Archive for ‘Americas’

June 10, 2021

Bahia de La Habana!!!

I found them!! Its not easy to find pictures that are in several modes from paper to usb to cd roms but finally got to these ones. I like to have it in my blog and hope you enjoy it as much as I. This is going back deep back in my life when as a boy lived in Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de la Habana! I remembered walking a lot around the main points there and was able to visit again as recently as 2012 to see it one more time before it really goes dilipated. I like to tell you my side of the Bay of Havana!

The Bahia de la Habana or Havana Bay is the bay around which stretches Havana, the capital of Cuba. Havana Bay is considered one of the safest bays in the Caribbean and America. It has a strategic geographical and economic location due to its confluence with the Straits of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the old channel of the Bahamas. It is navigable only in 120 meters and has 87 percent of the occupied territory, and 63 percent of the productive sector with 71 berths and 50 docks. The bay which actually forms a roadstead extends over 5 km2 communicates with the Caribbean Sea through a channel 1.2 km long and approximately 220 meters wide. There are coves on the outskirts with the 3 main ones being the Marimelena, Guanabacoa and Atarés. There is a wonderful road tunnel inaugurated in 1958 makes it possible to cross the entrance of the bay. This tunnel appeared there between the seven wonders of the French civil engineering. Underneath the bay of Havana for 733 meters, and a depth of 15 meters, was built by the French company Société de Grands Travaux de Marseille. It was inaugurated exactly on May 31 1958.

Havana tunnel almendares apr12

The bay of Havana is bordered by the towns/neighborhoods of Habana Vieja (old Havana), Regla , and La Habana del Este or (East Havana). Since the second half of the 16C, the entrance to the bay has been protected by two fortresses: El Morro to the east and San Salvador de la Punta to the west.


The constant attacks by corsairs and pirates during the first years of the 16C, as well as the constant expansionist sieges of France, England and Holland, forced the Spanish Crown to establish a defensive system to protect the location of the bay and its port. Then important fortifications arise such as the Castillo de la Chorrera, located at the mouth of the Almendares River; the Castillo de la Punta , the Castillo del Morro , the Castillo de la Real Fuerza and the San Carlos de La Cabaña Fortress, built after the attack and capture of Havana by English troops in August 1762. This system of fortifications was joined by the construction between 1674 and 1797 of the Wall of Havana, which divided the city into two zones. It was from 1561, with the decision to concentrate the Fleet of the Indies in the Port of Havana before its trip to Spain, that the city began a flourishing development and with it the establishment of the first residential nuclei and public buildings to along the coast of the Port.


My personal take as it was my city…long ago ok. If you start from the Malecon next to the castle of San Salvador de la Punta (for short La Punta) you will see the monument to the medicine students of 1871 killed by Spain under the colonial rule. Continue you see the Monument to Maximo Gomez (hero of independence war vs Spain) , and arrive at the nice park Parque Céspedes. Follow by the smaller park parque Luz Caballero right in the corner on calle Empedrado street you see the remains of the ramparts wall of Havana! And next you see the Castillo de la Real Fuerza de la Habana (for short La Fuerza) , after you turn right into calle Narciso Lopéz to see the El Templete or small temple the spot of the first Catholic Mass in Cuba! You continue along the bay street and you see on your right the nice jardin de la Princesa Diana de Gales (princess Diane of Wales garden) ; quickly follow by the back of the Lonja or bourse commerce stock exchange from colonial times. You quickly see the square or Plaza Francisco de Asis and the wonderful Basilica San Francisco de Asis or St Francis of Assisi. Further to see in my opinion is still bordering the bay on your right hand side the Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula or the Church of St Francis of Paula. Then, further down along the bay you reach to the back of the Estacion Central de Ferrocarriles or Central Train Station of Havana, and further on your right you will end the walk with the Castillo de Atàres or Atares castle.

If you start across the bay at the point you will be at the Castillo delos Tres Reyes del Morro (Morro castle for short). You would go up on the esplanade to reach the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña (for short la Cabaña). Right here by the esplanade they still do the 21h or 9pm cannon shot announcing the closing of the bay of Havana and a bit further You will go up to the Cristo or Christ . Afterward you will reach the town of Casablanca . Here there is a ferry boat that takes back to Havana central or the other town on the bay that of Regla. However I heard this was in disrepair so not sure if still doing the runs.

There is no specific webpage for the Bay of Havana the above taken from my books on my Havana. However, if you follow my guide above on foot you will be delighted to see the beauty or at least recognised the beauty of old in the new Havana. Hope you enjoy the post and see my other posts on Havana in my blog.

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

June 10, 2021

The Mercado Central of Curitiba!!

And here is another find wow! So many wonderful memories of my stayed in Curitiba Brazil and now looking at older posts realised missed much on Curitiba! Well I am now catching up and will tell you a brief entry on the central market or mercado central of Curitiba!!

The Mercado Central of Curitiba was founded in 1958 as a meeting point for residents who enjoy big fairs, whether to buy or to eat. The space offers dozens of stalls with spices, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, sausages, meats and all kinds of good ingredients for a delicious dinner. In addition to the stalls specializing in food products, there is also the offer of clothing, electronics and household items. Good choice to stroll and take time off from the mundane.

curitiba mercado central jul08

This was spot central when living in Curitiba for 3 months and love it. The very best and great ambiance as well as on the road to my apparthotel Mercure Batel!! Lots of good memories and good friends. The Mercado Central is located at Ave. Sete de Setembro, 1865,and is open Tuesday to Saturday 8h to 18h. Sunday: 8h to 13h with Restaurants open until 15h.

curitiba mercado central above jul08

A bit of history I like

The first public market in the city of Curitiba appeared in 1864, in the old Largo da Ponte, currently Praça Zacarias. In 1873, on the anniversary of the emancipation of Paraná State, on December 19, the cornerstone was laid for the construction of a new headquarters, then located in Largo da Cadeia, now Praça Generoso Marques. On October 11, 1874, the new Municipal Market was opened. In 1890 Largo da Cadeia was renamed Largo do Mercado. In 1912, the building was closed and demolished to make way for the City/Town Hall, and thus the market was provisionally transferred to Largo da Nogueira, currently Praça 19 de Dezembro. In 1915, another transfer, now to a Chalet-style property, in Batel, (my neighborhood living there!) which was where the Plaça Theodoro Bayma is today. At this address it remained until 1937, when it was demolished and the locals were left again without a fixed market for the purchase of food.

The construction of the new Mercado Central of Curitiba was done between May 1956 and July 1958, the project was carried out on a site, in front of the workshops of the former Rede Ferroviária, current Rodoferroviária de Curitiba (bus terminal see post) ,and inaugurated on August 2, 1958. In 2010, it was renovated and expanded, taking over the entire block between Avenida Sete de Setembro and Avenida Presidente Affonso Camargo.

The official mercado central of Curitiba

Now I am happier, wonderful time, great welcome, and great bunch of guys to work with and allow me to know more of Brazil and especially the State of Paranà and the beautiful city of Curitiba. See my other posts on them!

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

June 9, 2021

A Cathedral in Curitiba!!!

And once again, unbelievable found another subject not shown in my blog but did spent long in Curitiba Brazil! Have several posts on the city but not on the Cathedral! This is brief post to remedy this as it was memorable to walk around it several times and finally going in. Hope you enjoy it as I. Thanks again for reading me since November 2010!

The Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora da Luz or Minor Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of Light in the city of Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, Brazil. The old section of the birth of the city at praça Tiradentes. The short story goes that in 1668 a small wooden church was built on the site, in the old town of today’s Curitiba, with a church dedicated to Our Lady of Light and Good Jesus.

curitiba Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora da Luz front jul08

In 1693 the town council was installed there in order to elect the first municipal authorities. On March 29 of the same year, the founding of the town of Nossa Senhora da Luz e do Bom Jesus dos Pinhais de Curitiba was made official. As the long official name of Curitiba.   Years later this small church gave way to a larger church in stone and clay, whose completion occurred in 1721, called the Church headquarters. This in turn was demolished between 1875 and 1880, to finally build the current cathedral, whose work was carried out between 1876 and 1893. In 1947, an annex was built.   On June 7, 1993, one hundred years after its inauguration, the Cathedral was elevated to the rank of Basilica Minor, in awe of Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais, the patron saint of the capital of Paraná, Curitiba. The cathedral was built in the Neo-Gothic or Roman Gothic style. Sorry for the pictures it was with mobile phone but only ones I can find in my vault!

curitiba Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora da Luz stained glass window jul08

At the entrance on the right-hand side, visitors have the opportunity to see the chair where Pope John Paul II sat when he visited the city in 1980. Near the altar is a 9 meters deep well (about 30 feet), believed by the historians to be the only remaining piece of the original structure.

The official Cathedral Basilica Minor of Our Lady of the Light in Portuguese:

The city of Curitiba on the Cathedral in Portuguese:

The Archidiocèse of Curitiba on the Cathedral in Portuguese:

There you go folks, this is a nice Cathedral Basilica Minor of Our Lady of the Light in a very memoral city of Curitiba for me as lived there for 3 months a while back, and still many friends in touch. I am glad finally got the Cathedral out into my blog, worth a detour once there for sure.

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

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June 9, 2021

Rodoferroviária of Curitiba!!!

Another forgotten spot in my memorable Curitiba and getting all those pictures from my old cd rom disks!! This took once with friends to see the Iguaçu Falls for which cannot find any pictures! The rest I stop by several times because the mercado central (see post) was across the street and wanted to see the buses going in and out when nothing else to do. I lived in Curitiba for 3 months on expats assignements from France!!

Let me tell you a bit as brief because I am no expert and the information is from the Portuguese language sites in the links below on the Rodoferroviária of Curitiba or main bus terminal!

curitiba rodoferroviaria bus station jul08

The city of Curitiba has an excellent bus system that is acknowledge worldwide and even this every time is packed with people using it. I was lucky was given Chevy Prisma car to move about! The system is the Integrated Transport Network , and this is a trunk-fed bus system in exclusive lanes (Bus Rapid Transit or BRT) of the city of Curitiba. The Rede Integrada de Transportes (RIT) was the first bus rapid transit (BRT) system implemented in the world. The Curitiba Integrated Transport Network has as its backbone of its operation 72 km of exclusive routes for buses that run through the 5 main axes of the city and that constitute the so-called fast lines (Expresso Biarticulado) whose stations are easily identifiable by their shape tube. The system served as a model for the systems of several cities in Brazil, the TransMilenio in Bogotá, the MIO in Cali, the Trolleybus, the Ecovía and the Metrobus-Q in Quito. , the Metropolitano de Lima, the Transantiago in Santiago, the Orange Line in Los Angeles and the Metrobús in Mexico City. Also, the Walt Disney transportation in Orlando Fl USA!

curitiba ave emiliano perneta bus tubes jul08

curitiba bus double jul08

The system is broken down into several line service and will give you the main connections here.

The Fast lines (Expresso Biarticulado): services operated by high-capacity buses of three sections , which use the reserved platforms traveling the five main axes that radiate from the city center: Boqueirão, Norte (north), Sul(south),   Leste(east) and Oeste (West). The Fast direct lines (Ligeirao Azul): services operated by buses that have the same characteristics as the Expresso. The main difference it has is that it offers a faster service than the Expresso, since it has fewer stops. The Lines between neighborhoods (Interbairros): routes made by green buses that connect points outside the city center. The direct lines (Linha Direta): they are usually called ônibus ligerinho (fast bus) and constitute the fastest link between two points of the city covering long distances with few stops. The conventional lines (Convencional): services carried out by yellow buses without constituting an integrated network and that connect the city center with the neighborhoods radially. And the Tourist line (Linha turismo) that run through the main tourist centers of the city. Paying your fare allows you to get off and ride the bus five times. (The one I tried as had a car).

curitiba rodoferroviaria bus parking jul08

I  did went over to see it. Rodoferroviária de Curitiba is the unified terminal for intercity and interstate passenger transportation, as well as rail transportation in Curitiba, capital of Paraná state. It is located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood (botanical garden see post) , in front of Avenida Presidente Affonso Camargo, and serves road transport routes between several Brazilian states and towns, including some international locations located in Paraguay and Argentina, in addition to the railway boarding station for tourist trips between the capital of Paraná and the cities of Morretes and Paranaguá, on the coast of the state (the Sierra Verde train). It has 465 urban and metropolitan bus lines, last count.

curitiba rodoferrorivaira back jul08

The city of Curitiba bus network URBS (see right hand column for “horario de onibus” to choose your itinerary):

Comec, Information on the intercity bus service in Portuguese:

The bus terminal in Curitiba in Portuguese:

The bus network in Brazil on Curitiba

There you go folks, I feel better telling you and reminding me of this wonderful adventure. I got to go in front of it every day from my home at the Mercure Batel hotel and my job in the nearby town of Piraquara. Glad the blog is making these memories come alive! Hope you enjoy the post and do visit Curitiba an excellent city with plenty to see and do; I love it

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

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June 7, 2021

Belize – México border crossing!

This is something I had hidden in older posts and really need to share it with you with more details and a post of its own. One of the nicest experience of traveling in the Americas was crossing the border at Belize to/from Mexico!!! Let me tell you a bit about with new text and same old photo. Hope you enjoy it.

The land border between Belize and Mexico is an international border of 193 km by land and 85 km by sea. Its current route, almost entirely delimited by rivers such as the Río Hondo or the Río Azul, dates back to 1893. Oh yes this is Central America in the Americas folks.

A bit of history I like

The border between Mexico and Belize was very difficult to explore and demarcate around 1860 because of its isolated position, in a very sparsely populated region, on the borders of the Mexican State whose capital is located several hundred kilometers to the north. The weak Mexican presence in the region allowed the British to form the colony of British Honduras in 1871, currently Belize.   From that time on, the Mexican position shifted due to the government’s desire to end the smuggling of arms from Belize which fed the rebel Mayans fighting against Mexico in what was called the War of the Castes between 1847 to 1901.

The treaty between the two countries to minimize the above was signed on July 8, 1893 in Mexico City, and an additional convention was added to it on April 7, 1897. It is made up of four articles: the first fixes the border; by the second the United Kingdom undertakes not to supply any more weapons to the Mayan rebels, the third establishes the obligation for each state to prevent the Amerindians of their respective territories from engaging in incursions into the neighboring country and, finally, the fourth establishes the ratification of the treaty by the respective governments . The additional convention of 1897 established the freedom for Mexican merchant ships to navigate without restriction through the Boca Bacalar Chico and within the entire Chetumal Bay. On the other hand, the military navy could not do it, and, to allow its access to the bay through Mexican territory, it was decided to dig the Zaragoza Canal.

And the road warrior trip Mexico/Belize!

There are two entry points between the two countries. The main one being located between Subteniente López, in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Santa Elena, in the district of Corozal, Belize. It is close to the capital of Quintana Roo and main town in the region, Chetumal 10 km away. This is how I got in and out.

The second crossing point is located between La Unión, Mexico, and Blue Creek Village, in the Orange Walk District, Belize, near the confluence between the Río Azul and the Río Bravo, which form from this place the Río Hondo.

Significant commercial and legal tourism activity has also taken place, especially in Belize, which has established a free zone at the northern crossing point and authorized the construction of casinos, which are prohibited in Mexico, and which constitute an important tourist attraction. And we stop here to eat , see , shop and rest on both ways.

mex duty free passing border belize jul14

I came by rental car from Chetumal but there were local friends who did this so the paperwork I was not involved. There is a fee at about 7 dollars to enter and again out of Belize per person and you need a copy of your passport. I have heard there are other fees like for fumigation, insurance etc but not my experience so cannot tell you; just check it out from official sources.

However, did see and acknowledge bus service into Belize from Chetumal, Mexico. The bus station I saw are ADO and first class buses,located at Av. Insugentes at Calle Palermo (close to Plaza Las Americas and my hotel way back for one nigh see post) , and the old ADO bus station, located at Calle Salvador Novo near Av. Insurgentes and Av. Belice.

As said, we rented a car in Chetumal done by my friends and before we came by air from Mexico city. This way is cheaper than if flying from CDMEX to Belize City by air! Somehow I was told.

As I read in local newspaper, the dredging of the Zaragoza canal (see above) will allow tours from Islas Mujeres and other points in the Caribbean to Chetumal!! This should be ready by mid 2022. I invite you to see my other posts on Belize, Chetumal, Bacalar Mexico in my blog.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The official Free Zone of Belize webpage:

The Duty Free Zone independent webpage:

There you go folks, really an off the beaten path road trip between two countries with lots of memories forever. We stay in Chetumal on the way back and see my posts. In Belize , we stay by Plasencia and rode most of it and see posts. Hope you enjoy this post of the unique border crossing between two countries .

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

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June 4, 2021

Santa Felicidade in Curitiba!!!

Now this is dandy memories of myself traveling and living in Curitiba as an expat for 3 months!!! Lots of memorable moments and keeping up with good friends over the years. I have all over Brazil really, but the experience at Curitiba is tops! Let me update this memorable neighborhood of Santa Felicidade in Curitiba! Hope you enjoy it as much as I.

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 stayed which could had change my life, but my wife was not for moving again so we stayed in France. And to my bragging I speak Portuguese, eu falo português!

I have several posts on Curitiba, this time will concentrate on one district, not the one I lived (Batel) ,but I was a regular there! This is Santa Felicidade, let me tell you a bit more on it.  The Santa Felicidade bus terminal is very well served by public transport that connects Santa Felicidade to several other neighborhoods in Curitiba., however my visits there were always by car, my own while living there!


Santa Felicidade is an administrative district of Curitiba, State of ParanàBrazil. 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.

Some things to see in Santa Felicidade, 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. Gorgeous area I love it!

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.

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 seating. It also has wineries (Vinhos Durigan!!), 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 anecdote here is the local Brazilians held a dinner in honor of a top management person and I was to take this person to the dinner. Fearing that I might get lost, they were a bit worry at the table. However, I arrive on time no problems direct to the restaurant Famiglia Fadanelli in Santa Felicidade and as soon as I entered all stood up and applause me!! nice story, and memories forever!

A bit more on the Curitiba Parana page has more in portuguese on Santa Felicidade:

For info some webpages to glue this memorable post in my life

Vinhos Durigan:

Famiglia Fadanelli:

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!!

May 7, 2021

The St Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza!!

And while doing my walks in wonderful Fortaleza I came upon this magnificent monument. I like to update for you and me the visit to the St Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza!!

And as I am in town ,why not tell you more about the city of Fortaleza, in Cearà State. It is more famous for the beaches and carnavals, but it has wonderful architectural monuments for all to enjoy.  Let me tell you a bit about the city of Fortaleza as folks need to know more of it, me think.  Fortaleza  is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. The city has developed on the banks of the creek Pajeú, and its name is an allusion to Fort Schoonenborch, which gave rise to the city, built by the Dutch during their second stay in the area between 1649 and 1654. The motto of Fortaleza, present in its coat of arms is the Latin word Fortitudine, which means “with strength/courage”.


Fortaleza’s history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe’s cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación. Because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, the discovery was never officially sanctioned. Colonisation began in 1603, when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement of Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).After a victory over the French in 1612, Martins Soares Moreno expanded the Fort of São Tiago and changed its name to Forte de São Sebastião. In 1630 the Dutch invaded the Brazilian Northeast and in 1637 they took the Fort of São Sebastião and ruled over Ceará. In battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed. In 1654, the Dutch handed over this fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção (“Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption”), after which the city of Fortaleza takes its name. Fortaleza was officially founded as a village 1726, becoming the capital of Ceará state in 1799.

Now let me tell you a bit more on the wonderful St Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza.

The Metropolitan Cathedral is a historical monument, headquarters of the Archdiocese of Fortaleza. It was built on the site of the old Sé Church. The work took 40 years to complete, and was initiated in 1938 and inaugurated in 1978. It has capacity for 5 000 people and its towers reach 75 meters high. Occupying most of the Praça Pedro II square, also known as Praça da Sé, in the historic center of Fortaleza, the temple stands out for the architectural grandeur and the beauty of the stained glass windows.  Saint Joseph is the Saint bound to the Cathedral.


The first main Chapel of the Fortaleza Church had its construction authorized by the Royal Order in 1746. In 1795, the work was finished. In 1821, the São José Chapel was in ruins, needing to be rebuilt. In 1861, after the rebuilding, automatically, the mother Church became a Cathedral. In 1938, a survey was made and a crack was found in the bases of its construction, by the sea side. The Cathedral was then again condemned and demolished in the same year. In 1939, the first stones of the new Metropolitan Cathedral  aka St Joseph was launched, designed by the French engineer George Mounier and that, like the other, took 39 years to complete. In apparent concrete, neo-Gothic style with predominance of eclectic and Romanesque elements, occupying much of Praça Pedro II, was inaugurated on 22 December 1978, with references to the Cathedral of Cologne and the Cathedral of Chartres.


The Crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Joseph was inaugurated in 1962, honoring six Saints who died young: São Domingos Sávio, Saint Pancracio , Saint Tarcísio and the Saintes Maria Goretti, Inês and Luzia. For this reason, it was devoted it to the young, calling it the Crypt of the Teenagers. In the Crypt is the Chapel of the Resurrection and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, in addition to the remains of several prelates buried therein. The Crypt was reopened in 2011, after one year and four months of renovation, in which was placed a granite floor, a new lighting, an air conditioning system, and completed the altar. Currently, the Crypt allows to accommodate 350 seated persons.

The official Catholic Archidiocèse of Fortaleza

The Brazil tourist board on the Cathedral of Fortaleza

The Beaches of Fortaleza on the Cathedral

There you go folks, a nice monument indeed and worth the detour while in Fortaleza. I had a great time there and looking forward to a return. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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May 7, 2021

The Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption, Fortalezal!

And lets stay in wonderful Brazil shall we! There are usually the big cities known to all but the country has a lot more to offer and I went into my road warrior trip into Fortaleza from Natal. Let me update this older post for you and me on the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption in Fortalezal!

So I bring you now over the Atlantic ocean to my old world and a wonderful country of Brazil. I have written several posts on Brazil, and been all over the country for years as well as lived there for an extended period. It has so much to offer in history and architecture often overlook by visitors.  I like in my small way, try to change that, and show you other parts of Brazil, the one from a historical, architectural point of view that are off the beaten path trips all worth the detour. This is the case of the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption in Fortaleza, State of Ceara of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it.


For this part it merits to tell you a bit about the city of Fortaleza as it is the State capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. The city has developed on the banks of the creek Pajeú, and its name is an allusion to Fort Schoonenborch, which gave rise to the city, built by the Dutch during their second stay in the area between 1649 and 1654. The motto of Fortaleza, present in its coat of arms is the Latin word Fortitudine, which means “with strength/courage”.


Fortaleza’s history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe’s cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación. Because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, (split discovered world between Portugal and Spain) , the discovery was never officially sanctioned. Colonisation began in 1603, when the Portuguese Pedro Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement of Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).After a victory over the French in 1612, Martins Soares Moreno expanded the Fort of São Tiago and changed its name to Forte de São Sebastião. In 1630 the Dutch invaded the Brazilian Northeast and in 1637 they took the Fort of São Sebastião and ruled over Ceará. In battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed. In 1654, the Dutch handed over this fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção (Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption), after which the city of Fortaleza takes its name. Fortaleza was officially founded as a city in 1726, becoming the capital of Ceará State in 1799.

The fortress (Fortaleza) of Our Lady of the Assumption is located on the left bank of the mouth of the Pajeú Creek, on Mount Marajaitiba. It currently houses the headquarters of the 10th Military Region of the Brazilian Army. The construction was launched in 1812, in honor of the anniversary of the Serene Lord Prince of Beira, Mr. Pedro de Alcântara.  It presents the shape of a square with 90 meters on the side, with bulks at the vertices, under the invocation, respectively, of Our Lady of the Assumption (northeast), São José (southeast), Dom João (northwest) and Príncipe da Beira (southwest). Initially with five pieces, it was funded with public funds and private donations, aside from donations of materials and services, from volunteers and slaves. In 1816, the fortress was armed with twenty-seven gun pieces.


Between 1846 and 1857, new buildings were erected, which hosted several military units such as the 11th and 15th Infantry battalions, the Military School of Ceará, the 22nd and 23rd battalions of Hunters, among others. Also known as the Turtle Fort, it was well preserved in 1906, and disarmed in 1910. At the time of WWI it was used as a barracks, between 1917 and 1918, by the 1st Independent Battery of the 3rd District of Costal Artillery. The Fortaleza of Our Lady of the Assumption, currently functioning as the headquarters of the command of the 10th Military Region, is one of the most famous sights of the capital of Ceará, having as highlights the history of the fortress, the museum and Phanteon of General Sampaio ( Patron of the Infantry divisions), the prison where was Bárbara de Alencar and also the statue of Martim Soares Moreno are located. The fort can be visited by prior appointment with the social communication of the military region HQ. The visit is made in the company of a military officer who addresses topics of interest on the monument, namely the Plaza de Armas (Arms square), the cell where Bárbara de Alencar was detained and the Chapel of the fort.

The 10th Battalion oficial site, more info in Portuguese. It will tell you how to contact the military for a tour visit of the Fortress of Our Lady of the Assumption

The official 10th Battalion post in Fortaleza:

The beaches of Fortaleza has more on the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao:

Hope you enjoy the tour and when coming for the beaches take your time to walk in the city and see this marvel of architecture and history of Fortaleza, Cearà, Brazil.

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

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May 7, 2021

Lagoinha beach at Paraipaba,Cearà, Brazil !

And let me brings out to what I considered an off the beaten path trip to lovely Brazil. I was with my usual road warrior head and took a trip to the State of Cearà in northeast Brazil and saw this beautiful beach; one of the natural wonders of wonderful Brazil. Let me tell you a bit more on Lagoinha beach at Paraipaba, Cearà State, Brazil ! This is again updating an older post in my blog, plenty more on Brazil here!

So I am bringing you down back to South America again. Needless to say been all over the continent and plenty in Brazil ,even lived in Curitiba (see post) for a few months. The choices are endless, and will take me or any plenty of time to see them all. However, I am trying lol!  One of the highlights of any trip to Brazil are the beaches, and this one is gorgeous near the bigger city of Fortaleza (see posts).In Portuguese, Praia da Lagoinha!


Paraipaba is a town in the State of Ceará. On the banks of the Curu River, it has one of the largest irrigated projects in the world, where several varieties of fruit are found, and among these, the cultivation of coconut is the main agricultural activity of the region. The town has an exuberance of approximately 14 km of beach that extends from the mouth of the river Curu to the Barra, formed by the tranquil waters of the lagoon of Almécegas the unparalleled beauty of the beaches, dunes and lagoons that exist along the entire coast.

At 11 km from the town lies the Lagoinha beach,precisely at main road Avenida Beira Mar,  which is well known for its dunes and coconut trees. In the format of half-moon, a cove of weak waves, surrounded by yellow dunes, reefs and coconut trees with fresh water, next to Morro do Cascudo where is the port of rafts.  Formed by a cliff of about 50 meters high, Lagoinha beach still retains a primitive natural landscape consisting of golden dunes and a vast and verdant coconut trees that go to meet a sea of calm waters and a stunning green. Lying at a distance of aprox 120 km from bigger city Fortaleza.


To better enjoy the trip to Lagoinha beach, the indication is to make a delicious and adventurous ride in a vehicle known as Pau-de-Arara (an irregular flatbed truck). Soon make the crossing of the lagoon on a raft and buggy ride through the beach, make it more exciting to stay on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. One of the most sought-after tours is for the Almécegas lagoon, also known as Lagoa da Barra, which has boats that cross its clear and clean waters. The final stop is in front of the many tents located both in the lagoon and on the beach, which offer a good service, highlighting the famous fried fish and seafood, plus delicious coconut water well chilled. The village is at the top of the hill and has a gazebo that allows a panoramic and magnificent view of the beach.

The Brazil tourist board on a video of Cearà State

The Fortaleza tourist office on the beaches

The Cearà State beaches on Lagoinha beach

Very nice beach worth the detour . Hope you like the tour of another nice beach of Brazil.  I highly recommend to stay in the Vivamar Hotel right on the beach. The Praia da Lagoinha was a very nice experience and always looking forward for a repeat.


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

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May 7, 2021

Monastery of Sao Bento, Vinhedo,Brazil!

Another of my off the beaten path trails in Brazil, and an update of an older post to enjoy by  you and me. This is one great opportunity visiting a friend native of the town of Vinhedo, in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Coming inland into Sao Paulo State, better known for the big city is awesome. You feel the real people, the real country of Brazil. I have a friend here and when visit there is a funny story.  Oh yes the main attraction for me was the Monastery of Sao Bento or St Benedict and the Wine Festival! However, my friend had the in-laws visiting and I was put in a hotel nearby. He was so busy, I went out to seek a place to eat. I found one very nice superb meal, as I speak Portuguese. When back together with him and the family I mentioned the restaurant was very good and he never been there! A while after, maybe a few months, he called me and told me had a gathering of friends and took them there to eat and were all impressed with the food, prices ,and services. The end story is I can tell you where to go even in your own town lol!!!

Now let’s get back to the sights of history, architecture I like so much and tell you a bit more on Vinhedo. Where?

Vinhedo is a town in the State of São Paulo. It is located in the mesoregion of Campinas, 75 km from the capital of São Paulo. The region of the São Paulo Plateau was inhabited by several indigenous groups, some from the coast, which sought refuge from the wars and slavery moved by the Iberian colonizers. Others, lived in the region since before colonization. With the arrival of Europeans to the South American continent, the region was traveled by the Bandeiras, which occupied land considered unexplored and hunted Indians for slave labor, as well as seeking natural resources such as noble woods, gold and precious stones, during the 17C. For this, the indigenous tribes were decimated or expelled from the region. African slaves were introduced to forcefully assist in the Bandeiras or work in the newly created subsistence crops that were forming. At the end of the 19C coffee growers settled in the northern region of the municipality of Jundiaí . Many of them taking advantage of old farms that since the 18C produced sugar and brandy.


From 1948 onwards begins to be officially held the Grape Festival of Vinhedo, at the Piazza Sant’Anna. In 2009, the Grape Festival held the Wine Festival, which in 2019 will be in its 57th edition and which was currently incorporated into the calendar of events of the town of Vinhedo. The festivities takes place in Jayme Ferragut Municipal Park and receive thousands of people, both local and tourists. It has several attractions such as exhibition and sale and auction of fruits, crafts, amusement park, concerts with national renowned artists, dance performances, regional bands in various musical styles, varied performances, food court, parade of horse riders, motorbike rides, among other activities. It has become the main attraction of the town of Vinhedo.


The other nice thing to see here on a hill overlooking the city of Vinhedo very nice indeed. The Monastery of St Benedict (Sao Bento).


In the year 1649 on the site of the village of Santos, on the Paulista coast, and sensitive to the needs of those who passed through this bustling Port village, the Benedictine Frei Gregório de Magalhães, Superior of the Brazilian province of the Portuguese Benedictine congregation, decided to establish a small monastery that served both shelter for monks who use the port, and spiritual stronghold for those who wish to recover from the day-to-day assignments. In 1650, the monks of Sao Bento (Saint Benedict) receive, in donation, the Hermitage of Our Lady of Desterro, with the lands attached to it. As soon as they are established in Santos, the monks take charge of another Hermitage of Our Lady of Monte Serrate, received in 1652 the ownership of the same. For three centuries, the monastery of St. Benedict was a small monastery, being affectionately called by the Benedictines the  “Mosteirinho de Santos “ or monastery of Saints.


In the 19C, the Benedictine Order of Brazil was almost eliminated due to the anticlerical laws that closed the novitiates of the order. With the advent of the Republic and the separation of the Church and State, German monks from the congregation of Beuron arrived in Brazil and repopulated the monasteries, accepting novices. In 1905 the Monastery of Sao Bento de Santos became independent Priory and began a re-flowering of monastic life. However, the story took a new course when Brazil entered WWII. Due to the presence of Germans among their monks the monastery was closed and the monks forced to leave Santos in 24 hours. A Benedictine monk from São Paulo took over the monastery for several years, not interrupting the Benedictine presence in Santos, especially in the shrine of Our Lady of Monte Serrate. The monks, expelled from Santos, spent a year in the capital, and two more years in Jundiaí, Sao Paulo State, buying the Bela Vista Farm, in the city of Vinhedo,  settling in the year 1948. Unfortunately, the community didn’t bloom in vineyard , and after the war, the few monks  divided themselves between the care of Santos and the administration of the enormous farm in Vinhedo. The new name was that of the Monastery of São Bento de Santos in Vinhedo.


In 1963, then the prior of the Monastery of St. Benedict of Santos in Vinhedo and its small community, decided to ask for help to the Archabbey of Saint Vicent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The hope and faith of the vineyard community were rewarded when, in 1964, the then Archabbot of Saint Vincent, sent the four first monks to Brazil. The community then became part of the American Cassinense Benedictine Congregation.  At the beginning of the 1970’s, the community built and inaugurated a new monastery, settling definitively in Vinhedo. Then the American monks, along with the surviving Germans  reduced the large farm, built a house of ecumenical retirement such as the Casa Siloé, and began an ardent work in the communities of the region, founding Parishes such as the São Sebastião (St Sebastian) and Nossa Senhora de Lourdes ( Our Lady of Lourdes), and several communities, in addition to developing an intense training program for religious, young people and couples in the Casa Siloé (house of Siloé).

Official site of the Monastery of Sao Bento in Portuguese

The city of Vinhedo and things to see

The city of Vinhedo on its last wine festival news:

The official Monastery of Sao Bento:

There you go the whole story on Vinhedo ::) a nice town in inland Sao Paulo State of Brazil. If you ever around this around do come for the Wine Festival and the Monastery of St Benedict, it will be worth your time and money, me think. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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