Archive for March 14th, 2023

March 14, 2023

Ripley’s Believe or Not of St Augustine !!!

Again ,looking back into my vault, I found me new old pictures not yet in my blog, These tell of a memorable time in my life and full family, which enjoyed much coming to St Augustine, Florida !!!  Happy to find me this picture to tell you personally about this wonderful sight in the City, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, A wonderful place we have enjoyed here and elsewhere like Orlando FL and London. I am happy to tell you about this sight and hope you enjoy the post as I

The St Augustine’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium is located in Castle Warden, built in 1887. It was the home of the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum since 1950. The museum has over 13,000 square feet (3.9 square km) of exhibits including many items from Robert Ripley’s personal collection and interactive galleries filled with activities to expand your mind. Discover the strange world of Robert Ripley! Below pic my dear late wife Martine !!!

St Augustine Ripleys believe or not MF c1990s

The building that houses Ripley’s collection of strange and unique oddities was built in 1887 by William G. Warden of Philadelphia as a winter home. Warden, a partner to Henry Flagler and John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Company, was also President of the St. Augustine Gas and Electric Light Company and Financial Director of the St. Augustine Improvement Company. His home was one of the most imposing private residences in the city, built with Moorish Revival architecture and an elaborate interior. With Warden’s influential role in St. Augustine, the home was a center of winter social activity.  The “castle” home remained in the Warden family until it was purchased in 1941 by Norton Basin and remodeled as the Castle Warden Hotel. Baskin and his wife, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of the classic novel The Yearling, had an apartment on the top floor. During its brief time as a hotel, guests included many writers and distinguished visitors, including Robert Leroy Ripley. After Ripleys death, in 1950, his estate purchased the building, and on December 25th,1950 the first and original permanent Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium had its grand opening.

It has continue to attract visitors far and wide, the museum houses three stories of odd and unusual exhibits of over 800 unique artifacts collected from around the world. Many of these were in Robert Ripley’s personal collection, including shrunken heads, two-headed animals, odd treasures, incredible art, crazy illusions, and wacky interactive activities.and much more. The collection has continued to grow, including the recently added Space Oddities Gallery, which features a replica of the International Space Station made entirely of match sticks. Ripley’s is fun for curious minds of all ages.

The official Ripley’s Believe it or not in St Agustine

A private St Augustine tourist site on Ripley’s:  

The St Augustine -Ponte Vedra Historic coast sites on the museum:

There you go folks, ths is an unique sight that should be on top of the list when visiting St Augustine, as I always had, and looking forward one day eventually to revisit. Hope you enjoy this post on Ripley’s Believe it or Not as I,

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

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March 14, 2023

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine !!!

I went thru my vault of pictures and realise not a single entry on this memorable nostalgic monument of my life in Florida USA. I have written posts on the city of St Augustine, Florida , but not specific on the cathedral. It is a shock to me as used to lived for many years just 55 minutes from it and went there even for lunch/dinner, played soccer/football, and just plain sightseeing first with my parents and later with wife and kids. Well ,found me couple old pictures in my vault and decided to do justice with a post on the wonderful Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine !!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

St. Augustine is on the Atlantic coast of Florida. This is the county seat of Saint Johns county. about 60 km (37 mi) from Jacksonville and 90 km ( 56mi) from Daytona Beach. Today, Saint Augustine is one of Florida’s most popular destinations. It is ,also, the oldest city in the United States ,founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles (Asturias) , Spain.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine located at 38 Cathedral Plac is America’s first parish and the oldest Catholic Church. Explore this exquisite building and view the Spanish-inspired architecture. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine, was built over five years between 1793–1797. It’s congregation/city, founded in 1565, is the oldest in the United States.

St Augustine cathedral panel PF 1990s

The first church of Saint Augustine was only a frame construction, decorated with disparate materials. The original parish had only an ephemeral existence, since it was sacked and burned in 1586 by the English privateer Francis Drake.  The church raised an extraordinary time , which made it possible to build a permanent church in 1605, with the participation of masons and carpenters already familiar with the materials available in the New World. This new building lasted 95 years this time despite visible dilapidation, before being burnt down in 1702 during a failed raid on the city, led by James Moore. When Spain recovered these lands in 1784, a civic and patriotic revival pushed the fortunes of the country to undertake the construction of a cathedral, between 1793 and 1797. Florida was a U.S. state since 1845. On April 12, 1887, the cathedral was again engulfed in fire but this time the coquina masonry was repairable.  Thanks to donations from Henry Flagler and a nationwide campaign to expand the building to give it a Latin cross basilica plan, and a European-style transept.

The facade of the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine, marries the neoclassical style with the architecture of the Spanish missions characterized by their scrolled gable , austere interior lighting, a roof in tiles in terracotta, a semi-circular tympanum, abundant niche statuary and bare walls.  At Saint Augustine, neo classical elements frame the portal with the entablature decorated with triglyphs is enhanced by a pediment and rests on two Doric columns. With its distinctive Moorish architecture and exterior bell tower, characteristic of the Spanish style.

When you step inside this sacred place, you’ll experience the soaring rafters and exposed beams with the breathtaking tabernacle where Mass is held daily. Adorning the walls of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint  Augustine are the stunning murals depicting the history of Catholicism in Florida . Even one of the four bells placed at this cathedral is still believed to be the oldest bell in the United States. In 2015 a multi-million dollar renovation project was completed for this remarkable Catholic parish. The upgrades for the Cathedral Basilica of Saint  Augustine included new Italian marble floors in the sanctuary and construction of an additional choir loft. Other improvements involved restoration of stained glass and repainting of statues and columns.

st augustine cathedral main altar 1990s

This is a must to visit while in gorgeous Saint Augustine, visit the Cathedral,and be sure to make note of these beautiful features: the deep red ceiling and decorated cross beams, gold-leaf lindenwood statues , the custom-built pipe organ, the stories of missionaries and Native Americans, the first Mass and the arrival of the Minorcans depicted in the murals, and the stained glass windows that depict the life of Saint Augustine of Hippo. All very nice indeed!

The private St Augustine tourist office on the Cathedral:

The St Johns county historical coast culture on the cathedral:

The city of Saint Augustine on its history

The National Parks Services on the Cathedral

The Diocese of Saint Augustine on the cathedral

There you go folks, another memorable spot in my dear Florida. The pictures are old, but the text is new and a new post in my blog finally. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine remained very much part of my family and the trails we have burned. As said, Florida will always be remembered as the U S A. I am glad was able to do this post, and again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

March 14, 2023

The Angelina Cafe of Versailles !!!

You are aware of the Angelina 226 ,rue de Rivoli, Paris and even maybe the one inside the palace of Versailles, but did you know there is another one way back in the gardens by the Petit Trianon ? This was our walks while living in Versailles, and playground with the boys and of course, stop for a nice coffee early in the morning here or lunch , I have briefly mentioned in other posts but feel deserves a post of its own in my blog, A new post/text using older pictures. Therefore, here is my take on the Angélina Café of Versailles !!!

The one most are familiar with is in the Cour des Princes, pavillon d’Orléans, Chateau de Versailles. However go country and visit the coffee shop at the Maison du Suisses in the Petit Trianon side building inside domain properties. Refine , a must for pastries and hot chocolates for me! Our break from walks and jogging in the gardens by the Petit Trianon!


This is our Angelina by the Allée des 2 Trianon by the Petit Trianon. As said above, this was our hangout when jogging/ walking in the domaine property at the time of me living there; enormous, awesome, grandiose magnifique to have a light meal while looking at the Palace gardens , the back view and the Petit Trianon next to you!!  Angelina installs during the beautiful days a beautiful terrace under the trees, in front of the Petit Trianon; you can have wonderful ice creams here. .You get your oders inside the house , then you brings your trays outside. There is a very nice outdoor terrace of 100 seats and heated in Winter; great for a coffee or hot tea indeed glorious!.


A bit of history I like tell us that it was in 1903 that the Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmeyer founded Angelina, thus baptized in honor of his daughter-in-law. For more than a century, the tea room located opposite the Tuileries Gardens in Paris has established itself as a Mecca for Parisian gourmet pleasures. As soon as it opened, Angelina became the unmissable meeting place for the Parisian aristocracy. Proust, Coco Chanel and the greatest French fashion designers have met in its salons… Now find the whole atmosphere of this century-old house as part of your visit to the Domaine de Versailles. A unique place to savor the famous hot chocolate and the indescribable Mont-Blanc whose century-old secrets remain well guarded. They are now in several places inside and outside France.

The official Angelina on the Petit Trianon cafe :

The official palace of Versailles on the Angelina by the Petit Trianon :

There you go folks, slow down your visit to the Palace of Versailles , take 2-3 days see it all and walk all the way back to the Petit Trianon to savour this French institution ,Angelina salon de thé on the terrace with full view of the back of the palace, sublime, Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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