Archive for May 5th, 2021

May 5, 2021

St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz!!!

So here I am  in lovely Koblenz, Germany on my road warrior trips in Europe! Coming all the way by car from the Morbihan breton of my belle France! I love to update this older post for you and me of the St Castor Basilica of Koblenz! Hope you enjoy the tour as I!

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So let me moved on in my travels east to the neighboring Germany and to a wonderful town call Koblenz. I have written on it before in my blog , however, I need to do justice to a wonderful basilica there.  Do not know why more is not written on it but this is an impressive Basilica on an equally impressive corner of two rivers, Rhine and Moselle. The Basilica is intact and a wonderful place to visit for its history and architecture alone. Again, more should be written about it and visits too, I am on the list to go back.  Let me tell you a bit more on the St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz.

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The Saint Castor Basilica is the oldest church in Koblenz. It is located behind the Deutsches Eck, the name of a headland in Koblenz, where the Moselle joins the Rhine rivers. On the forecourt of the Basilica is the Beaver Fountain of the Napoleonic era. The Church stems from the sanctuary where the conclusion of the Treaty of Verdun was celebrated, establishing the sharing of the Empire of Charlemagne. On July 30, 1991, Pope John Paul II raised the basilica to the rank of minor Basilica. This Church is a rather rare Romanesque church because it is completely preserved, and it should be visited, it is awesome!

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Saint Castor of Karden 5C, evangelist of the Moselle Valley, patron of Koblenz, celebrated on 13 February. Born probably from Aquitaine (France), Castor became disciple of Maximinus of Trier who ordained him a priest. He was buried in Karden and built on his tomb one of the first churches of the countryside of the region. On November 12, 837, his relics were transferred to Koblenz, where he became the patron Saint.

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The St Castor’s Church was built between 817 and 836 by Hetto, the Archbishop of Trier with the support of Emperor Louis the Pious, just outside the city of Koblenz and dedicated on 12 November 836. In the 12C the Church was significantly enlarged, with the addition of the 2 spires, a choir and a miniature gallery, flanked by 2 smaller spires, all in the Romanesque style.

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The St Castor’s Basilica is a three-aisled vaulted basilica with two towers , transept , choir and apse , flanked by two smaller towers. The free-standing Church of pale tuff is surrounded by greenery. The steep gables with the pilasters articulated towers consist of diamond roofs. The choir, which was built around 1160, with a round, three-story apse flanked on both sides by a five-story tower. The third floor of the apse is a dwarf gallery with 21 arches. Some of the columns around the windows carry a lion as a symbol of Christ. The Church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture on the Middle Rhine.

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The official St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz: http://www.sankt-kastor-koblenz.de/

The Koblenz tourist office on the Basilica: https://www.koblenz-tourism.com/culture/churches-in-koblenz/st-castor-basilica.html

Another stunning sight to see in beautiful Koblenz.  The area is wonderful to walk and plenty to eat just along the two rivers point. As for the St Castor’s Basilica is one of the sights to see while visiting the city for sure.

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

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May 5, 2021

Ecological park and Divine Chapel in Mexico DF!

And bringing back this old post, also brings back many nice friendly encounters in the city of Mexico or CDMEX or DF (Distrito Federal) of many friends who are still in touch and always looking back to visit again. Let me take you to an off the beaten path seldom seen by visitors , to see more of the city. The Ecological park with its Divine Chapel is a pleasant time away from the buzz of the city to enjoy it.

Doing my tour of the world and having visited Mexico on many occassions over the years , driving and walking the city and country! I have seen a lot of interestings places but it seems the small quant picturesques places are the ones that reminds me of how much there is to see and enjoy in our world.  This is the case of a small Chapel in the Ecological park of Peña Pobre, this is the Chapel of the Divine Providence!

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The Capilla de la Divina Providencia  was built in the 19C and early 20C in what was the old paper factory of Peña Pobre. The factory had its chapel dedicated to the Divine Providence (Capilla de la Divina Providencia) , although it is also known as St. Peter the Apostle (San Pedro el Apostol).

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It is now in the middle of the ecological park of Loreto and Peña Pobre located at the corner of Insurgentes Sur and San Fernando, near the center of Tlalpan and the archeological site of Cuicuilco, a place with a very old history where there was a civilization prior to Tenochtitlan and was buried under the lava of the Xitle volcano.

At the beginning of the 20C the Lenz family, of German origin, was established in the place, who inaugurated the first paper producer in the Valley of Mexico, the factory of Loreto and Peña Pobre. The factory remained operating from 1928 to 1987, when it was closed as a result of the protests of environmental groups, which denounced the heavy pollution that the factory produce. Currently, in addition to the Peña Pobre Ecological Park, Plaza Cuicuilco Mall (Plaza Inbursa) is also a vestige of what was the factory, as some of the original parts of it are preserved.

This park belonged to the paper factory Loreto and Peña Pobre, hence its name, and now have taken advantage of the terrain, not only as a green area, but also as a place to develop the creativity of children and make them aware of the importance of environmental care. For this there are workshops with different activities, located where the workers of the factory had their homes before.  The Chapel and park are at Avenida San Fernando 765, corner with Insurgentes Sur, open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8h to 18h. You can get there on the metro line 1 and then microbus station monumento and short walk to Peña Pobre, free admission. I came by car of course!

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The shopping of plaza Inbusa on the site of the above the map let you see it capilla is chapel: http://www.plazainbursa.com/mapa.php

My fav reviews page YELP on the Plaza Cuicuilco to see the old paper factory and picture 11 is the Chapel: https://www.yelp.com/biz/plaza-cuicuilco-m%C3%A9xico

I have to say that in combination with the above I met some friends of over 20 years here and we had a great time at the Sanborns restaurant (nice chain) which is across from the Chapel. Avenida San Fernando 649 right on the park. webpage: http://www.gsanborns.com.mx/

Hope you enjoy this off the beaten path site of Mexico city and a lovely place to eat as there I ate in the restaurants of the Mall! At Sanborns!!! The routine lol! Enjoy Peña Pobre and the Chapel of the Divine Providence or San Pedro el Apostol

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

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May 5, 2021

Galerie de Diane at Fontainebleau!!!

And here I am back at one my all time favorite in my belle France! Yes again the first castle I visited with my then girlfriend as she was from the region, and it has been a blast since then, one for the memories of always now. Let me update this older post and tell you about a wonderful gallery call the galerie de Diane at the Château de Fontainebleau!

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Just not to be biased I am friends of these castles Versailles, Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Chantilly. I  have written many posts on my souvenir favorite Fontainebleau, for the record, the first castle I ever visited in France in 1990 with my now late dear wife Martine. Again Fontainebleau is in department 77 Seine-et-Marne in the ïle de France region east of Paris.  I like, however, to show you some of its jewels inside and one of them is the Galerie de Diane or Diane’s Gallery! This is my contribution to its fame!

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Rebuilt on the orders of Napoleon I, the Galerie de Diane or Diane’s gallery is the longest room in the castle. Its decor replaces the compositions relating the myth of Diane that had been carried out under Henri IV after the construction of the gallery, located above the gallery of the deer. The ceiling painted under the restoration replaces the decor of the second school of Fontainebleau. As for its development in the library, it dates from Napoleon III.

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The library of the Château de Fontainebleau, is located in the Galerie de Diane. This golden gallery, formerly known as the Queen’s Gallery, connecting the Queen’s apartments and the Aviary’s office, 80 meters long and about 10 meters wide, was first decorated with scenes illustrating the myth of Diane, that of Apollo , and the king’s victories, on the wooden attics of the walls and the ceiling of the broken vault. Its former decor is particularly known to us thanks to a rich album watercolour of percussion, and fragments of paintings and panelling, preserved today in the castle.

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During the French revolution, Diane’s gallery became a prison in which, among other things, Trinitarian clerics were incarcerated. Damaged, it was restored first under Napoleon I who abolished the decorations of the 17C, then during the Restoration period, when its vault was adorned in the style of the painter David such as Diane on her chariot going to Endymion. These decorations are complemented by 24 historical scenes in the troubadour style , notably Charlemagne passes the Alps , 8 of which have come as donations. Used as a banquet hall by king Louis-Philippe, it was transformed into a library under the Second Empire, in 1858, as above by Napoleon III.

The official Château de Fpntainebleau on its galleries including Diane:  https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/the-grands-apartments/nineteenth-century-galleries/

The Friends of the Château de Fontainebleau on the Diane’s galleryhttps://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/la-galerie-de-diane-01032017/

The Friends of the Château de Fontainebleau on the restoration of the globe in the library: https://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/restauration-du-globe-terrestre-de-la-galerie-de-diane/

Hope you enjoy the post and do look out for the Galerie de Diane when visiting the Château de Fontainebleau, it is gorgeous!

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

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May 5, 2021

Church St John the Baptist of Brussels!

And let me take you north to another wonderful country we have enjoyed our vacations a lot over the years. I am updating this lovely older post on the Church Saint John the Baptist of Brussels! Hope you enjoy as I, and thanks for reading me over these years since 2010!

So I keep you up north with another of my favorites cities in Europe, Brussels. Again, been here several times over the years and have family near the Belgian border with France. So used it as a jumping place to visit the northern countries.  There is so much to see in Brussels, really, needs to be seen more by all.  However, in my walks, I have come to see some interesting monuments that falls into the off the beaten path category. One of them is the Church St John the Baptist at Béguinage at Place du Béguinage, best ways is walking as the city is very walkable but to get close you can use public transports such as on bus/tram Line 4 stop/arrêt De Brouckere. And Bus Line 88 stop/arrêt Beguinage. Also, by Metro lines 1A and 1B stop/arrêt Sainte-Catherine.  The Church Saint-Jean-Baptiste-au-Béguinage, located in the historic center of the city of Brussels, is a baroque-Flemish-style Church. It’s construction began in 1657.

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A long history I like

Living first scattered in the village, wishes were received from the Bishop of Cambrai. The permission in 1252 to build a large enclosure made of individual houses that allow them to live communally. It is called Notre-Dame de la Vigne (Our Lady of the Vine). This one becomes very important, possessing at the best moment of its history, its laundry, its mill on the Senne river,and its hospital. In 1579, the Gothic Church of Béguinage was looted by the Calvinists. A new baroque-style Church replaced the old one. The first stone is laid in 1657. At the beginning of the 19C, little-maintained small houses were made available to indigent elderly people. The church became a parish Church in 1801. In 1824, a large part of béguinage constructions is considered dilapidated so they are demolished to make way for the construction of a large hospice, now the Pachéco hospice. The last houses of Béguinage disappeared in 1856. In 2006, the reconstruction of the structure was undertaken by using oak wood from the Loire, France. This structure then received 3 000 m2 of slates from Spain.

From the Béguinage alone remains its remarkable Church St. John the Baptist, built in late Baroque style, it was built on the foundations of the Gothic church destroyed during religious disturbances, and this explains its plan in the form of a Latin cross that is not usual for a baroque church. Its facade presents everything that the architectural tendencies of the late 17C allowed such as pilasters, columns, capitals, torches, œils-de-bœuf in a loaded but harmonious ensemble that already reminds us of the neo-classical style that is not far away. At the beginning of the 18C, an elegant campanile lace tower was added.

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In the interior you can see the master altar is in Louis XVI style. The central medallion represents the Holy Family. Backed by the walls of the aisles: the six confessional, from the 18C, adorned with feminine allegorical figures holding various objects related to the sacrament of Reconciliation.  The pulpit of truth, also of the 18C, is consecrated to St. Dominic the founder of the Dominicans.  A large rock (wooden) supports the tub and the staircase of the pulpit. Dominique is represented as the winner of the Cathar heresy.

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As for the paintings what holds the most attention is a series of paintings by Théodore van Loon. The latter was designated at the time to reconstruct the pictorial heritage following the iconoclastic destructions during the 16C  Wars of religion. However, of the six paintings of Van Loon, only two remain visible in the Church: the Coronation of St. Ursula (North transept) and the Adoration of the Magi.  One is placed at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts (l’Assomption), four other Van Loons of the Church have just been restored on the occasion of the exhibition  “Theodore Van Loon, a Caravaggio between Rome and Brussels.” A remarkable 16C painting is found in the right transept. A monumental cross of Christ  is at the end of the south transept.  In the south transept, a moving stone tomb, from an Antwerp workshop, can be admired. The Way of the Cross in plaster, done in 1862.  Therere regular exhibitions, parishioners have a strong commitment to the poor and emigrants here.

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The Brussels tourist office on the church: https://visit.brussels/en/place/The-Church-of-Saint-John-the-Baptist-at-the-Beguinage

The Heritage Monuments of Brussels on the church: https://monument.heritage.brussels/fr/Bruxelles_Pentagone/Place_du_Beguinage/A001/36908

You have to see it in full sun when the brightness plays on the stone. You have to visit it and be surprised by the few that are made, to the point that it serves as a refuge for homeless people who cook there!! Another off the beaten path to see in Brussels!

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

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