Archive for November 19th, 2021

November 19, 2021

Curiosities of Arras!!

And looking back this town we passed several times on our way to see wife’s brother who lives near the Belgian border. Eventually, we stop by for the Christmas market that bro told us was nice. Indeed it was, as was the town of Arras, which we came back several times more. I have some posts on it but will tell you a bit more on some of its wonderful streets and off the beaten path monuments; hope you enjoy it as I.

For geographical reference, Arras is in dept 62 of Pas de Calais and in the region of Hauts de France of my belle FranceThe wonderful town of Arras. I have written on it before in my blog. However, I need to tell you about some of its architecture walking in town with pictures not in my blog before. It is wonderful to go over these previous places we have travelled and love it. Again, thanks for reading me since Nov 2010! Arras is about 45 km from Lille, and 160 km from Paris ; now 650 km from my house,on the A13 then A84 and A29 to the A1,and finally D939 to centre ville Arras.

The Rue des Chariottes takes you to the Cathedral Notre Dame de l’assomption, The best to see while walking on it is the Chapelle des Chariottes, Les Chariottes take their name from Jean Acharriot who, with his wife Emmelet Huquedieu, founded the first small hospital in 1339 rue de l’Abbaye (now rue Méaulens), at the corner of the impasse des Chariottes which still exists today. The French revolution dispersed the nuns who returned in 1815. Bombarded twice during the Great War or WWI, the chapel was partially rebuilt. The convent is more or less what it was in 1789, except for the reconstructions of 1923. A house of St Francis retreat is directed by the Franciscan sisters. They are at 20-22 Rue des Chariottes.

arras rue des chariottes see cathedral back dec08

The place des Héros square is of the grand-place type which is characterized by a completely mineral aspect that can be found in many towns in the old Netherlands. This is the historic and main central square of the city. The square is located in the city center of Arras, between the city/town hall with its communal belfry and the rue de la Taillerie which connects it to the Grand-Place. The Place des Héros is rectangular and has an area of approximately 70 ares. La Petite Place takes the name of Place des Héros in 1945, in homage to the resistance fighters of the town shot during WWII, The Flemish influence is visible in particular by the scrolled gables overlooking the square, as well as the arcades in front of the houses Fifty-two building facades of the square are listed in the historic monuments of Arras.And the place of the wonderful Marché de Nöel d’Arras!

arras pl des heros marche noel dec08

The Rue Pasteur starts at the train station to Rue Ronville/Rue Wacquez Clausson not far from the Place d’Héros, The main thing to see here is the Congregation of the Augustinian Sisters of Notre-Dame de Paris born in 1977 from the union of two hospital congregations: that of the Augustines of the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris and that of the Augustines of the Precious-Blood of Arras. The community of the Augustinian Sisters of the Precious Blood was founded in Arras in 1854 by Mgr Parisis. It comes from the union of many small diocesan congregations, such as the Teaching Sisters of Arras; the Hospitaller Sisters of Saint-Jean d’Arras; the Hospitaller Sisters of Saint-Louis de Boulogne; the Hospitaller Sisters of Montreuil; the Hospitaller Sisters of Saint-Jean de Laventie. They obtained their decree of praise in 1966 and ten years later joined the Augustines of Paris. They are at 13 Rue Pasteur.

arras rue Pasteur to cv Christmas jan08

The city of Arras tourist office address:

The Arras tourist office on its heritage

The city of Arras tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy town in my belle France. This one taking you north to the region of Hauts de France ,the old Nord-Pas Calais region. Arras is worth the detour for its history link to WWI, wonderful architecture, and great Christmas market. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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November 19, 2021

The Belfry of Amiens!

Here I am again ,searching my vaults for nostalgic trips with the family that are still not in my blog; which is a way of my life’s history. I found another beauty that needs to be told. This time is the Belfry of  Amiens or Beffroi (fr) a symbol of the city we have come to visit several times over the years. Therefore, let me bring this in my blog, tell you about it a bit, and hope you enjoy it as I.

For geographical reference, Amiens is in dept 80 of the Somme, part of the region of Hauts de France ; historical capital of Picardie in my belle France. It is about 115 km from Paris and about 558 km from my house now.

The Belfry is located at Place au Fil, in the city center of Amiens. Its origin dates back to the establishment of the town of Amiens under King Louis VI the Fat. It is mentioned for the first time in an arbitration award rendered by the chapter of Amiens in 1244.  The town of Amiens was born in 1113, it was recognized by Bishop Geoffroy and King Louis VI. On the other hand, the count of Amiens Enguerrand de Boves and his son Thomas de Marle refused to recognize the town. The opponents of the town are entrenched in Castillon, a fortress inherited from Roman times. Louis VI came in person, in 1115 to give the go on the assault, without success. Wounded, he retired and the siege of the fortress lasted two years. In 1117, the Castillon fell and was destroyed by order of the king. When it was placed, the bourgeois had the belfry built.

amiens beffroi apr10

The belfry was rebuilt at the beginning of the 15C, symbolizing the independence of the town, it was then used for meetings of the town’s notables, then as an archive room, as a weapons store and as a prison. A lookout keeps an eye on the arrivals and warns the population of external dangers. The belfry is also used to inform the privileged companies of the imminence of a disaster.

On April 16, 1742, the belfry was again engulfed in flames. Repair of the belfry did not begin until 1749. It gave the belfry the appearance we know today. The large “Marie-Firmine” bell was melted on August 2, 1748, in the gardens of the bishopric. It has a diameter of 2.43 meters and a height of 2.06 meters, it weighed 11 tons with a leaf of 315 kg, This belfry consists of a base in white ashlar, built in the 15C between 1406 and 1410 surmounted by a stone bell tower built from 1749 with baroque-style volutes at its base, and a covered dome. slate then an arrow and a weather vane bearing a reputation. The height of the belfry is 52 meters.

The Amiens belfry has a very massive rectangular base 17 meters high and ends in a terrace bordered by a stone balustrade. The base was surmounted by a pyramidal spire until the middle of the 18C. At the top sits a weather vane, “La Renommée”, an allegory representing an angel watching the surroundings. One can also notice, on the south face of the building, a sundial. In the basement are dungeons dug to a depth of 4.50 meters, in which graffiti of prisoners still remains.

The City of Amiens on the belfry

The Amiens tourist office on the belfry:

The Somme dept 80 tourist office on the belfry of Amiens

There you folks, a dandy monument in nice Amiens. The Belfry is a nice sight to see and surrounded by wonderful shops/restos in town, worth a detour. Another architecturally/historically stunning monument of my belle France; hope you enjoy it as I.

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

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November 19, 2021

Some news from Spain CXIIII

And here I am writing again on some news from Spain. Times are moving on and yes winter is coming along. Nevertheless,the horizon for travel is shortened and I still hopeful that by mid December to mid January will be able to go back to my dear Spain again. As Spain is everything under the sun! Let me tell you the latest tidbits and ideas on enjoying this great tourist destination for a good reason.

One of the typical streets of my dear Madrid is calle Bravo Murillo, The street rose from the cradle of rags to the mecca of gambling houses, The street was the old French highway, has witnessed a chink of history anesthetized by oblivion. Two of the four kilometers that Bravo Murillo covers are dotted with gambling venues, This street, which owes its name to the politician Juan Bravo Murillo, responsible for the construction of the Canal de Isabel II, was known for another type of activity: the one that bustled along the old French highway. Until a few years ago, it bore the name of Mala de Francia, because it is the path followed by the mail of the neighboring nation. This is where the rags used to travel, with their crowded carts and their loaded shoulders, directing their steps towards the neighborhoods of Chamberí and Salamanca. Along with them it was common to see the Fuencarraleras, Fuencarral’s neighbors who, every morning and until the 1950s, traveled the 11 km that separated the old town from the city to sell eggs, vegetables and other foods that they carried. in their baskets. The passage of time integrated these women into the Madrid landscape, and their name was, in city slang, synonymous with peasant or saleswoman from the countryside who came to the city to sell the products of the land. Yes It resists, on the other hand, the Mercado Maravillas, at the height of number 122. It inherited the name of the old satin paper factory that occupied this land, as before the school that was built on this same site inherited it. Today is one of the last vestiges of a fading past A bit of history from the streets of my dear Madrid, good for a walk any day.

The Castillo de los Duques de Alburquerque de Cuéllar,or castle of the dukes of Alburquerque of Cuellar, the jewel in the crown of the second largest town in Segovia province as well as one of the most beautiful towns in the province. I must add another point in favor, from the Madrid point of view, of this medieval town surrounded by pine forests is just an hour and a half by car from the city, so it is presented as the perfect weekend getaway. From the oldest bull runs in Spain , as the first documents date from 1215 to one of the largest collections of Mudejar monuments in Castilla y León. The Mudejar tour continues at the Puerta de San Basilio, the apse of Santiago or the churches of San Esteban, San Andrés or San Martín, reconverted into an Interpretation Center of this artistic style, The tour of this town was lived by Muslims, Jews and Christians It ends in the neighborhoods of La Morería and La Judería, where the Capilla de la Magdalena stands out, an old hospital that only sinners went to, whether they were prostitutes or sick people who considered themselves punished by God for their vices with syphilis or leprosy. The curious statue of a man masturbating in the stone archway of the entrance advances the intentions. The Cuéllar tourist office :

The Christmas Lottery so what does the Navarrese town of Elizondo have to star in the most anticipated announcement of the year, The chosen town this time , an authentic fairy-tale town located in the Batzán Valley of Navarra dotted with medieval, elegant streets Indian houses (rich money from the Americas), traditional taverns, bell towers and baroque palaces. The filming of the Lottery announcement extends to the entire Navarra valley, made up of 15 towns, although those of Elizondo and Irurita are the most prominent, Elizondo, considered not only one of the most beautiful towns in Navarra, but in all of Spain. There is more, since it has also been chosen on several occasions as one of the perfect towns for rural tourism due to its location, surrounded by nature. Hence, its hiking, horseback or bicycle routes gather countless followers every weekend. The town, captained by the streets of Jaime Urrutia (Abajo street), Santiago (the main one) and Braulio Iriarte, with its beautiful medieval layout, is made up of different neighborhoods of hamlets with noble buildings built by the Indians comers who conquered the Americas and returned with enough capital to make their hometown even more beautiful. Architecturally speaking, buildings such as the 18C City/Town Hall, the Palace of the Governors or Arizkunenea, dated around 1730, that of Beramundea and that of Istekonea stand out. The Church of Santiago, located in the street of the same name after being moved, stone by stone, from its previous location, next to the City/Town Hall, deserves a separate mention. The Navarra tourist board on the Valley of Baztan/Elizondo :

The black slate is something that visitors from the Sierra de Ayllón, in the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park, carries them to another world. There are more than twenty villages that make up the route of the Peoples of Black Architecture, proposed to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, I will tell you about one that we liked very much: Tamajón is a locality that acts as a gateway to the towns of Black Architecture. Its Palace of the Mendoza, plateresque in style, houses the City/Town Hall of the town, of 148 inhabitants !! Next to the road out of the town, is its Church of the Assumption, in Romanesque style and, a little further on, in a deep forest, the Enchanted City arises, where large limestone formations carved over time by the water and wind form beautiful multiform structures. Not far from there, the hermitage of the Virgen de los Enebrales, patron saint of the city, proudly shows off the slate that stains its roof black, anticipating the architectural use of the rest of the towns. The Guadalajara province tourist board on the black towns :

I really like the Sorolla Museum because, in addition to being a very beautiful palace with a spectacular garden, it has the added bonus of being the painter’s house. It transports you to the world of pictures of him, where he lived and the things he saw. It is interesting from the viewer’s point of view to see the things that the painter himself saw. It is a place to which I always return with great affection. The Sorolla Museum is the sea of Madrid. Museo Sorolla. Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37. Madrid tourist office on the museum:

The Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the museum :

La Central de very well known, but I think it has a wide range of books. They have a lot of genres. From the poetry section, that I in Madrid have not seen a larger section than there. Poetry is a minority genre and that they keep it so present implies that it is a place that has a lot of soul, that goes a little further than most, La Central de Callao. Calle del Postigo de San Martín, 8. (near Plaza de Callao) Open from 10h to 21h from Monday to Friday. Saturdays and Sundays, from 11h to 21h ,webpage :

The mysteries of the Afro-Cuban Belkis Ayón take over the Reina Sofía Museum . The artist, whose work was inspired by the mythology of a secret male brotherhood, committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 32 in the middle of the political and economic crisis of Castroism Cuba, What she did leave was an immense and original work inspired by the mythology of Abakuá, the exclusively male Afro-Cuban secret society, similar to Freemasonry. It is a work that during the last decades has been released in American museums, but until now it had not been exhibited in Europe. The Museo Reina Sofía now saves this debt with an exhibition of 80 large-format works signed between 1986 and 1999, with scenes of sacrifice, betrayal and disobedience. The exhibition, titled Colographies. Belkis Ayón, can be seen until April 18 2022. It was the Abakuá religion, an Afro-Cuban secret society and mutual aid of whose symbolic universe it appropriates to resignify it as if it were a postmodern appointment. Coming from the Calabar region (present-day Nigerian territory) and brought to Cuba by African slaves in the early 19C, the brotherhood was founded by men and for men, and it stigmatized and segregated women. It currently has more than 30,000 followers. Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum. From November 17 to April 18, 2022. Sabatini Building, 3rd floor. webpage :

Federico García Lorca’s imprint on our culture is both deep and indelible, and for a little less than four decades his presence on our stages has been recurring , sometimes even too much. The poet from Granada returns to the stage this week twice. On the one hand, the Centro Dramático Nacional (National Dramatic Center) presents at the María Guerrero Theater where Lluís Pasqual premiered it in 1989 Comedia sin título or untitled comedy, the play that Lorca left unfinished upon his death; and on the other, he returns as a character in ‘En tierra Extra’, the play written and directed by Juan Carlos Rubio that is presented at the Teatro Español. Federico García Lorca left, upon his death on August 18, 1936, an unfinished work, known as Comedia sin titulo. One hot day in July 1936, Concha Piquer, already a star of Spanish song by then, rehearses with Rafael de León, a Sevillian poet who wrote the lyrics to several of her hits, on the stage of the Teatro Español. They have met there with Federico García Lorca because Doña Concha wants to ask him something: that he write a song for her and, incidentally, warn the poet from Granada that the situation is extraordinarily unsettled and that he knows for a fact that his name appears on several black lists; the singer recommends that he flee abroad as soon as possible for his own safety. With Diana Navarro ,one of the best interpreters of Spanish songs of our days as the protagonist, songs could not be absent from the show. ‘Tattoo’, ‘Mari Cruz’, ‘Green eyes’ or ‘In a strange land’ are some of the verses heard in the show, which also features Broadway themes , In addition, Diana Navarro sings two new songs, ‘En la Habana’ and ‘El amor Oscuro’, both with lyrics by Lorca.

The official Teatro Maria Querrero with Comedia sin Titulo :

The official Teatro Español with En Tierra Extraña :

Some nice castle towns to see around Madrid easy to get them me think, these are wonderful amongst many,

The Castle of La Coracera was built by Don Álvaro de Luna, valid of King Juan II, although some sources establish the date in 1434, when the Constable of Castile decided to build it, the date on which he bought the town and manor of San Martín de Valdeiglesias . In addition, over the years it has been occupied by different historical personalities such as Isabel la Católica, who resided in it when she was proclaimed heir to the crown of Castile. The fortress, which has a square plan and is structured around three large sections is built in Berroqueña stone. Inside, the parade ground stands out, the distribution point for the various units that is flanked by stone walls from the original 15C construction. This quadrangular space connects with the chapel and the Torre del Homenaje , The Madrid tourist office on the castle of Coracera:

The castle of Manzanares del Real is the most emblematic and best preserved in the Madrid region. The construction dates back to the 15C and was the initiative of the first Duke of the Infantado, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, but it was his son Iñigo López de Mendoza who finished it , One of the maximum representatives of the late Gothic in Castile. Its architecture is a combination of two eras: the medieval chivalric, embodied in its defensive elements, and the humanist Renaissance, which can be seen in its large rooms, facades and magnificent viewpoints. The Madrid tourist office on the castle of Mendoza :

Located in Barajas, Castle of Alameda is one of the few vestiges of military architecture from the 15C, and one of the four medieval fortifications that are preserved within the Madrid community area. It was built as a stately castle, but throughout history it has undergone different transformations and uses. In addition, under this building there are remains of ancient settlements from the Bronze Age to Roman times. It is currently incorporated into the ‘Madrid Museums’ system where workshops for schoolchildren and summer activities are held. Admission is free and is only open on weekends and holidays. The Madrid tourist office on the castle of Alameda :

One of my memorable visits in my road warrior ways was visiting this town and its tower, The Villarejo de Salvanés Fortress, a fortress of the Order of Santiago, the most powerful of the Castilian military orders created in the 12C to defend the reconquered territories in Al-Andalus,(Andalucia) emerged as a watchtower for the roads and territories that they extended over the moors located between the Tajuña and Tajo rivers. Today it has become an exceptional viewpoint of the lands that make up the southeast of the Community of Madrid and, more specifically, of the urban nucleus of Villarejo de Salvanés.The interior of the Torre del Homenaje is divided into four floors that have been equipped to house the Interpretation Center of the history of this population, as well as the Tourist Information Office and a museum in which the visitor can learn about the origin and historical evolution of the town that was, until the 19C, head of the Encomienda Mayor de Castilla. The Madrid tourist office on Villarejo de Salvanés sights :

Another picturesque town in the community of Madrid we love, Attached to the end of the wall of the town of Buitrago de Lozoya, stands the Mendoza castle, a brick and masonry structure that shows Mudejar architecture. Its shape is almost square and it was fortified by seven towers, all with a different structure, one of them having a pentagonal plan. The 14C fortress, linked to the Mendoza family, welcomed Queen Juana of Portugal and her daughter Juana la Beltraneja and the kings Juan II and Felipe III, regular guests of the Mendoza family. Due to the deterioration suffered during the 19-20C, there is hardly anything left inside. The space is used for different cultural events, such as, for example, the Marqués de Santillana Festival of early music and classical music. The Madrid tourist office on Buitrago de Lozoya sights :

The castle of Batres, one of the most original. Built in the 15-16C in fired clay on flint foundations, this is one of the best preserved in Madrid. Its Torre del Homenaje ,the oldest part and its 16C wrought iron balcony and the double Plateresque gallery stand out. From the playgroung. the Lords of Batres and space in which the great poet Garcilaso de la Vega composed some of his best verses, This castle is today a perfect space to celebrate events where the history and haute cuisine of 4 gastronomic companies come together to create unique experiences. In addition, 80 hectares of countryside surround the fortress and a forest of centenary trees limits a setting where the Castillo de Batres School of Gardening and Landscaping was created. Webpage :

My wine love goes deep in Spain, my first experience since boyhood, This is a property I have followed and enjoyed for years, Glad it got the recognition it has long deserved,Castillo Ygay Reserva 2010 has been chosen the Best Wine of the Year or world in the 40th edition of Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience, the most emblematic event in the sector. Marqués de Murrieta never left, the proclamation of Ygay 2010 as ‘wine of the year’ by the main North American magazine of the sector, Wine Spectator, is the resplendent proof of that success. The Murrieta estate is a true wine estate , isolated in the middle Rioja, near Logroño, with its 300 hectares around its winery , Of the five wines that are produced here, the Castillo de Ygay Gran Reserva Especial is the upper one because it comes from the best plot, and the one with the highest altitude, La Plana, 40 hectares and planted 71 years ago. Its base is tempranillo, but with 15% mazuelo (or cariñena), a grape that is generally little appreciated in Rioja , and, between time in the barrel and in the bottle, it passes 10 years before going on the market. It is the summit, and this award highlights Marqués de Murrieta, Rioja wines and those of Spain. It is exactly the kind of triumphs that Spanish wine needs now to overcome its image of “cheap, but pleasant”, because it can be so much more. By the way: for 185 euros for all that class, the Ygay is cheap. Webpage :

A nice new place in an old familiar place ready to pounce on it when in Madrid,In this new space in Puerta de Alcalá you can have breakfast, have an aperitif, extend a meal and enjoy a dinner with a live DJ (on weekends), Bribon de Madrid, Calle de Alcalá, 54. webpage :

There you go folks another dandy some news from Spain by yours truly. An ever ending travel opportunity in Spain everything under the Sun! Hope it turns out helpful to your future visits to my dear Spain. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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