Archive for May 25th, 2021

May 25, 2021

Saint Louis Church of Darmstadt!

And again updating this time in Germany! We have been several times and this time we took a ride into something different with the family. I took them to one of my business trips cities and it was fun to show them around lol. Let me introduce you to Darmstadt and its Saint Louis Church!

A bit of story telling here. Several years back while working for a multinational French firm with a branch in Germany at Darmstadt;  I needed to visit and did a couple of times. The city was nice and the people very helpful that took me out to see the city and eat out etc. Rolled the clock several years later, my family decided they wanted to vacation in Germany so ok off I went, family votes counts! So ,while road warrior tours of Germany visiting several cities, I decided why not show them the city that I came on business for the them to see. Something of a tradition we do where once gone on business if the city is nice I bring the family later on. So they did and really enjoyed, especially those pretzels lol! OF course, this is an off the beaten path site not too many tourists around there!

Once in town, did a bit of walk and can see my other posts on the city; we decided to see this unique Church of Saint Louis. I think one of the must see in the city of Darmstadt even if not well publicise oh well here I go again on the off the beaten path trail.

The Saint Louis Church is the main Catholic Church in Darmstadt. Its characteristic dome, is located in a conspicuous place above the city, at the end of the Wilhelminenstraße street.The Saint Louis Church was built between 1822 and 1827 as the first Catholic Church of Hesse-Darmstadt since the Reformation.The building was bombed in 1944. This destroyed its foundations; its reconstruction took place in 1950. The wood of the old construction of the dome was replaced by a steel structure. The exterior decoration was completed in 1994, and that renovation of the interior in 2005. There was a new organ as well in 2005.

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On February 19, 1827, the fifteenth anniversary of Grand Duke Louis I’s marriage to Princess Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt, five years after the start of the building, the new Church was consecrated. In honor of the Grand Duke, it was named after Saint Louis of France. The Pantheon of Rome was taken as a model for this classicist construction with a total reduction of one fifth. The 35 meters high central plant consists of a cylinder with a diameter of 43 meters with a semi-spherical top. The entrance emphasizes the colossal dimensions with a gable.The dome, which rests on an inner crown of 28 Corinthian columns covered with imitation marble, has a diameter of 33 meters. With its 33.5 meters opening was the largest wooden dome in Germany.The natural light only descends through a circular opening nine meters wide on the dome, screened by a Trinitarian window, symbolizing the illuminating intrusion of the divine in the world. In the plastic representation, the blue of the Divine Eye (Father) joins with the blue of the dome, the Red of the Cross (Son) with the red of the roundabout, and the Yellow of the Dove (Holy Spirit) with the tapered fields of the dome. The chromatic re-elaboration with intense red and blue on the dome and on the walls became the dominant stylistic figure after 2005. Noteworthy are the stations of the Via Crucis made in 1905.

Some Catholic members of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt are buried in the Church of St. Louis: Grand Duchess Matilde ,1862 on the right and Prince Frederick of Hesse-Darmstadt , 1867 on the left. In 2005 the new altar island, surrounded by a communion bench, whose canteen rests on a Jewish menorah. The seven arms of that candlestick recall the seven sacraments that also appear on the back of the choir’s benches. The altar is still wrapped in twelve embossed metallic symbols, written in the marble floor, representing the twelve Tribes of Israel. There is also a match with the twelve squares of the altar, in which the names of the Apostles are engraved. At the apex is the Cross done in 2007. In 1823 the first organ came in. The organ was damaged in 1944, and was replaced in 1955. In 2005, a new one was made in a Romanesque French style.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Saint Louis Church webpage in German: http://www.sankt-ludwig-darmstadt.de/index.php?id=innenstadtkirche

The Darmstadt tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.darmstadt-tourismus.de/en/visit/darmstadt-is-culture/art-nouveau-in-darmstadt/seite/2.html

The city of Darmstadt on its heritagehttps://www.darmstadt.de/sprachversionen/english/discover-darmstadt

There you go folks, hope you have enjoyed this off the beaten path city of Darmstadt and its Church of Saint Louis.  Oh Darmstadt is very close to Frankfurt, and even closer to the main airport  Flughafen where I landed the first time and went by rental car to Darmstadt on the A5 highway. The family visits were done from our rental house south of Trier ,Germany.

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

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May 25, 2021

The heritage of Alcalà de Henares!!!

Once again , I come back to do an update of an older post and what a memorable visit to Alcalà de Henares this was ,my second with the family and it was a blast. We took a leisure time to walk all over and see these magnificent architecture buildings full of history we love. I like to tell you a bit more on the heritage monuments of Alcalà de Henares!

There is so much  to see in the 2nd most visited country in the world (WTO-UN 2018).  I used to lived there, citizen of, and visit every year. However, one of my favorite towns and written on it on several posts in a general sense is Alcalà de Henares in the Comunidad de Madrid region. I like to tell you a bit more on the different historical, religious, and just plain heritage of this wonderful city. It will be a bit long but worth it, sit back and enjoy it as I do.

The Oratorio San Felipe de Neri. Founded at the end of the 17C, the convent was built between 1698 and 1704 and the church ten years later, has a Baroque church with elliptical vault. It highlights its interesting library and its good collection of imagery of the school of Gregorio Fernandez and Alonso Cano, as well as a rich legacy of painting and cult objects.  Only male congregation that endures in Alcalá de Hénares.. You will visit the church, the sacristy and the museum rooms, which are home to important carvings and paintings. In this convent was of spiritual retreat for the writer Miguel de Unamuno, personal friend of the Father Juan José de Lecanda, the first days of November 1888 and 1889. Located at Plaza Padre Lecanda, 4. webpage: Official Oratorio San Felipe de Neri

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The Ermita de Santa Lucía, is one of the most emblematic religious constructions in Alcalà de Henares. It is located in the heart of the historic quarter, at the confluence between Calle Tercia and  Calle Victoria, in front of the Cathedral. Its origin dates from the 12C in Romanesque-Mudejar style, although the current building was built in the 17C in Baroque style. The 13th of December at the beginning of the main street starts a parade with the junk (garbage metals, pans etc) , accompanied by a group of “Dulzaineros”, until arriving at the hermitage of Santa Lucía, in front of which a bonfire with the old junk is ignited and roasted potatoes are served. At present this hermitage is the Polish chaplaincy for the Polish emigrant’s resident in the city.  webpage: https://alcalaturismoymas.com/ermita-de-santa-lucia-de-alcala-de-henares/

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The Ermita Universitaria del Santísimo Cristo de los Doctrinos . It is popular architecture, of the purest Castilian Baroque. It has a Recoleta chapel, in which you can contemplate the size of the Christ  of the Indoctrinated or Doctrinos, as well as an excellent collection of religious art from the 16C and 17C. In 1225 the Oratory of the Christ of Mercy was built, during the 16C the present hermitage was built. There was used as motivation of the lessons an image of Jesus crucified, which was very soon popularly known as Christ of the indoctrinated. According to tradition, in this hermitage they explained Christian doctrine and rudiments of religion by Saint José de Calasanz and Saint Ignacio de Loyola, and over there passed the most fervent sacred speakers of the Cisneriana University.  Located at  Calle de los Colegios, 9. webpage: Official tourism Comunidad de Madrid on the Ermita de los Doctrinos

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The Convento de San Juan de la Penitencia,  Commonly  called “de las juanas “, is a Franciscan female convent that currently occupies the old building of the Junior College of San Nicolás de Tolentino; at Calle Santiago. At the end of the 15C or in 1508, Cardinal Cisneros founded, on the street leading from the Archiepiscopal palace, the Master of the Holy Children and currently named San Juan, under the patronage of that saint, a monastery of Franciscan nuns , maid’s College and Women’s Hospital. This community was in charge of the will of Cisneros,  so it retained many memories of the man. In 1884 the community of Franciscans or Clarisas that until then occupied the building of the Calle de San Juan, in bad condition, moved to the old building of the College of Augustinian Recollects, one of the junior colleges of the University of Alcala, with the name of San Nicolás de Tolentino, had been founded in 1604 for the Barefoot Augustinians. webpage: Official Alcala tourism on Convento de San Juan

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The Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego. It is located on Calle Beatas , opposite the old San Diego Barracks, now in renovations. Facing its simple façade only decorated with the image of San Diego popularly called “Las Diegas de Alcalá “-and a shield belonging to Cardinal Cisneros, there is a bronze statue of Archbishop Carrillo made in 1987. The convent was founded by Catalina Garcia Fernandez in 1670 in the house of her aunt Maria Fernandez, printer of the University of Alcalá. It is a must stop to buy its famous almonds  that are acquired through a lathe as they are cloistered nuns.webpage: Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego

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The Capilla de las Santas Formas.  In the  Viejo Colegio Máximo de la Compañía de Jesús  or old church of the high School of the company of Jesus we can admire a chapel dedicated to this miracle that is without doubt one of the most beautiful monuments of Alcalá de Henares. In 1597, an anonymous repentant penitent, possibly of Moorish origin, after confessing his robbery, gave to the Jesuit Father Juan Juárez a rolled forms  in which they came wrapped  24 consecrated forms; A board of university doctors addressed the subject and after its conclusions was ratified the miracle in 1619. Since 1624, they were in a valuable silver monstrance. Webpage:  Capilla de la Santas Formas

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The Colegio de Caracciolos.  The other school , also of a religious nature, was founded by San Francisco Caracciolo at the beginning of the 17C decided to erect a new school-convent that, in time, came to occupy the whole  area between the Calle de la Trinidad , the slaughterhouse (today hatch gate) and that of the archpriest. The church, built throughout the second third of the 17C, is the first to be finished. The facade, set back with respect to the body of the school, is made in brick and formed by a large rectangular central body, finished in pediment with a glass, and two side bodies, with windows, joined to the central by winged arch. In 1987, it was ceded to the University of Alcalá, which finished to restored the school in 1997 to be seat of the faculty of Philology. The temple, finally restored in 1999, has recovered its original forms and is theater and exhibition hall of the university.  In what was the garden of the convent a building has been built, in which the municipal library Cardenal Cisneros and the municipal historical archive are today. webpage: https://alcalaturismoymas.com/colegio-de-san-jose-de-los-caracciolos-alcala-de-henares/

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The Colegio-Convento de Mínimos de San Francisco de Paula de Santa Ana o de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria  It was founded in 1553. Thanks to Bartolomé de Santoyo is built in its current location. The Church, the first one that does not follow the Gothic-Mudejar traces in the city, began to be built between 1580 and 1593. The collegiate building is built throughout the 17C, for whose enlargement was bought the original convent of Barefoot Carmelites of Conception. Where  professed as nuns Luisa of Belén Cervantes, sister of Miguel de Cervantes.. At present it is the headquarters of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences of the University of Alcalá. webpage: Colegio minimos or our lady of Victory

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The Colegio Convento de San Agustín.  It was founded in 1518, although the true architect of the same was the Augustinian, and former schoolboy of the Mayor of San Ildefonso, Saint Thomas of Villanueva. From 1555, thanks to the protection of Doña Juana of Austria, the sister of king Felipe III took steps to be part of the royal patronage. Today are housed the courts of the city, being the highlight of the building its stone cover with the image of its patron Saint Augustin, located above the entrance door, in a niche framed between pilasters, in it also appear the shield of his Order and the founder’s. Santo Tomás was canonized in the year 1658 and his Saint day is celebrated on the 10th of October, being a well-known character in Alcalá de Henares. The original building has undergone several renovations over the years, its church is single-nave and was built for the most part from the year 1624. webpage: https://todosobremadrid.com/que-hacer/colegio-convento-de-san-agustin/

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The Colegio-convento de San Basilio Magno  It’s baroque style. It was erected in 1660 as a junior College of the University of Alcalá, currently it is a university cultural center. It is founded in May 1660, building in Baroque style and hexagonal floor, with a large cover, which includes a niche with statue of the holy Saint. Nowadays it is used as cultural center of the University of Alcalá.webpage: Colegio Convento San Basilio el Magno

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The Colegio de Teólogos de la Madre de Dios . It is located within the founding block of the university. It was one of the first minor schools founded in the time of Cardinal Cisneros, devoted to the study of theology and medicine. Among his schoolboys was the Doctor of king Felipe II, Francisco Vallés. The architecture of the building corresponds to the 16C. At present it is the seat of the illustrious Bar Association of Alcalá de Henares. webpage: Colegio de Téologos de la Madre de Dios

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The Colegio Menor de San Ciriaco y Santa Paula, conocido popularmente por Colegio de Málaga. It is one of the schools that integrated the old Cisneriana University of Alcalá de Henares. The Malaga school was founded in 1611; The construction began at 1623 in Calle Colegios. In 1836 with the closing of the University of Alcalá, the building remained as University College until 1843; Later, it served as artillery school and army farriers. In 1847 it was restored to be used as a archives center, and in 1858, the city Council of Madrid remodeled the building to host the San Bernardino asylum, for elderly and helpless women. In 1949 ,it was transformed into the boarding school  “Nuestra Señora de la Paloma”, a charitable institution of the Madrid City Council, where children of adolescent age lived. Finally in 1983 ,it became the faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the present University of Alcalá.. Located at Calle Colegios, 2 very close to Plaza Cervantes. Webpage:  Colegio Ciriaco o Malaga 

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The Colegio de San Felipe y Santiago, better known as the Colegio del Rey or King’s college .  It was founded in 1551 under the reign and patronage of king Felipe II, as a college for the teaching of theological, legal and canonical studies, destined for children of families in the service of the royal house. It is worth mentioning the figure of Francisco de Quevedo, who joined this school in 1596. His mother was able to enrolled in the service of the Infanta Clara Eugenia. In 1599 he was already a bachelor. In 1600 he graduated in arts. The current building was rebuilt on the old one, of which nothing is preserved, starting from 1609. The King’s school works as such until his transfer to Madrid in 1836. In 1842, it is sold to a private person. Towards 1882 it returns to the hands of the State and is destined to be a Post and Telegraph house. Later, the Casado’s family subjected it to profound reforms to convert it into housing, as the demolition of part of the chapel leaving only the domed cruiser, which becomes the current staircase of honor. In the 1980’s, the building is acquired by the City Council of Alcalá de Henares, which restores it in 1989 and installs in it the Foundation College of the King, the Public foundation of Culture and the historical background of the Municipal archive. In 1991 it was ceded to the  Instituto Cervantes, a public entity created that year to promote Spanish and disseminate its culture. Webpage: Colegio del Rey

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The Colegio de San Jerónimo o Trilingüe   joins the Colegio Mayor through the continuous courtyard. Its Renaissance patio houses, in one of its bays, the auditorium. The area where the presentation of the Cervantes Prize is held annually. The origin of this school goes back to the early days of the university. At the end of the 16C the current building was built. From 1929 it houses the Parador (lodgings) of tourism known as the Hostería del Estudiante. webpage:  Colegio San Jeronimo

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Enjoy it fully , each and everyone of them, it is a wonderful city to walk and be among architectural and historical gems such as these. See my other posts on Alcalà de Henares.

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

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May 25, 2021

A little town with fallen angels at Hamm!!!

Here I am to update an older post on a tranquil peaceful land of my Europe. I am going to take you back to Luxembourg but this town to a sort of off the beaten path trail for visitors which should not be in Hamm. This is a small district of Luxembourg ville and for me the main thing here is the cemetery. Let me tell you a bit more on a little town with fallen angels at Hamm!!! See my other posts on Luxembourg and Hamm!

Let’s get you into something different and historical I like it. In my rounds around Europe I not always go to the top tourist attractions anyway that is the advantage of living here you have so much history,architecture and culture around you. In my forays into Luxembourg I could not stop from going to Hamm, a very small district of Luxembourg and a special place. This is now a district of Luxembourg city and the home of the American Cemetery of Hamm , resting place of General Patton.

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Hamm as said was a town in the county of Luxembourg from 1873 to 1920 when it became part of the city of Luxembourg from Sandweiler together with Hollerich and Rollingergrund. The origins of Hamm goes back  to the monastery of Sainte Catherine founded in the 14C from which a village developed. As it was close to the Alzette river there were lots of windmills built. In 1874, Hamm was an independant town and because of economic hardship was forced to merged with Luxembourg city.

The district houses since 1944 the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial resting place of American soldiers that fought in WWII and the Battle of the Ardennes including General Patton.

There is a train station here Cents-Hamm on line 3 of the Luxembourg-Wasserbilig frontier lines just between the station of Luxembourg and Sandweiler-Contern.

To talk about General Patton is pure bravery , patriotism and hard guts that is always needed around to preserve Democracy. He was born at Lake Vineyard Ranch what is now San MarinoCalifornia. In 1904, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York following in the military fashion of the Patton family. After graduation, he was assigned to the Cavalry as an aid to General John “Black Jack” Pershing, who at that time was pursuing the Mexican bandit General Pancho Villa. During WW I he saw service in France as part of the United States Army Tank Corps.

During WWII, he was assignment to North Africa as head of the II Corp, where he received his third star from General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On to Sicily, the 7th Army enjoyed an unopposed landing and Patton assumed command of this unit. In January 1944, he was summoned to London and given command of the US Third Army which was still being activated. In July 1944, Gen George Patton arrived in France one month after the D-Day landing. Once the 3rd Army was fully operational, its exploits throughout Europe became legendary. For the anecdote , his 3rd Army liberated my capital City of Vannes, when his Gen Woods entered the town.

General Patton’s journey into history began in Mannheim, Germany on December 9, 1945, when the sedan in which he was riding ran headlong into an army truck. He was taken to the army hospital outside of Heidelberg, where he died from his injuries on December 21. He lay in state at the Villa Reiner, one of the stately homes in Heidelberg. Funeral services were conducted at Christ Church, afterward his body was placed aboard a special funeral train for the trip to Luxembourg for burial at the Military Cemetery in nearby Hamm, where as much as 5,000 American soldiers lie, many having served under General Patton in the 3rd Army. General Patton died on December 21, 1945 and he was buried on December 24th following a funeral service at the Luxembourg Cathedral. Representatives of nine countries and the highest ranking officers of the American troops stationed in Europe followed the coffin. Present were delegations from Luxembourg, France, Belgium, England, Italy, The Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. France and Belgium provided the honor guard.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here ,enjoy the trip into history:

The American Battle Monument Commission on Hammhttps://www.abmc.gov/Luxembourg

The Luxembourg tourist office on Hammhttps://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/misc/american-military-cemetery-luxembourg-hamm

The city of Luxembourg on the district of Hammhttps://www.vdl.lu/fr/la-ville/en-bref/les-24-quartiers-de-la-ville/hamm

If you go on the north of Luxembourg city into Ettelbruck , you can see his museum and also read my post on it in my blog.  Hope you enjoy the brief historical trip into one men who Europe has a lot to thanks about, I do. The trip is pleasant and tree line roads only about 12 minutes by car from Place d’Armes in Luxembourg city on the N2 road.

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

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