Archive for October 14th, 2021

October 14, 2021

Valencia, a lot more in sunny Spain!

This is one of those cities that should be visited more. I was there as a child when had my aunt on mother’s side living there in a farm just south of the city near El Saler; when we lived in Madrid we would go there as our “vacation” ; then, their passing took us a dry spell of many, many years, finally with my wife and boys ,we decided upon my request to visit the city. We enjoyed the sites especially the markets and the beach front. I am talking about Valencia, Spain. I have several posts on Valencia sights in my blog with pictures; this one was my introduction post.

Valencia a city by the mediterranean sea founded in 138BC by Roman consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus with the name of Valentia Edetanorum which later in the middle ages became the capital of the kingdom of Valencia. It’s old town area is the most extensive in all of Spain, 169 hectares! The main motorways of Valencia have a radial route, such as the V-21, the V-31, the A-3 (the one to go from Madrid), the V-15/CV-500, the CV-35 or the CV-36. But Valencia also has a series of beltway roads around it, you are the by-pass, the V-30, which joins the A-7 with the city port, or the CV-30, which borders the north area of the city. The International Airport is located about 8 km west of Valencia, on the territories of the towns of Manises and Poblet.

The metro/Subway/tube network of Valencia is the third oldest in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The Port of Valencia is one of the ports managed by the Port Authority of Valencia (Valenciaport) ;the passenger Terminal of the Port of Valencia is managed by the shipping company Acciona Transmediterranea and has all the necessary services to meet the demand of cruise ship owners: assistance to the crew, gangways for direct access to ships, passenger parking, gift shops, duty free, etc.

The natural park of the Albufera has 21 120 hectares located just 10 km south of the city on the way to El Saler which is right on the tip of it. The park includes the Lake Albufera. Its environment is humid, and adjacent to both the coastal strip. The marshes of Rafalell and Vistabella, with an area of 103 hectares, is one of the last marshes that extends to the north of the river Turia at Alboraya Sagunto, which shoots the groundwater and the irrigation. La Horta of Valencia (vegetable garden) was born in the Roman Empire , but what is really today the Horta of Valencia was developed in the Middle Ages, during the Arabic period.  Arabs have created an extensive network of irrigation infrastructures: irrigation canals; Wells; and small dams. This network is derived from the canals of the Turia and allows to the formation of marshes carrying large amounts of water to the irrigation fields, and rice, and paella !!

A bit of history I like

In 711, the city was taken by the Arabs/Moors. Abd al-Allah, the son of Abd al-Rahman I, (first Emir of Cordoba), settled in Balansiya (name of the city in Arabic) and exercised his authority over the region of Valencia.  The Arabs imported their language, religion and customs, but coexistence with Hispanic people is done in a peaceful way. The assimilation of the indigenous population to the Muslim religion and the Arab culture was very rapid, since it was estimated that by the end of the 10C, Christians and Jews represented only 10% of the population. Within the taifa of the Amirides (descendants of Almanzor), Valencia is a city with an important influence.

Here comes the story of El Cid or Rodrigo , who was then staying in Zaragoza, besieges Valencia and takes over the city in July 1093. A skillful politician or warrior, Rodrigo does not seem to have aspired to exercise power directly. The arrival of a Almoravid army sent by Emir Youssef Ibn-Tashfin led the Valencians to shake the yoke again. As the Almoravids ran out of food without an arrow being  fired, Rodrigo besieged the city again. After vainly awaiting the arrival of reinforcements, Valencia, decimated by hunger, capitulates on June 15, 1094. Rodrigo allied with Pedro I of Aragon and Raimond-Berenguer III of Barcelona with the aim of curbing the constant progression of the Almoravid. In 1096, the great mosque was transformed into a church. Then, in 1097, Jérôme de Périgord, acclaimed and elected by the chapter, consecrated by the hand of the Roman Pontiff, was named Bishop of the city. Rodrigo continued to consolidate his power on the Levant, notably with the capture of Murviedro (Sagunto), in 1098, Rodrigo El  Cid died in Valencia on July 10, 1099. Chimenea his wife succeeded in defending the city with the help of his son-in-law Raimond-Berenguer III Count of Barcelona, until 1101 when King Alfonso VI of Castilla ordered the evacuation of the city. From 1102, the family of the El Cid and his companions abandoned the city to the Almoravids. Valencia will only be recaptured definitively from the Arabs moors in 1238, by king Jaime I of Aragon. In 1391, the Christians forced the jewish to convert to Christianism or face death;by 1456 the Muslims face the same dilemma. The 15C is known as the golden age of Valencian culture, and since 1437 the Holy Chalise is preserved in the Cathedral of Valencia.

In the war of Independence vs Napoleon’s invasion,the first battle took place on 28 june 1808 and you can still see the canons shots in the tower of Quart and lower base on fields around it. The city felled under command of Marshal Suchet on January 8 1812 after a long siege  and lasted until the end of the war in 1814.  In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War Valencia becomes the capital of Republican Spain until 1939.

There is so much to see in Valencia city alone, its incredible. You really several days here. I have some individual posts on the things to see and do in Valencia, take a look, A general briefing me think is as such : 

Valencia has two urban beaches of golden sand,  Las arenas and the beach of Malvarrosa,  which are bounded by south the Port of Valencia and north the beach Patacona Alboraya. They are urban beaches, which have a large promenade where there are many large premises, which occupy old public baths, and offer a wide choice of accommodations and local cuisine. There are other beaches like those of Pinedo, with the area of the black house where the beach is nudist, of Perellonet, of Recatí and the Gola del Perello, more than 15 km of coasts of sand (protected by dunes), which constitute an offer of large beaches , in the heart of the Albufera Natural Park. A must the beaches, Malvarrosa and Las Arenas are right in the city easy.

The royal Chapel of the Virgin of the Forsaken, (Real Capilla de la Virgen de los Desamparados) with Basilica category from 1872, was made between 1652 and 1666 the temple dedicated to Saint Catherine Martyr, located in the Plaza Virgen de la Paz, rose on a previous mosque and in 1245 had already acquired the rank of parish Church. The old hermitage was erected before 1240 on the mosque in the newly erected temple preached St. Vincent Ferrer and there offered his first sermon on the day of St. John the Baptist.  The Church of San Juan del Hospital was the first church built in Valencia, behind the cathedral, as a priory of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. St. Mary’s Cathedral of Valencia  is a must.

The Monasterio de San Miguel de los Reyes isan important work of the Valencian renaissance that according to some authors can be considered as precedent of the monastery of El Escorial, being like this, Jerónimo Monastery, cultural focus and church commemorative of the memory of its Founder. The first stone was placed in 1548 by the bishop and  Fernando of Aragon, Duke of Calabria. The construction of the monastery lasted during the 17C, beginning the church of the monastery from 1601 in 1821 the disentailment of the liberal three years abolished the Jerónima community in 1835 the definitive secularization is produced, passing the monastery ,and their properties at the hands of the state. It is now the home of the Valencian library or Biblioteca Valenciana. Located in the Avenida de la Constitucion.

There were crosses, which in the Crown of Aragon were used to be called peirones and in other places wayside shrines, were located in the paths to mark the limits of the city ; the one cross covering the Camino Real de Játiva, is still visible on the  current Calle San Vicente. It is a gothic work carried out in the year 1376 (14C) by an unknown author. Between the years 1432 and 1435 (15C) ,it was renovated the cross on behalf of the factory (Fàbrica) of Murs and Valls, and in the 16C the temple restored itself and in 1898 (19C) it was carried out a complete reconstruction of the work.

The building of La Lonja de la Seda is a masterpiece of the Valencian Civil Gothic located in the historical center of the city; Gothic-Renaissance style is the Palacio de Benicarló, the current headquarters of the Valencian courts. This building is an aristocratic mansion, which was built in the 15C as a residence of the Borja family in the capital of the ancient kingdom of Valencia. Between the years 1485 and 1520, adaptation activities of several pre-existing buildings were carried out, as well as the construction of the stone staircase of the patio the palace of the Valencian government is also a building late gothic with interventions Renaissance dating back to the 15C. The construction of the palace began in the year 1421, expanding in the 16C. In 1831 the territorial courts hearing was installed, which in 1922 became the provincial council.  The towers of Serranos are one of the twelve gates that guarded the old wall of the city of Valencia. Las Torres de Quart, a pair of twin towers, also formed part of the medieval wall that surrounded the old town of Valencia, whose function was defend the city. These towers are located at the intersection of Calle Guillén de Castro with Calle Quart.

The Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas ( two waters), as it is known today, is the product of a radical reform carried out on the old manor house of the Rabassa of Perellós, holders of the marquis of Dos Aguas, in the decade of 1740 (18C) in a Rococo style houses the National Museum of Ceramics and the arts sumptuary González Martí with one of the most important collection of ceramics in Spain and Europe.In 1914 it became the seat of the Palace of Justice the Plaza Redonda, of singular round perimeter, was built in 1840 ,and is located next to the Church of Santa Catalina and the Plaza de la Virgen, in the historical center of the City.

The bullring of Valencia was built between the years 1850 and 1860 (19C) on the site of a previous square that because of budget problems was never finished. It is neoclassical, inspired by Roman civil architecture. There is, also, a bullfighting museum, which was founded in 1929 .

The Ayuntamiento or city hall of Valencia integrates in a slightly trapezoidal block  two constructions of period and style well differentiated: the Casa de Enseñanza or house of Teaching, built by the initiative of the Archbishop Don Andrés Mayoral, between 1758 and 1763; and the building body (the main façade), made between the second and third decades of the  20C in a marked modernist style another of the most important modernist buildings of Valencia is the Estacion del Norte or North station, built between the years 1906 and 1917 the building of the Mercado Central market is also another construction of Valencian modernist style and began to be built in the year 1914 ;the Mercado de Colón (where we parked underground parking!!!) is another clear example of Valencian modernism of the early 20C. This market was designed and built  between the years 1914 and 1916.

The Puente 9 de Octubre or 9th of October Bridge was built in the 1980’s by the then still not recognized Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, by the Bridge of the exhibition (Puente de la Exposicion) and the metro station of the Alameda, which is located under the old channel of the river Turia to which you have to go down to access the station. These works were inaugurated in the year 1995 the complex of the City of Arts and Sciences, also designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, one of the most popular areas of the city. Since,  1998 when the hemispheric (Hemisférico) was inaugurated, and in 2009 with the opening of the Agora. The Museum of Fine Arts St. Pius V and the IVAM (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern) , which are spaces in which permanent collections can be seen as well as temporary.

The botanical garden managed by the University of Valencia, the Royal garden or pots (Jardines Real) in the neighborhood of Pla del Real right where it was located the Royal Palace of Valencia (Palacio del Real de Valencia). Along the vast and nice Paseo de la Alameda you reach it from the sea, today it has a bit over a km walk between the Puente del Real and the Puente de Aragon bridges. The promenade without garden goes for 2,5 km from Plaza Zaragoza to Grao Cemetery. The parterre lawn or Plaza de Alfonso the Magnanimous was built on some existing plots in the old Customs square (Plaza de la Aduana), more or less in the year 1850, since its creation the garden has undergone very few variations, emphasizing fundamentally that due to the flood of 1957 which damaged this garden, thereby changing its morphology. The gardens of Saveros (which include the gardens of Montroy), the Jardín de Monforte  or the gardens of the Túria, former bed of the river Túria, which was deviated from the city center in the 1960’s after the Last flood of 1957. The Oceanogràfico, a oceanarium, a zoological park of 8 hectares, the Biopark Valencia, takes place west of the city by the Turia river too.

Main festivities in Valencia in my opinion are

From March 15 to March 19 the days and nights in Valencia are a continuous party, but since March 1 are shot every day at 14h (2pm)  the popular Mascletás. Fallas is a party with an entrenched tradition in the city of Valencia and different populations of the Valencian Community .yes the Fallas!  Easter has its prolongation with the festivity in honor of St. Vincent Ferrer,(who also is a revered Saint in Brittany and his body rests at the St Peters Cathedral of Vannes!)  Patron of the community canonized by the Pope Calixto III (Alfonso Borja, Spanish). This day is customary to visit the birthplace of the saint (currently a chapel), where it is “the Pouet of Sant Vicent” of which the children are given to drink ,so that they speak soon, they do not suffer from angina, they do not swear false or they are blasphemous. And of course ,when in Valencia is the time to eat Paella, the original and always the best , the dish of Valencia , which was originally a humble dish cooked by the inhabitants of the swamp of Albufera mainly of chicken, rabbit, duck, snails, legumes and fresh vegetables (later many variations have come forward). A legend ,I was told by the elders is that the name PAELLA is a contraction on how we speak cutting letters to speak faster so Para Ella or For Her became pa’ella and it was the fisherman out to sea for days to bring the food in to the families and the wives stayed behind to do everything else…One day a fisherman decided that they should all gathered their catch and prepare a dish for the wives, so they did and when a name was called, simply stayed well it is for them/her so PAELLA. I stick to this version.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to the city of Valencia are :

The City of Valencia on its heritage/history:

The Valencia tourist office:

The Autonomous Comunity of Valencia on Valencia:

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the introductory post, and maybe take a look at Valencia! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 14, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLV

And here I am on a sunny day in my beautiful Morbihan breton telling you once again of some news from France. Lots of going on, as the times are picking up and on my neck of the woods everything goes smoothly having the lowest incident in France of the virus… And we are vaccinated with our health pass; our choice. Now let me tell you the latest from the hexagone! or République Française or my belle France!

The wonderful Place Vendôme is once again becoming a showcase for contemporary art. Until Friday October 15 2021, a monumental work by Alexander Calder is being installed in front of the facades of fashion houses and jewelers. The International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) which will take place from Thursday October 21 to Sunday October 24 at the Grand Palais Éphémère thus provides the opportunity to discover creations in the heart of Paris, free of charge. Place Vendôme, in the Tuileries garden (which exhibits 24 artists) but also in the Eugène Delacroix museum that creations will thus be to be discovered. That of Calder with its “red signal” and its 18 tons of metal is enough to impress. On last Wednesday, the two large wings that should give it a wingspan of 17 meters long, 9 high and 6.5 meters wide were not yet in place. But the work, created in 1975 by the artist and set up here on the initiative of the Gagosian gallery, already hinted at the monumental impression this Flying Dragon will give. A year before his death Alexander Calder had also created the red spider – Le Grand Stabile Rouge – which has been sitting on the forecourt of La Défense (92) since 1976. Gagosian’s third gallery, which will open next Tuesday October 19, at 9, rue de Castiglione (1éme) in the historic complex of Hotel Lotti, will present, alongside other works dating from 1975, various archive documents related to the sculpture as well as the original model of this flagship piece of the FIAC.webpage :

The “OnE Site” project for the global transformation of the Eiffel Tower sector into a large pedestrian garden of nearly 50 ha, from the école militaire to the Trocadéro, from the 7éme to the 16éme arrondissement through the Pont d’Iéna, will not be a road to roses. Two years after the presentation of the “Grand site Eiffel Tower” project that the mayor of Paris wants to be emblematic of her term of office, the unprecedented CPPV, for “electronic public consultation”, opened on Monday October 11 2021 evening with a public meeting at the Hôtel de Ville, the cradle of this project, the green ambition of which has crystallized critics since its inception. To be continue,,,Here is the project in French :

A Bruitparif report shows that, in the liveliest districts of Paris, the noise generated by bars and restaurants can be more annoying than that coming from road traffic. Especially in the evening and at the beginning of the night In some areas, up to 75 decibels were recorded at night due to the terraces of bars and restaurants. It is more than in other exposed to road trafic, Oh well get rid of the restaurants/bars to make Paris the utopian city many radicals want lol !! webpage :

It was seduced by the exceptional setting of the Chamarande estate and its 17C castle. Michel Nedjar, the most exhibited artist of the art brut in the world, presents his works there until January 9,2022 in partnership with the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Art Brut. The opportunity to discover in particular the famous dolls for which it is famous. Wednesday to Sunday, 13h to 18h, in October and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 13h to 17h, November to January. Free entry. Domaine de Chamarande (Essonne 91), 35 km south of Evry, access by RER C Chamarande station (200 meters), or by car by N 20 between Arpajon and Etampes, exit Etréchy-Chamarande. Expo webpage:

At the Manufacture de Sèvres factory, the large wood-fired oven rekindles the flame for two days. The work dating from 1877 is only put back into operation every five years The masterful wood-fired oven at the Sèvres factory comes back to life. Since Wednesday morning, logs and small birch wood have supplied the imposing 150-year-old building for the delicate firing of twenty-seven vases decorated by three renowned artists: Annette Messager, Hélène Delprat and Ulla von Brandenburg. Webpage :

They seduced Stéphane Bern ! A general mobilization for the rebirth of the stables of Gennevilliers, The site of the stables of Richelieu is one of the last vestiges of a distant and sumptuous past, which saw the first performance of the “Marriage of Figaro” by Beaumarchais . A work in progress to rehabilitate the stables with national lotto and donations, The city of Gennevilliers (92) on the stables/écuries :

The houses emerges as a big winner in the upheaval in the post-Covid real estate market, This trend, which began with the first confinement, is confirmed at the end of 2021. A dynamism which is reflected in the evolution of prices since houses have increased by 6% in one year in France against 3.4% for apartments, And if this is true in all regions, it is even more marked in Île-de-France. Families continue to leave the City of Lights (Paris told you so), trying as best they can to sell their “big” apartments. They take the direction of the Grande Couronne and even beyond that. They look for a house located an hour or even an hour and a half from Paris by train. Beauvais, Chartres, Évreux or Poitiers are among the favorites of buyers. Same phenomenon in the departments of Yvelines (78) , Val-d’Oise (95) , Essonne (91) and Seine-et-Marne (77). There will need to be a larger budget, especially to settle in Hauts-de-Seine (92). The sales, high, show prices which do not cease increasing. According to the latest figures published by the notaries of Greater Paris, their development is even much faster in the Grande Couronne (outer suburbs) 6.1%, than in the Petite Couronne (inner suburbs), 5.6%. And the largest annual increases are observed mainly for houses (7.7% in the inner suburbs against 7.5% in the inner suburbs). Source: Meilleurs Agents,webpage :

The exhibition «les Animaux du Roi» or the King’s Animals, at the Palace of Versailles, revives an era long gone, when the court hosted a parade of animals brought to shine or have fun and not to fight … An animal paradise and exotic, lost and found. One could be seen at the menagerie of the Palace of Versailles, in the years 1730-1740, Just like an elephant, a rhinoceros, hyenas, or a couagga. A what ? This hybrid of the zebra and the horse, immortalized in drawing by the artist Nicolas Maréchal, had been bought by Louis XVI from a governor of South Africa in 1784. The animal died a few years after the king guillotined, in 1797. The couagga, victim of overhunting, disappeared from the species in 1883. Palace of Versailles webpage :

And again, in Versailles, a new royal tourist office for the 2024 Olympic Games, The imposing and bright building will be located just outside the Versailles Château Rive-Gauche RER train station, offering a showcase on the city and its tourist activities. A relaxation area will be inaugurated in 2022 with a grove in the middle of which will be a statue of Molière. Versailles is preparing to host the horse riding events of the 2024 Olympic Games, Stay tune folks,,,Olympic Games 2024 webpage:

After scooters, operator Dott is rolling out its fleet of self-service electric bicycles, The Franco-Dutch operator is expanding its range by offering bicycles from last Tuesday ,October 12 in the streets of Paris. The fleet is expected to reach 3,000 vehicles by the end of the year 2021. It will be possible to rent the new machines, at the same price as the 5,000 scooters it already operates. Webpage :

The green corridor of the south of Paris, between Paris and Massy ,16 km long, La Véloscénie, It is this 470 km route which connects Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche 50). The first of the fifteen stages follows the green corridor of the south of Paris for 16 km. It is accessible to everyone, young and old. Fully equipped for cyclists, the green corridor is the ideal place for a family walk. More info webpage :

In the Ile-de-France region there will be fewer subways, RER, trains ,etc… until next year,2022, The virus phenomenon of Teleworking, “vélotaf”, return of the car etc has its impact, The use of public transport is far from be back to its pre-health crisis level. Consequently, Ile-de-France Mobilités (transport network) has decided to keep reduced frequencies. The network of ïle de France Mobilités :

RATP (Paris transports) has equips itself to calculate air quality in real time … and improve it, The RATP completes its measurement system with two new devices and launches a promising experiment to reduce particulate emissions when braking of trains ! . The machines have been installed on the RER A platforms of Châtelet and Nation, There you go keep tracking of you too!!!Here is the webpage for the Châtelet station in French of course :

The Electronic guidance systems (GPS) have failed to eradicate printed maps ! Yes, we keep them in the car always reliable for years,,,, road warrior savvy ! They are modernized, reinvented, and are once again popular with holidaymakers and hikers. at Michelin, where maps at 1/200 000 are still made, with their paper now tear-proof (because it is partly synthetic). In summer 2021, sales increased by 5.8% compared to summer 2020. Atlases , collections of maps, spiraled or not, enriched with information for truck drivers or motorhomes, in particular are even progressing by 19.3%. They have an overview of the region, and you can easily look at it with others, you can write on it as well. In recent years, they have added tourist information such as the stars of their Green Guides Michelin for sites to visit. This summer, the regions of central France were particularly sought after: Périgord, Limousin, and Auvergne … The same goes for the IGN maps, where the famous Top 25 map at 1 / 25,000th scale is the ally of hikers. In the summer of 2021, sales were up 20% compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. Indispensable when the phones get stuck or the network weakens, the IGN maps allows you to walk in complete safety. There is a new one ! Cartomania France, its unusual atlas of general culture, has fun locating a wealth of information in France: waterways, nuclear power plants, the 130 Napoleonic departments, wines and cheeses, film shooting locations cult… Large format, this coffee table book will makes you want to set out again on the roads of France !!! and elsewhere, On the list to buy it !! Cartomania France, the unusual atlas of general culture, by E. Didal and Atelier Cartographik (La Martinière), 26,50 € (price as suggested in France) You can order it from Amazon,,,,

How about the best Neapolitan pizzas in Paris ! Well at least some of my favorites ok ; and we love pizzas !!!

The Brooklyn Pizzeria, 33, bd Beaumarchais Paris 3éme you can still leave for Naples, thanks to this pizzeria which keeps the promise of 26 centimeters Neapolitan, cooked at 450 ° in a traditional oven, at unbeatable prices, even compared to Italian rates. Webpage :

The Daroco, 6, rue Vivienne Paris 2éme ,Ceiling 6 meters high, massive concrete columns, it is in this setting worthy of the Cinecittà that maestro Federico Schiavon and his Italian team awaken the pizza star. Webpage :

And Giorgio, 21, rue de Charonne Paris 11éme, Chez Giorgio, in a setting so vintage that you expect to see John Travolta appear, The dough is so soft and swollen that you have the impression that an airbag has been fitted on the plate! You will devour the homemade napoletana pizza ! Webpage :

The Salatim team has struck again! Already at the head of two gourmet institutions, it is preparing to open the Boulangerie du Sentier. It will offer the simple, the good, the timeless and the homemade, always with those little Israeli and Mediterranean influences that we love so much. An address that is likely to quickly get talked about, La Boulagerie du Sentier, 47 rue du Caire 2éme, métro Sentier line 3, the closest also bus 20 and 39, Now web new read it here first!

Lucky Folks! a stone’s throw from the Westfield Carré Sénart shopping center in Seine-et-Marne (77) an hour from Paris, Lucky Folks offers a whole new form of catering between good food, immersive decoration and fun. There is a brasserie cuisine made from 90% fresh produce served for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. Offers its customers a whole series of unique games at the same time. Revisited electronic darts games (with metal darts and cameras that film the arrows, a real revolution on the market) to funky indoor pétanque (nightclub atmosphere with mirror ball) through karaoke, arcade terminals and the shuffleboard made in USA (unique in France), There is something to have fun before, after and even during dinner or a drink with friends. Lucky Folks immerses us in a very immersive setting where we find, in particular, an ax throwing wall, dabbing cars, clairvoyance balls and even a big lucky wheel that allows you to win many prizes. The icing on the cake: a board games bar is also integrated into the restaurant with more than 300 board games in free access and animators (called lucky masters) at your service to give you valuable advice. And the space is absolutely gigantic: 250 seats inside, 90 seats on the terrace and a huge beer garden equipped with wooden tables, candles and outdoor games to immerse ourselves in this Berlin atmosphere that we love so much, yes!!! Lucky Folks, Westfield Carré Sénart, 5-7 Trait d’Union – 77127 Lieusaint, Open every day from noon, webpage:

And last, voilà news to you ? Nahh,,, Parisians and others, like to say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. And for good reason, it is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Known for its iconic monuments, world-renowned museums and mouth-watering cuisine, the City of Light is also infamous for … its dirty streets. In the city, there are more than 5 million rats ! , that’s two per Parisien ! Worse still, no less than 10 million cigarette butts are thrown into public spaces every day, not to mention mattresses and other furniture left on the sidewalk. According to an Ifop poll, no less than 84% of residents consider the city dirty in 2021. They were already 82% in 1974 to make the same observation mind you !. Among the solutions to which respondents adhere are : Make people pay fines who dirty comes first with 61% of votes. One in two people also demand that the workforce and resources be reinforced in the city, and 22% want the city to multiply street wastebaskets. Another unexpected measure: 21% of Parisians want to eliminate pigeons !!! Poor beasts. Not sure whether they are responsible for the overturned trash cans, strewn cigarette ends and dog poop on the sidewalk …yeah !! So when walking be careful stay alert Paris is overall dirty,,,And even the Le Point journal says is 92% dirty according to its readers ,,,article April 2021 webpage:

And the city of Paris has an app to report dirty streets too, call Dansmarue (or in my street) webpage:

There you go folks, another dandy some news from France! Reporting live from yours truly, the truth and nothing but the truth of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I…And remember, happy travels,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 14, 2021

Memories of a lifetime, Las Majadas!!!

And I make you arrive at our place in Spain for the last few years pre virus. Oh yes we have to go to Madrid of course, used to lived there and memories of family and visits on so many years, but once we found out about renting a house in the mountains near Cuenca.  We as a family came to rent a house in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains at 1400 meters of altitude in the town of Las Majadas! I like to update this memorable post with new text and updated links, a most memorable post indeed, We will see now when we will be back but hard missing my dear late wife Martine. The town of Las Majadas has officially 277 inhabitants but believe me we saw a lot less even if we went in summer. Winter the town is empty with the Rural Guard only around.

We said, Las Majadas? I even have to look it up as this is way in the mountain on really narrow roads max speed 50 KPH  (about 30 MPH) and that is too much very narrow, hilly, and curvy roads up to get to the town passing by huge extension of hunting forest. The house was fantastic and the owners superb!!!  The house had 4 bedrooms for all two bath, right in the town near restaurant , bakery ,bars on the main square. The people in town very friendly and the owners Maria Isabel and Luis just fantastic human beings ! The Casa Pitu is the name given to the house in the Calle Anastasio Lasso of Las Majadas. A town that will remain in our hearts forever. Highly recommended, and if you are into walking, nature lover this is a must.


I cannot say enough of Las Majadas we came back to repeat staying here, and my family love it as well. My dear late wife Martine love it, she spoked Spanish and immediately made friends with the locals and owners. We got pastries, wines, you name it as gifts always a friendly smile, and even Martine felled in love with the decoration in the kitchen ,utensils and paper towel holder, and the owner just simply gave it to her!! Amazing experiences to last a lifetime ; I still have it.  I have several posts on Las Majadas in my blog as an hommage to the town, the people and my dear Martine. Just do the search. Thanks.

Of course we always did the run by car from France, a wonderful trip, full of nice memories and encounters on the road, like the wonderful always stop at Bielle in the French pyrénées for breakfast, and the lunches on the A23 after Zaragoza with chorizo sandwiches my boys love it still remember fondly; the lunch and dinner in the different restaurants around Cuenca all wonderful memories on the road.(see posts). 

More on Las Majadas from the Castilla La Mancha tourist board

Like I said we used the house as a base to run all over the Castillas and even into Valencia; for the nature lover, hunters, joggers, walkers, this is tops. Because of fondness for the house this was the Top Rural renting site we got the house from , now the site is call Vrbo:

And the official webpage for Casa Pitu in Las Majadas

 Some on the history and activities in the small town are

So called Majadas, because the first to settle in this area were sheperds who were there at night. It tells the tradition that the people had been settled here  by shepherds of Poyatos through cabins in the well of the Animas. In the 12C the manor came to the Jaraba family, linked to the conquest of Cuenca.  The Jarabas came from Ramon IV Berenguer, 10th Count of Barcelona, King of Aragon to marry Petronila, daughter of Ramiro II, the monk. By not having offspring they asked Our Lady of Jarabas to grant them a wish and so they put one of her children to her, forming this family. The eldest of the marriage was Alfonso II, King of Aragon who helped  king Alfonso VIII in the conquest of Cuenca.

In the book of Montería (hunting trips) of king Alfonso XI , speaks about the good hunting in the Majadas of the king. It was a villa of relaxation or entertainment.  The patron Saint is the Virgin of the Sagrario since king Alfonso VIII. The Church Virgen del Sagrario consists of three bodies: The Belfry, the nave and the altar, these two separated by a half-point arch with pillars of ashlar.  The altarpiece has different figures of different artistic style, with two bodies of columns with corinthian capitals.  The date of 1618 is listed.  The pedestal has reliefs of the adoration of the shepherds and adoration of the Kings. The paintings of the altarpiece are Saint Lucia (martyr), Saint Christopher and Penitent Monk, the Saint Veronica, the Immaculate, the crucified Christ and the Annunciation.  The well-preserved coffered ceiling is in mudejar style with Western roots. In the courtyard of the parish is the Roll of Justice where the law was taught in medieval times.  There were also four hermitages in the 17C: San Juan, Santiago apostle, San Bartolomé and San Sebastián



The culinary delights is awesome and the dishes are the Morteruelo (sirloin, liver, chicken, rib, ham, lard, rabbit, breadcrumbs, paprika, cinnamon, cloves and also with game meat). Porridge (flour, grass peas, bacon fat, garlic, paprika…)  , shepherd crumbs (bread crumbs, garlic, paprika, bacon fat, water…), they are eaten with grapes.  Red Beans  with chorizo and rib.  Shepherd’s Cakes (flour, salt, oil, water…) Bacalado (salted and soaked codfish), battered with egg and flour. At Easter,  Puches de los Santos (flour, water, sugar and croutons…)  Toasts of bread crumbs and egg (in sugar water with apple, honey, etc.) Anise Rolls (flour, sugar, aguardiente (heavy rum type made with grapes), etc.)  They make sausages, loins, ribs, etc. All good and with good Castilian wine.

There you go folks, hope it helps you come and enjoy the real Spain, and the birth of it in Castilla. We will go on carrying with us these marvelous memories and wonderful souvenirs of our trips as a family to Las Majadas, And who knows, maybe we will make a nostalgic return one day. Thank you for your support reading me since November 2010 !

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

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