Archive for ‘Americas’

May 13, 2020

Aventura, Florida!

Well this one is for the memories, long gone probably never encountered again, but always in our hearts. Our world in the USA combine living 31 years with 13 in NJ and 18 in FL our last home. I have written several posts on this period of my life in my blog.

I am coming back because looking in my old vault found these pictures of a nice place we went with the family a lot. Weekends off beach time was made for the shopping malls and Aventura Mall is tops. Let me tell you a bit about it ok.

Aventura is conveniently located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, just east of I-95 in Florida USA. The northern boundary of the City is the Miami-Dade/Broward County line, the western boundary is the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC), the eastern boundary is the intracoastal waterway and the southern boundary is NE 176th Street. To visit the city, take I-95 to Ives Dairy Road and head East on Ives Dairy to Biscayne Boulevard. As one of my favorites we came from west Broward county on Pembroke road SR 824 into the US 1 Biscayne Blvd south toward Miami but at NE 199 street turn left to NE 29th court turn right to Abigail Rd left and then you see the signs for Aventura Mall as one direction. I never really needed to go into the town center.

Aventura takes its name from the Spanish word for “adventure”, and was named “Aventura” after the developers of the original group of condominiums in the area, remarked “What an adventure this is going to be”. Being initially referred to as Turnberry, Aventura began to be developed during the early 1970s and became an incorporated city in 1995. Aventura is also home to the Aventura Mall.

And this is the reason we came here , so a bit more on Aventura Mall

The most famous shopping attraction is Aventura Mall, a 2,400,000 sq ft (222,967 m2) indoor shopping center . The Aventura Mall is located at 19501 Biscayne Boulevard (US 1), Aventura, FL 33180. in the northern suburbs of Miami. It was opened in 1983 and is the sixth largest shopping center in the United States and the second in Florida. The mall has 4 floors; and its owned by Simon Property Group.

aventura

The Aventura Mall as said was opened in 1983 and became the largest shopping center in Florida. The first four department stores were JC Penney, Macy’s (actually Burdines our favorite FL store,   absorbed by Macy’s), Sears, and Lord & Taylor. The major construction phase of the center was completed in 1998 and new department stores such as Bloomingdales , as well as several cinemas (AMC Theaters), restaurants and a Rainforest Cafe. The Lord & Taylor store closed for financial reasons and Burdines was renamed Macy’s in March 2005 (after we left FL and USA). In 2008, a new Nordstrom store opened, and the Aventura Mall l became the largest shopping center in Florida and the fifth largest in the United States.

aventura

Anchored by Macy’s, JCPenney, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, the center is highlighted by a mix of over 300 stores including Apple, Adidas, Anthropologie, Burberry, Cartier, Disney, Givenchy, Gucci, H&M, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Microsoft, Sephora, Topshop Topman and Zara. Aventura Mall also features more than 50 eateries and restaurants, including Treats Food Hall, and the experiential Arts Aventura Mall program showcasing 20 museum-quality pieces in a range of mediums. In 2015, Sears Holdings spun of 235 of its properties, including the Sears at Aventura Mall, into Seritage Growth Properties; the store closed in 2017 and plan on opening the Esplanade at Aventura.

aventura

In November 2017, Aventura Mall opened a three-level, 241,000-square-foot (22,400 m2) expansion wing that features two-story Zara and Topshop Topman stores, new restaurants, such as Serafina, Pubbelly Sushi, and Le Pain Quotidien, Treats Food Hall, including Shake Shack and Chipotle, and interactive art pieces, including the 93-foot-tall Aventura Slide Tower by Carsten Holler and Gorillas in the Mist by The Haas Brothers. I see the Cheesecake Factory still there and it was our favorite restaurant here. It was a family pastime to visit ,shop,eat and just plain weekend fun.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and for shopping is a must are

Official Aventura Mall: Aventura Mall

The city of Aventura on key facts on the town.  City of Aventura

The tourist office of Miami and the beaches on Aventura : Tourist office Miami and the beaches on Aventura

The tourist office of Florida on AventuraTourist office of Florida on Aventura

And there you I figure need to have this in my blog, always a nice souvenirs of my time in Florida where my 3 boys were born. Hope you enjoy the shopping and Aventura Mall.

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

May 7, 2020

Santa Felicidade, Curitiba!

And why not stay in Brazil as memories flash on my screen. Having visited the country south and north several times and having the opportunity to lived there has kept many nice souvenirs of the country. Of course, none more than the city of Curitiba where I lived.  And having the opportunity to stay which could had change my life, but my wife was not for moving again so we stayed in France.

I have several posts on Brazil and some on Curitiba, this time will concentrate on one district, not the one I lived but I was a regular there! This is Santa Felicidade, let me tell you a bit more on it. Hope you like it as I did

Santa Felicidade is an administrative district of Curitiba, State of Paranà, Brazil. The neighborhood emerged in 1878 with the arrival of immigrants descended from the first Italian colonizers of the 14C.  The neighborhood started on the old road that connected the Curitiba to the old north of the state, which today we know as Estrada do Cerne. In its historical formation, it received a large number of settlers from northern Italy, especially from the regions of Veneto and Trento. The immigrants initially devoted themselves to the production of cheeses, wines and vegetables.

The name of the neighborhood is a tribute to a former landowner in the region in the 19C, the Portuguese Dona Felicidade Borges, who donated part of her land to Italian immigrants. In 1891, given the strong religiosity of Italian immigrants, the São José Church was built in Santa Felicidade. In 1899, the first school was built. Some buildings from that time still exist in the region, such as Casa Culpi, Casa dos Arcos, Casa dos Gerânios and Casa das Pinturas.

The Santa Felicidade Terminal is very well served by public transport that connects Santa Felicidade to several other neighborhoods in Curitiba., however my visits here were always by car, my own while living there.

Some things to see in this district of Curitiba are:

Bosque Italiano, also known as Bosque São Cristovão, (St Christopher forest) with 23,540 square meters, it houses the Italian Immigration Memorial, a tribute to the Italian immigrants who transformed the Santa Felicidade neighborhood into a gastronomic reference in Curitiba. The place has spaces for holding typical parties, tents, and a stage for presentations.

Other nice architecture from this period are the Casa Culpi built by Giovanni Baptista Culpi in 1887 to be a dry and wet residence and commerce, Casa Culpi is known as a historic building and currently belongs to the Curitiba City Hall that transformed it into a Social Assistance Reference Center (Cras ).. the Casa dos Gerânios , also known as the Nona Carolina townhouse, Casa dos Gerânios was built in 1891 by Nicolau Boscardin who was one of the first residents of the region to stand out in the neighborhood. The townhouse became known as Casa dos Gerânios because the windows were decorated with herbs and geranium bushes.

Curitiba

The three main roads in the neighborhood are Avenida Manoel Ribas, Alderman Toaldo Tulio and Via Vêneto, where the traditional restaurants, the bus terminal and Rua da Cidadania are located respectively. Nowadays, Santa Felicidade is home to about 30 restaurants, some with a capacity for more than a thousand places. It also has wineries, wine canteens, craft stores and wicker and reed furniture. Typical events such as the annual Polenta and Chicken Festival, at Bosque São Cristóvão, demonstrate the Italian culture traditions of Santa Felicidade.

The Curitiba Parana page has more in portuguese on Santa FelicidadeCuritiba Parana webpage on Santa Felicidade

I found this youtube video on and thought a nice addition to the post

This is still a memorable soft spot on me and really would love to visit again, at least. Hopefully you too can visited or even already had , let me know. Hope you enjoy the post on Santa Felicidade.

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

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May 7, 2020

Morretes, Paranà, Brazil!!!

So looking in my vault for things to write and bring to life in my blog as memory lane I dig up way south into the beautiful Brazil to find this gem .Now I have written several post on Brazil and told you lived there, worked there, and speak the language but always leave something out. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on Morretes , a town in the State of Paranà in south Brazil. One for the off the beaten path in Brazil!

The name Morretes is a geographical reference to the Morros (Portuguese for “Hills”) that surround the city. Founded in 1721 on the banks of the Nhundiaquara river , this calm and collected colonial town rests on an emerald-green plain at the foot of the Serra do Mar.  A tour of Morretes reveals a compact community of cobblestoned walkways running along the Nhundiaquara River, as well as a series of attractive colonial buildings from the 18C and 19C.

Some of the things to see here that I took a walk by are

Saint Benedict’s Church (Igreja de São Benedito).  The Church of the brotherhood of São Benedito was founded in Morretes in 1760 and brought together blacks, slaves and free people, who because of their devotions want to belong to it without distinction of sex or age , according to its statute. Almost all the oldest documents on the church was lost in a flood in the 60s. The church has a nave, tower and chancel. .The peculiarity by many visitors is that each time we go by, the church is closed!

Morretes

Old Bridge (Ponte Velha).  Its structure of steel brings an old and glamorous aspect making it even more attractive. The bridge is used to pass over the Nhundiaquara river and gives access to restaurants, that I patronise and told you in my previous posts. Pedestrians share the space with cars, considering that there is just one street band. Therefore, one way car or person lol!

Morretes

morretes

The one webpage in Portuguese with plenty of information on Morretes is here: Tourist office of Paranà state on Morretes

A very pleasant town with lots of traditions, and a beautiful train ride as well which I took once and the rest of the times by car as I was living in Curitiba. Hope you like the post and Morretes.

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

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April 20, 2020

General George S. Patton Memorial Museum ,Ettelbruck!

And now let me tell you about a small historical museum tuck away in an off the beaten path town of Luxembourg. I have mentioned it in previous post but again feel that a more detail description is merited. We were in our road warrior trips all over Luxembourg, and notice after the Hamm cemetery there was a museum to Gen Patton,one of the heroes of WWII in my opinion. So we took to the roads again to see the General George S Patton Memorial Museum in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg.

Ettelbruck

The General George S. Patton Memorial Museum in Ettelbruck honors the general who liberated the town. The museum exhibits photographs, uniforms (both military and prison camp), weapons and documents from the period of Nazi  occupation of Luxembourg (May 1940 to September 1944). The museum was opened on 7 July 1995 and represents a main tourist attraction in Ettelbruck.

Ettelbruck

I change habits and tell you about the different webpages that will help you get here and enjoy it; for a stop over road trip it is worth the detour if you are into history as I am.

Official Patton Museum in English: Patton Museum in Ettlebruck

The city of Ettelbruck on the Patton museum in French: City of Ettelbruck on the Patton Museum

The tourist office of Luxembourg on the Patton museum in Ettelbruck in English: Tourist office of Luxembourg on the Patton museum in Ettelbruck

As said the Gen Patton Museum was inaugurated in 1995, the museum pays tribute to General George Patton, commander of the 3rd American army who liberated the city of Ettelbruck in December 1944. More than 1,000 photographs and documents related to the German occupation are exposed, to sides of weapons and pieces of equipment discovered on the battlefield of the Ardennes.

Ettelbruck

It is structured in three parts: German invasion, occupation and allied liberation; exhibition of weapons and military equipment; and air warfare.

Ettelbruck

The museum is dedicated to the American General Patton, the commander of the 3th Army, that liberated the city of Ettelbruck, it includes a biography of Gen Patton. A second part of the museum presents numerous weapons and pieces of equipment which have been discovered and searched in recent years on the Ardennes battlefield. Another section of the museum is devoted to air warfare and battles in the sky over Luxembourg.

Ettelbruck

In the museum, more than 1000 pictures are positioned to take a look at. They will tell you the story ever since the Nazi occupation in 1940 until the American liberation in 1944. The Patton museum give you a clear vision on the weapons used by both countries and the aerial warfare that took place in and above Luxemburg.  Various photographs, documents and authentic objects illustrate the Nazi invasion, repression and persecution, and the liberation of Luxembourg in September 1944.

Ettelbruck

There a very compact building museum loaded with WWII history artifacts/uniforms and weapons for a complete view of the events in the area of Ettelbruck. A nice family visit and very educational for future generations.

Hope you enjoy the tour of the Patton museum at Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

April 2, 2020

The Gauchos of Porto Alegre!

So, lets stay with Brazil shall we. A huge country of many faces and sights which I had the opportunity to see over the years from north to south and even lived there for several months and speak the language, Portuguese. Many souvenirs and friends over these years that are still in touch!

I like to bring from the vault a visit and friends that made the trip and the introduction to Brazil much more enjoyable. Porto Alegre was the first city I visited in Brazil, and they are the Gauchos of Brazil! Let me tell you a bit about it ok

A bit about the State of Rio Grande do Sul!

The Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost of the 27 States of the Federative Republic of Brazil. It is separated from the State of Santa Catarina by the Rio Mampituba, is bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by the Argentina and Uruguay. Its capital is Porto Alegre. The inhabitants of the state are called Rio Grandenses or, more commonly, Gauchos!

A bit of history to set up the State of Rio Grande do Sul (big southern river)

In 1627 the Spanish settled near the Uruguay river, but were expelled from it by the Portuguese in 1680, who founded the colony of Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata. However, Spanish Jesuits established missions in 1682 in a geographical area straddling the contemporary states of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.  In 1737, the Portuguese arrived in present-day Rio Grande do Sul with the military expedition of José da Silva Paes. Many conflicts later broke out with the Spanish for the possession of the land and did not end until 1801.  In 1816, the Portuguese extended their presence in the region by seizing the Banda Oriental (en. Eastern Band ,the old name of Uruguay), which became a Brazilian province, the Cisplatin Province. But in 1825, the independence of Uruguay is proclaimed; a war ensued until its recognition by Brazil in 1828.

On February 28, 1821, after the proclamation of the Republic in Brazil, the State of Rio Grande do Sul was formed. In the 19C, the Rio Grande do Sul was the scene of several federalist revolts, such as the Farrapos War (1835-1845). During the Revolution of 1893, left-wing insurgents occupied the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná, occupying the city of Curitiba, but were ultimately overthrown due to their inability to obtain war ammunition. Then in 1923,a civil war broke out again between supporters of the President of the State, and the opposition. In 1930, the president of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Getúlio Vargas, after having presented himself without success in the presidential elections against the candidate of São Paulo, took the head of a revolt against the federal government and succeeds in overthrowing it. This led to the dictatorship of Vargas in 1937 and the period known in Brazil as the Estado Novo (en New State, same new and similitude with the one in Portugal); the  Third Republic which ended the dictatorship of Vargas in 1945. And the rest is the modern history of Brazil.

Coming now to my city of Porto Alegre the first city ever visited by me in Brazil , as well as been the Capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, and the largest city in the southern region of Brazil. The city was established on the east bank of the Rio Guaiba, a bay within which converge five rivers that form the Lagoa dos Patos. The latter is a huge lake that faces south on the Atlantic Ocean. It is thanks to it that Porto Alegre is in constant contact with the sea, even if it is not by the sea. The activities of the port are so important that every year, the locals celebrate a feast dedicated to Our Lady of the Navigators or Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes. This event is held every February 2.

The first inhabitants of Porto Alegre were the Amerindians Minuanos and Tapes who were mainly cattle breeders. The Portuguese from the Azores then arrived who brought in the African slaves. After the abolition of slavery in the country and especially its independence, new immigrants also came to settle there, including Germans, Poles and Italians.   As the city is very close to Uruguay, its history is also linked to it, including that of Gaucho culture. This term describes the culture in which the Gauchos evolve every day, cattle breeders who also specialize in rodeo. the majority of the inhabitants are strongly anchored in the gaucho culture which implies musical traditions as well as the famous rodeo or throwing a bottle intended to capture the cows. The gaucho are in Argentina, Uruguay and in the south of Brazil, a guardian of herds of the South American plains or the pampa, in the same way in Paraguay, in the south-east of Bolivia by Tarija   and the south of Chile . In Brazil, the term is at the origin of the gentile Gaucho, which is used to designate the inhabitants of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

My wonderful introduction to the Brazilian Gaucho tradition at Porto Alegre was at the magnificent Churrascaria Galpao Crioulo ; Rua Otavio Francisco Caruso da Rocha s / n and praça Mauricio Sirotsky Sobrinho square. The official webpage in Portuguese here: official churrasqueria Galpao Crioulo in Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre

I was with local friends and their families and had a great meal, wine of the region and a great Gaucho show. The youtube video below best show this wonderful tradition.

 

The tourist office for Porto Alegre in Portuguese with contact info: Official govt tourist section with contacts info for Porto Alegre

Tourist office of Brazil on Porto Alegre in Spanish (cant seen to find others) : Tourist office of Brazil on Porto Alegre

Tourist office of State of Rio Grande do Sul on Porto Alegre in Portuguese: Tourist office Rio Grande do Sul on Porto Alegre

And there you go a wonderful world different from what most think of Brazil. Lucky to have been there and won’t mind going back, time will tell…For now enjoy the Gauchos of Porto Alegre.

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

 

April 1, 2020

Copacabana!!! yes Brazil!!!

So here I am picking up some oldies from my vault to tell you about a wonderful country and a great city of our world, more precisely one of the best known spots on Earth. I have written pieces before but fell a post should be merited. Let me tell you a bit more on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A bit on the name first shall we

There are several hypotheses for the name Copacabana. The first alleges that the term came from the Quechua language spoken in the ancient Inca Empire, meaning “luminous place”, “blue beach or” viewpoint of blue”. Other sources point to the term as originating from the Aymara language spoken in Bolivia, meaning “view of the lake. “. In that country, Copacabana is the name given to a city located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, founded on an ancient Inca place of worship. There are reports that, in this place, before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, there was the cult of a deity called Kopakawana, who would protect the marriage and the fertility of women.

The beach and the entire region around it had the Tupi name of “Sacopenapã”, which means “the noise and the flapping of the wings of the socós”. In the 18C, with the opening of a chapel in honor of Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, or Our Lady of Copacabana on a rock at the end of the beach, the name of the beach and the region was changed to Copacabana.

And the beach at Copacabana!

Copacabana is a district of Rio de Janeiro. It is located south of the city. The district includes the beach of the same name, one of the most famous beaches on the planet. The area is lively and full of good restaurants, cinemas, banks. Many football fans come to spend time there.. The beach is a half-moon extending for 4.5 km, from Leme to the Arpoador, along Avenue Atlântica. It is nicknamed in Portuguese the Princesinha do Mar, or the little princess of the seas as heard on the song by Tom Jobim. Copacabana is one of the tourist emblems of Rio de Janeiro. On August 13, 1923, the Copacabana Palace Hotel was opened, in front of the beach. Since then, the hotel has become a symbol of the city

Leme is usually a less crowded corner of the beach. It is the left end for those looking towards the sea, close to the rock of the same name and those who have a view of the shore almost as spectacular as that of Arpoador, in neighboring Ipanema. Although the strip of sand is the same, it is considered another neighborhood, and has two favelas (Babilônia and Chapéu-Mangueira) that can scare the unsuspecting a little. But, in general, everything is quiet on the boardwalk, in the sand and in the nearby streets, without major problems.

Then, Posto (station) 2 is almost in front of the trendy Copacabana Palace Hotel. There is the most crowded spot on the waterfront at any time, as it is the first drop off by bus or metro/subway at Cardeal Arcoverde station from city center/downtown or from the north of Rio. During New Year’s Eve, you can hardly walk. But few things compare to the grandeur of the Copa (the hotel’s nickname) facing the sea.

Posto (station) 3, 4 and 5 are right in the middle of the beach, a little less crowded, but no less beautiful. At Posto 3 there is the Siqueira Campos metro/subway station, while Posto 4 receives the third and last one in the neighborhood, Cantagalo metro/subway station. Both are further into the beach at about 300 meters.

Finally, the stretch of sand ends at Posto 6, with the famous statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade and at the Copacabana Fort, which has the Army Historical Museum and the delicious café Confeitaria Colombo, where it is it is possible to have a breakfast or afternoon snack with a view of the entire length of the beach. During Sundays and holidays, Avenida Atlântica is closed in its closest part to the boardwalk, and it is possible to ride a bike, rollerblade, skateboard or just walk / run with ease.

Rio de Janeiro

The district of Copacabana has four metro/subway stations such as Cardeal Arcoverde, Siqueira Campos, Cantagalo and General Osório; and more than eighty municipal and intercity bus lines. Which, of course, did not took any as had a car   lol!

This is the skyline webcam on Copacabana beach, beautiful even from a distance: Skyline webcam on Copacabana beach

A bit on the anecdote and main reason of writing this post.  Hotéis Othon is one of the largest network of hotels in Brazil. The first Othon hotel was launched in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, former “Hotel Aeroporto” close to the city airport, today known as Aeroporto Othon Travel. Until the seventies it was built and launched seven more hotels at the famous Copacabana beach. From the year 2000 on, the Othon group of hotels started to operate third parties units abroad with 11 units in countries such as France, Portugal, United States of America, Argentina and Peru. In 2003, Othon decided to invest in a new market, creating the brand “Othon Pousadas”, starting to manage tourist class hotels or “Bed & Breakfast”.  In the same year, there was the start-up of the managing of condos with the launch of the Othon Brand “Othon Flats” ,today “Othon Suítes” , with five units. At the moment, they currently operate 12 hotels, four of which are wholly owned by the Company and eight of them owned by third parties, which are managed units. The Rio Othon Palace unit, situated at the famous Copacabana beach, is one of the most famous national luxury hotel, Seven floor are now, after the modernization, included in the luxury category, focusing on business executives guests.

However, I have a story here. While visiting Rio for the first time back in the 80’s we were booked by my company a trip here and apparently by mistake they booked us on the Copacabana Palace which of course at the time was like 500 US Dollars per night. This was too much, and they cancelled the reservation. I came to know this while at Guarulhos airport! When asked to booked me in another hotel before I got to the city, the company booked me at the Othon Palace Hotel which was at that time at 150 US dollars per night. The good deed for me, they ,also, make a mistake and instead of booking for two night they did it for three so an extra day of enjoying Copacabana beach!!! The Rio Othon Palace Hotel is a highrise hotel with 98 meters high , 30-stories which opened in 1977 and had 585 guest rooms.

Rio de Janeiro

The official Othon Palace webpage in English: Othon Hotels on the Othon Palace Copacabana Hotel

And there you, been back and have enjoyed always. A wonderful souvenir for me and still many friends from those times . Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana beach, Brazil, nice! Hope you have enjoy the tour

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

 

March 26, 2020

Trés Coraçoes, Brazil!!!

So I am back in my memorable Brazil. I have many posts on the country and its cities in my blog; needless to expand more as I also lived , work and speak the language. However, let me tell you a bit more about a peculiar spot there.

Have you heard of Pelé? Do you follow football/soccer? Then , welcome to Trés Coraçoes! Read on…

Três Corações is a town in the State of Minas Gerais, and it is Pelé’s birthplace. The town of Três Corações is located in the Rio Verde basin, this being the main water course that crosses the territory.

tres coracoes

The main things to see here of course and only for the die hard football/soccer aficionado like me who welcome him to the NY Cosmos way back in the USA is the Monumento ao Tri at the Praça Coronel José Martins square.  It pays a fair tribute to the Tri-World Football Championship, won by Brazil, in Mexico, in 1970. It includes a special tribute paid by the locals to their eldest son , Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Rei Pelé.

Casa Pelé , this is a replica of the house where the King of Football lived as a child in Três Corações on the real terrain was rebuilt. Located on Rua Edson Arantes do Nascimento, nº 1.000, city center/downtown.

They even made a museum in his native home, even if he hardly visit the town now.  So much for the fame; the museum of Pele or Museu Terra do Rei , is open Mondays to Fridays from 8h to 18h and Saturdays from 9h to 13h. More on the museum in Portuguese from the Minas Gerais portal here: Minas Gerais on museum of Pele

tres coracoes

Now this is great coffee country and wonderful vendas or farm selling the wonderful Mineira food.  Some of the best coffees in the world are produced here, mainly in the state of Minas Gerais. The coffee plantations, which cover about 10,000 square kilometers, are located mainly in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Espírito Santo, in the Southeast and South, in Paraná, where the environment and climate offer ideal conditions for growth. In Minas Gerais, the largest exporting state, the culture of coffee production gained strength from 1907. The union of coffee growers of Minas Gerais in Portuguese here: http://sindicafe-mg.com.br/tipos-de-cafe

And for my recommendation of places where you can buy this wonderful brew direct there , my favorites, Trés Coraçoes, their webpage is here:Cafe Tres Coracoes

And to try a cup on site go the Cafeteria Grao Terra in Trés Coraçoes; webpage here:  Cafeteria essencia da terra and grao terra

I stayed briefly once there, of staying at the Pousada Calabreza, a simple hotel too simple the TV did not work but did had time to rest after the long 4 hrs trek by car.  They have a hotel propertly said in city center a bit better for longer accommodations;  I actually moved to the town nearby Varghina.  For a night stay over this one is ok. The Facebook page is here : Facebook page on Pousada Calabreza

tres coracoes

And for eating we went to Venda do Chico right around Tres Coraçoes for lunch, a great country place right in the woods with beautiful gardens and great souvenir and foodie store as well as the great restaurant. Real food, Mineira or miners’s town food hearty and plenty at excellent prices.  See it here and take a look at the photos! Venda do Chico restaurant store

tres coracoes

 

And to do things in reverse, let me tell a brief history of the town of Trés Coraçoes:

Três Corações do Rio Verde became part of the Minas Gerais Province in 1873, after the President of the province sanctioned laws establishing that the territory was part of its civil parish. The town continued to develop civically after Emperor Pedro II, and the imperial family visited it in 1884, for the inaugural of the Minas & Rio railroad. The railroad connected the town to Cruzeiro, a town in São Paulo Province. Three months following the emperor’s visit, the town was emancipated and became a city. Though formally known as Três Corações do Rio Verde, on September 7, 1923, the city became known as Três Corações.

The city of Trés Coraçoes webpage in Portuguese is here: City of Tres Coracoes

Tourist portal of Minas Gerais on things to do in the area in Portuguese: Tourism of Minas Gerais on things to do

And there you go , a small spot but very off the beaten path for the real taste of Brazil, this time in Minas Gerais and Trés Coraçoes. Hope you enjoy the brief tour.

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

 

 

March 26, 2020

The streets of Mexico DF, some!

So let me bring you back to the land of tequila, mariachis, beaches and architecturally stunning sites; my Mexico. One of the countries I have visited the most over the years and family there!

I like to tackle the streets of Mexico city or some of them in this post. Hope you enjoy it.

I always wanted to write something on the streets of Mexico City and finally took the challenge. Of course, this is a monumental task in a huge city and even if I have driven by it or driven with for most of it do not have enough photos. Probably the reason not written on the subject before. However, have some and here I go for you. Hope you enjoy it in one of the world’s most congested cities, driving is a thrill and a challenge. All handle well by your road warrior!

Let me start with my favorite area. The place known as the Zona Rosa is a space that over the years has become a commercial area. Located within Colonia Juárez, which belongs to the Cuauhtémoc Delegation of Mexico City. It is surrounded to the north by Paseo de la Reforma, to the south by Avenida Chapultepec, to the east by Avenida de los Insurgentes and to the west by Avenida Florencia . All largely walked by yours truly over the years as well. This is my Mexico city central!

You know why this area was call Zona Rosa or pink zone? Well several theories, my favorite was written by the Mexican painter José Luis Cuevas, whose explanation was that the pink color of the area comes from being a red area at night, and white area during the day. Indeed this is a happening area and my home even if over the last few years it has become the LBTG central as well.

Likewise, he has declared on numerous occasions both in the press and on television, that the name originally emerged as a tribute to the Cuban actress Rosa Carmina born in Havana,(1929), who is a film actress and Cuban television, dancer, singer, rumbera and star based in Mexico ; you can search for her work. She belongs to the so-called Golden Age of Mexican cinema as one of its main stars. For some years, she lives in Barcelona, Spain.

The most notable street for bars has to be Calle Amberes. All between Avenida Chapultepec and Paseo de la Reforma!   This is my central central and as said lately the home of its LBTG bars even if all are welcome including me! I have stayed here several times on the Royal Hotel and the Basque/Spanish Tezka restaurant, and just around in Calle Genova the Konditori now closed. And by Calle Hamburgo, El Lugar del Mariachi still open. And just across the street Avenida Chapultepec another old favorite the Segovia Regency Hotel.

Mexico

Mexico

Moving on to Calle Mercaderes,Colonia San Jose Insurgentes is   home of Fiesta Inn hotel , City Express Hotel and the El Gran Leon de Oro restaurant. All of my usual stays over the years. As well as Le Pain Quotidien Belgian chain resto ; Teatro Insurgentes and the Parque de los Hundidos ,and of course the Lamborghini car dealer for Mexico lol!

Mexico

I moved into more business like areas and reach the Avenida Centenario, by delegation Alvaro Obregon home of Teatro Centenario Coyoacan and Arcos de Centenario a very nice residential area of friends.

mexico

mexico

And really central for me and close to all the others is the hugely popular and grand Avenida de los Insurgentes which is a set of three continuous avenues that form one of the main road axes in Mexico City. With a combined length of almost 29 km, it crosses most of the Mexican capital. It is divided into three avenues or zones: the Norte (north), the Centro (center), the Sur (south) zone, which is the one I have been the most. The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur, from Paseo de la Reforma, to the Caminero Monument, its numbering starts north and ends south between 1 and 5000, north to south. This area begins at the intersection with Paseo de la Reforma and due to its extension it will be divided into several areas.

 

I will mention the ones I crossed either by car or walking! These are the Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Cuauhtémoc – Juárez). Between Paseo de la Reforma and Avenida Chapultepec It is characterized because to its west is the popularly called Zona Rosa, while to the east is the Colonia Juárez which is characterized by its architecture, where the modern and tall buildings that surround it.

Mexico

The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Roma). Between Avenida Chapultepec and Miguel Alemán Viaduct and it begins at the so-called Glorieta de Insurgentes , built by the works of Line 1 of the Metro and where the Insurgentes metro Station is located, this gazebo is characterized by being sunk with respect to the rolling area, having several tunnel accesses, such as the Zona Rosa and this is characterized by being one of the main meeting centers of the LGBT community.

Mexico

Mexico

The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Napoles – Del Valle). Between the Miguel Alemán Viaduct and the Interior Circuit. We find one of the areas with the highest economic level in the country, in which there are several colonies such as Napoles, Colonia Insurgentes Mixcoac, Colonia Nochebuena, Colonia del Valle and the remains of the Pueblo de San Lorenzo. Tlacoquemecatl. In this segment, the World Trade Center building in Mexico City stands out (see my post on views from above Mexico city). You , also find in this area the wonderful Monumental Plaza de toros (bullfight arena) and the so-called Estadio Azul (Blue Stadium) This stadium was home from 1996 to 2018 of the Cruz Azul FC of the Mexican first division football/soccer. It has been said, that it might be demolished in 2020 as the team plays now its games at the Estadio Azteca.

The tourist office of Mexico city in English: Tourist office of Mexico city

The Atlas turistico of Mexico City in Spanish: Atlas turistico of Mexico city

Tourist office of Mexico on Mexico City in English: Tourist office of Mexico on Mexico city

And there you go a wonderful tour of Mexico City; you do not have to do it by car, once in the location walking around is magical and allows you to see the architecture styles of this great metropolis. Enjoy the streets of Mexico city as I do!

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

 

March 25, 2020

The Gentlemen from Paris, Havana!

And here is a nice story of my lointime Cuba. This was very popular and all our grandparents told us stories of him. One of the souvenirs is that I actually saw him in Havana before leaving long ago. It’s about time I write about him in my blog.

Therefore, this is story of the Gentlemen from Paris or El Caballero de Paris.

The story goes that José María López Lledín was an elegant vagabond known as El Caballero de París (The Gentleman From Paris) who wandered the streets of  La Habana (Havana) and was a well-known cult figure in the city. According to the birth certificate issued by the district court of Fonsagrada  in Lugo, province of Galicia, in Spain , López Lledín was born in the village of Vilaseca, located near the Asturian border and the Eo river.  The fourth of eleven children, was born on 30 December, 1899 in Vilaseca, in the Municipality of Fonsagrada, Province of Lugo, Galicia. As many in Cuba came from this region of Spain.

Traveling in the German passenger ship S.S. Cheminitz, he arrived in Havana at twelve years of age on 12 December, 1913. His mother was Josefa Lledín Mendes and his father was Manuel Lopez Rodriguez; the owners of a small vineyard, they produced and sold wine and Sherry. He was baptized in the Parish of Salvador de Negueira.

According to his sister Inocencia, he worked as a tailor and in a bookshop. Later he worked as a waiter in the hotels Inglaterra, Telegrafo, Sevilla, Manhattan, Royal Palm and Saratoga. There are many stories as to why he lost his mental sanity but all of them converge on the fact that he was imprisoned in the Castillo del Principe ( Prince’s castle, used many times as a prison) in 1920 for a crime he did not commit.

El Caballero de París was a cult figure in Havana in the 40s and 50s. He was of medium height, disheveled hair with some gray hair and a beard. He always wore black, with a long coat of the same color, even during the summer. He used to carry a folder full of papers. He was a gentle and educated man who roamed the streets and traveled by bus all over the city, greeting people and discussing philosophy, religion and politics. He never asked for alms or said bad words, he only accepted money from people he knew or liked.

He could regularly be found in the Paseo del Prado; the Avenida del Puerto; in a park near the Plaza de Armas; near the Church Iglesia de Paula; in the Parque Central, where he sometimes slept on one of the benches; in Calle Muralla street; near streets Infanta and San Lazaro; and in the corner of 23rd and 12th streets in El Vedado.  It is remembered seeing him walking along the central path of the Fifth Avenue (5th ave) in Miramar, where he usually was in the afternoons. I am not sure but i believe i saw him by the Parque Central.

He was late in life diagnosed as suffering from Paraphrenia, a late-onset mental disorder featuring such symptoms as delusions and hallucinations; it does not have any negative symptoms such as the deterioration of the intellect or of the personality.

You can listen in Spanish a popular song created by a popular singer of the times Barbarito Diez, call El Caballero de Paris, video still available in youtube here

 

There is a statue to perpetuated his presence in bronze, so that his figure will wander forever in the streets of Havana.  Where I have a souvenir photo from 2012 here

havana

This illustrious man was a permanent presence in the city which, from the decade of the 20s of the last century and until 1977, saw him wandering through its streets. He died on July 11, 1985 at Mazorra psychiatric hospital atage of 86. He was initially buried in the cemetery of Santiago de las Vegas in Habana province. His remains were later exhumed by the Historian of the City of La Habana, and transfered to the convent of San Francisco de Asis (now a concert hall and museum), his current resting place.

After the Communist Cuban revolution, the brothers and sisters left Cuba and only El Caballero de Paris was left behind. Three of his brothers had descendants, some now living in Chicago and others in Asturias, Spain. The only surviving sister of El Caballero de Paris, Mercedes, was living in Spain,was last read 91 years old , and in perfect mental and physical health.

No official webpage for him but there are many private efforts on the web; i just will put one here CiberCuba in Spanish; CiberCuba on El Caballero de Paris

Hope you enjoy this unique anecdote of Havana and do look out for him if going there. Hope it helps find him. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

March 25, 2020

A courthouse at Daytona Beach!

So in these times of worries I am home and reminicent of past places in my life that have some personal meaning. Hard to go back as pictures are rare, those were the crazy days where picture taking was not in my mind. Times change and now I am fully especially since starting my blog back in November 2010. And I thank you for following me along all these years.

Let me tell you a bit more on a courthouse, not just any courthouse mind you, but the one I was married in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. I have mentioned it briefly but feels needs a post of its own, so here it is.

While traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris living in Meaux Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ïle de France region in 1989. This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year and moving in the State from Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach (together) in Volusia County, then North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, then Miramar in Broward county (while here became French at the French consulate in Miami in 2000) before moving permanently to France in August 23, 2003. We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in Daytona Beach Halifax Hospital) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah at Hialeah Hospital). The wonderful trip ended with my dear late wife Martine passsing due to cancer here in the Morbihan Breton on April 30 2018, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sooths the pain a bit.Thanks for sharing.

daytona beach

Daytona beach

That is the happy and sad story. Now for the spot itself City Island is a wonderful place to visit while in the area. Here is more

City Island, Daytona Beach, is an island in the Halifax River ,a section of the Intracoastal Waterway between mainland Florida and the barrier islands/outer banks. Buildings on the island include the Daytona Tortugas’ Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the city’s courthouse annex, and the main branch of the Volusia County Library.

The area is ,also, a great spot to relax there in the wonderful City Island Park which is an island hub in a waterway from the mainland. In its immediate vicinity are facilities such as Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the City Island Tennis Center, City Island Recreation Center, and the Daytona Beach Regional LibraryCity Island. Enjoy this park’s water access by fishing or simply relaxing on shore or in one of the many covered pavilions that extend into the water. It has a fishing pier with a large pavilion at the end, pavilions, grills, playground, ample parking and restrooms.   There is also here the Downtown Farmers’ Market held every Saturday with all kinds of local vegetables, fruits, plants and specialties. Open from 7h to 12h.

The Daytona Beach Regional Library , location at 105 E Magnolia Ave ; official webpage here:  Volusia County Libraries on City Island

The Daytona Tortugas are a minor league baseball team based in Daytona Beach. The team plays in the Florida State League (FSL). They are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball. The team plays at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Webpage here: https://www.milb.com/daytona

The Jackie Robinson Stadium is a historic baseball field It is located at 105 East Orange Avenue on City Island, in the Halifax River. It opened in 1914!. One reason the stadium is named for Jackie Robinson is the fact that Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to allow Robinson (Black player) to play during the 1946 season’s spring training. Robinson was playing for the Triple-A Montreal Royals, who were in Florida to play an exhibition game against their parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Bethune–Cookman University (B–CU) is a private historically black university who played its baseball games at the stadium now. The DB webpage on the stadium here: https://www.daytonabeach.com/listings/jackie-robinson-ballpark-and-statue/903/

However, for me as above, the most important building there is the Daytona Beach Volusia County Courthouse annex, City Island located at 125 E. Orange Ave. This is where I was married with my dear Frenchie Martine on December 26 1990. A wonderful date always to be remembered .. As this is an annex alternative location to serve the citizens of the beachside, the main building is mainland in Deland here: https://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/parks-recreation-and-culture/art-and-culture/aipp/county-courthouse.stml

Daytona Beach

Credit:Volusia County Courthouse City Island Daytona Beach

A bit of history I like

The Halifax River is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, passing by Daytona Beach, and around City Island; but ,also, Ormond Beach, Ormond by the Sea, Holly Hill, Port Orange, South Daytona, Daytona Beach Shores, and Ponce Inlet. All memorable towns for me too.. The waterway was originally known as the North Mosquito River, but was renamed after George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (for whom Halifax, Canada is also named), during the British occupation of Florida (1763–1784). The Halifax River originates at Tomoka Bay, at the confluence of the Tomoka River, Bulow Creek, and Halifax Creek, adjoining Tomoka State Park. All very nice places of my younger life always fondly remember. This river Halifax or the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway ( a defense perimeter done by US Defense) has several bridges passing it. These are north to south, Granada Bridge, Seabreeze, Main Street, Broadway, Veterans Memorial (passing city island); and Port Orange Causeway. Webpage of Tomoka State Park as the picture below: Florida State parks on Tomoka park

Ormond Beach

City Island is an urbanized area, resembling any small Florida city. The animal life on the island are typical of such an environment: squirrels, rabbits, abundant green and brown anole lizards, occasional raccoons and skunk, as well as a large population of doves and pigeons. The real diversity of wildlife on and around City Island are birds, especially aquatic species. There are many varieties of duck; mallards, clue-winged teal, and cormorants. American white ibis are common, as are brown pelicans, snowy egrets, great blue herons, great white egrets, and several types of gull. An occasional bald eagle or red-shouldered hawk can be seen overhead. Indeed a wonderful place to spent some time while in the Daytona Beach area, recommended!

The city of Daytona Beach on facilities, chose maps and zoom in on City Island: City of Daytona Beach on Facilities parks

Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do : Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do

The  Volusia County on tourism boards : Volusia county on tourist boards

The State of Florida tourist board on Daytona Beach: Tourist office of Florida on Daytona Beach

There you go a nice memorable dot on my world map, City Island Daytona Beach, never forgotten always remember. Thank you very much for reading and sharing with me.

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

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