Archive for June 3rd, 2021

June 3, 2021

Au Coq en Pâte of Brec’h!!!

I just pull from my vault another memorable moment , sad if anything. My blog is the story of my life and my family thru happy and sad moments in life. This will be short on the restaurant Au Coq en Pâte of Brec’h.

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Brec’h was our first home , in an apartment when we moved to this area due to my job heading an international company with branches in 18 countries. My dear late wife Martine wanted me to stay home more than on my previous jobs. We had it good here and still do with the rest of us. My dear late wife saw this restaurant when coming from our current home in Pluvigner and always asked to try it. Finally, when she was sick from her cancer I took her here. It was the last outing together as a family back in early March 2018. Let me have it here for the soothing that I need.

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This restaurant had just opened on an old bar that was not working and sold to a couple that now lives across the street in the village of Corn er Hoët town of Brech not far from us. We passed by it all the time but you know here we have so much to see….the local bus driver that took our kids to from school ,once crossed with us and recommended it but again we were busy with others….well finally we went in. The restaurant is the Au Coq en Pâte, 20 route de Corn Er Hoët, Brech. We had different dishes and all very good quality price ratio,with a friendly talkative host/owners. I had the crusty wrap in Andouille Breton the local sausage from pork, green salad as entrée and then had the main dish on parmentier de haddock and codfish all wash down with a nice provence Rosé 50cl garafe and expresso coffee. 22.50€ per person good in the woods.

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As I still passed by it every day, they are expanding it with an all around terrace. The city is ,also, doing road work with pavement and bicycle/pedestrian lanes. They cook good and are doing good too. It always brings memories passing by.

The official webpage of Au Coq en Pâte now not working as is on renovation: http://www.aucoqenpate.fr/

The Facebook page of Au Coq en Pâtehttps://www.facebook.com/aucoqenpate.fr/

The town of Brec’h on the Au Coq en Pâte restohttps://www.brech.fr/annuaire/au-coq-en-pate/

Sometimes in your travels you have special places, Brec’h is one of them . As said have several posts on the monuments of this small town but full of history of Bretagne. We had rented just across the street from where the restaurant is now, and again, I passed by it everyday. Memories forever indeed. My mamie blue was good RIP.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! Thanks for reading me.

June 3, 2021

Going shopping at Mersch!

This one is an older post that brings back many nice memories of family travels in Luxembourg. We like the country and road warrior it all over but initially started out on Luxembourg city, the capital. After a few trips we decided to venture out into the countryside and read a brochure about a shopping center so we went for a shopping spree in Mersch. Hope you like the story as I.

Another memory from the vault, and why not have it in my blog.  One of the smallest but nicest countries in Europe, and one of our favorites. The fairy tale Duchy of Luxembourg, right smack in between Germany and France. Rule as head of State by Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Teresa (a native of La Habana, Cuba) with five children including the heir prince Guillaume. I come here often even for just a day!!! its was not far from me and the autoroute expressway got me there in four hours legal speed driving time. Now it is almost double far but we have visited anyway.

In my road warrior trips all over Europe, I have done quite a bit in Luxembourg. Well easy to drive it been so small. We were in Luxembourg city wondering what to do next and saw a shopping center here, oooh well the wife got on and we came, simple as that…!  We drove north to Mersch, and here you have the Topaze shopping center and great bargains there too. But first let me tell you a bit about Mersch that we like for future visits.

Mersch is the administrative center of the town and canton of the same name. Located in the Alzette valley a tributary of the Sûre river, the town is located at the confluence of the Mamer and Eisch rivers . The geographical center of Luxembourg is located on the territory of the town!  The town is connected to the rail network  and has a train station in Mersch. It is connected to the national road network by the national roads N7 and N8 as well as by the A7. Which roads are what we do here!

From a tourist point of view even if we have not visited yet, you have here the castle erected by the first lord of Mersch, Theodoric, as a fortified castle in 1232. In 1574, the medieval castle was made more comfortable ; the keep is in particular provided with large windows. In 1603, during the disorder caused by the conflict between the King of Spain (who was also Duke of Luxembourg) and the Spanish Netherlands, the castle was burned down again. At the end of the 17C, Count Jean Frédéric d’Autel had the castle rebuilt in its current state. The town became the owner of the castle in 1957. In 1988, it installed its administration there as city and canton hall. The Saint-Michel Church was built in the mid-19C in the neoclassical style and the frescoes in the choir date from 1936. There is ,also, the menhir of Reckingen.

Now we really came here for Topaze.  At Topaze shopping center located at Route de Colmar-Berg  easy access from the  N7 (where we were) or the autoroute A7 exit/Sortie N°5 Mierscherbierg. Here you can find more than 45 different brands on 2 floors .The Match supermarket is open Monday to Saturday from 8h and Sunday from 9h to 13h.  All stores open from 9h. The fitness center is open every day until 22h and Saturday-Sunday from 8h30  to 13h30 in upper floor . Free parking and gas/petro station very convinient.

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The stores we like were the Supermarché Match ,Pizza Hut, C&A , H&M , and Mano shoes. We did some groceries, lunch at Pizza Hut as well for the good old time’s sake! The pizza hut info in English: https://restaurants.pizzahut.lu/restaurant/mersch?lang=en

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Mersch on things to do and see: https://www.mersch.lu/sports-tourisme/brochures-touristiques-mersch

The Luxembourg tourist office on Merschhttps://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/guttland-region/mersch

The Topaze shopping center in Merschhttps://www.topaze.lu/

And there you go folks, a nice ride and wonderful shopping and our favorite pizza chain can’t beat the ride. If you combine that with picturesque beautiful Mersch, Luxembourg than you are in for a treat. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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June 3, 2021

Royal Coliseum of San Lorenzo de El Escorial!

And here is a dandy most often overlook in a very popular spot in my beloved Spain. You can say this is an off the beaten path in San Lorenzo de El Escorial; see the Real Coliseo or Royal Coliseum. I will update this post on text and links for you and me; hope you enjoy it as I do.

So taking you to the wonderful worldly San Lorenzo de El Escorial. It always amazes me of posts I make and concentrate on one major monument in the city or two leaving behind some wonderful architecturally and historically stunning buildings. This is the case of the Real Coliseo Carlos III.  The Teatro Real Coliseo de Carlos III is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial; Comunidad de Madrid ,and it was built in the 18C. It is the only one that keeps the theater typology of that century intact, hence it is one of the oldest covered theaters preserved in Spain.

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The Spanish Bourbon court, very fond of this entertainment (learned in France), set out to provide the Royal Sites with places destined for permanent theaters suitable for receiving Italian and French performance companies. Reigning king Carlos III, between 1770 and 1778, hired the French architect Jaime Marquet to performs three of the theaters of the Court, those of the Royal Sites of Aranjuez, El Pardo and San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Construction begins in 1771 and the following year was already finished.

The historic building has a rectangular plan with an axial axis, the room acting as a structuring element of the theatrical ensemble. This has a “U” shape and it opens the wide body of the stage, rectangular, where the original combs of the 18C are preserved. It has two levels of boxes on the existing ones on the ground floor and between the latter and the floor platform, there is also an intermediate level of running seats. The room is accessed from a hall that occupies the entire front of the main facade, with two stairs to the upper bodies. 

Externally, the building has a compact appearance, with three-sided roofs, the body intended to house the armor of the stage comb rising above the set. The main façade, with a very simple layout, has two heights on the ground floor and is framed by chained pilasters. On the ground floor, the four interior access openings are located, corresponding to these holes those of upper floors, consisting of balconies on the noble floor and windows on the upper floor, with the upper openings being close together. On the main façade the central gaps on the ground floor are covered with a classic porticoes atrium supported by three pairs of columns on plinths, which is topped with a metal balustrade.

The San Lorenzo de El Escorial tourist office on the Real Coliseo: https://www.sanlorenzoturismo.es/en/what-to-visit/carlos-iii-royal-coliseum-theatre/

The Comunidad de Madrid tourist office on the Real Coliseo: https://www.comunidad.madrid/centros/real-coliseo-carlos-iii-san-lorenzo-escorial

The official Museum Real Coliseo: https://museocoliseo.com/

There you go folks, another dandy especially for a performing visit at night in lovely quant San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a lot more than a monastery. There is a museum link to this theater Real Colegio Carlos III and appropiately call the Museo del Coliseo

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

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June 3, 2021

Real Monasterio de la Encarnacion of Madrid!!!

Oh love to review this one again, and updated. One of the nice monuments of my beloved Madrid and been there since childhood and then more. It has a long history in Madrid and I just will condense as much as possible on the Real Monasterio de la Encarnacion or the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation!

Well with so much to see and little time, I wanted to show my young men sons the heritage of my youth and later many years of visiting my beloved Madrid. There is so much to see , even me did not realise it before… This is a wonderful spot that on previous visits did not have the will to take many pictures even if inside is prohibited; nevertheless it is worth visiting as one of the jewels of architecture and history of my Madrid! It’s time to tell you about the Real Monasterio de la Encarnacion or Royal Monastery of the Incarnation. It is located at the plaza de la Encarnacion, 1 less than a km from Puerta del Sol easy walk or metro line 2 to Opera.

The Royal Monastery of the Incarnation is a convent of Augustinian nuns gathered in Madrid . The institution, to which ladies of the high nobility belonged, was founded by Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of King Felipe III, in the early 17C. Due to the artistic collections it houses, it is, together with the Descalzas Reales (see post), one of the city’s most prominent temples. It was built between 1611 and 1616, although reformed several times later.

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A bit of history I like, and condensing text..

The great promoter of the creation of the monastery was Queen Margarita, which is why the monastery was known among the people of the city as the Margaritas. It is said to be done to perpetuate the memory of a historical event such as the ordinance made by King Felipe III, her husband, of the expulsion of the Moors that were still in Madrid. The monastery was built in the place occupied by the houses of the Marquises of Pozas, from whom the king bought them, due to its proximity to the Royal Alcazar ( Palacio Real) , since thus the kings could enter the church directly through an existing passage. This passage was built at the desire of the queen so as not to cause discomfort, since she frequently visited the monastery. The king himself laid the first stone of the monastery, an act that was done with great solemnity and under the blessing of the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas. Months later, on October 3, 1611, the queen died without having seen this work completed in which she worked so hard. On July 2, 1616, day of the Visitation, the monastery and its church were inaugurated.

During the 18C and 19C the history of the monastery continues, full of anecdotes. Thus, for example, it is known that Manuel Godoy, minister of king Carlos IV, went every day to the Mass of the church of the monastery taking a walk from his residence, the Palace of the Marquis de Grimaldi (former Ministry of the Navy). In the 19C the religious and composer of Madrid Lorenzo Román Nielfa was a music teacher at the convent, leaving his musical library as a legacy for the Incarnation monastery, which contains works by masters of the 16C and 17C. The monastery was opened to the public in 1965 after a papal dispensation was obtained, to be able to open it for a few hours, and to publicize the artistic works it contains.

A bit on the architecture I like, again condense.

The highlights the main facade, of severe Herrerian lines. The cover is one of the works that has most influenced Spanish architecture, preceded by the compass, or exterior patio, shows the shields of Queen Margarita and a relief of the Annunciation in marble. The Church has a Latin cross plan. The architectural building is carved in jasper, marble and golden bronze. Throughout the entire nave, a series of canvases with the theme of the life of Saint Augustine can be seen, which are complemented by the frescoes in the vault of the main chapel. In the center of the main altarpiece, the painting of the Annunciation can be seen , framed by two pairs of Corinthian columns, and on both sides the images of Saint Augustine and his mother Santa Monica. The tabernacle has small statues of the Holy Doctors that adorn it, as does the relief of the Savior that the little door has.

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The next room is the painting room, chaired by portraits of the founding monarchs, Felipe II and Margarita of Austria Styria, and among them, the Virgin of Milk, all of them original.  The monastery has an important collection of painting and sculpture highlighting the works of Lucas Jordán, Juan van der Hamen, Pedro de Mena, José de Mora (Dolorosa), and Gregorio Fernández (Cristo Yacente and Cristo tied to the column). In another room, contains a selection of sculpture and Spanish imagination, a phenomenon focused on the 17C, with works related to the passion of Christ. In the Hall of Kings, there are portraits of characters linked to the foundation of the convent Presided by the founding kings, Felipe III and Margarita of Austria Styria , next, his son, who was later King Felipe IV, and his wife Isabel de Bourbon. After Maria Teresa of Austria, daughter of Felipe IV, who was queen of France by marriage to Louis XIV, and is responsible for the advent of the House of Bourbon to the country, because her grandson, Felipe de Anjou, will be the first King Bourbon from Spain, like Felipe V (current today is Felipe VI) .  There is a portrait of Isabel Clara Eugenia, daughter of Felipe II and his third wife, Isabel de Valois, so she was the founder’s sister, but only as a father, since Felipe III was the son of Anne of Austria, his fourth wife. Isabel Clara Eugenia is dressed as a nun, but never became one. The reason for being dressed like this is that she was widowed, and since then she didn’t take off her habit. The two paintings in the back of the room are of Felipe II and Anne of Austria.

In the Gallery of the Cloister , this is a space belonging to the Clausura, where the nuns walk, but for a few hours they give it up opening it so that it can be known in the outside world. It is all surrounded by paintings by Italian Mannerist painters on the Life of the Virgin and the Passion of Christ, paintings belonging to a complete series, donated to the monastery by Cardinal Antonio Zapata in 1616, on the occasion of the habit by his niece María del Nacimiento, daughter of the Counts of Barajas.  The first chapel is dedicated to the Mystic Lamb, and all the ornaments like candlesticks, the cross, the pavement .etc are from the 17C, and where the in house nuns pray.

The next Chapel is founded by the Countess of Miranda, and is dedicated to the Virgin of Loreto, with a 17C canvas depicting the Virgin of the Annunciation. There is a fresco painting, and images of saints, and a sculpture of Saint John of God, on the altar. The Chorus is the place where the nuns do the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours, and where they make their prayers in common. From here, they listen to mass, behind the lattice that separates them from the church. The Reliquary  is perhaps the most enigmatic room and it could be said that it is sinister, since here more than a thousand relics of saints are contained in 700 teak, which are the containers, which we commonly call reliquaries.

The most important teak is the one that contains the blood of San Pantaleón, a martyr of the 3C, who is coagulated, in a solid state, and of a dark color, but every year, on July 27, it liquafies, and acquires a reddish color , without scientific explanation. This teak is taken to the church, so that people venerate it, although before taking it out, the mystery is notarized. The mother blister of this blood, is venerated in Italy, in Ravello, where a viceroy of Naples in the time of king Felipe III, sent a part to Spain. In fact, in the Italian city, the same happens with blood, which is liquefied on July 27!   The Sacristy communicates through a lathe, with the sacristy of the nuns. There is a nun who has the position of sacristana, and she is the one in charge of having prepared all the liturgical ornaments that she brings to the priest by this lathe.

A wonderful monument that needs more time and pictures indeed. And there you go folks another huge monument to be visited is a must at least once in your lifetime. Wonderful architecture details and full of history of Spain and even Europe. An odds there is a statue (1902) of Lope de Vega in front, the great Spanish writer!

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The Madrid tourist office on the monasteryhttps://www.esmadrid.com/informacion-turistica/monasterio-de-la-encarnacion

The National Heritage of Spain on the monasteryhttps://entradas.patrimonionacional.es/en-GB/informacion-recinto/14/monasterio-encarnacion

Hope you have enjoy my brief tour of the Monasterio de la Encarnacion in Madrid! We love it!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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