Archive for December, 2022

December 31, 2022

Curiosities of Metz !!

I like to tell about my far road warrior trips and found me pictures not yet in my blog, which they should, The city of Metz is no different to this practice which is recommended to all. Walk it and enjoy it, let me tell you about some curiosities of Metz !!  The city of Metz is in the dept 57 of the Moselle in the new region of Grand Est of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Comfort Hotel Cecil Metz Gare offers easy access to the autoroute or highway A31. The city center is a 10-minute walk away, and the train station 700 meters away. The hotel is ,also , located 25 km from Metz-Nancy-Lorraine airport, and 150 meters from the Roi George bus stop. Many of Metz’s notable attractions, from the cathedral to the Pompidou Center (a regional branch of the famed Parisian Museum of Modern Art), are close to the hotel. In the neighborhood there are several restaurants, grocery stores, a pharmacy and a gas station. The info is from hotel site but this is the hotel we stayed when visited Metz and would stay there again.

The official Cecil Hotelhttp://www.cecilhotel-metz.com/fr/hotel-3-etoiles-metz-site-officiel.php

Metz cecil hotel rue pasteur mar11

The Ministere De La Defense hq is at 1 Rue Maréchal Lyautey , well not much to tell you here you know this is like a branch of the Defense dept and I just saw a beautiful sculptured wall to have me a picture voilà !!  The building is name the Ney or Engineering Barracks. The Engineering Barracks were built from 1841 to 1844. Its buildings form a “U” 170 meters long and 95 meters wide. In 1854, the brothers Antoine Husson and Francois-Desiré Husson, and Gustave Hennequin, sculpted the arms trophies in high relief, at the entrance to the barracks.

More info on the site Memories of Men on the Ney Caserne: https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/en/arkotheque/navigation_facette/fiche_detail.php?f=musees&ref1=43&mde_present=

Metz min de la defense metz pedro remi xavier dec06

The Cathedral of Metz (see post) is the 3rd highest cathedral in France, with 42 meters in height, it is also the cathedral with the largest area of stained glass windows in France: 6,500m² of colored glass, having given it its nickname of “Lantern of God “. From place d’Armes and rue d’Estrées to rue Paul-Bezanson and rue Ambroise-Thomas is a vast square where it is at. This square was formed at the beginning of the last century, previously, it was the courtyard of the former bishopric or episcopal palace. A municipal decree of July 10, 1816 gave it the name of Place de la Cathédrale.

I will put the official Cathedral of Metzhttp://cathedrale-metz.fr/

Metz pl de la cathedrale pf dec06

Former water tower of the train station, which supplied water to the steam locomotives. Its base is in black stone which contrasts with the grey-yellow stone used for the train station and the upper part of the water tower. A balcony with balusters encircles the tower with the color transition, at the level of the quays and the current car park. The body is ribbed with reinforcing walls and the tank is perforated with small openings. The small windows and the relief vaults of the base hardly relieve the massive aspect of the work. There is now a big EFFIA parking car park there.

The EFFIA on the water tower parkinghttps://www.effia.com/parking/parking-gare-de-metz-chateau-deau-effia

metz tour jean XXIII near train station mar11

Further info on Metz, you have the official Metz tourist officehttps://www.tourisme-metz.com/en

And the city of Metz on its heritage :https://metz.fr/decouvrir-partager/patrimoine.php

There you go folks , a wonderful City to be fully enjoy it. You will love it at Metz, very quant, traditional, and yes very French indeed. Again, hope you have enjoy reading this post on the curiosities of Metz !!

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

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December 31, 2022

My personal curiosities of Occitanie !!!

Another of my favorite regions of my belle France, this is the new Occitanie that is really very old… I found me some older pictures not yet in my blog,and they should. After all, this is my life’s story and like to share it with the world. Therefore, here are my personal curiosities of Occitanie !!!

At the top of the medieval city of Cordes-sur-Ciel, it was in 1989 that Mr. Yves Thuriès, twice Meilleur Ouvrier de France, opened the Museum of Sugar and Chocolate Arts, where he set up his pastry laboratory. A Gothic-style bastide dating from the 14C where a man from the Tarn, passionate about good taste and a job well done, cooking, his pastry, his chocolate and his transmission, all the qualities of a companion of duty. From the start of your visit, you will be amazed by the permanent and unique exhibition of works of art made of sugar and chocolate. You will (re)immerse yourself in the worlds of the Middle Ages, mythology, nature or even tales and legends. A wall exhibition will accompany you throughout your visit, retracing the journey of a visionary, creator and companion of duty that is Mr. Yves Thuriès. Finally, to end this visit and delight your taste buds, a gourmet tasting of their specialties will be offered to you around an exchange on the know-how of the house in the shop area. To complete your gourmet experience and by booking in advance, you will be able to ask their sugar and chocolate specialists for a demonstration where they will share their secrets with you. (Exclusively for groups from 10 and up to 25 people per demonstration.) After discovering the museum and its works made of sugar and chocolate, you will have the pleasure of finding all their chocolate and biscuit delicacies in the boutique. And of course, my boys!!!

The Yves Thuriés pastry chocolate shop on the museumhttps://yvesthuries.com/page/le-musee-des-arts-du-sucre-et-du-chocolat-7

Cordes sur ciel musee sucre boys jul10

The Place de la Bride offers you a vast panorama to the north, over the Cérou valley. You are almost at the top of the Puech de Mordagne. However, this is not where Cordes sur Ciel was to be built. The Count of Toulouse had chosen a nearby hill, the Puech Gaubel. Alas, the construction site was a disaster, the walls demolished every night by an evil spirit. Exasperated, a workman threw his trowel away, then searched for it in vain. It was a shepherd who found the tool on … Puech de Mordagne. Sign from heaven, obviously! It is therefore this summit that was chosen for the construction of the new city. And my boys and dear late wife Martine, our Frenchie!!!

The city of Cordes sur Ciel on its heritage: https://www.cordessurciel.fr/en/discover/cordes-sur-ciel-cites-medievales/

Cordes sur ciel pl de la Bride et grand rue family jul10

The Place aux Couverts, or Place Paul Saissac is the largest covered place in the South West of France with about 4425m². It remains the center of Lisle sur Tarn ; visit there, it is simply sublime. The Griffoul fountain in the center of the square was done with a frieze which adorns the basin interrupted by the Occitan cross and the fleur-de-lis which symbolized the union of the county of Toulouse and the crown of France. This basin, dating from the 13C, is overhung by a bronze cherub fountain, cast in 1611. And of course, more of my boys!!!

The Toscane Occitane tourist office on Lisle sur Tarn:  https://www.la-toscane-occitane.com/place-lisle-sur-tarn

Lisle sur tarn pl paul saussac jul10

Bar Les Clips at Les Arcades Boudidou, 1 Pl. de la Trebaille, Albi, Has the great anecdote that walking all over the City and late we stumbled upon on it behind the Basilica and settled for a quick snack and some drinks, Memories forever indeed, I have briefly mentioned in other post but no pictures lol! Here I found them for you and me! Nowdays the reviews are down but it was a memorable moment in a memorable spot behind the Cathedral Basilicaof Saint Cecilia (see post). Below of course, two of my boys, my dear late wife Martine, and me ;;))

The RestaurantGuru reviews on the Bar Les Clips of Albihttps://restaurantguru.com/Snack-Bar-Les-Clips-Albi

Albi bar Les Clips MF PF XF NF jul10

There you go folks, another dandy road warrior trip in my belle France and gorgeous Occitanie region, Hope you enjoy my personal curiosities of Occitanie as I and thanks for reading along my escapades.

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

December 31, 2022

The new train station of Auray !!!

I knew all about the renovations, and have posted updates in my blog, but finally went in to see the new beautiful train station or Gare d’Auray. I like to give you a pictorial of what it looks like as have already plenty on connections, history, and older pictures in my blog on it. Therefore , this is new text and pictures on the Gare d’Auray ; bringing back many memorable trips from/to it over the years in my beautiful Morbihan. Hope you enjoy the post as I

As you know if anything from reading my previous posts , Auray train station  was my first train in the Morbihan dept 56 way back when I came into the area from  Versailles,  Yvelines dept 78 in 2011. I needed to go on business trips and this was the closest station to my first foothold in the area at Brec’h (rental apart) . Even moving to Pluvigner (own house) early on ,I still used the station for my trips to Paris, especially on TGV to Montparnasse. Also, using TER from here for connections in Redon, Le Mans, or Rennes or Nantes airport. Later on, there was plenty of parking and better schedules from Vannes train station (see posts) so moved there for my trips.

Auray gare entr ground floor dec22

Auray gare upper floor waiting room depart screen dec22

It will always be my first train station in the Morbihan. I have great memories here arriving late , missing trains as public transports in France goes, and having a break at the bar with a nice cold beer, Eventually, the first train ride into the region of Bretagne was a train from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes on a business trip while still living in Versailles, therefore, Rennes is my first train station in BretagneThe first train station in Auray or gare d’Auray was located in the district of la Gare of the city of Auray. It was commissioned in 1862, The new train station is on same location, The old station building will be preserved because of its historical and heritage value. Rehabilitated to accommodate catering for travelers and residents, it will contribute to the attractiveness of neighborhood life.

Auray gare front dec22

Auray gare former train station now for cultural events dec22

The Gare d’Auray train station is the first station in Brittany to have a digital twin thanks to “BIM” technology (Building Information Modeling). The project is thus modeled in 3D, With modern, spacious, bright architecture, it mixes glass, wood and metal, on two levels, with elevator/lifts on each platform, instead of a single underground one. It now has 250 parking spaces on Auray side and 250 on Brech side passing to them easy on the footbridge.

Auray gare from parking park dec22

The Passarelle or footbridge, located 7 meters above the ground, and 100 meters long is done quite nice and great views in addition to easy moving from Brech to Auray and additional parking spaces ,You have a good viewpoint to the Chartreuse ( see post) area. Plenty of space on the platforms waiting for trains too,nice.

Auray gare passerelle from Brech to Auray dec22

Auray gare wharfs platform trains dec22

There is now a great interurban bus station with 8 platforms for  BreizhGo  and TER  coaches , close to the passenger building and connections to the AurayBus network. The BreizhGo lines are 1,5,6,and 18 My boys have used quite a bit the no 1 and No 5 by here, There is network office inside the train station for your convenience, The station hosts counters that offer transport tickets for the train, coaches and boat for Belle-Ile. This is the first BreizhGo space of this type in Brittany !

Auray gare Breizhgo bus network office dec22

Auray gare bus terminal breizhgo buses dec22

There is a wonderful Avis rental car office inside, which I have used on business trips but on personal trip Europcar a few steps from the train station was better,fyi Europcar is just to the right coming out station roundabout left into 38 Rue Jean Jaures.

Auray gare Avis car rental office dec22

The SNCF Auray train station: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gares-services/auray

The TER Bretagne on the Auray bus/train station : https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/se-deplacer/gares/auray-87476200

The Local Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Auray :https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/auray

There you go folks, a dandy modern train station just 14 km from my house, just enticing to try the trains again. Easy connection from Paris, even if now in retirement have not used it yet , at least visited this afternoon and it looks fabulous, Hope you have enjoy the post on the new beautiful train station or Gare d’Auray.

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

December 30, 2022

More of the Autoworld in Brussels !!

I found more pictures of this wonderful place and feel they should be in my blog, This we have been a couple times and love it, one of our favorites in Europe. I like to tell you more of the Autoworld in Brussels !!

Bru autoworld front dec12

This is a magical place, if you like automobiles and been around them ,then it is a must. The thrill of speed and freedom of travel is unsurpassed. After years, it became clear that the affection was not just speed but the beauty of the craftmanship ,the men who rode it, and the stories behind building them.  see the Autoworld in Brussels, awesome !

Bru autoworld grand hall and dinner table dec12

I will be telling a bit more on the AutoWorld of Brussels.  The Autoworld  is an automobile museum house in the Halle Sud or south hall of the Palais du Cinquantenaire (parc du Cinquantenaire) in glass and steel that was built for the universal exposition of 1897. Precisely it is at 11, Parc du Cinquantenaire. You can there by Metro Schuman and Merode, stations on lines 1 and 5. Also, by Tramway at Place Saint-Pierre, on lines 81 and 83. The bus have lines Gaulois, lines 22, 27 and 80; and Merode, line 61.

Brussels

I have been to auto museums but this one is the best for sure. You see motocycles, jeeps, fire truck, etc, you have a nice restaurant and neat complete boutique store. It all started here in 1986 The museum now has about 400 vehicules from automobile collections retracing the histoy of it from 1886 to 1960 and carriages, motocycles etc. By visiting Autoworld, you will discover the origins of the automobile and go through the Belle Époque, the Great War, the Roaring Twenties, the 1930s, the Second World War, the 1950s, then you will gradually go to our days.

Bru autoworld roaring 20s antiques dec12

In 1986, the Autoworld was chosen to receive the Mahy Collection. The latter is a private collection belonging to the Mahy family, whose grandfather Ghislain Mahy was a car enthusiast. Indeed, in 1924, he built his first car, then later embarked on the renovation of old cars. Thus, of the thousand vehicles that make up the collection, 1/4 are presented at Autoworld. The other models can be found at the Mahymobiles Museum in Leuze-en-Hainaut, 1 hour from Brussels.  And since we are in the country of comic strips, logically, a space is dedicated to Michel Vaillant. Comic book hero, he is the famous car driver who made his debut in 1957 in Tintin’s Diary. Thus, you will find in this exhibition, one of the real F1 Vaillante of the character of the film by Luc Besson, shot in 2003. And of course, you will be able to leaf through, in the same place, the comic strips of the hero.

A new bit of history on the building housing Autoworld, the museum has been located since 1986 in the great southern hall of the Cinquantenaire. The building results from the division of a vast continuous metal hall, designed in 1881 for the Grand Concours international des Sciences et de l’Industrie of 1888. The 1888 Competition succeeded the National Exhibition of 1880, which gave its name to the Cinquantenaire site. Baptized Halle Internationale des Machines it was designed with a single span over 235 meters in length, this innovative construction with a metal frame succeeds the Galerie des Machines, a temporary hall which was the highlight of the 1880 Exhibition. Unlike the latter, the hall of 1888 is kept after the competition and assigned to agricultural and industrial exhibitions. Extended a hundred meters to the north on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1897, the building reaches 340 meters. As king Leopold II had demanded, five of its spans were dismantled in the axis of the arcade the following year, in order to clear the perspective towards the newly created Avenue de Tervueren. The building is therefore transformed into two separate halls. In 1899, the southern hall was extended by 60 meters towards the avenue des Nerviens, using some of the materials resulting from the dismantling. During the 20C, the southern hall hosted, like its northern counterpart, various events, fairs and temporary exhibitions. In 1986, Autoworld moved there !

The official Autoworld museum: https://www.autoworld.be/home

The Brussels tourist office on Autoworldhttps://www.visit.brussels/en/visitors/venue-details.Autoworld.734

The museums of Brussels on the Autoworld: https://www.brusselsmuseums.be/en/museums/autoworld-museum-brussels

There you go folks, hope you enjoy it as much as we did. An awesome Autoworld to hold onto it, and nice walks afterward from here in pretty Brussels. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all !!!

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December 30, 2022

The airport of Cebu, Philippines !!

Well looking at my vault of pictures and posts in my blog realised had just small mentions of the Airport of Cebu, Philippines. This was my most entries to the country for several years and 6 visits, sometimes straight there and others rerouted after Manila. Therefore, let me put more into my blog of the Cebu airport and hope you enjoy the post as I.

Let me tell you the airport for the main Cebu city had to passed first by Lapu Lapu, and Mandaue towns. The trips were routine, same route each time. The island of Cebu is 122 miles (196 km) long; nowhere does it exceed 20 miles (32 km) in width. The capital city of Cebu city is located in the Central Visayas region VII, consisting of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Cebu is the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines. Cebu city forms part of the metropolitan area with Danao city, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay cities. Mactan Cebu international airport is in Mactan island the second busiest airport in the Philippines !!

Cebu lapu lapu city drive jan17

cebu lapu lapu passing jan18

A bit of history which was interesting to me tell us that on April 27, 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi and the friar Andrés de Urdaneta arrived on Cebu and founded the first Spanish settlement and Catholic mission in the Philippine archipelago. For six years, until Legazpi’s removal to Manila, Cebu was the Spanish colonial capital. It remained the primary Spanish bastion in the southern part of the Philippines. The local native language is the Cebuano an unique language of the region which as a result of the 333-year Spanish colonial period, Cebuano contains many words of Spanish origin. Indeed it is very interesting to listen to it.

The Mactan Island side of the bridge, which is in Lapu-Lapu City, is accessed by Old Patiller Road, a spur road of the Manuel L. Quezon National Highway. On this island is the Cebu Mactan International airport. Here I have landed and take off several times on my travels there and was by the end routine; always going by car to my hotels. The main airlines here which I have taken are Cebu Pacific Air , operating flights to over 60 domestic and international destinations across 14 countries , and Philippine Airlines , which took to the skies on March 15, 1941, laying claim to the distinction of Asia’s first airline.

cebu overbridge from mactan apt to hotel jan18

From the airport you have the taxi yellow and taxi white located at the Terminal 1 Domestic Arrival and Terminal 2 International Link Bridge Arrival , There is My Bus ,located at the Taxi Bay Area of T1 Domestic Arrival and Bus Bay of T2 International Arrival, MyBus provides daily connectivity from SM City Cebu (a big mall see post) to Mactan Cebu International Airport and vice versa. There is a premium bus service between terminals 1 and 2 ; passengers will need to secure a shuttle coupon from the arrival transfer desk / information counter and present it to the bus dispatcher before boarding, There is a nice car parking located at Terminal 2 grounds and walking distance going to terminal 1, There are several car rental operators on both terminals including international known names such as Alamo, and Hertz, I have used none of the above, here just for information.

cebu airport domestic terminal apt jan16

At the airport I have use the Mabuhay Lounge in Terminal 2 flying for Philippine airlines ,Did purchases at the Duty Free store at Terminal 1 Domestic Airport Village ,Arrivals, Had my coffees at Illy Caffe on Terminal 1 South Wing Pre-Departure

cebu airport going to hotel nov18

With more time some of the things to see here me think are:

The Santo Niño Basilica, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu. Casa Gorordo is a house museum located in the historic Parian area of Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines. Fort San Pedro is a military defense structure in Cebu , built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor.  The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception is the ecclesiastical seat.  The Jesuit House or Museo De Parian is possibly one of the country’s oldest houses, having been built centuries ago. The Magellan’s Cross Pavilion is a stone kiosk in Cebu City, the structure is situated on Plaza Sugbo beside the Basilica del Santo Niño. The Colon Obelisk marks the start of Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines established in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House in Parian, Cebu City is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China. Museo Basilica Del Santo Nino, a museum was first established in the year 1965. The Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu is the only ecclesiastical museum in the country that is completely housed in a Spanish-era rectory.

cebu airport arriving from the air jan16

The official Cebu Mactan airporthttps://mactancebuairport.com/

The official Cebu tourist office : https://cebucitytourism.org/

There you go folks, wonderful memories forever of my forays into the Philippines. Many friends later longing to be back one day eventually, For now hope you enjoy the post on the airport of Cebu as I.

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

December 30, 2022

Again, the Temple of Debod in Madrid !!!

This is a memorable spot for me as a kid living in Madrid, and for history of not only the temple but the Spanish Civil War. Hope you enjoy the new post with older pictures just found in my vault on the Temple of Debod !!

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I thought of something unique and semi hidden in Madrid, but a must to visit. This is the Temple of Debod in the parque del Oeste and more precisely in the parque de la montaña (where an old Civil War hq was ). Today visitors and younger generation flock to the temple to see the history of the Egyptian monument without realising the sacrifice that was done here. I know, I have taken my boys several times as well as beauty and history are a great lesson, And do see my other post on it in my blog.

Madrid

As you know at least from my previous post ,the temple, originated from ancient Egypt and 2,200 years old, is an Egyptian gift to Spain to thank it for its collaboration in saving the temples of Nubia. The Temple of Debod was dedicated on July 20, 1972 after two years of reconstruction. The temple has two floors. There is a very interesting model on the upper floor, where you will discover all the temples that existed in Nubia. Do not miss it.

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Originally, this monument stood in the Nile Valley, some 31 km from Aswan. It was built in the 2nd century BC. But following a rise in water that threatened this part of the city, the temple was dismantled stone by stone between 1969 and 1970. The Egyptian government then decided to offer it to Spain. Indeed Spain helped the Egyptians to save the monuments of the Aswan valley at the time of the construction of the dam. The stones of the temple were in fact transported by boat to Valencia before then transporting them by train to Madrid. It was put on the land where the former headquarters of La Montaña was located.

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Near the Temple of Debod on the esplanade to the side , there is a fantastic mirador or lookout . Before you leave, come and enjoy its stunning views. To go the exact address is Calle Ferraz 1. By metro/subway/tube get off at the Plaza de España stop lines 2, 3 and 10 or in Ventura Rodríguez line 3 that although it is somewhat further, you can walk to the temple perfectly . We enjoy the bus and lines 3, 46, 74, 75, 148 and C2 can take you there too.

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The Madrid tourist office on the Temple of Debod: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/templo-de-debod

The specialised city of Madrid site Memories of Madrid on the Temple of Debodhttp://templodedebod.memoriademadrid.es/eng/index.html

There you go folks, another wonderful sight to see in my dear Madrid ,a city made for life and families, wonderful memories of always. Hope you enjoy the historical Temple of Debod as I.

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

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December 29, 2022

Again ,my Parque del Buen Retiro of Madrid !!!!

This park has several entries in my blog but never enough I past grand part of my stay in Madrid here, it was cheap and great to play, meet friends and do all the young boy wanted to do It has stayed in my heart ever since Over the years, I have the opportunity to come back to Madrid and the Parque del Buen Retiro park is a must. To be in Madrid need to have visited , I can come back a thousand times and still will missed it once leaving. Because the Retiro park for me is part of what we say , from Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !!! I keep looking at it from wherever I am Hope you can visit it and enjoy the post as I.

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I am updating this older post on another visit to Madrid and of course ,another visit to the Retiro park. I have come with wife and boys , and parents, and taken friends here to show off Sublime !

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You know this was a Royal park and even if cutoff a lot still has 125 hectares or 4,5 km of perimeter; from the beginning it was much larger something like 145 hectares. It was created from 1630 to 1640. The park has a big pond ,basin, lake as you like in a rectangular fashion where there is a huge monument to king Alfonso XII with his equestrian statue in bronze done in 1904. There is also a rosary or roselada and 12 other statues , fountains and two palaces such as Cristal and Velazquez. There is an Egyptian fountain, kiosks for food, boat rentals, bike rentals jogging trails, and exercise trails, Chinese pagoda etc etc.  It has about 19000 trees of 167 different species.  In its territory there is the Royal National Observatory, and remnants of the Hermitage of San Pelayo and San Isidoro (Saint Pelagius and Saint Isidore) . The Parque del Buen Retiro makes reference to the functionality of the now gone Cuarto Real (Royal quarters), a site annex to the Monastery of the Jerónimos , where the kings retire to meditate or entertainment.

madrid-retiro-mon-alfonso-xii-back-aug19

All wonderful for a day or weekend family trip now. The Retiro park is now an Unesco World Heritage Site under the name “El Paseo del Prado y el Buen Retiro. Paisaje de las Artes y las Ciencias” or sort of the Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, landscapes of Arts and Sciences. You will do well to search in my blog for my other many posts on the Retiro park, and again is a must in Madrid ; you cannot come to the city and not visited it.

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The hours for Spring and Summer (from April to September): from 6h to midnight. Autumn and Winter (October to March): from 6h to 22h. Opening hours for the canine areas are from 7h30 until the park closes, You get there other than walking on metro lines Príncipe de Vergara (lines 2 and 9), Ibiza (line 9), Atocha (line 1), Atocha. Renfe (line 1), On bus lines 1, 2, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32, 51, 52, 61, 63, 74, 146, 152, 202, and C.

The Madrid tourist office on the Retiro parkhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

The Community of Madrid region tourist office on the Retiro parkhttps://turismomadrid.es/en/discover/iconic-places/el-retiro-park.html

There you go folks, a dandy sublime beautiful lungs park of my dear Madrid , Again, a must to see in the City , I have memories forever here, Until next time in Madrid ,eventually Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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December 29, 2022

A beautiful postcard of vintage beauty,my Habana !!!

I have look over and saw several old posts that needed to update text and links as well as condense them into one, A big task considering was a beautiful city now mostly in ruins unless Unesco has provided some money, This is my native capital City, the city where I spent a great part of my very early life until 10 years old, Luckily was able to visit it in 1984, 1998, and 2012 , This City is Havana or La Habana or the full name San Cristobal de La Habana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba.  This is my Habana and would like to share it with my new readers as well as the old ; do see my other posts on it, Hope you enjoy this post as I.

My Saint Christopher, the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(was the best pro baseball team on the island,and my family’s team). There are so many buildings in Havana, once the Unesco did a report that I lost track of it but mentioned 144 buildings of the 14C, 15C, 16C, and 17C in Havana ;more than on any other city in the Americas. The multitude of beauty is enormous even if the history is sad. Hemingway once call it the Paris of the Americas, and he should know some.

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On my last trip in 2012 was a business trip so stay by Playa or Miramar as old in a casa particular very near the Mélia Habana, Commodore, Panoramico and the Miramar Business Center, I went to the wonderful MaleconPlaza Vieja, former Church of St Francisco de Asisi, saw the statue to the Caballero de Paris, gentleman of Paris a beggar who knew like Enstein and told wonderful stories to passerbyers from the 1950’s. We went by the bourse of commerce or Longia; and of course, we sip a daiquiri at Floridita Bar,(in 1957 Esquire magazine name it the best bar in the world!). We went inside the hotel Nacional, and walks it historical alleys and patio with its Aguiar canons, magical. I saw my Morro castle, and the excavations of the Zanja Real or royal sewers now open and shown above ground to tourists.  Coming by grand Miramar on my way to visit my old native place, I saw the clock tower on 5th avenue of Miramar, the Palacio de Convenciones, and the wonderful old houses now occupy by foreign embassies. We had lunch at El Bosque inside the hotel Melia Habana, Avenida  3rd. between  76 and 80 streets, Miramar , the Spanish chain of hotels. We ,also,, had our meetings there in the 9th floor breakfast business center with wonderful views of Havana.  I had lunch with the family at a parador private folks have at Parrillada 84  y 15, Playa, all done by charcoal, with my Aunt and cousins. The highlight was at El Palenque, near pabexpo Cuba, wonderful typical Cuban place and food, very nice lechon or pork with yucca,moro (blackened rice), and the local Cristal beer, address at Calle 17 & Calle 190 , Playa, La Habana  . In Havana we ate at Factoria Plaza Vieja, at Plaza Vieja, terrace outfit with shrimps and lobsters,pork,and chicken grilled platters. All very cheap compare to Europe. For a nostalgic trip we passed by El Potin resto, my Mom Gladys used to take me here as a little boy, just a sandwich and light platters place and ice cream,juice and soda drinks, still there!!! and it looks nice after 43 years!!!! Inspired by French immigrants! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado section of La Habana.

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The Plaza Vieja or old square was done in 1559 surrounded by beautiful homes of the colonial times. It is bordered by the streets of Teniente Rey, Muralla, San Ignacio and Mercaderes all in Old Havana of course. This was renovated by a grant from Unesco, Over the past 150 years, Plaza Vieja has played host to an open-air food market, a park, and an amphitheatre. Plaza Vieja was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and Fiestas,  all witnessed by Havana’s wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their balconies. In the 18C, the Plaza Nueva was transformed into a market place. And in 1814, with the emergence of the market at the Plaza del Cristo, it was renamed to Plaza Real, Plaza Mayor, Plaza Fernando VII, Parque Juan Bruno Zayas and Parque Julián Grimau, until it finally received the name of Plaza Vieja.During the 17C to the early 20C, the area was developed with residential, commercial and recreational buildings that fortunately maintained coherence, including the majestic Palacio de los Condes de Jaruco (or palace of the counts of jaruco) and the first exclusive recreational society in Havana, Sociedad Filarmónica, (or philarmonique society) housed in a residence at Calle San Ignacio 352-354.

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There are many other churches in Havana other than the cathedral (see post) ,and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.These are my favoritesChurches of Havana just for introduction very condense text : The Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes,ou will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome,The construction of the temple began in the year 1630, After many acts and renovations the last one was on January 31, 1867. Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day, Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 ,The Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999. Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world.In the garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France). Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, (now just known as a Christian church) also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi (see post) and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela.

Captain General Residence and Museum of Havana, I am talking about the residence of the Captain General of Cuba (this was the governor of Spain in Cuba), over the years use for many things and now a museum of Havana.Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former parish church, as the imposingPalacio de los Capitanes Generales. It served as Spanish colonial government headquarters until 1898 and housed 65 Capitanes Generales (governors), after which it served as the center of U.S. military administration (1898-1902), then as the Cuban President’s resident, and finally (1920-67) as the City Hall.It is today theMuseo de la Ciudadthe fabulous City Museum telling the tale of the city’s history. The different halls or rooms:Sala Parriocalor Parish Hall, Sala Giraldilla(lady symbol of Havana like Sevilla) symbol of Havana has become the first molten sculpture in the city, Wind vane, done for  the tower of homage of the Castle of the royal force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)  between 1630 and 1634. Heraldic room  (or Sala Héraldica) small room designed for exhibiting objects and documents that testify to the importance that the Cuban nobility attributed to heraldic symbology, Room set B (or Sala Ambientada B) (19C), Carriages room (Sala Cochera)  in the area occupied by the garage and Palace stables are exposed various models of cars: Sala Emilio Roig retains pieces belonging to the personal collection of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, whose arduous work bequeathed fruit as the founding of the Office of the historian of the City of Havana in 1938 and the Museum of the city of Havana in 1942, located in the Lombillo Palace, in the Cathedral Square(Plaza de la Catedral). Pinacoteca: shows a series of important works of key artists within the Cuban plastic, covering different periods within the history of this artistic manifestation, Cuban copper room (Sala de los Cobres Cubanos) within the vital offices of the old City is the blacksmith, which, by its application in construction works, in shipyards, agricultural, industrial and defensive work, occupied a significant place in the development of the City, Sword Cemetery (Cementerio de EspadasBishop Juan José Díaz de Espada and Fernández de Landa distinguished himself during the first three decades of the 19C for his progressive and enlightened work. Among his many works is the creation of the first Necropolis, which took its name and was inaugurated in 1806.Statuary and stoning room ( Sala Estatuaria y Lapidaria) the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19C enabled the abundant entrance of marble and the visit of Italian artists of more or less relief. Spanish uniforms Room (Sala de Uniformes).Public office (Despacho publico) .This room shows one of the two offices with which was used by the captain Generals of the island of Cuba,Spanish banners, flags and pennants room (Sala de Estandartes, Banderas y Banderines Españolesflags, pennants and banners of different bodies of the Spanish colonial army are exposed.Spanish armaments Room (Sala de Armamento Español) It gathers a small but varied sample of the weapons and allied equipment used by the Spanish forces in Cuba, Anteroom and Hall of the Cabildo (Antesala o sala del Cabildo) .The Cabildo was one of the forms of local government existing in Spain later applied in its Hispanic colonies, Leonor Pérez, mother of José Martí, was veiled in ardent Chapel in May 1907.Room of thought (Sala del Pensamiento),it addresses the ideological currents that were manifested in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C, Heroic Cuba (Cuba Heroica) , After the failure of all the actions of the Cubans, either by the reformist way or by the annexationist, it will be shown that the contradictions metropolis-colony were insurmountable and the impossible annexation. And this is demonstrated by the independent outbreak of October 10, 1868, in front of which was located the radical and patriotic wing of the Cuban landowners, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Hall of the flags (Sala de las BanderasThe halls of the flags are the most relevant of the City museum due to the national treasures they expose: The original flag that flew for the first time in 1850 and that, once the war of the ten years began , became national insignia;American Intervention Room  (Sala Intervencion Americana) On February 15, 1898, the explosion of the American-flagged battleship cruiser Maine  was produced in Havana Bay, in which 266 members of its crew, including 2 officers, were killed. The funerals were held in the Hall of the Palace Council. In 1901 the Constituent Assembly was convened to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, a document establishing the constraints (Platt Amendement) that defined the future Cuban dependence.Wicker Salon (Salon del Mimbre) .The wicker boudoir reflects the atmosphere that dominated the palace during the last two decades of the 19C. It highlights the art Nouveau furniture, artistic style that erupted in the late 19C and became fashionable in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.Dining Room  (Salon del Comedor) Set in the style of the colonial palaces of the 19C, it is located in the same space that occupied during the colonial period and the first decades of the 20C, and where they offered great banquets to commemorate or to celebrate political events or Simply for celebrations sponsored by the Captain General himself. Trinchante,Small hall that exhibits luxurious tableware and pieces destined for the service of table, Coffee Room (Sala del Cafe) It denotes one of those spaces destined to the receipt of the General captain. It highlights a set of room of knob of the 19C, Infanta’s Room( Habitacion de la Infanta) ; In 1893 the Infanta Eulalia of Bourbon visited Havana, and during her seven-day stay she occupied this room that served as a bedroom for Captain General. Bath room (Sala del Baño) .Despite the fact that the Cuban tropical climate imposes a daily need for the bath, it is not until the middle of the 19C that the act begins to be integrated into the life of the inhabitants of the city of Havana, Room set A (19C) (Sala Ambientada A)The splendid way of life reached by the Cuban aristocracy in the mid-19C reveledan elitist interior environments characterized by the mixture of various foreign influences, White Room (Salon Blanco) . The Spanish and Creole elites selected recreational places among the halls of their elegant residences. The anteroom of the main hall of the palace was used as a complement to receive guests on holidays and space for musical auditions. Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, Hall of Mirrors (Salon de los Espejos). It was the space of greatest political and social importance of the Palace of the Captain General. Photographs and documents of the archives reveal some important events that took place in this Hall: transfer of powers of the Spanish colonial administration to the American government, on January 10, 1899; Birth of the Republic on May 20, 1902; among others.

You can see the marvelous Presidential Palace ,on 1909 the governor of Havana decided to build a new headquarters to host the Provincial government.The interior decoration was under the responsibility of Tiffany Studios of New York.  The Salon de Espejos or Hall of Mirrors, which was conceived in the image and likeness of the homonymous Galerie des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of  Versailles, France. Its floors and staircases are made from the famous Carrara marble of Italy. The building, built on the basis of the canons of eclecticism. In 1917 the history of the building had a transcendent turn that marked its subsequent destiny. At the end of that year, the first Lady of the Republic visited the works, and was captivated by the magnificence of the building and the privileged of its location. No more needed to be said, she turns to her husband ,Mario Garcia Menocal, President of the Republic, and took over the necessary legal quibbles and dispossessed the Provincial government of the property of the palace. In the beginning of 1918 everything was arranged so that the building located in Calle Refugio No. 1 between Monserrate and Zulueta became thePresidential Palace of the Republic of Cuba.  The construction work followed its course and on January 31, 1920 the official inauguration of the Executive Mansion took place. The work, in all its details, was not completed until the 12th of March of 1920. The palace building  has four floors: the ground floor served to accommodate the dependencies that secured the main functions; Telephone exchange, auxiliary offices, power plant and even the stable for police horses. The first floor welcomed the most important spaces of the palace: presidential office, Gallery of Mirrors, Chapel, Golden Hall and the place where the Council of Ministers made decisions. On the second floor was installed the Presidential residence and in the last of the floor was placed the garrison responsible with the custody of the Presidential mansion. The building is crowned by a dome clad in the exterior of glazed ceramic pieces that, at the time, was one of the highest in the city. In all, there are 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics of CubaIn the building are present paintings and sculptures of representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the moment: Leopoldo Romañach, Emilio Hernández Giro, Enrique Cabrera, Esteban Valderrama, Esteban Betancourt and Armando Menocal.The first revolutionary Provisional Government was established in the former presidential palace. From there the dictator, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the position of Prime Minister and carried out the great process of nationalization of all the private companies that existed in Cuba until that moment; including the American companies that gave rise later to the US Embargo due to non payment.  Later, the former Presidential palace houses since 1976 the Museum of the Cuban revolution with  holes  in the wall of historical shots as if they were the bones of a saint, as well as weapons, tanks or boats (the mythical Granma that brought the revolutionaries from Mexico) that led to the eventual drastic changes in the country for the worse.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana :https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The official archidiocèse of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva//

The official Catholic Church in Cubahttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/index

A Cuba site on tourism in Havana: https://www.tripcuba.org/havana

There you go folks, a bit long but a real postcard on my Havana, Many faded memories now, but the real Havana of old always in my heart, Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

December 29, 2022

Arroyo Arenas, Havana, Cuba !

And coming back to the roots, a bit of my old neighborhood, its been 52 years ,but the memories lingered. I like to tell you briefly as not much info on the internet on one of my sights when my dear late Mom Gladys passed by here taking a friend’s car or the bus line 99! We always made the cross sign passing by the Church of Arroyo ArenasThe blog is also a way to keep my history for eternity I hope ,my future generations can see it all. Hope you enjoy the post as I,

The town of Arroyo Arenas is in the municipality La Lisa, city of La Habana, Cuba. It is located on the banks of the Camino Real (Royal route), today Avenida 51 (avenue 51). It limits to the north with Playa (Miramar) , to the south the Cano – Valle Grande – Bello 26 and Morado, to the east with Punta Brava (my native town!) and to the west with San Agustín.

Arroyo Arenas was granted in 1672 status of village by the Spanish colonial governor. By 1778 they still subordinated its existence to the city/hall of Havana. In 1780 the local city hall were constituted, corresponding from Arroyo Arenas to Santiago de las Vegas. The Captaincy were subordinated to El Cano and Bauta. The first was subordinated the town of: Arroyo Arenas. Towards the last decade of the 18C, this seat made possible the foundation of the town of Arroyo Arenas, a fact that was recorded in 1790 when a chapel was constituted that apparently was attached to a house or room, separated from common uses. Likewise, in 1794 the first tile house was built in this town and in 1795 the hermitage of Arroyo Arenas was officially erected under the invocation of Jesús Nazareno del Rescate or Jesus Nazarene of the Rescue.

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The location of this site on the side of the Camino Real to Vueltabajo  (best tobacco area in the world) was enriched by the migration of Canary island peasant population initially settled in Vueltabajo (the best cigars in the world and my ancestors the Guanches of Tenerife and Grand Canaria) . Its growth as a town is evidenced by the fact that in 1843 the Spanish Army Weapons Command was established there and already in 1846 it had 12 masonry houses, 7 of wood and tiles, 36 of mud and guano, a clothing store, 3 mixed, 2 shoe stores, 2 tobacco shops, 1 carpentry, 1 blacksmith shop and 298 settlers, of which 44 were slaves. From 1878, according to the new political-administrative division established by the colonial government on that date, the city hall of the towns of El Cano, Marianao and Santiago de las Vegas were created.. To each of them the districts were subordinated to El Cano corresponded Arroyo Arenas, Barandilla, Falcón, Jaimanitas and El Cano proper; Marianao was subordinate to La Lisa, and to Santiago de las Vegas, the districts Bauta, Punta Brava ;and Guatao (local cementery and my grandparents are here) were subordinated. In the judicial order, all these municipalities were subordinated to Bejucal until 1880. In the first months of 1955, the construction of a highway that would connect Columbia (army and airport barracks) to the central highway at the exit of Arroyo Arenas was announced. In April 1956 it was finished. The Hermitage and Country Club, were projected to link with the with the Biltmore Riviera, Boulevar del Biltmore and Montecarlo, which would extend to Novia del Mediodia ( roundabout call the noon girlfriend) . These projects were interrupted with the triumph of the Cuban revolution.

The Hermitage is now a National Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno del Rescate , located at the Central Highway (that goes from one point to the other of the island country) and here it is call Avenida 51 building no. 26455. The same route that passes by my native town. The Church was erected in 1795, under the invocation of Jesus of Nazareno del Rescate. But the church instead of one, has two stairs, the one on the right where the ladies went up distributing alms, and the one on the left that has more steps, 29 in total. In general, here, women and humble men, the true devotees, those that Jesus did not expel from his temple were climbing. Have one photos souvenir of our passing by it in my last of 2012 !

No webpage but the memories lingered. Hope you can appreciated and maybe one you can pass by it and make the sign of the Cross too , for me at Arroyo Arenas! Last I read as much there the church is in delicate conditions and nothing is planned on restoring renovating it ,another sad story. Thanks for reading and again hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

December 28, 2022

The Paseo de la Castellana of Madrid !!!

Well here we go again, I thought have told you about this wonderful promenade street of my dear Madrid , but after looking around my blog realised only have mentioned it briefly in previous posts. Therefore, it really needs a post of its own for one of the dandies streets in my Madrid which I have walked and driven zillions of times. Let me tell you some about the Paseo de la Castellana of Madrid !!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Paseo de la Castellana , commonly known as La Castellana, is one of the longest and widest avenues of Madrid with 6 km of palaces and towers. It is named after an old Castellana fountain that used to exist in Plaza de Castilla from a stream starting in the Plaza Gregorio Marañon. It starts at Plaza de Colón, passes through the Nuevos Ministerios, Plaza de Lima, Plaza de Cuzco, Plaza de Castilla, and ends near the Nudo Norte (North Junction), connecting with the M-30 and the road to Colmenar Viejo. The Paseo de la Castellana is the continuation of Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado, and these three avenues vertebrate the north-south axis of the city. Here you have the supreme Estadio Santiago Bernabeu,home of the best of all times, Real Madrid CF! It entered service at the beginning of the 20C, and by early 21C consisted of 6 central lanes or main road, and 4 lateral service roads, Its extension to the north to Fuencarral is planned, within the urban project known as “Madrid Nuevo Norte”.

A bit of the long history of Paseo de la Castellana, short version :

In 1786 the Paseo de la Castellana was conditioned, at the end of which there was a basin that collected the waters of the Castellana Fountain. In 1807 the stream was canalized and work began on the future Paseo. A few years later in 1830 urbanization of the area began and the project ended in 1834. Subsequently, the nine rows of trees that originally ran along the Paseo were planted. The Paseo de la Castellana originates from the road that, in a south-north direction, flanked the city of Madrid during the 17C and 18C by the Paseo del Prado and Recoletos promenades. The extension to the north of this Prado-Recoletos axis was already considered during the regency of María Cristina de Borbón, widow of King Ferdinand VII, and mother of the one who later acceded to the throne under the name of Isabel II. At first, the promenade was not officially called that, but Paseo de las Delicias de la Princesa, in honor of the future Queen Isabel II, to distinguish it from the Paseo de las Delicias del Río (now Paseo de las Delicias), and it was completed in put up in 1834. The nobility that had historically settled in the center of the city, during the 19C and the first years of the 20C, gradually settled in the peripheral areas of the city. This is the reason why a good number of palaces were built in the Castellana. Most of them were demolished until the 1970’s. During the Spanish civil war, Paseo de la Castellana, together with Paseo del Prado and Paseo Recoletos, (see posts) received the name of Avenida de la Unión Proletaria (Proletarian union avenue) . After the war ended, the promenade underwent a new name change, becoming known as Avenida del Generalísimo (the General’s avenue for Franco) ,In 1949, Paseo de la Castellana recovered its name, but only in the section that existed before the war. The prolongation of the promenade, from its junction with Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde street, kept the name of Avenida del Generalísimo. It was not until 1980 that the Avenida del Generalísimo disappeared, once again being part of Paseo de la Castellana. After starting in the Plaza de Colón, (see post) the promenade has a large number of public buildings on both sides, especially ministries and embassies of different countries. They are buildings that date from the end of the 19C to the middle of the 20C. In this first section, which is winding and narrower than the subsequent ones, are the Plazas Emilio Castelar and Doctor Gregorio Marañón squares. After passing the Plaza Gregorio Marañón square, there is the Museo de Ciencias Naturales or museum of natural sciences and the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers on the even sidewalk, and after the next square, Plaza San Juan de la Cruz, are the Nuevos Ministerios, (see post) a complex that groups several Public Buildings.

What is there is very nice, my Paseo de la Castellana !!

We start the paseo or promenade tour at Plaza de Colón (see post) which at number 1, we have the famous Torres de Colón. With its green dome and its gadget on the roof in the form of an Art Deco socket, they were unmistakable. At number 3 of the promenade is the Palace of the Marqués de Villamejor, built in 1893, where the mother of king Juan Carlos I was born. Today it is the headquarters of the Secretary of State for Public Administrations. On the opposite sidewalk, at number 2, the Hard Rock Café in Madrid has closed its doors, and a little further on is the German Evangelical Church or Church of Peace, a little-known temple slightly hidden behind walls and branches. The trees in the garden. at number 5 is the Alcalá Galiano palace, built in 1878, headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior. And at number 17, in front of the Hotel Villamagna, we have the palace of the Marquises of Fontalba and Cubas. Built in 1912, it won an award from the City Council for the most outstanding buildings. It currently houses the State Attorney General’s Office. A small but attractive mansion that belonged to the Marquis of Eliseda, at number 27 is the current headquarters of the Youth Institute, it is said that the Spanish Falange was founded here in 1933. At number 34 stands the ABC Serrano shopping center, in a Neo-Mudejar style building built in 1926. Behind it, the center has an exit on Calle Serrano in the Neoplateresque-style building from 1899. The complex was the headquarters of the ABC newspaper since its inception until 1989. Opposite the previous one is the Palacio de Bermejillo, on the Puente Eduardo Dato bridge that crosses the Castellana. Built in 1916, this palace has had various uses throughout its history and today is the headquarters of the Ombudsman. Under the Eduardo Dato bridge, the Museo Arte Público de Madrid or the Madrid Public Art Museum opens. Previously it was called the Castellana Open Air Sculpture Museum, because, indeed, it is outdoors. Here walkers can admire its 17 sculptures by contemporary artists such as Chillida, Miró, Sempere, Subirachs or Torner. Being open, you do not have to pay any entry or submit to any schedule.

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The palace of Eduardo Adcoh is the striking building at number 37 built in 1906. The privileged building currently houses the Rafael del Pino Foundation. The next thing the walker comes to is the Glorieta de Emilio Castelar roundabout, where the monument to the politician and writer who was president of the First Spanish Republic between 1873 and 1874 stands.If from this roundabout we take the left , we will arrive in a minute at the Sorolla Museum. Returning to Paseo de la Castellana, we immediately arrive at Plaza del Doctor Marañón, whose center is presided over by an equestrian statue of the Marquis del Duero. Two of the most prestigious hotels in the capital have their place in this same square. These are the Intercontinental (see post Istayed!) and the Miguel Angel. The next square we find is that of Plaza San Juan de la Cruz, with a large fountain in the middle ordering traffic. Next to the fountain rests the sculpture La Mano, by Fernando Botero, owned by the Fundación Telefónica, which donates it to the City Council. And to the right, on a rise in the land, is the Museo de Ciencias Naturales or museum of natural sciences, which occupies the Palace of Arts and Industry from the late 19C. In the garden between Paseo de la Castellana and the museum is the monument to Isabel la Católica. The sculptural ensemble, from 1883, is surrounded by a small pond that represents the queen on a horse accompanied by a military man and a religious man. In the same garden we see the monument to the Constitution of 1978. It is a marble cube with stairs on all four sides. If we continue along the left sidewalk we come across the monument to Indalecio Prieto, Minister of the Republic during the Spanish Civil War . The sculpture is sheltered in the wall of the Nuevos Ministerios, a project promoted by Prieto himself in 1933. Completed in 1942, it currently houses the Ministries of Transport and Labor. A little further on, on the same sidewalk as the odd numbers, is AZCA, a large commercial and office block (see post) . Opened in the 1960s, it houses the well-known Torre Picasso and Torre Europa. Here is also the Titania Tower, which was built on the ruins of the burned Windsor building. In the same space we have the Castellana 81 building (BBVA bank headquarters), the Mahou Tower, one of the largest branches of El Corte Inglés, the Moda Shopping mall, (see post) , and a good handful of restaurants and other establishments , When we cross Avenida del General Perón is the Palace of Congresses (see post). Opened in 1970, its façade displays a large mural designed by Joan Miró. In the square that forms at its entrance, if you look closely, you can see a sculpture of Ghandi. Opposite the palace, crossing the Paseo de la Castellana, stands the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, of Real Madrid ; yes simply the best !!! (see posts).

madrid Paseo de la Castellana el corte ingles by Nuevos ministerios aug16

If we continue going up the Paseo de la Castellana, we will arrive at Plaza de Cuzco, where the Ministry of Industry is located. At number 200, the Castellana 200 Shopping Center , a modern complex. And in the next block we have the Arte Canal Exhibition Center, where some of the most outstanding exhibitions in Madrid are programmed. We are already in Plaza de Castilla, in the highest part of Paseo de la Castellana. Opposite the warehouse rise the unaesthetic buildings of the Courts, which appear so often on the news. On the south side of the Plaza de Castilla is the monument to Calvo Sotelo, from 1960, dedicated to the politician who was assassinated shortly before the start of the Spanish Civil War. In the middle of the square stands the Column of Calatrava, a golden cylinder 93 meters high. Completed in 2009, it has also been called Obelisk de la Caja and Obelisk de Calatrava, after the architect who designed it. On the north side of the square are the Kio Towers, those two leaning skyscrapers that we have been seeing for a while as we go up the Paseo de la Castellana. The official name of the pair of towers is Puerta de Europa and its symmetrical buildings measure 114 meters. The most curious fact is that they present an inclination of 15 degrees with respect to the vertical. From Plaza de Castilla you can see the tallest skyscrapers in Spain, which are located at the end of the Castellana. The complex is called the Cuatro Torres Business Area and it forms a business park built on the land of the former Real Madrid Sports City. The two tallest towers, about 250 meters high, are the so-called Torre Cepsa (45 floors) and the Torre de Cristal (52 floors). The others are Torre PWC (58 floors) and Torre Espacio (57 floors), with a height of about 230 meters. Next to it, the Caleido Tower, known as the Fifth Tower, open in 2021 by the king 180 meters and 35 floors. And here, at the La Paz hospital, which is next to the skyscrapers, Paseo de la Castellana ends.

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In its northern section, between the end and the Plaza del Doctor Marañón, the avenue is covered by line 10 of the Madrid Metro, with stops at Begoña (Line 10), Plaza de Castilla (Line 1, Line 10, and Line 9 ), Cuzco (Line 10), Santiago Bernabéu Station (Line 10), Nuevos Ministerios (Line 10, Line 6 and Line 8) and Gregorio Marañón (Line 10 and Line 7). From the Plaza del Doctor Marañón to Colón, there is no Metro line that runs along the axis, but it is crossed by lines 5 at the Rubén Darío station and 4 at the Colón station. The main bus lines of the axis are 27 (wonderful ride) , which runs along the axis from Plaza de Castilla to Colón, and 147, which runs from Plaza del Doctor Marañón to the height of Hospital La Paz. Other important lines are the 14 (a good one too) that runs along the promenade between Nuevos Ministerios and Colón, the 40 that uses the avenue between the Cuzco square and the Doctor Marañón square, the 45 that has stops between the San Juan de la Cruz square and the de Colón, and the 150 that provides service from the Plaza de Lima to Colón, On the train side you have the from Nuevos Ministerios with a stop for lines C-2, C-3, C-4, C-7, C-8 and C-10 of Cercanías Madrid.

The Madrid tourist office on the Castellana district in Madrid: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-neighbourhoods/castellana

The official Madrid Nuevo Norte project : https://creamadridnuevonorte.com/en/home-en/

The Comunidad de Madrid regional tourist office on walks of Madridhttps://www.comunidad.madrid/en/cultura/organiza-tu-visita/paseo-calles-madrid

There you go folks, feel better now, this is one of the dandiest street in my dear Madrid. Often overlook by visitors going to the tourist Centro/center but worth every meter/foot of it. Hope you enjoy the post on the Paseo de la Castellana of Madrid as I

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

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