Archive for March 10th, 2023

March 10, 2023

The Hippodrome of Chantilly !!

I am going on an old tradition in my family especially my mother’s side, horse racing. I have been to many in NJ and Fl USA as well as Madrid, Spain. Needless, to say I have been to the ones in France , several of them. However, no where is more real and precious than on the home of the horse, Chantilly!! I like to update this older post with new text and links for you and me, Hope you enjoy the post on the Hippodrome of Chantilly as I.

chantilly hippo front nov19

The Hippodrome de Chantilly (Racecourse) was inaugurated in 1834. It is located on the edge of a forest near the Château de Chantilly (see posts) and covers 65 hectares. This is where the Jockey Club Award for males and females has been held since 1836, and since 1843 the Prix de Diane for females. These two events are flat races. There are about 42 race days a year , it can change with the year. The racecourse is the property of the Institut de France (owner of the whole domaine), but the racecourse is managed by France Galop for the maintenance of the tracks and the days of races. Room management and leasing of commercial space are managed by the Foundation for the Safeguarding and Development of the Domaine de Chantilly of the Aga Khan.

chantilly hippo from castle nov19

After the first race dating from 1834, the route of the current tracks dates from 1879. These are originally all grass and are 25 to 30 meters wide. The finishing line is 600 meters uphill with 10 meters in altitude over the last 800 meters which makes it particularly selective. You might be ablet to tell (not me) a large track (or Jockey Club track) of 2,400 meters (finish line 600 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill over the last 800 meters, course from 1600 to 4800 meters), A straight line of 1 200 meters (1,000 to 1,200 meters course), a track average of 2,150 meters (finish line 550 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill, course 1,600 to 2,600 meters), A round track, 1,400 meters course at 2,400 meters a 1,900 meter fiber-sand track (finish line of 550 meters and width of 20 meters), the first laid out on one of the Paris racecourses, in autumn 2011. There exists in total 13 possible starting points.  The  Hippodrome de Chantilly  racecourse can currently accommodate 30,000 spectators, including 2,300 in the stands seated. To replace the first temporary stands built in 1835, the Duke of Aumale, owner of the land, built two new Anglo-Norman style stands in 1847. These were rebuilt in 1881. The weighing building was built in 1891. The tribune of the committee, former tribune of the prince, was rebuilt in 1911.

chantilly hippo arriving nov19

Several courses are held here, but the two main ones are the Prix du Jockey in June, 2100 meters for the horses of 3 yrs old and the Prix de Diane also in june, of 2100 meters for the fillies of 3 yrs both races considered top Group 1. The tracks are used to train racehorses every Tuesday. There is 2,000 gallops per year for 800 horses. Jumping de Chantilly: two jumping competition meetings held each year on the racecourse: the Grand National in April the International Jump Competition (CSI) five stars in July. In 2010, Chantilly joined the Global Champions Tour and earned its fifth star, becoming the 2nd CSI of France with Cannes. For this occasion, a 150 m by 100 m fiber grass track is permanently installed in the center of the race tracks, west of the racecourse. It also serves the ground regularly for spot kite practice.

chantilly hippodrome side-nov10

Some interesting historical dates on the hippodrome or racecourse of Chantilly, me think

1537 : The Constable Anne de Montmorency limits the forest of Chantilly for the needs of hunting with hounds. 1662 : The Grand Condé calls André Le Nôtre to his service. This one traces great paths in the forest for the practice of hunting with hounds. 1720 :
Louis-Henri de Bourbon Condé had the Great Stables built for his hunting crews. 1833 : First informal race on the Chantilly Lawn. Creation of the Encouragement Society for the Improvement of the Horse Breed (future
France Galop). 1834 :Creation of the hippodrome on the Lawn made available by the Orléans family and organization of the first races on May 15, 1834. : Foundation of the circle of the Jockey Club. 1836 : Creation of the Prix du Jockey Club, known as the Chantilly derby. 1843 : Creation of the Prix de Diane. 1847 : Construction of the first stands by the architect Grisart at the request of the Duke of Aumale. 1881 :Faced with the influx of the public on racing days, new stands are built by the architect Daumet, at the request of the Duke of Aumale . 1890 : Faced with the lack of space in the city center, creation of the Bois Saint-Denis district to install the racing stables. 1897 :Chantilly train station being too small to accommodate all the racegoers coming from Paris on grand prix days, the Gare des Courses is created: 12 tracks on the platform that can absorb 25,000 people in 2 hours! 1898 : Creation of the Jockeys Hospital. Invention of the “American riding” by the jockey Tod Sloan.1915 :The Great War or WWI interrupts the races at Chantilly. The racecourse closes for 4 years. 1939 : Pharis, horse of Marcel Boussac and trained in Chantilly is the “horse of the century” but during the Nazis invasion Pharis is seized and taken by force to Germany. 1940 :The Eagles training ground is requisitioned and becomes a military airfield. The racecourse is closed. 1948 : Reopening of the racecourse and the Les Aigles course. 1962 : First attempt to use the starting stalls at Chantilly. They will be generalized on all racecourses in 1964. 1974 : Queen Elizabeth II of England comes to Chantilly and sees her mare Highclere win the Prix de Diane. 1984 : Creation of the Living Horse Museum (see post) and equestrian shows by Yves and Annabel Bienaimé in the Great Stables of Chantilly. A copy of the Renommée is installed on the dome. 1994 : Rescue of the Chantilly racecourse threatened with closure, thanks to the mobilization of all local players. A campaign of major works to modernize the racecourse is launched. 2010 :Host of the Global Champions’ Tour. Chantilly is now registered in the world Jumping calendar. 2012 : Development of a fiber sand track or PSF on the racecourse allowing the organization of more than 40 days of meetings per year in Chantilly. The track was officially used for the first time on March 3, 2012. Azeville, a 3-year-old filly trained in Pau by François Rohaut, was the first official winner on the fiber sand track at the Chantilly racecourse. 2013 :Opening of the new Living Horse Museum in the Great Stables of Chantilly.

The official France Gallop on Chantilly :

The official Chantilly-Senlis tourist office on the racecourse :

There you go folks, another way to come and enjoy Chantilly, a real passionate place for horses, you like horses? you will be royally welcome in Chantilly. Again, hope you enjoy the hippodrome de Chantilly as I

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

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March 10, 2023

Again, the Catedral de la Almudena of Madrid !!!

This of course, is a must to visit in my dear Madrid,  I come to the wonderful awesome Cathedral of the Almudena. Again I have found older new pictures to the blog that should be in, me think. Therefore, here is me again, on the Catedral de Santa Maria Real de la Almudena , See my other posts on it ,and hope you enjoy this post as well as I.


The Cathedral de la Almudena was built opposite the Palacio Real (see post) as an old church Santa Maria during the 12C. It is the episcopal seat of the diocese of the City, and it is 102 meters long and 73 meters high built on a mixture of different styles: neoclassical outside, neo-Gothic inside and neo-Romanesque in the crypt. It was begun to be built in 1883 and was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain on June 15, 1993. It is the only Spanish Cathedral dedicated by a Pope. The main façade overlooks Plaza de la Armería, facing the Royal Palace. You can access the crypt from Calle Mayor, A complete visit to the Almudena Cathedral is divided into three phases: Interior of the temple, Museum and dome, and the Crypt. Unlike most cathedrals, whose traditional orientation is East-West, that of the Almudena presents a North-South orientation. This is due to the fact that from its origins it was projected as an integral part of the Palacio Real or Royal Palace complex. In fact, its main façade looks towards the south façade of the Palace. This façade exhibits a large portico with columns on the access floor and on the first, where there is a balcony. Two towers guard the entrance. The main door, which is opened only in extraordinary events, is made of bronze and of great dimensions. Various sculptures and allegorical shields adorn the entire façade.


Its main element is the dome, which is double; Gothic view from the inside, but from the outside with Baroque reminiscences. It features an octagonal barrel in which four large thermal holes and a small flashlight as an open shot. The roof is dark slate. By way of pinnacles, twelve statues representing the apostles. The main façade, to the Plaza de la Armería, is located at the foot of the temple, facing the south side of the Royal Palace. It consists of a large double-column portico, with the lower story of Tuscan inspiration and the upper Ionic one. All this neoclassical was crowned after the consecration of the Cathedral by a baroque niche, which housed  an image of the Virgen de la Almudena.  On the balcony,  a window of 10 m2 that represents  the Virgen de Lis. And four statues representing the four evangelists. There are two large shields,located in the lower part, they are made of stone: they represent the complete arms of the Spanish Royal House and protect the pope who consecrated the cathedral, John Paul II.  At the ends of the façade, in two niches, there are bronze statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul finishing off the niches, two reliefs, the delivery of the keys to Saint Peter and the conversion of Saint Paul. The doors are bronze. The center has ornaments with the Trinitarian theme; one of the sides refers to the monarchy of Spain; The other is dedicated to Latin America. Of the two towers on the façade, the right is known as “Mariana” or “Gallega”, since the bells were donated by Galicians and each one has a traditional Marian devotion: Santa María la Real Almudena; Santa Maria de la Paloma; Santa María de Atocha and Santa María de la Flor de Lis.

madrid cat almudena off mayor and bailen sts may16

The interior of the Cathedral de La Almudena is surprising for having completely different details from other cathedrals: the ceiling and stained glass windows leave aside the classical style to give way to bright colors and straight lines. The most visited elements are usually the altar of Santa María la Real de la Almudena, the surprising altarpiece in which the Virgin is placed, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and the Chapel dedicated to San Isidro Labrador and his wife Santa María de la Cabeza located in the center of the dome. Outside the dome, you can enjoy an excellent panoramic view, with 360 degree vision, of all of Madrid. The Casa de Campo, the mountains, the entire flat part of the south, the roofs of the center of Madrid. Everything is seen with a privileged perspective. Without a doubt, it is one of the best viewpoints in Madrid.

You can get there on foot as we do from anywhere in Madrid or take it easy on the metro Opéra lines 2 and 5 as well as bus lines 3, 25, 39 ; and 148. It is open Mondays to Sundays from 9h to 20h30. The museum and dome is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10h to 14h30. Admission to the Cathedral is free and to the museum and dome is 6€.

The official Catedral de la Almudena

The Madrid tourist office on the Cathedral

There you go folks , another jewel in my dear Madrid and you should see it too ! Wonderful area, full of architecture and history , a must to see the Catedral de la Almudena. Again, hope you enjoy it as I

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

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March 10, 2023

Dak Lak of Vietnam !!

his time came by air from HCMC to a new area of Vietnam . I had this mix up with another older post but felled needs to have a post of its own, Therefore, here is my take on wonderful Dak Lak, and the province of the same name in Vietnam. Hope you enjoy the post as I

Đắk Lắk is located in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam. Its capital is the city of Buôn Ma Thuột (see post). It is 60 km from the province capital city of Buon Ma Thuat, It is ,also, 1410 km from Hanoi and 320 from Ho Chi Minh city, The name is from “Lak” to a legendary man named “Lak Lieng” of the M’Nong ethnic group.

The province in general might be one of the most famous destinations in Vietnam and the place where you can find the best coffee in Vietnam or even South East Asia, The province of Đắk Lắk is delimited around the plateau of Đắk Lắk, 600 meters above sea level. It is an ethnically very diverse province, in which the dominant Việt ethnicity acts as a newcomer, with waves of mass immigration and forced assimilation triggered in large part after the Vietnam War, the Montagnards of the province having been much courted by the Americans.

The Tourists who come to this province can go hiking in the primitive forests of Chu Yang Sin, and Yok Don National Park. You can also observe historical remains such as Bao Dai Palace, Yang Prong Tower, Buon Ma Thuot Prison, or Dak Tua Cave. At the lake, the village of the Jun M’nong ethnic group still retains traditional values and customs. The ride on the back of the elephant is the best way to admire the beautiful landscapes of the mountainous region of Tay Nguyen. Every year on the 4th day of the lunar month, Lak Lake hosts elephant and canoe races. Also, it is in Dak Lak that comes from the origins of the famous gong sound, now listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. With up to more than 2,000 gong sets and 554 groups of traditional gong players, Dak Lak regularly holds fungals and other performances of popular musical instruments.



There is a wonderful Lak Lake with much potential for walks, bikes, fishing, and water activities. On the shore of the lake there is Jun M’nong Village, where people live in thatched-roof houses on stilts. On the lake there are breathtaking views and the lake is like a sea huge with depth in rainy season as of as much as 50 meters (165 feet). The best time to visit is November to February.

dak lak lake sturgeons fish view dec18

dak lak sturgeons lake dec18

The Vietnam tourist office on Dak Lak :

A private Vietnam online tourist site useful on Dak Lak :

The Dak Lak local government site on tourism

There you go folks, just a layback ambiance in country with some nice folks made it all worthwhile and another spot of the world I can say was there. The visit to Dak Lak with locals was wonderful a great experience, and even if far always looking forward to be back, Again, hope you enjoy this post on exotic Dak Lak as I.

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

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