20C. Monument to the American Fallen in WWI at Moutchic, on which are registered the names of nine American seaplane pilots from the base of the Moutchic. Monument in homage to Pierre Ortal c 1906, founder of the resort. Villa Plaisance, today’s city town hall annex of Lacanau-Océan, and designed in 1906 and bequested to the local govt in 1994.   Villa Beau Site c.1906, Villa Cerberé ,c. 1907, Villa Les Mouettes c.1906, Villa Yora c. 1909, Villa Les Dunes c. 1913, Villa Chante-Mer, Villa Stella, Villa La Vague, Villa les Iris, Villa M’Arena, neo-Basque style, Villa Clair Bois, Villa Fleur du Lac, Villa Thaïs, and several others.


This is a great area off the beaten path to many visitors especially from elsewhere as it does attract several Europeans, especially British, German, Dutch, and Belgians.  We have been here always on the Grands Pins camping right off the North beach, as Lacanau Océan is divided into the Plage Sud, Plage Centrale, and Plage Nord. All beautiful!!! Of course, this is a world center on surfing!




Some webpages to cover most or everything you need to know here and of course ask me ::)

The city of Lacanau on history and heritage:

The Médoc Lacanau tourist office on the beaches:

The Gironde dept 33 tourist office on the Lacanau beaches:

Surfing Lacanau on you know what!

My fav webpage on beaches Plages TV on Lacanau beaches

This is it wonderful Lacanau area, many nice memories of family vacations there that will endure for life and hoping you can try them too and enjoy them as we did and will again, when possible.

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

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April 28, 2021

Cathedral St Maurice of Angers!!

Another wonderful monument of my belle France. We have told the story how we came here so will jump right into the subject matter. Angers is one of the nice castle towns of the Loire and its Cathedral Saint Maurice is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Cathedral of Angers is an older post that initially overlook writing about the town and it. I would like to tell you a bit on the history and architecture of this wonderful Cathedral of Saint Maurice in Angers. Dept 49 of the Maine-et-Loire in the region of Pays de la Loire.  The Cathedral of St. Maurice of Angers,is located at Place Monseigneur-Chapoulie , and is the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Angers. The work is intermediate between Romanesque and Gothic styles. The Cathedral is a testament to Angevin Gothic art.


A bit of history I like

The first Church mentioned in 470 is burned by the Franks. At the beginning of the 11C Bishop Hubert de Vendôme built a new Romanesque Cathedral with a single nave, which was consecrated in 1025. Barely finished, this building burned down in 1032. Bishop Geoffroy of Tours renovated the Cathedral to its former state during the second half of the 11C. The altar of the Crucifix was blessed in 1051 and the new master altar was consecrated in 1096 shortly after the Bishops Renaud de Martigné and Ulger undertook the reconstruction of this place of worship. This took place gradually under the impetus of the Norman Bishops of Doué and Guillaume de Beaumont. The basic structures of the walls of the nave, Romanesque in style, have survived up to mid-height. In the middle of the 12C they received columns and vaults of warheads: it is the birth of the Gothic Angevin. The single-vessel Romanesque nave thus opens onto a Gothic transept and chorus, the latter has been laid out on the late-ancient enclosure of the city.


In the 16C, was added to the base of the two towers, the gallery of the characters representing the Knights, companions of Saint Maurice. On this gallery, was done in the Renaissance style, a second level, having the appearance of a square turret surmounted by a hexagonal belfry . The Cathedral Saint Maurice consists of two spires ,that of the North was built in 1518 and that of the South in 1523. Overlooking its bell tower and its 73 meters the entire city with its beautiful staircase joining the Maine and the Doutre. In 1806, was destroyed because of dilapidated, a monumental porch which stood in front of the facade of the Cathedral, facing the forecourt remain nowadays, four orgival arches, only testimonies of this ancient medieval porch.


A bit of description on the interior of the St Maurice Cathedral.

The four-poster high altar with its summit glory, in gilded Baroque-style wood, dates from 1758. The canopy is inspired by the Saint-Pierre canopy in Rome , and the Val-de-Grâce in Paris. The base and the two columns are made of marble. The upper part is oak. The altar of the north arm of the transept is dedicated to the Virgin, the one in the south arm is to Saint Maurice. The pulpit to be preached dates back to the mid-19C and is a Gothic style. It was installed in 1870 and blessed in 1871. The upper part represents the glorious Church like Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well the lower part illustrates the Church in its earthly struggles such as with Adam, Noah and Abraham in the center; the old Law on the left; and scenes from the New Testament to the right. Facing the pulpit are the stalls of the Cathedral. The first organ was built in 1416 ; a new organ was erected in 1507-1513. In 1873, Aristide Cavaillon-Coll installed a new organ. It was severely tested by the bombardment of 1944 ,and again another new organ was inaugurated in November 1959. Until the French revolution, 30 canons served the service of the Cathedral. The Chapel of St. Anne, adjacent at the Cathedral on one side and the Chapel Notre-Dame-de-pitié on the other balance the perspective.



Among the significant works present in the Saint Maurice Cathedral are:

A sculpted ensemble influenced by the royal portal of Chartres; a 13C painted decor discovered around 1980 and presenting the Life of Saint Maurille; a canopy of the life of Saint Julien ,located in the transept, considered as a masterpiece of painting on Glass of the 13C. Stained glass windows, in particular the two rosettes, the transepts of great richness, made in 1451. The renovation of a number of stained glass windows were done in the 1960’s. In 1453, remade the paving of the north transept of the Cathedral, the staircase on a straight flight of access to the library, in the south transept.   Altarpiece Beaussant, Crucifixion, Pietà and donor, painting on wood, attributed to the master of the altarpiece Beaussant, given by General Beaussant in 2004. It was covered by a painting of the assumption dated 1699.



.Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and it is a must are:

The official Saint Maurice Cathedral of Angers

The Angers tourist office on the Cathedral

There you go ,another jewel in the crown of France or French Republic!! The Cathedral Saint Maurice of Angers, a must stop in town. Again, hope you enjoy the introduction for a visit when possible.

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

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April 27, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXXXI

I usually do this once a month or so, but things are changing and news sometimes gets clouded in various communiqués. One has to do with the virus of fame, and the other on travel plans for the future. The idea is to do as soon as possible, later will be more paperwork. Let me tell you the latest

The peak in France around the 6000 hospitalisation in intensive care in hospitals. Way back the Presi Macron wanted to reach 3000 but it seems this will not be achieve and the same goes for many who dare publish correct information. The improvement in the rate is only of 0,9% or hardly nothing. The contradiction on the vaccines are increasing even if in small percentage to the number of dosis; France had two deaths last month from Astra Zeneca vaccine. Last death was April 20 of a 75 years old from the Pfizer vaccine.

As of April 8, the French Medicines Agency had identified 25,641 cases of adverse side effects from the vaccine, a quarter of which were serious. By that time, 10.2 million French people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Thus only 0.24% of people vaccinated experienced adverse effects and 0.06% experienced serious adverse effects. Looking at mortality, 405 people died after receiving an injection of Pfizer vaccine (out of 9.8 million doses injected on April 8) and seven after receiving Moderna vaccine (out of one million doses injected) . Concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is criticized because of suspected cases of thrombosis, 65 people died after an injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including 8 because of thrombosis (out of 2.7 million doses injected). The Agence Française du Médicaments webpage:

Therefore, until this trend settles down and I see more results we are holding on ,and wait more results and information from the government. Unless , of course, we are force to take it in order to be able to travel…….!

From May 3, 2021 therefore, the rules will evolve “gradually” with initially a freedom of movement found between the departments without the limit of kilometers or the compelling reasons that go with it. So far the areas, departments that are on stricter rules are the Hauts-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d´Azur (PACA) ,and Île-de-France where the most tension at the moment, with rates above 100%. The occupancy rate is nearly 80% in three other regions: Center-Val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand-Est. The general government of France webpage with a map:

Therefore, Bretagne is the least impacted but paying the same as everybody. The idea expose by some government folks is to gradually release the areas departments that are less impacted and so on. Will see as President Macron next public announcement is due for Wednesday May 5 2021. UPDATE earlier , rather than a new post will include this update here

Today Thursday evening, Pres Emmanuel Macron must unveil to the regional daily press all the stages that the deconfinement of France will follow. Already rumored in the press, they have been confirmed with BFMTV.  The executive has, however, provided a brake mechanism, which will block these reopening if the health situation does not allow them.

Stage 1: May 3

The curfew will be maintained as it is, at  19h (7pm). Teleworking will continue to be recommended. Middle school classes will reopen with a half-gauge for the 4th and 3rd, and high schools will reopen with a half-gauge. Inter-regional travel restrictions and travel certificates will be ended!!!!

Stage 2: May 19

The curfew will be moved to 21h (9 p.m) . Shops will reopen, in accordance with gauges and health protocols adapted to each place and activity. Restaurant terraces will reopen, with tables for a maximum of six people. Museums, monuments, cinemas, theaters, performance halls with a seated audience will be reopened, with gauges yet to be defined. Reopening of outdoor and indoor sports facilities for spectators.

Stage 3: June 9

Curfew shifted to 23h (11 p.m)  Reopening of cafes and restaurants, with tables for a maximum of six people, in accordance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Reopening of sports halls and expansion of sports practice to outdoor contact sports and indoor contactless, in compliance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Authorization of gatherings of less than 1000 people

Stage 4: June 30 This will be the end of the curfew.

The other item I like to touch base here is travel. We are all eagerly waiting to travel and long… However, paperwork is coming. First was the USA ESTA visa requirement or what they call it authorisation. All French as well as other European Union members needed to get one to travel there. Now the European Union worked on a scheme to return the favor. Slow down by the virus pandemia that was to start in 2021 now it has been push back to 2022, the ESTIAS visa authorisation. For guidance info, this is the ESTA rules from the US government:

The European Union ETIAS comes from “European Travel Information and Authorization System”. It is a fully electronic system that tracks visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. In a way, it resembles the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.

Since citizens of countries that do not need a visa to spend up to 90 days in the EU, do not need to go through a long visa application process, the ETIAS system is ensure that these individuals do not pose a security threat. This travel authorization system will collect, track and update the necessary information about visitors to determine whether or not it is safe for them to enter Schengen member countries.

The main reason that led to the approval of the ETIAS authorization is safety. With the increased risk of travelers all over the world, the EU wants to ensure the safety of travel in its countries. The ETIAS system will significantly reduce security concerns through its information and data collection systems. What this means is that the ETIAS system will detect whether a person is a threat to the security of the Schengen countries. This will therefore lead to denying the person entry and preventing the threat from being present within the borders of the EU. It will just deal with the problem before it can even exist. However, in addition to making travel safer, the ETIAS authorization will also help EU countries and all travelers in the following ways: Reduced processing and application times; Improving border management in EU countries; Assistance in the detection and reduction of crime and terrorism; By preventing migrations contrary to the regulations, By strengthening the EU visa liberalization policy.

Overall, the ETIAS authorization will make travel within the EU less painful and safer.Some of the countries that will need an ESTIAS are  Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan,  Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States of America. There are many others see the list on the webpage included on this post.

The ETIAS system is expected to cost only 7€ for each request. This is only valid for adults over 18, as people under 18 will not have to pay a fee. You can pay the charges by debit or credit card. Immediately after payment is completed, the ETIAS authorization will begin to be processed. If approved, the ETIAS application can be valid for 3 years or until your passport expires. If it isn’t, however, you’ll get a deny message. In the rejection message, you will have a written reason why the ETIAS request was refused. You can appeal this decision or depending on the reason for the denial, you can adjust your request and try again.

To use the ETIAS authorization correctly, you must first go through the first country indicated in your application. For example, if you intended to go through Germany, Belgium and Austria, and you indicated in your request that the first country you will visit is Germany, you must go through Germany before visiting Belgium and Austria. After entering the first country, you can visit any other country in the Schengen zone for 90 days. If you have a Schengen visa, you will not need an ETIAS authorization. You can present your visa to the border authorities when entering the Schengen zone countries. When your visa expires, you can apply for ETIAS authorization if you are eligible.

The official ESTIAS webpage:

The European Commission (EU) on ESTIAS webpage:

The Council of Europe (EU) on ESTIAS webpage:

Therefore, be prepared and I would say get your travel plans done early. As I have been saying and reading many travel experts (if you recall reading my blog, used to work in management duties on IHG) , the avalanche is getting there and reservations without cancellation penalties will be the norm now. For example a popular French hotel chain Logis de France has 45% capacity book for summer by foreigners alone! Hope it helps.

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

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