Archive for October 11th, 2022

October 11, 2022

Curiosities of Normandie !!

I found some older pictures of a time of my visits to France, these are on paper and took a shot of them to post in my blog as it is after all the story of my life, These includes the cities of Caen, Dieppe, and Saint Valerie en Caux, Hope you enjoy them as I finding them and now posting them, Thanks for reading me over the years, always appreciated,

Caen is in the department 14 of Calvados in the region of Normandy. It is called the “City of a hundred bell towers”, city of William the Conqueror and capital of the Duchy of Normandy with Rouen, I have written several posts on Caen so will cut to the chase on the abbey of men info and picture.

The Abbaye aux Hommes, or Saint-Étienne Abbey is one of the two great abbeys, along with the Abbaye aux Dames, founded by Guillaume le Bastard, the future conqueror, around 1060, in Caen. The Saint-Étienne Church, the former abbey became a parish church after the French revolution. The convent buildings transformed into a high school in the 19C have housed the city/town hall since the 1960s. On March 26, 1789, the assembly of the nobility of the Bailliage of Caen met in the abbey. On November 2, 1790, the monks were expelled from the abbey under the law of February 13-February 19, 1790, In 1793, the Saint-Étienne Church was transformed into a temple dedicated to the cult of Reason and the Supreme Being. On October 12, 1800, the Académie de Caen, renamed “Lycée de Caen”, was installed in the premises of the abbey. Following the entry into force in 1802 of the Concordat of 1801, Catholic worship was restored in the former abbey, but the latter became a parish church and the religious did not return to the abbey. Finally, the prefectural administration left the abbey in 1806 in order to set up the Imperial High School (current Lycée Malherbe), founded on July 20, 1804. In 1841, an elementary primary school was added.

Caen abbaye des hommes

In 1810, part of the gardens of the abbey were amputated in order to create a square linking Place Fontette to La Prairie; the esplanade was then planted with chestnut trees and a gate was installed to separate the promenade for high school students from the newly created public space, called Place du Parc (now Place Guillouard) and embellished in 1882 with a statue from Place de la Republic. Two new buildings were also built in the gardens: the “class corridor” (currently occupied by the civil status service) built from 1828 to 1830 and the “Petit lycée” (currently occupied by the municipal police services ), During the Battle of Caen, the school was transformed into a passive defense reception centre. The former abbey also served as a complementary hospital to the main hospital set up at Bon-Sauveur. The municipal administration now occupied the abbey since the opening of the new Lycée Malherbe in 1961. On January 16, 1965, the first meeting of the municipal council of Caen took place in the chapter house.

The city of Caen on the abbey of men

The Caen tourist office on its heritage

I have written several posts on Dieppe so again will cut it short and go the scene of the new picture in my blog, Briefly, Dieppe is located in the Seine-Maritime department 76 in the Normandy region. The city is nicknamed “the city of four ports” (the cross-Channel ferry/port, the commercial port, the fishing port and the marina).

The Place du Puits-Salé is the most famous square in Dieppe. At the corner of the pedestrian streets, Grande Rue and rue de la Barre, adjoining the streets Saint-Jacques, l’Ecosse and Victor-Hugo, not far from the rue du 19 août 1942  reminiscent of the Dieppe Raid. Its well, replacing since 1930 the old fountain of the Puits-Salé, from 1558, carries water from the source of Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie , On this square is located the café des Tribunaux, whose half-timbered style neo-Norman, date from the 1920s. This building, which has existed since 1709, has only been a café since the end of the 19C.

Dieppe puit salé

The city of Dieppe on its streets

The Dieppe tourist office on its heritage

I found a couple old pictures of my much earlier road warrior trips in my belle France, and will write something for the first time in my blog on nice Saint-Valery-en-Caux , The town is located in the Seine-Maritime department 76 in the Normandy region. about 60 km from Rouen , and 30 km from Dieppe and Fécamp , It is a small seaside resort equipped with a port,which is very nice indeed.

The name of Saint-Valery-en-Caux appears for the first time in a document dating from 990, according to the charter in which Richard I, Duke of Normandy, grants part of his personal property to the Abbey of Fécamp, The city center was almost completely destroyed by bombing during the siege of the city, from June 10 to 12, 1940. Indeed, from June 10, the 7th Panzer Division led by Rommel pierced the positions of the 9th Corps as far as the Seine. General Ihler’s French army corps as well as Major-General Fortune’s 51st (Highland Scottish) Infantry Division, and isolated them , The Allied troops fell back to Saint-Valery-en-Caux, the last port of the pocket , After the battle which took place from June 10 to 12, 1940, Saint-Valery-en-Caux was nearly 70% destroyed , and was finally liberated by the Allies on September 11, 1944, After the war, French cities untouch by the war became sister cities to those destroyed to help in their restoration in an act of solidarity, Saint-Valery-en-Caux learns of the adoption on November 26.1942 by Aix-en-Provence, The official announcement and that of the first installment occurred during the municipal council of December 6, 1942. In order to be able to support its adopted city, Aix-en-Provence multiplied the actions, which made it possible to send several rescuers to Saint-Valery. On January 17 1945, following a failure of the braking system, a train carrying US Army soldiers fails to stop and crosses the terminal station of Saint-Valery. The toll is heavy: 89 American soldiers are killed and 152 are wounded.

We took our walks during our passing by the Place de la Chapelle, a great place to stop first,In the Place de la Chapelle you can see the Chapel of Notre Dame du Bon Port, plenty of restaurants and parking there and across in the Place du Marché where the market is held,The most lively spot in town, me think.

Saint Valerie en Caux pl de la chapelle

Also, the Port de Plaisance or Marina with 550 berths; It hosts about 500 boats now. Note the presence of fishing boats in the outer harbor which all year round sell most of their loot when they return to the stalls.

Saint Valerie en Caux port plaisance to city

Some of the other things to see in Saint Valery en Caux me think are the half-timbered house known as Henri IV, also called Maison Ladiré, the Parish Church of Saint-Valery-en-Caux, Its construction dates back to the 16C, and the Military cemetery of WWII, the lighthouse of Saint-Valery-en-Caux; and Camp Lucky Strike that were transit camps for American soldiers, upon their arrival in France or while waiting to be deported to the United States.

The city of Saint Valery en Caux on the marina:

The local Alabaster coast tourist office on the marina of Saint Valery en Caux:

The local Alabaster coast tourist office on the Saint Valery en Caux heritage

There you go folks, a wonderful road warrior tour of gorgeous Normandie, history and architecture for doing it for the rest of my life. Thanks again for following me along this quest of travel knowledge and pleasures.

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

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October 11, 2022

Some news from Spain CXXXIII

And back at you with my series of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and Fall is already here ! I am eagerly looking forward to be back too!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

And now some news from publications such as every year, the Skytrax ranking, the ‘Oscars’ of the aviation industry, answers the question of which airline is the best in the world. The best first class cabin went to Singapore Airlines, while Qatar took the best business class. Virgin Atlantic Airways, for its part, has managed to win the award for the best premium economy class and Emirates for the best economy cabin, which we know as the tourist class of a lifetime. By region, the European ranking is won this year by Turkish Airlines, followed by Air France and Swiss on the podium. Iberia has earned ninth place among the airlines of Europe, according to travellers. The list of low-cost airlines Ryanair manages to rise to the top of the ranking. It is followed by Vueling Airlines and EasyJet. The World Top Ten are 1. Qatar Airways, 2. Singapore Airlines, 3. Emirates, 4. ANA All Nippon Airways, 5. Qantas Airways, 6. Japan Airlines, 7. Turkish Airlines, 8. Air France, 9. Korean Air,10. Swiss Air.

Another study done by Bounce, a leading company in travel slogans around the planet, which produces this type of report during each season of the year, already converted into tourist classics. Amsterdam heads the ranking of the 20 most desirable cities to escape this season. They are followed by Paris, London and Berlin. Madrid is the only one in our country that appears on the list, at number 13. The ‘Top Ten’ of the best cities are: 1. Amsterdam. 2. Paris. 3. London.4. Berlin. 5. Los Angeles. 6. Vienna. 7. New York. 8. Athens. 9. Prague. 10. Rome.

The small town of Lorca in the Community of Murcia, which extends from the Guadalentín valley to the coast, is based on its civil baroque architecture, the 15C synagogue and the raised parador where its castle is located to surprise those visitors who want to get out of the conventional tourist circuit, The historical border between the Crown of Castilla and the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, always hear the same thing from those who come to visit it: “I didn’t think that this city had so many things”. And there are many: in the town center await the old Collegiate Church of San Patricio (St Patrick) and civil baroque architecture, represented in the City/Town Hall or the Guevara house. In the extreme south awaits the regional park of Cabo Cope and Puntas del Calnegre, with its coves and beach bars, The medieval castle and the Lorca Parador, whose construction in the 2000s led to the discovery of 18 Jewish houses and a 15C synagogue, new elements with which to continue surprising travelers interested in culture and history, explorers who seek to get off the tourist circuit indeed, love it ! The Hotel Castillo de Lorca parador was built where the archaeological park that includes the medieval castle is located, with its Alfonsina and Espolón towers, the Big and Small cistern, the San Clemente hermitage and the Jewish quarter not reveal since 1492 ! . It was inaugurated in 2012, The castle’s archaeological park, opened in 2003, offers visits to the Alfonsina tower and the Espolón tower, the aforementioned synagogue and several cisterns, of which the Grande stands out, a 550,000-litre tank converted into an exhibition space. archaeological museum, which houses 27 glass lamps reconstructed from remains found in the synagogue. The Lorca earthquake, which occurred on May 11, 2011, is still being felt in the city. Some buildings are still propped up. Others have been rebuilt and painted white and albero (crush rock color), On 23rd of November in pilgrimage to celebrate the festivity of San Clemente, one day a year to remember the Christian conquest in 1244 led by the infante Alfonso de Castilla. Very close to the Lorca bullring are Las Alamedas, some albero streets that cross each other and are surrounded by trees. The sanctuary of the Virgen de la Esperanza is located 6 km from Calasparra surrounded by nature, it is crossed by several streams. Yellow beach, with fine white sand, is my favorite in Águilas. Opposite is the island of Fraile, which can be reached by walking through the water, since it does not cover completely. It is an archaeological site from the Islamic and late Roman times. Calnegre beach in the cove of the same name allows you to walk or relax and take a bath, more crowded because it is more closed and pleasant. The Lorca tourist office :

And again I have to give you some of my favorite squares of Spain, the omnipresent Plazas, Here I go folks ! Something to visit for sure while in my dear Spain.

The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca. The student population ensures that the atmosphere is not too serious in what is considered by many to be the most beautiful square in Spain. Surrounded by a three-story structure in a harmonious Baroque style, between 1729 and 1756, its arcades are home to bars and cafes, such as Novelty, a regular meeting place for writers and artists since 1905. One of its most illustrious clients was Miguel Unamuno, who had his daily gathering here,

The Plaza de España of Sevilla. Integrated into the María Luisa park, this square is an emblematic space for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It has a total area of ​​50,000 square meters, and a navigable canal extends along its entire perimeter. 515 meters long. It has served as the setting for filming such as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ or ‘Star Wars’

The Plaza Mayor of Madrid. With just over four centuries of history, the nerve center of the capital, almost next to Puerta del Sol, has been the scene of coronations, markets, autos de fe, bullfights and Goyesque festivals. It was Felipe II who decided to pack it in the 16C and the architect Juan de Herrera who designed it as we know it. The equestrian statue of King Felipe III occupies the center of the square, between the Casa de la Panadería and the Casa de la Carnicería. Wonderful indeed

The Plaza Mayor of Trujillo. It is the epicenter of the town of Trujillo, cataloged as an asset of cultural interest and integrated into the network of The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain. Trujillo is part of the Route of the Conquerors. Orellana, an explorer of the Amazon River, and Francisco Pizarro, whose bronze equestrian statue presides over this space enclosed by 19C houses, the Church of San Martín and several Renaissance palaces with coats of arms and stork nests, were born there. In its arcades is the emblematic inn La Troya.

The Plaza Mayor of Almagro. Located about 30 km from Ciudad Real, the historic town of Almagro brings together a good number of Renaissance palaces, Gothic churches and old convents, as well as the famous Corral de Comedias, in a corral which is accessed through an arcade of the Plaza Mayor, of medieval origin and reformed in the 16C with the money of the Függer (Fúcares, once Castilianized), the family of German bankers of Emperor Charles V, who left their mark on the glass galleries and the green color of its wooden frames on the arcades.

The Plaza Mayor of Pedraza. Houses emblazoned with channel tiles, wooden beams and hidden arcades are the hallmarks of this walled town of dazzling beauty in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Famous thanks to the “concerts of the candles”, it appears on the list of The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain and its streets and Plaza Mayor have served as a set for fifty films !

Let me tell you about an area dear to me of wonderful places and a wine less known than Rioja but to me just as good, Ribera del Duero of Spain ! The Duero Valley, a route that combines hedonism, culture and landscape During a good part of its route, from the lands of Soria to Tudela de Duero, already in Valladolid, the Duero groups on its banks a series of towns, large and small, many of them with the addition to their name of the river that waters them, with historical-artistic ensembles that attest to the important role that these towns played for centuries. Monasteries, castles, palaces and churches abound, a feast for your eyes and tastes. An awesome road warrior tour indeed, And highlighted by some of the best wines from Spain,

Tudela de Duero, This town is the entrance to the Ribera del Duero leaving Valladolid in the opposite direction to the current of the river there is one of the most outstanding wineries in the area, Mauro (, founded by one of the best Spanish winemakers, Mariano García.

Sardón de Duero, In this town is the best hotel in the entire Ribera, and one of the most prominent in Spain: Le Domaine ( Located in a 12C monastery that has been tastefully rehabilitated, As a tour of the extensive estate that occupies Abadía Retuerta deserves, with its centuries-old trees and the vineyards that stretch across it, with more than twenty grape varieties with which that the wonderful wines of that winery are elaborated. It is possible to visit it and make a tasting there.

Valbuena de Duero-Quintanilla de Onesimo, In Valbuena de Duero is the most famous winery in Spain: Vega Sicilia ( In this town we also find the Cistercian Monastery of Santa María de Valbuena, founded in the 11C, which is worth a visit. And in the neighboring town of Quintanilla de Onesimo, in the facilities of another well-known winery, Arzuaga (, we find a luxury hotel and a Michelin-starred restaurant called Taller,

Pesquera de Duero, In the town the porticoed main square stands out. And in its municipal term we find four important wineries: Emilio Moro (, Tinto Pesquera (, Nexus-Frontaura (bodegasnexusfrontaura,com) and Dehesa de los Canónigos ( They can all be visited. At Tinto Pesquera, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary these days, you can visit the 16C stone press, where the first wines from the cellar were made, and taste its wines and cheeses.

Peñafiel, This is the main town of the Ribera del Duero in the province of Valladolid. With its impressive 10C castle that dominates the town and all its surroundings and the curious Plaza del Coso, a medieval bullring, rectangular in shape and surrounded by balconies. In the castle is the Provincial Wine Museum, where a tour of the production process and the different denominations of origin of the province is made. A few km from the town, the Pago de Carraovejas wineries ( offer various wine tourism activities,

Roa, we entered the province of Burgos. Roa, located on a spur, is officially the capital of the Ribera de Duero since the headquarters of the Denomination of Origin office is located there,

Aranda de Duero, The largest of all the towns in the Ribera del Duero, an important communications hub, a town to stroll through, with important churches and palaces. It is worth visiting the old underground cellars located under the grill building, converted into a small museum. In Aranda you can also visit the Calidad Pascual facilities to learn about the modern production systems of this dairy company. And if you have time, another visit, to a craft brewery, Mica (, which uses Ribera del Duero cereals to make some very remarkable beers,

Peñaranda de Duero, Following the Duero towards Soria, a stop in this town of medieval origin that stands out for its wealth of monuments, mainly the castle that dominates the town, very well preserved, but also for its main square and the multitude of palaces , mansions and churches that it houses, among them the palace of the Counts of Miranda,

San Esteban de Gormaz, The last stage through the Ribera del Duero enters the land of the province of Soria and passes through San Esteban de Gormaz, another historical-artistic complex dominated by a castle and which has two important Romanesque churches and a medieval bridge of sixteen eyes.

Talking about wines of Spain, well this was my first at the tender age of 8 given by my maternal grandmother Amparo (from Pajara, Tenerife), I like to tell you the story of the great Marqués de Riscal winery and its wines, Enjoy it !

The one of the best if not the best of Rioja and now elsewhere too since its foundation in 1858. A privilege, to know them of a company call Marqués de Riscal and knowing its works means literally drinking them, They have an extensive old wines cellar and I was once priviledge again to taste some of them such as the Marqués de Riscal 1862 Médoc Alavés, and in it a little 160-year-old wine, totally alive, smooth and elegant. It was the first that the famous winery produced, and instantly we received a glass from 1863, and so on up to thirty, of vintages from the 19C, 20C and 21C, Probably no other winery in the world can mount a vertical tasting of such breadth, among other things because few have to keep a treasure of 140,000 bottles that represent all the vintages throughout a century and a half !!!

Las Tapias, its first wine from a single vineyard in a long time, which has also obtained the new classification of ‘singular vineyard’ with which the DO Rioja recognizes exceptional old vines, something similar to the ‘crus’ of Burgundy. In this case, a vineyard planted by Riscal in 1968 with old Tempranillo cuttings on a classic Rupestris de Lot rootstock that greatly respects the character of the vinifera. The classic Elciego winery, were able to admire, after that founding 1862, those of the pre-phylloxera wines, all from the 19C (the phylloxera, that American bug that destroyed the European vineyard, arrived in Spain later than in France and other countries ): 1863, 1870, 1871, 1876, 1884, 1886, 1892, and 1899; those of the 20C from the post-phylloxera replantation to 1964: 1909, 1911, 1918, 1924, 1928, 1935, 1936, 1945, 1946, 1952, 1955, 1961, and 1964. And the most modern was a review of Barón de Chirel, a wine produced since 1986 that, like now Las Tapias, is a reunion with the history of the house, in this case its Bordeaux connection. And we tasted 1995, 2001, 2004, 2010 and 2011. And here is when it gets good, the French were in Spain as the phylloxera was destroying their vineyards, they turn south to keep making wines from Spain, and in the process brought their skills to help push Spanish wines further as of today,

Pioneers such as Manuel Quintano in the 18C and Luciano Murrieta in 1852 tried to bring there the vineyard techniques that had made Bordeaux, its near-neighbor, a powerhouse for wine, but their experiments did not last, although 25 years later Murrieta was finally able to open your own bodega, Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga, Marquis of Riscal, another Liberal exiled in Bordeaux itself, was the one who finally launched Rioja… that of the Médoc Alavés, launched in 1862 by the Diputación de Álava, hiring the cellar master -oenologist, we would say today- Jean Pineau to introduce Bordeaux techniques, such as aging in oak barrels. The Médoc Alavés initiative did not last long due to lack of means, disappearing in 1868. But Riscal hired Pineau, who laid the foundations for it. From Pineau to the modern Guimberteau or Pontallier, until recently there were always Bordeaux advisers in the great Elciego winery and eventually other regions of Spain as well, Tried the marvelous Barón de Chirel, with 20-30% cabernet, has been a successor to those Reserva Médoc for 36 years. Instead, Tapias is pure tempranillo, You tried them and be won over, still the one for me from my dear Spain, Bodega de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal (descendants), Recently named, the 2nd best winery in the world and 1st in Europe ! webpage :

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! As said Fall season is here with all those shades and cool evenings to be cozy and homey again. Time to enjoy my dear Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

October 11, 2022

The Church Saint Martin of St Martin sur Oust !

In my new road warrior trips in my beautiful Morbihan , I bring you back into these small picturesques towns on the off the beaten path. I like to tell you with new text and new pictures on the Church Saint Martin! I have written before on it with plenty of history and sights to see so will skip it this time. Hope you enjoy this new post on the Church Saint Martin of Saint Martin sur Oust ! The town is only 10 km from La Gacilly, 54 km from Vannes, and 81 km from my house.

St Martin sur Oust ch Saint Martin front oct22

The Church Saint Martin  has no documentation allows to know the oldest building that was the Church Saint-Martin-sur-Oust. Some vestiges allow to evoke the stages of its construction such as 15C, 16C.

St Martin sur Oust ch Saint Martin side right oct22

The Saint-Martin Church has a long history of renovations from the 15C to 1959, It was completely remodeled in 1853 , the bell tower and transept, then finally rebuilt in 1959, At the start of the 20C, all that remained of the 15C church was a third-point door with several covings and a radiating network window. The nave and the choir were remodeled in the 18C. The bell tower has three broken arched openings. On the facade, the fenestration is underlined by light stones. The gable, supported by two buttresses, is pierced by two oculi. The door and the stoup date from the 15C. The altarpiece dates from the 17C , it has a painting depicting a crucifixion in its center and the side niches house the statues of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Michael. There are some old wooden statues including a statue of Saint-Martin cutting his coat with his sword to give it to the poor.

St Martin sur Oust ch Saint Martin nave to altar oct22

St Martin sur Oust Ch Saint Martin altar oct22

The Saint Martin Church is done with a rectangular plan with transept arms barely protruding from the nave. The vault of the single nave is supported by ogival concrete arcades, resting on concrete posts. The lateral altars are today under the words of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Heart and St. Peter. The blessing of the new church took place on May 1st 1960.

St Martin sur Oust ch Saint Martin chapel Blessed Virgin closeup oct22

St Martin sur Oust Ch Saint Martin chapel St Pierre oct22

The city of Saint Martin sur Oust on its history/heritage:

There you go folks, another picturesque little town of Saint Martin sur Oust , right in the countryside of the Morbihan. Hope you enjoy this post with newer pictures of the Church Saint Martin as I. Do dare to come into the off the beaten path of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 !

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

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