Archive for April 6th, 2021

April 6, 2021

The amazing aqueduct of Segovia!!!!

So I need to update/revise links on this older post of a magnificent monument of my beloved Spain. This is another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain, or is one of many I think. From an early age , I think first time was when I was 10 years old with my mother; I keep coming back over the years, then with my wife, and then with the family and boys and parents and and ….lost count but each time is like the first time. The  Aqueduct of Segovia is awesome, a must to see. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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Well I admit only once took the bus as always came here taken or on my own by car from Madrid. The roads are good if hilly and curvy even if now they have expressways such as the AP 6 and AP 61 but my all time favorite was/is the N603; from Madrid you can come on the A1.  I drive around to find a parking either at 14 Paseo Ezequiel Gonzalez next to the tribunal , you walk past the statue to famous restaurantor Candido and onwards to the Cathedral and Aqueduct nice walk and car is very safe or the Alcazar or by the Aqueduct and then walk all over the city. By intercity bus you come from the bus depot at Moncloa and the Avanzabus line ,there are suburbian trains such as cercanias by changing trains in Cercedilla. The fast trains or AVE can be taken at the station Segovia-Guiomar and for cheaper slower trains you can do the Avant trains.

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I have written quite a bit on Segovia and all its attractions before, but this one is the Aqueduct, needs a stand alone post. To me , the Aqueduct is in essence my third choice here after the Alcazar and the Cathedral of the tops things to see in Segovia.  According to experts, the Aqueduct of Segovia was built in the second half of the 1C AD or early 2C AD  during the reign of Adrian of Trajan. It is  813 meters long, with about 728 meters visible in the city. It has a maximum height of 28.5 meters and a minimum of 0.5 meters out of the city. The water transported, is on a slope of 1%, to make runs freely into town from the source in the Frio River , 17 km from Segovia ,bringing it to the area of Acebeda 15 km further. The exact location according to experts is from the Aceveda river , a small stream of the Frio river in a pine and oak forest in the northern slopes of the sierra de Guadarrama at 1255 meters altitude.

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It has in all 20400  granite stone taken from the Guadarrama area , 120 pillars or columns and 167 arcs of which 75 are simple arcs , 44 double arcs all in the main area to see and some beyond the city.  The granite stone bound only by their own weight, without any mortar ,thanks to a perfect balance of forces. The stones have small cavities necessary for the use of the self tightening pliers for lifting the blocks The most beautiful part is when crossing the Plaza de Azoguejo square.  To see the best is to position yourself on either side of it , either on the  Plaza de Azoguejo square on the left or the Plaza de Artilleria or Artillery square on the right, as you notice that the aqueduct seems to divide the city in two.

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At the time of the Catholic monarchs the first great work of reconstruction of the aqueduct was carried out. Later, in the 16C, it was when the statues of the Virgin of Carmen and San Sebastián were placed in the central niches. The Aqueduct of Segovia is special in that it has been used almost without interruption since Roman times to the present day.  If you are daring and would like to follow the path from outside the city you can. I have gone by car as much as possible and some walk but not done it completely. You have to be in good shape as it is hilly.

Not far from the source (locally call the Azud) , the aqueduct channel had to cross the small brook of Valdeconejos (valley of rabbits). Here is an interesting structure in the form of a small bridge of 5 granite plates that still serve their original purpose of leading the water of the small creek of Valdeconejos over the top of the aqueduct channel.  Both the Azud (the source) and the Valdeconejos bridge can be reached on foot in about 1 hour (3km) from the village of Revenga.  We parked here in Revenga or you can too at the entrance of the road that runs along the north side of the Embalse the Puenta Alta Lake. However, we stop here, you can continue on the road  from the parking beyond the end of the lake and then follow the yellow aqueduct signs up the hill. There is a track that goes up steeply and passes through the fence, follow this to above the creek on the north side until the track reaches some meadows; cross the creek here, and follow the yellow signs steeply up the hill until reaching the aqueduct channel this can be recognised by the box-shaped maintenance shafts that have been installed on the water pipe in the early 20C. Follow the track now along the contour lines towards the captions upstream (to the right, sign to “azud”).  On the way back, the aqueduct can be followed past Valdeconejos until reaching the track that descends again to Revenga. It is even possible to follow the aqueduct all the way to the city. The tourist information in Segovia can organise trips to the aqueduct source, and has a brochure (saw in Spanish) describing three walks along the course of the conduit, from the mountains to the city.

Once in Segovia, at the junction of the Calle del Coronel Rexach and the Avenida del Padre Claret (this later takes you right into the aqueduct in your car !) is a small monument that marks the start of the most spectacular section of the Segovia aqueduct. The cylindrical stone ( Roman lettering are on it)  is a monument from the 17C, found close to Segovia. It has been placed on the wall that originally supported the Roman aqueduct channel, and  which now carries its narrower successor, the channel from the 15C. This wall, 141 meters  long and 1,4 meters wide, runs up to a building that covers the second and final cleaning basin before the aqueduct bridge. This building, is known locally as the Casa de Aqua. Inside is a basin with an entry and exit of the aqueduct channel. Contrary to the Casa de Piedra, there is no channel at the base of the basin, so that any sediment that accumulated had to be removed by hand, and could not be flushed out. Any dirt would be extremely difficult to remove. The building is at least partly Roman. Once entering the city the aqueduct bridge of Segovia starts at the Casa del Aqua.

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There you have a brief to the point story on one of the most emblematic buildings of Spain, the Aqueduct of Segovia. Some webpages to help you plan your trip ,which is a must, and ask me if need further guidance.

The Segovia tourist office on the aqueduct: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/es/monuments/aqueduct

The Segovia provence tourist office on the aqueduct: http://acueducto.turismodesegovia.com/

The Castilla Y Léon region tourist board on Segoviahttp://www.patrimoniocastillayleon.com/en/segovia

And there you go folks a wonderful monument to mankind this aqueduct of Segovia. Again, is a must to see and hope this post will get you going towards it when possible.

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

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April 6, 2021

The one and only Dinard!!!

And this is a twist off of one older post of two towns and I am splitting on my black and white series as already plenty on them with pictures in my blog. I like to show you wonderful Dinard, plenty in my blog on it but this was sort of an introduction to the town. Hope you enjoy as I!  I like to update this older post on the one and only Dinard!

Dinard  is in the department 35 of Ille et Vilaine in the region of Bretagne ; it is a beach town and well visited by British and Americans for its wonderful villas of the belle époque period and the British Film Festival held here since 1990. The official name of the city change from been Saint Enogat until 1879 to Dinard-Saint Enogat until 1921 and finally Dinard since then. It is located in the Côte d’Emeraude on the limits with the department 22 Côtes-d’Armor and the city of Saint Malo where the Rance river makes the separation. Not far, you have the Anglo Normand islands that can be reach in one hour fast speed from Saint Malo or in a few minutes by plane from the Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint Malo airport (already had British friends visiting me here going this route by plane).

A bit of brief history I like. Dinard is link to the legend of king Arthur as it is told he landed here in 513 to built a fort ,and the name of the town comes from a etymology of Fort d’Arthur. 

One of the first discoverers of the city was William Faber an American aristocrat that had visited the city and felled in love with it so decided to stayed and built the mansion on the pointe du Moulinet, with small terraces that were shown to his Anglophone friends of Dinan and become the origins of the British community of Dinard, after his passing his wife Lyona Faber continue the work. In 1858, the first sea villa was built by James Erhart Coppinger in the same pointe du Moulinet, it is known as the Château du Bec de la Vallée, or the  Villa Castel Mond (as it belong for a time to the couple  Sir Robert  Mond and his wife Lady Mond). From the 1880’s it was the first beach town in France and had its golden age known as the Dinard of the hundred hotels or the pearl of the emerald coast ; with many notables coming and staying here such as Albert Ier, Raymond Poincaré, Agatha Christie, Victor Hugo, Edward VII, George V, Winston Churchill , Judith Gautier, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lawrence of Arabia (in his childhood), Edmond Rostand, and Paul Valéry. Pablo Picasso painted the portrait of the swimmers in Dinard or the Les Baigneuses à Dinard on a series inspired by the nudity of the beaches. The firm L’Ecluse tried to restored many of these mansions and the first and only that could be done was in 1927 to the Gallic Hotel on the foot of the big beach or Grande Plage at  2  boulevard Féart done in a Art Déco style where Pablo Picasso stayed two times. Starting in the 1930’s Dinard saw its decline as the British  stop coming and later followed by the rest.

Some of the things to see here are, the coffins of knights Olivier and Geoffroy de Montfort dating from the 14C now in the Chapelle of the old priory near the beach or plage du Prieuré; the house known as the Prince Noir or black prince built in the 14C; the manoir de la Baronnais ,renaissance style mansion with French gardens built in 1647; The fortress in the island or Ïle Harbour fortified from 1689; The Villa Les Roches Brunes built in 1893 and the Villa Greystones built in 1938; also, the Tennis club is one of the first built in France dating from 1879.  Notre Dame Church and St Enogat Church. The beaches are great and many smaller creeks; but the main four are plage du Prieuré, plage de l’Écluse, plage de Saint-Énogat, and plage du Port-Blanc.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here , and you must come are:

The city of Dinard on its heritage: https://www.ville-dinard.fr/listes/ville-dart-dhistoire/

The Dinard Emeraude area tourist office on Dinard: https://www.dinardemeraudetourisme.com/explorer/9-paradis-demeraude/dinard-follement-balneaire/

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist board on Dinard: https://www.bretagne35.com/partez-a-la-decouverte-de-lille-et-vilaine/sites-remarquables/dinard/

The Bretagne region tourist board on Dinard: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/dinard-saint-briac-and-saint-lunaire/

And voilà, this is beautiful Dinard, worth the detour me think. Hope you enjoy the introduction and do read my other posts on the city and this one of course.

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

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April 6, 2021

The one and only Dinan!!!

And this is a twist off of one older post of two towns and I am splitting on my black and white series as already plenty on them with pictures in my blog. On a nice Sunday afternoon, and after doing some gardening in the house, I  decided to visit Dinan . I like to update this older post on the one and only Dinan!!!

This came in as an introductory post on the wonderful city of Dinan.  This is the beauty and diversity I have around me, and time for many to come on over , this is a gorgeous region; and if you are into the sea, the goodness of the produce from it and history, then by all means come to Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh.

Dinan is in the department 22 Côtes d’Armor in the region of Bretagne, part of the cities of the Poudouvre traditional Breton country. It is a fortified town with ramparts defended by a castle ,strategic point between Normandy and north of Brittany. The city of  Dinan  was built mainly on a hill and the old town dominates from about 75 meters the Rance river that flows to the north into the Manche between Saint Malo and Dinard. The name of Dinan comes from two Celtic words, Dun meaning a high hill and ahna a protective goddess of the living and keeper of the dead.

Brief history I like. In 1357 the war of succession of the duchy of Brittany joined Bertrand du Guesclin and his brother Olivier to defend the city from the English and Bretons loyal to Jean de Monfort. They face Thomas de Cantenbury in a single combat and were victorious. In 1364, after many attempts the duke Jean IV takes control of the city and had built a donjon known as the Duchess Anne. The fortifications of the city were modernised in the second half of the 15C with the addition of several artillery towers.  A long relatively calm period followed and to note in WWII, by August 2 1944 the 6th Armored Division USA reaches Dinan, heavily guarded by the nazis it takes them to get around it and later come back on August 6 with the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion to liberated the city.

Things to see in Dinan , huge amount of sights including many mansions me think are

The city has a wonderful old town fortified and a large area from the harbor and the neighborhood of the Rue Saint Malo covering 90 hectares (222 acres) or almost a quarter of the city. The rue du Jerzual, the hill most famous in Dinan that connects the port harbor to city center/downtown with a difference in height of  75 meters a slope of  35 % . Glad I had a car lol!

The castle or Donjon Duchesse Anne, part of the 2600 meters of ramparts walls. Saint Malo Church, end 15C to end 19C ,gothic and renaissance style with beautiful stained glass from early 20C, English organ, polychrome pipes built in 1889 ;the French revolution destroyed the Church and it was rebuilt and given back to the Catholic cult in 1803; The clock tower or tour de l’Horloge, from the 15C and 45 meters high, still has the bell given by the Duchesse Anne in 1498; the convent of the Cordeliers from the 13C and buildings now dating from the 15C, it held the estates general of Brittany in 1573 , and 1634 convent restored in the 19C and now houses a private school; Basilica of Saint Sauveur built from the 12C was never completed and it houses the cenotaph of the heart of the constable Du Guesclin. Done in the Gothic, classic, and baroque style of construction, with a nice portal from the 12C; the train station or gare de Dinan built in 1931 with ceramic mosaics maps inside showing the railroad lines and a map of the city of Dinan; the station is built in the neo Breton style of Ar Seiz Breur.

The city is rich in museums and we like many but these are the best in my opinion:

The museum castle of Dinan, rue du Château ,history of Dinan from antiquities to now decorative arts, fine arts and religious art. Tour de l’Horloge, rue de l’Horloge f or a tour up 45 meters and the bell of Anne de Bretagne., and Musée Remember 1939-1945 , at 16 rue du Pont de la Haye, showing about 6000 items from cigarette boxes to airplane engines, artillery, uniforms, vehicles, and reconstruction of a blockhaus and history of the resistance in the area.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to wonderful Dinan, and you should are:

The city of Dinan on sights: https://www.dinan.fr/8/decouvrir

The Dinan Cap Fréhel tourist officehttps://www.dinan-capfrehel.com/notre-destination/destination-dinan-cap-frehel/

The Côtes d’Armor tourist office on Dinanhttps://www.cotesdarmor.com/sites-incontournables/dinan/

The Bretagne tourist board on Dinanhttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/dinan/

And voilà, this is beautiful Dinan, worth the detour me think. Hope you enjoy the introduction and do read my other posts on the city and this one of course.

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

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April 6, 2021

The Grand Lady ,Tour Eiffel!!

Ok so even if other posts, let me update this one showing the extra security measures now around the Tour Eiffel. I have my world HQ office just around the corner and need to walk in front of it every month in better times. Hope you enjoy the post.

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This is the icon/symbol of Paris for whatever you think of it. Even trying to persuade folks to go elsewhere, they keep coming back here. Even with security barriers that looks like a war zone, people keeps coming back. It is Paris after all, it is the Eiffel tower!! As a disclaimer, the last time I was up was in 2005 when I went with an association of my profession that celebrated its 35th  anniversary there. Before that, yes of course even with the family. However, never again, I believe that Paris has a lot more than the Eiffel tower, but , anyway, I will tell you about it for the diehards lol!!!

 

I like to tell you now a bit of history I like.

The tour Eiffel is a steel tower of 324 meters high with antennas at the extreme northwest of the parc du Champ-de-Mars bordering the Seine river in the 7éme arrondissement/district.It was built by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1889.  It had originally 312 meters high and remained the tallest building in the world for forty years.  The second level of the third platform sometimes call the 4th level at 279 meters is the highest observation deck in the European Union and second highest in all of Europe.  The tower is set on a square of 125 meters on the side and a height of 324 meters with its 120 antennas and 33,5 meters above sea level. The two pylons on the side of the école militaire rest on a cement base of 2 meters that itself rest on a bed of gravel with a well of 7 meters deep. The two pylons on the side of the Seine river are below the level of the river. The base with its four pylons are house in subterranean squares of 25 meters on each side and 4 meters high with a steel bed and compressed cement stones. There are arches between each pylon at 39 meters high above the floor with a diameter of 74 meters.

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On the first level located at 57 meters high with 4200 square meters of surface with a circular gallery that allows you a 360 degree view of Paris. This first level has the restaurant 58 tour Eiffel that extends on two levels with a view on one side of Paris and the other on the interior of the tower. This is where we had our lunch ,but I ate lunch here even before when it was called Altitude 95!!.

The second level is at 125 meters with an area of 1650 square meters. Here in 1986 was created the restaurant Jules Verne  (which I booked dinner for my boss while in Fl USA way back) It was handled by Alain Ducasse and now you have Frédéric Anton as chef. You go up exclusively on the south pilar elevator/lift.

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The third level is at 276 meters with an area of 350 square meters. The access is done by elevator/lift and gives to an enclosed space with orientation tables. You climb a few steps you arrived at an exterior platform sometimes call the 4th level arriving at 279 meters.  There is the Champagne Bar!

The upper level has sort of a wax museum showing Gustave Eiffel welcoming Thomas Edison that made think this was the work office of Gustave Eiffel but the historical reality is that it was a meteorological laboratory  and then a testing room. The wax museum can be seen from the outside. Also on the upper level floor there is a model of the top of the tower from 1889, made at a scale of 1 / 50th. Painted in the original color of the tower, “red brown”, it allows everyone to rediscover the initial architecture of the period.

You can discover the gardens around the Tour Eiffel, these have been walked by them almost every month as my world HQ is very near. You can discover the belvedere on the side of allée Jean Paulhan, follow the paths that will lead you there (from the paths coming from entrance 2 to the east or from exit 2 to the north). Also, perched on a rock near the basin, its design melts it into nature and offers you an ideal space to admire and photograph the Eiffel Tower. There is a cave in the west garden on the Allée des Refuzniks side. Adorned with a small waterfall that flows into the basin, it guarantees you a bucolic atmosphere! Just above, in addition to the unique perspective on the tower, the belvedere of the hill offers a refreshing break in the shade in the event of high heat. Among the many trees in the garden, don’t miss the superb bicentennial plane tree, planted in 1814 and 20 meters high! You can contemplate it near exit 2 (West) to end your visit to the Eiffel Tower.

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You can see the names of the 72 scientists arranged on the frieze of the four facades of the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel as a tribute inscribed these 72 scientists men of science. Disappeared during a painting campaign at the turn of the century, they were restored in 1986 and 1987.  The new antenna culminates the Eiffel Tower at a height of 320.75 meters. In 2000, a new UHF (Ultra High Frequency) antenna led to a modification of the height of the Tower, which rose to 324 meters. There are a total of 120 antennas up with 45 TV Channels and 32 radio stations. To our days , all TV from here is numeric. The management of the tour Eiffel is handle by the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE) webpage: https://sete.toureiffel.paris/en

The official site for the Eiffel towerhttps://www.toureiffel.paris/en

The Paris tourist office on Eiffel towerhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71062/La-tour-Eiffel

And there you got the wrap up on the Tour Eiffel, nevertheless a symbol of Paris and France for that matter or whatever… Hope you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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