Archive for April 16th, 2021

April 16, 2021

Museo de América of Madrid!!!

Again updating and again memories flashing in my beloved Madrid! So much of my life centered around this city, I guess more than any other. If life could had made me lived here forever, oh well we will go on with the memories of always. This one was one I came in a class trip as a young boy, and then stop. Later in life came with the family for a memorable visit! Hope you enjoy as I ,the Museo de América of Madrid!

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This is a dandy to visit. I was glad to visit with the family . I really was missing something beautiful ,educational, historical, architecturally inspiring a real museum of real facts and events. I love it!  I am talking about the Museum of Americas or Museo de América up Calle de la Princesa ,right past the Faro de Moncloa (see post) on a hilly area just behind the lighthouse tower or Faro de Moncloa. The wonderful Museo de América, a museum on all Spain relates to Latin America and our cultures.

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The Museum of America or Museo de América is a national museum  is dependent on the Ministry of Culture. There are exhibited collections of art, archaeology and ethnology of America (Latin) since pre-Columbian times to present  times. The idea of collecting such collections, envisaged since the time of Cardinal Cisneros, was concretized by government law of 1941 ; the works, which began in 1943 , finished  in 1954. Once the institution was established , the collection that was exhibited in rooms of the National Archaeological Museum were transferred to its definitive location in 1962.  The works kept at the museum are of various origins. They are made up of donations, legacies and progressive acquisitions, and essentially of collections formerly deposited in the National Museum of Archaeology. Until 1868, these works were stored at the National Museum of Natural Sciences. In 1771, king Charles III had founded a Royal Cabinet of Natural History, containing objects from the first archaeological excavations and scientific expeditions. This small collection is the original nucleus of the museum.

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The collections cover a period extending from prehistoric times to the present day; The essentials, however, consist of pieces of pre-Columbian archaeology, ethnography and colonial art. They bring together more than 25 000 objects.  Through a magnificent collection of pre-Columbian objects (such as those coming from Peru and Guatemala), from the Colonial era (Andean schools and the Viceroyalty of New Spain), and from the contemporary indigenous peoples (from the North west Coast to Amazonas), and using an anthropological discourse, presided over by respect for all cultures, the Museum of America offers the possibility of stopping at the many objects, texts and images that have spread for centuries realities and inventions on America. In this way it is possible to recognize how their peoples and cultures evolved through more than 12,000 years of history, how their models of society were articulated, how it was their contribution to the world of religion, and what instruments they used to communicate with each other.

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The permanent exhibition is organized in five parts:

Knowledge of America: This space seeks to present the way in which the knowledge of the American continent and its peoples has been built in Europe, through the exhibition of the myths that once spread over the New World, Chronicles, Expeditions and mapping.

The Reality of America: This part is intended to be a presentation of the settlement of America from the original migrations to the development of the different indigenous cultures, presented chronologically.

Society: this part evokes the existence of the various American societies: Tribal Societies and complex societies. It is treated daily life, through housing, the economy, the organization of society, the power.

Religion: in this space are exposed the main deities, as well as myths and sacred places, rites, objects of worship,… This part is equally interested in the religions of the United States and the Catholic religion, established by the Europeans.

Communication: Here, the exhibition focuses on the development of written and oral communication in America. It is based on Codex, but also on native languages and Spanish.

The exhibition of objects of art or archaeology are complemented by audiovisual presentations.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must I said!

The Madrid tourist office on the Museo de Americahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-de-america

The official Museo de Americahttps://museomadrid.com/museo-de-america/

The Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Museo de Americahttp://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/museodeamerica/el-museo.html

Hope you have enjoy this brief description and encourages you to come over to the Museum of America. You will be glad to know more about my beloved Spain and the people of Hispanic America.

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

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April 16, 2021

Gare de Lyon of Paris!!

This one I will update for you and me. A memorable train station for its restaurant and our trip east as well as my boys school trips to skiing sites.  The venerable gare de Lyon or Paris-Lyon train station ,hope you enjoy the post as I.

In France as in most of Europe , public transport is a must many times, usually forced by work. This is a bit different as we have used it for travel leisure time too. Let me tell you a bit about the Gare de Lyon of Paris.  I have come thru it for business trips to Geneva, Basel, and Zurich, as well as my sons going on ski school trips. It is a very nice station and something inside worth coming to even if not traveling on the train…

The Gare de Lyon is also a train station of the RER network of Île-de-France. It is located in the 12éme arrondissement or district of Paris, mainly in the neighborhood or quartier of Quinze Vingts ; however, the southeast of the tracks and quays being located in the neighborhood of Bercy. It is the third station of Paris by its traffic , and a train station of main lines ensuring the service of a large southeast quarter of France and intermediate regions. Gare de Lyon is the head of the TGV line to the southeast of France. I have taken it for business trips to Geneva,Basel and Zurich. It is also, a Transilien train station making the service of the southeast of the Parisian region with the line R of the Transilien (lines Paris-Montereau via Héricy, Paris-Montereau via Fontainebleau and Moret and finally Paris-Montargis). An underground station, common to the RATP and the SNCF, is located under the Rue de Bercy. It is part of the RER A and D lines and offers a correspondence with lines 1 and 14 of the Metro. The main entrance, on the Place Louis-Armand , is on the Rue de Lyon, which leads towards the Place de la Bastille, and on the boulevard Diderot. This station is distinguished by its belfry, a square tower of 67 meters and with clock dials on its four sides.

In my business trips, couple times had to stay overnight there and use the wonderful next door Mercure hotel. Webpage: https://all.accor.com/hotel/2217/index.en.shtml

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A bit of history I like

The Lyon Pier has been operating since 1847. It is officially open to the public on August 12, 1849 under the name of “Paris Railway Pier” in Montereau . The PLM company was unflattered to arrive in front of the new Prison Mazas. It hoped to be able to go to the Place de la Bastille. The route was used for the creation of the Rue de Lyon. With the increase in rail traffic and the ramp-up of PLM, this pier has been expanded on many occasions. In 1855 as terminus of the lines of the railway company of Paris to Lyon . This train station is built on a 6 to 8 meters land lift to protect it from the floods of the Seine. It comprises only five lanes covered by a large hall of 220 meters and wide of 42 meters. A portico, spanning the entrance of the courtyard of the arrival, on the right, connected the station proper to a central administration building on the side, building X overlooking the Boulevard Mazas. This station was partially destroyed by a fire in the commune of Paris in 1871 and rebuilt in identical fashion.

In 1900, travellers visiting the Universal Expo in Paris arrived at a new 13-lane Gare de Lyon, inaugurated on 6 April 1901, by Émile Loubet, President of the French Republic. It now has a façade on the place Diderot (present place Louis-Armand) and a high clock tower of 67 meters, covered with a zinc dome. Each side of the bole, of square section, is 8.5 meters wide; The cube of the clock measures 10 meters on the side. We climb to the top by a staircase of 400 steps. The monumental clock is from Paul Garnier with four dials of 6.4 meters in diameter and a surface of 140 m2 of stained glass. The Roman brass numerals are hand-painted and measure one meter high. The needles are aluminum; The big ones weighs 38 kg and measures 4 meters while the small weighs 26 kg and measures about 3 meters. The dials were illuminated from the inside by 250 oil spouts, until 1929. They were replaced by electric lighting, modernised in 2005 by the company Bode .It was stop due to the storm of 26 December 1999, and restarted on 15 February 2005 (with its original mechanism, modernized by a system of Motorization and synchronisation on the hourly signal transmitted by the transmitter of Allouis of France Inter on large waves.

This clock tower was thus restored twice: in 1948, then in 2005. The passengers of 1900 also discover the first line of the Parisian subway, which serves the station. The 13 tracks of the station put into service in 1900 corresponded to the current “letter” lanes. The “figure” lanes, located at the end of the ticket room, are added later, and were originally used only for trains departing from Gare de Lyon. The building evolves little until the 1960’s, the decade in which is built the line RER A network of Île-de-France. The facade on the Rue de Bercy and the Halle Bercy are destroyed; A suburban railway station (now RER D station) and, below, the RER A train station (inaugurated in December 1977) are dug. The creation of a new canopy of more than 4 400 m2 is also done, in order to house shops and services.

A bit on the description and architecture

In the SNCF Gare de Lyon station, at the top of the columns, are the coats of arms of the cities served. In the wicket room, the large fresco spans a hundred meters parallel to the letter lanes, showing, on a continuous basis, the main destinations accessible by train from the station, to the Côte d’Azur and the city of Menton. On the first floor, by the grand Staircase, is the mythical restaurant style Second Empire, the Train Blue , as well as its bar le Big Ben. The blue Train is a gastronomic restaurant of neo-Baroque style and Belle epoque of the 1900’s. This is a must to try, lovely. webpage: https://www.le-train-bleu.com/en/

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Some on the transports choices from it and within it

From Gare de Lyon Station originates many TGV running the high-speed south-east line and its extensions (LGV Rhône-Alpes, LGV Méditerranée and LGV Rhine-Rhône), it is, by the number of travelers, one of the first SNCF stations, and the first for large traffic Lines. The TGV to the southeast of France and the intermediate regions, as well as five neighbouring countries (Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and, Germany). The Gare de Lyon is served by two lines of the RER network (A and D), in a underground station sit under the Rue de Bercy, against the main station.

The Gare de Lyon train station is in line with the metro station Gare de Lyon of lines 1 and 14. The station of Line 1 is located under Boulevard Diderot , opposite the line 14 and the underground station (RATP and SNCF) located under the Rue de Bercy. In addition, the metro station Quai de la Rapée, located in place Mazas, on the banks of the Seine, at 600 meters, is accessible by exiting the station and taking the street. It is also possible to walk to the Gare d’Austerlitz station (ten minutes walk), the rue Van-Gogh, then the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. The station is served by Bus lines 20, 24, 29, 57, 61, 63, 65, 87 and 91 of the RATP network, as well as line 4 of the Direct Bus to/from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. Finally, at night, it is served by the lines N01, N02, 11, 16, N31, N32, N33, N34, N35, N130, N131, N132 and N134 of the Noctilien bus network. There is a nice car park Parking Urbis Paris Lyon at 193 rue de Bercy , you can come in by two in and outs entries such as at 56 Quai de la Rapée and 193 Rue de Bercy.

And anecdotes inside of it.  The Gare de Lyon station served as a setting for many films, including: A final scene of the Crossing of Paris (1956) between Gabin and Bourvil; Two scenes from the film The Man of Rio (1964) by Philippe de Broca; and a scene from the film La Grande Vaudrouille (1966) by Gérard Oury, actually play at the Gare de l’Est.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and passage by here are:

The SNCF gare and connections on the Gare de Lyon: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frply/paris-gare-lyon

The Paris tourist office on the Gare de Lyon: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73400/Gare-de-Lyon

The Oui SNCF official train site on public transports connections and else on the Gare de Lyon : https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-gare-de-lyon

A good unofficial webpage on the exclusively the Gare de Lyon: https://www.garedelyon.fr/

Now you are all set to know and come in and out of the Gare de Lyon. Another nice architectural monument of Paris. Holding many nice memories for us especially coming to get our boys from their school vacations to the Alps.

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

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April 16, 2021

Gare du Nord of Paris!

Oh yes, this is the most busy train station in Paris at least until the latest figures of 2019. As it happened, even if known to be a road warrior all over Europe, you bet yours that I have taken plenty of public transports from trams, bus, and trains, even a grand voyageur frequent train traveler! yes! One of the train station I have gone thru is the Paris-Nord or Gare du Nord of Paris. Let me update this older post on this emblematic station of Paris.

At the time of writing this post in my blog, we were fully into Summer ! Plenty of hot weather in August around my belle France rising as much as 37C in the south, while we were at 33C in sunny Morbihan Breton! This is hot but it is ,also, a time to say farewell to collegues who take vacation earlier.  While, I will tell you a bit about one of the train stations in Paris, and one used often by me on my trips to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam for business. I have gone to all those cities by car with the family as well.  Oh yes , written posts on transportation in Paris but not on this train station in specific, talking about the Gare du Nord. The North station or Paris-Nord. My first encounter with it was circa 2011 on a business trip to Olen near Anvers! I went from Nord to Midi in Brussels where tired of the train rented a car to get to Olen lol!

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A bit of history I like:

The Gare du Nord station as we know it was opened to the public on April 19, 1864, in the 10éme arrondissement of Paris. It replaces a first station, inaugurated on 14 June 1846, a pier of the north railway  which was then the second Parisian station after Saint-Lazare (see post). The line was opened with the Northern Railway Company  on the north line to LIlle, it covered 12 000m ² and serves only two lanes, one for arrivals, the other for departures;  the structure of the building remained  almost  the same today. The large Universal exhibitions of 1854, 1889 and 1900 have been opportunities for expansion work, which are also needed by the strong growth of its attendance. For the 1889 and 1900 Universal exhibitions, the number of  tracks increased from 13 to 18.

The most notable changes were  in 1906, with the arrival of the Metro (line 4); In the years 1950 and 1960, with the electrification of the tracks, between 1977 and 1983, with the titanic site of the underground station dedicated to the suburbs, in 1993 and 1994, with the arrival of high speed train with the TGV Nord and the Eurostar. June 1996: Commissioning of the Thalys, connecting Paris with Amsterdam via Brussels; 12 July 1999: Inauguration of the E line of the RER and the station of Magenta; 1998 to 2002: Operation Gare du Nord station exchanges. The Gare du Nord , also known as the Paris-Nord, is the Parisian head of the railway network serving the north of France, as well as the neighboring countries. Because of the proximity of Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, it has always possessed a marked international vocation, before its regional traffic has developed strongly.

It is, with an endowment of thirty-two lanes at the quays  since 1993, of which four underground, the station Gare du Nord occupies, in France, the first place in traffic. On this set, from west to east, track 2 (track 1 has been removed) is located between the Post Office building and the Eurostar-controlled area, four customs lanes reserved for the Eurostar service, 15 lanes for Thalys services, main lines ( TGV and Intercité) and TER Hauts-de-France, seven lanes for services in the northern suburbs of Île-de-France (line H and line K of the Transilien Network), and under the latter a underground station consisting of four lanes used by the traffic of lines B and D of the RER. The trench extending north of the establishment has fourteen lanes, four of which are destined for suburban traffic alone. There are four underground lanes under the latter, heading towards the underground station and beyond, to the interconnected lines of the suburbs, apart from Japan is the world’s first station in terms of traffic. It remains to be seen with the Brexit how the traffic will continue as the loads from the UK were huge.

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Now let me tell you a bit on the architecture.

The Roman-inspired façade is organized around a central pavilion forming a triumphal arch framed by two smaller pavilions. It is characterized by the use of large blocks of stone. The façade is adorned with twenty-three statues ordered from thirteen eminent sculptors of the time, representing the main cities served by the company the most majestic statues, which crown the building, are 5.50 meters high are of international renown. National destinations, represented by statues placed on the facade and less high, of only 4 meters. The statue of Paris, naturally is at the summit top of the façade.

And about all those transport options here

Transports by here are the metro station Gare du Nord, where lines 4 and 5 pass, which also serve the Paris-East (Gare de l’Est station) (see post).  Since the 1990’s, a connecting corridor connects the underground station to the metro station La Chapelle of line 2. On the surface and in the bus station you can find the buses: Lines 26, 30, 31, 35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 48, 54, 56, 65, 302, 350 and the OpenTour tourist line of the RATP bus network; and the lines N01, N02, 14, N43, N44, N140 and N143 of the Noctilien night time network. These due to current times of the covid needs to be verify when trying to use them.

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Some artsy things inside the Gare du Nord

Several works of literature have as a setting this station as well as several films were shot at the station. A couple I remember are the 2001: The Fabulous Fate of Amélie Poulard of Jean-Pierre Jeunet; and the  2004: Ocean Twelve by Steven Soderbergh. Some scenes from the police television series Quai n ° 1, aired on French TV channel FR2  between 1997 and 2006, were shot in the station. As well coming up in several older songs.

The Gare du Nord station will triple in volume by 2023, from the perspective of the 2024 Olympics. And, world premiere, a 1 km trail will be installed on its rooftops for the benefit of all athletes. It was with the Auchan Group (Ceetrus) that the railway company finally chose to do the work for 600 million euros  invested to transform the station, by 2023. In the long run, the SNCF will only be a minority shareholder, while Ceetrus will be the majority shareholder for a period of 46 years. Remember that the Gare du Nord station is already the largest station in Europe. And it is not likely to lose its title since its surface will go from 36 000 m² to 110 000 m², i.e. a multiplication of spaces for travelers. Again, to be seen the impact on the Brexit.

It will be first of all, the creation of a single entrance, large loggia open on the forecourt, to the east of the historic station which gives access to an inner hall  of 300 meters long covered by a canopy. This path of light crosses the new building, guiding users to the departures of all destinations and serves the new activities, commercial, cultural, sporting and co-working. Existing surfaces are quintuplets. The interior façade of the Great Hall designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff in the 19C has been restored to its original state and becomes a masterful element of reception for travelers of the European main lines. A new departure terminal will be built and significantly increase the station. Thus the arrival and departure of the station will be distinct and improve the flow. The construction of footbridges above the existing lanes will allow the movement of those who leave while the arrivals leave the station by the quays. An expansion of the Eurostar terminal will also better meet the challenge of strengthening customs controls related to Brexit. If the original hall will overall remain the same, the entrance Transilien, with its glass walls, will be deeply transformed. This entry will indeed become a central “street” in the station, surmounted by a transparent roof, a passage of more than 300 meters by 18 meters wide, from where it should be easy to access the various quays: Eurostar, TGV, RER and Transilien. The station will be beautiful with a new façade, on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and direct access to the departure terminal.

And places to eat I have enjoyed over the years here are:

The hotel Terminus-Nord, facing the station, and its 1925 Art Deco-style restaurant was renovated. The Exki by the Eurostar area. By the Rue Dunkerque Le Zinc du Nord.  The Café du Nord at 19 rue de Dunkerque. Also, Costa Coffee at the level -1 hall of Londres. A couple for the memories just mentioned here were the Buffet and the L’étoile du Nord of Thierry Marx.

The city of Paris on Gare du Nord renovations: https://www.paris.fr/pages/un-protocole-d-accord-pour-la-modernisation-de-la-gare-du-nord-15922

The official SNCF on the Gare du Nord: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpno/paris-gare-du-nord

The region Ïle de France Transilien on the Gare du Nord: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/gare-de-paris-nord-8727103

The Paris tourist office on the Gare du Nord: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73398/Gare-du-Nord

You are now set to go, the Northern encounter to France is ready and will be even better soon. Enjoy the Gare du Nord of Paris, me waiting!

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

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