Archive for August 11th, 2021

August 11, 2021

Baseball in my Morbihan!!!

To my pleasant surprise , driving my routine passing by the town of Grand Champ or Gregam in the Breton language, I passed a sign that says Baseball….Well I used to play the sport a lot in my youth, and curiosity took me to follow the signs. And voilà I found the baseball grounds of the Gregam Griffons a baseball/softball both sexes team!!!! I like to update this post for you and me of a old favorite pastime!

Before, I go into the new find, let me assure there is baseball in France. I had encounter a similar team in Montigny-le-Bretonneux (Yvelines 78) and the Rouen Huskies (Seine Maritime 76), where I have watched games. At Rouen even met the founding President and one of the main figures of baseball in France Xavier Rolland who was an French television 3 Normandie journalist.

For info the Rouen Huskies webpage: http://www.rouenbaseball76.com/

The French baseball and Softball federation webpage: https://ffbs.fr/accueil/#baseball

I search a bit more and found the webpage for the Brittany league or Ligue de Bretagne, I was surprise to hear that there are 20 teams in Brittany. More about it here in French: https://baseballsoftball-bretagne.fr/

And surprise there is a team in Grand Champ ,which is only about 11 kms (about 7 miles) from me,and I passed by it everyday to work! Now less often, but I was by there yesterday so the inspiration to update the post. I initially contacted the team went to the field and spoked with players, coaches, and organiser trying to find a hole in my schedule to help out; unfortunately it was not to be. This is the Gregam Griffons. Gregam Breton language in French is Grand Champ or big field or campo grande in Spanish.

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So, we went by the field next to the water tower or chateau d’eau , this is Queneach Guen field. There was a practice day between the team of Grand Champ and Quimper, that as Quimper has no field at the time they were joining together to hold as one team for now. Now they do have a field at Fouesnant.  There were quite a few enough to make two teams and more, with one referee. They went thru their exercise and warm-ups and then some batting and fielding session, before getting to play a game on both sides. Quite interesting to see folks here play the sport even in rudimentary fashion….

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I was surprise to see Italian and even Cuban here on the team , who ,also serves as coach. Quite an interesting afternoon , and I did went a few times afterward in intervals until my foreign business trips did not allow for more involvement. Something to think about now to do …! I had some of my kids old gloves, balls,and bats that I donated to them as they also have an U12 (under 12 yrs old) and U15 (under 15 yrs old) teams and a softball team too.

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The Gregam Griffons team webpage in French: https://www.gregam-baseball.com/

The city of Grand Champ on the Gregam Griffons baseball: https://www.grandchamp.fr/index.php/les-griffons-de-gregam-baseball

You never know what you can find in Brittany, and Baseball is certainly one big nice surprise. Something to get involved with in the future… Enjoy baseball in the Morbihan Breton !!!

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

PS. A bit as to why I like baseball, well born in Cuba, our national sport, play in the under 15 teams even if was 10, all select all stars of Havana province; catcher and cleanup hitter (4th) ,left as Spanish to Spain,and there played for the Real Madrid organization in Elipa park on the Madrid junior league with 8 teams (see post) ; left that for New Jersey USA (see post) and played in freshman Perth Amboy High School team and then, Babe Ruth World Series Chicken Delight team reaching finals; also played softball intramural ar ERAU University (see post)  in Florida. The sport really stop after high school really, playing it, but following my NY Yankees has continue to this day!

August 11, 2021

Cuenca and its old castle!!

This is a thrill trip of many years , and repeat visits to Cuenca with the family. Memories of always in my heart. We walked all over even steep cobblestones streets and in summer! I like to update this older post of many memorable moments for us. Hope you enjoy it as I.

And let me tell you about a nice old ruins overlooking a wonderful view of the city of Cuenca, in Castilla La Mancha, in my beloved Spain. This is the remnants of an old castle that is worth a detour.  In the heat ,they tell you to go high for breezes and cooler air, well not here, high is direct sunshine and hot so you are better off getting here early in the mornint or late in the evening. However, do get here, you will love it.  I am talking about the old ruined castle of Cuenca. We came to love this town after staying nearby for a couple times in our trips down to sunny Spain.

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A bit of history I like 

The castle is located at the top of the city, between the two gorges, and what remains of it is just two cubic constructions, remnants of the walls ,and the Bezudo Arch which retains a shield with fleece.

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The Muslim citadel and later the Christian castle, was located in the castle district, at the access to the Bezudo arch, in the highest area of ​​Cuenca, between the Júcar and Huécar rivers, being for centuries an important defensive enclave for the city .  It was conquered by king Alfonso VIII in 1177, and in 1325 king Alfonso XI gave it to Don Juan, son of Don Juan Manuel.

The ruins of the Castillo de Cuenca are located at the top of Cuenca, between the famous Castillo District and the Calle del Trabuco. It was called Calle del Trabuco because it was installed in the Church of San Pedro ,a lombard to defend the city from the attacks of D. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza.

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Finally, the Catholic Monarchs ordered the demolition, perhaps to end the defensive places of the feudal lords to end up with their intrigues and disloyalties. But above all, his demolition was a symbol of the fall of the power of the Hurtado de Mendoza. In the 17C, the seat of the Inquisition Tribunal was built on the castle grounds, and it was used as a provincial prison until a few years ago. This, in turn, was partially destroyed in 1812, during the Spanish War of Independence and which has been the headquarters of the Provincial Historical Archive since the end of the 20C. In its entrance there is a statue of Fray Luis de León commemorating the four centenary of his death.

From the castle, dating from the 13C, we have only received a rectangular tower, with several floors, as betrayed by the mechinales that we see today of its forgings. We also find some fragments of the Caliphate wall from various construction periods. The structure that we see today does not correspond to the original fortress, but to a part of it that has been integrated into later constructions.

Today, the ruins of the castle of Cuenca are equipped with stoney square steps stairs by which you can ascend to the highest part of the wall to access the viewpoint with some of the best views of the city to the gorges of the Jùcar river and the Huécar river at the same time. The part of the Huécar river gives us views of the hanging houses (casas colgadas), the bridge of San Pablo (St. Paul) and the Church of St. Paul (San Pablo). While at the other end of the viewpoint, the Jucar river, we can contemplate the wonderful and refreshing sickle of the Jùcar river along with its well-known Ojos de la Mora (eyes of the moor).

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The Arch entry that makes the gate of the castle was baptized as Arch of the brothers Rodríguez Bezudo, in memory to the death of these in the taking of the city by king Alfonso VI. According to historical accounts, one of them died in the assault on this fortress while the other was named governor. At present you will see a cobbled plaque with the name Arco de Bezudo.

The Castilla La Mancha tourist board on the castle of Cuenca: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/castillo-de-cuenca-87564/descripcion/

The Cuenca tourist office on the castle in Spanish: https://visitacuenca.es/content/descubre-ciudad-y-paisaje-urbano/castillo-y-arco-de-bezudo

The city of Cuenca with webcam on plaza mayor and cathedral: https://www.cuenca.es/webcam-plaza-mayor

We had nice memorable moments climbing the steep hilly road the first time to reach this castle to find out there was a parking on top next to it lol! Well we came back ,and parked on top ! Either way is a great walk , again do it on the shade of the day. Enjoy the castle and arco de Bezudo of Cuenca as we did and still many nice family memories forever!

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

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