Archive for ‘Americas’

November 10, 2019

My early life in my blog!

So on the Armistice weekend (celebrated Monday November 11) in Europe (the end of the Great War or WWI)  and Veteran’s Day in the USA (for all combine) ,I come to end my nice weekend with the family in my Pluvigner, Morbihan , Bretagne and head back to the CDG Paris area to continue my job mission. These will be many weekends back and forth until May 2020 at the latest.

Just the re start of my finance consultant life into retirement and thereafter. Life on the road is nice but sometimes missed the boys back home even if we also celebrated early this weekend my twin boys 26 yrs old birthday. We went to eat out at favorite family restaurant Tablapizza , then shopping in the Armand Thiery store and others , doing the groceries at Carrefour with them and next day like today went to the cinema Cineville to see the Maléfique : Le Pouvoir du Mal or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil   movie and then more gifts to them and eat out at the old Burger King lol! they love it.

Now reminicent in a sentimental way of my life travels and efforts starting with my dear late mother Gladys and continue with my dear late wife Martine , still going strong out of faith with my 3 boys and Dad. I have to tell you a bit of my early post when I started this blog out of inspiration of many in the famous travel forums and friend in Madrid. Most if not all these early posts have no pictures as used elsewhere but they tell my early steps in life in a chronological manner. Hope you enjoy reading it as I did/do.

So these were my entry into my first blog posts ever!!! It all started back in November 2010!!! wow already 9 years time flies when having fun. Thank you all!!

Well I am finally into a blog after many years posting elsewhere. Hopefully this will allow me to share with my friends and family my travels and favorites pastimes over the years,and to hear back from folks similar stories. It will grow with us,looking forward to it. Posted: November 26 2010

Havana/La Habana it was once the Paris of the Americas, the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything;streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there.  Posted: November 28 2010

Madrid .I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1971 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I end up in another one Lol! Posted: November 28 2010

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1974. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in. Posted: November 28 2010

Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach /North Miami/ Hialeah/ Miramar. My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1973 when I went from New Jersey to visit my Aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey. Then in August of 1977 I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Posted:  November 29 2010

Versailles. Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents. The decision was made to come to live in France permanently in August 2003. Posted: November 30 2010

Auray/Brech . Well here I am back and with new photos to share the wonderful world of  France. Today, I will talk a bit about my new area the Pays ‘Auray. Its a agglomaration of several towns into a metropolitan system of cities. The capital and main city is Auray or An Alre in Breton language.  I arrived here in May 30 2011. Posted: June 26 2011

Pluvigner. The town we are now is call Pluvigner, same department of Morbihan 56, in fact only about 11 kms from where we were, but a much bigger home. 255 sq meters of home and 1000 m2 of land!!! The house is great, we will do some adjustment to our convenience but no major works needed. I arrived here on July 2013. Posted: September 8 2013.

Now you know a bit more of me for those new to my blog in a nutshell!!! Again thank you very much for keeping with me these last few years (9) and hopefully many more to come on our roads of our world.

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

 

 

 

October 25, 2019

My trip to the roots where all begun ,Cuba!

Well this was a business trip with my company but took advantage with my assigned driver to see the family still there and nostalgic moments in my life. It all began here for me many many years ago. I left it in 1971. The comments are updated , but the photos are from 2012.

I took a long flight it seems endless from home in Brittany, went by car to Nantes airport;following the road N165 all the way to exit D201 Nantes Atlantique signs about 1h30 minutes. Then took a regional Air France flight to Amsterdam, Schiphol airport, change there to KLM for the flight to La Habana about 10 hours !!! lol!!! and finally arrive in Havana.

I stayed at a Casa Particular as was assigned this by the company in district of Playa, no fancy hotels for me!!! Stories about Cuba abound from all periods; blaming each other but no doubt the previous regime was better for the mayority. Proof over 2 millions have left already and several millions waiting for the opportunity while been politically correct.

havana

We went to eat at EL Palenque, the resto of the Convention palace nearby, great Cuban food, why bother with all those international places if in Cuba eat like a Cuban. Calle 17 y 190, Playa.. Ciudad de La Habana tel  (53 7) 203-8222 .

havana

We had not much time so I took a ride on the Malecon, went over to the old Church of San Francisco de Asisi, the Morro ,Fuerza ,and Cabanas castles.

Havana

havana

havana

havana

havana

We had business lunch at Restaurant 1830 at Calle Calzada esq. a 20, Vedado. Ciudad de La Habana tel(53 7) 55-3090-92 . There was a special treat at a casa paladar on a fifth floor of a house but could not remember the name as it was at night and friends rode me there, we had lobsters supreme with a view of the city.

The next day I ask my assigned driver to talke me to my native town of Punta Brava, just in the borders of the city of La Habana, visiting family aunt and cousins (which by now left Cuba too) , I ate at a typical Cuban casa paladar in pesos nacionales, a dish of roast pork,moros black beans,yucca,tostones in garlic sauce, salad of tomatos and lettuce, plus coffee and four beers for two persons at 10 CUC or about 260 Cuban Pesos Nacionales. Just in Calzada (main street Avenida 51) before turning left to Guatao, the old Carretera Central.

havana

I went further inland to visit another aunt and cousins at Cayo La Rosa, (these still there) off Bauta, this was a huge textile plant (Ariguanabo) of 5000 workers done by Americans now in ruins. The village have not change much, and took a ride with my cousin in an electric moto on the town, crazy but a great and cheap means of transportation there now.  And proud of myself was able to take my local driver there as he did not know how,and I did it with so many years out just on good memory lol!

Of course in each visit i ate with the family and reminiscent of the old days, telling me what a nice guy I was !!!  Finally, it was time to come back again, and took my flight from La Habana Jose Marti International airport, very easily, this time in route to Paris CDG on Air France. The plane was full and cheapy company had me on economy class! but was bump up to Business Class , by asking and it shows the difference, very nice flight of 9 hours to Paris CDG. There change again on AF to Nantes, and took my car from the airport parking for the trip home after paying 54 euros of parking fees. Cheaper than renting a car lol!

havana

havana

I was hoping not to be the last trip like this, but this is October 2019 and not back yet; time is ticking and less family there. Even in the difficulties of that system was the same warm welcome by the family and the faces of the buildings even if change were still recognisable, and I look forward to the future when all can have a pleasant place to visit with family and no government mistreatments and inconveniences.

No webpages just for the memories update in my blog. Hoping you can enjoy a visit there under better circumstances and then tell me about it ok. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

October 25, 2019

A Church at Arroyo Arenas, Cuba!

And coming back to the roots, a bit of my old neighborhood, its been almost 50 years but the memories lingered. I like to tell you briefly as not much info on the internet on one of my sights when my dear late Mom Gladys passed by here taking a friend’s car or the bus line 99! We always made the cross sign passing by the Church of Arroyo Arenas. The blog is also a way to keep my history for eternity I hope and future generations can see it all.

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

Arroyo Arenas was granted in 1672 status of village by the Spanish colonial governor. By 1778 they still subordinated its existence to the city/hall of Havana. In 1780 the local city hall were constituted, corresponding from Arroyo Arenas to Santiago de las Vegas. TheCaptaincy were subordinated to El Cano and Bauta. The first was subordinated the town of: Arroyo Arenas.

Towards the last decade of the 18C, this seat made possible the foundation of the town of Arroyo Arenas, a fact that was recorded in 1790 when a chapel was constituted that apparently was attached to a house or room, separated from common uses. Likewise, in 1794 the first tile house was built in this town and in 1795 the hermitage of Arroyo Arenas was officially erected under the invocation of Jesús Nazareno del Rescate or Jesus Nazarene of the Rescue.

The location of this site on the side of the Camino Real to Vueltabajo was enriched by the migration of Canary island peasant population initially settled in Vueltabajo (the best cigars in the world and my ancestors the Guanches of Tenerife and Grand Canaria) . Its growth as a town is evidenced by the fact that in 1843 the Spanish Army Weapons Command was established there and already in 1846 it had 12 masonry houses, 7 of wood and tiles, 36 of mud and guano, a clothing store, 3 mixed, 2 shoe stores, 2 tobacco shops, 1 carpentry, 1 blacksmith shop and 298 settlers, of which 44 were slaves.

From 1878, according to the new political-administrative division established by the colonial government on that date, the city hall of the towns of El Cano, Marianao and Santiago de las Vegas were created.. To each of them the districts were subordinated to El Cano corresponded Arroyo Arenas, Barandilla, Falcón, Jaimanitas and El Cano proper; Marianao was subordinate to La Lisa, and to Santiago de las Vegas, the districts Bauta, Punta Brava ;and Guatao were subordinated. In the judicial order, all these municipalities were subordinated to Bejucal until 1880.

In the first months of 1955, the construction of a highway that would connect Columbia (army and airport barracks) to the central highway at the exit of Arroyo Arenas was announced. In April 1956 it was finished. The Hermitage and Country Club, were projected to link with the with the Biltmore Riviera, Boulevar del Biltmore and Montecarlo, which would extend to Novia del Mediodia ( roundabout call the noon girlfriend) . These projects were interrupted with the triumph of the Cuban revolution.

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

Arroyo Arenas

No webpage but the memories lingered. Hope you can appreciated and maybe one you can pass by it and make the sign of the Cross too , for me at Arroyo Arenas!

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

 

 

October 1, 2019

Mexico DF from above!!!

And here I am going back to America, nahh not that one, the whole of it America as in Mexico. I have been there several times and sometimes even gone high , yes really high with great views of the city. Therefore, I like to tell you a bit more about it ok! As believe do not have these yet in my blog, DF from above!!

Metro Eje Central is a station on Line 12 of the Mexico City Metro. The station is located south of the city center, at the intersection between Eje Central (Lazaro Cardenas) and Avenida Popocatepetl. It is built underground. Right next to Plaza Universidad shopping center, in fact the hotel is connected to it inside.

The Avenida Popocatepetl is name after the famous volcano.. The Jewel, in the famous Paso de Cortés which connects the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes, from where the conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men saw the Mexican Valley for the first time on the way to Tenochtitlán (today Mexico City).!

Photo from City Express Patio Universidad Hotel. The corner is a very active area with lots of stores, malls and restaurants. As you can see the views are excellent too. More on the hotel here: City Express Hotel Popocatepetl and Universidad

mexico

The Torre Mayor is a skyscraper located at number 505 of Paseo de la Reforma avenue, in the space previously occupied by the Chapultepec Cinema and near the Bosque de Chapultepec forest. The tower has a height of 225.meters from Paseo de la Reforma) and 55 floors, in addition to 4 levels of underground parking and 9 above street level, with more than 2,000 self-service spaces available. It is equipped with 29 elevators /lifts and 84,135 m² of office space, 2 pressurized emergency stairs, automatic air conditioning units, mechanical, electrical and telecommunications systems on each floor. Given the seismicity of Mexico City, a rigorous seismic engineering study was carried out for its construction, in order to be able to seismically isolate the tower, insulation within which the 98 seismic dampers are located. The Torre Mayor is considered one of the strongest skyscrapers in the world and the one with the highest seismic tolerance in the world, with a maximum tolerance of 9.0 on the Richter scale. Likewise, it is considered the most solid and resistant tower on the planet, for its anti-seismic attachments and implements. See the picture from the Torre Mayor!

More on the Torre Mayor here: Official Torre Mayor location

mexico

Avenida Paseo de la Reforma is about 15 km long avenue. The name commemorates a series of liberal reforms carried out during the presidency and by the government of Benito Juárez in the 19C. It was traced on the orders of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico and was first called “Paseo de la Emperatriz” (promenade of the emperatrice). Inspired by the great European boulevards, it was intended to link the Chapultepec Castle to the National Palace located in the center of the city. It begins at Chapultepec Park, passes along the Torre Mayor and crosses the Zona Rosa and then to the Plaza de la Constitución (popular name is Zócalo) along Avenida Juárez  and Calle Francisco I. Madero.

Mexico

The picture is from the bank building of Citibanamex at Av de los Insurgentes Sur 1602. More info here Citibanamex bank webpage on the location

mexico

The Avenida de los Insurgentes is a group of three continuous avenues that form one of the main road axes of the west of Mexico City (DF). It has a combined length of about 29  km through most of the Mexican capital. It is divided into three avenues or zones: the north (norte), the central zone(centro), the southern zone(Sur).

Popularly called Insurgentes, this avenue has its antecedents in several streets, rural roads, and sections of avenues that date back at least to the first half of the 19C. At that time, almost entirely, the land that would house Avenida de los Insurgentes was part of what were the lakes of Texcoco and Lake Xochimilco, which were dried by the different works that were carried out since the colonial era to dislodge the waters of the basin of Mexico. It is until the administration of Manuel Camacho Solís (1988 to 1993) as Head of the Department of the Federal District that the legal situation of the Avenidad de los Insurgents is regularized with the official creation of the three sections. Avenida de los Insurgentes Norte, from the street of Mosqueta or Axis 1 North to the Aqueduct of Guadalupe. Avenida de los Insurgentes Centro, from the Calle de Mosqueta or Axis 1 North to the Paseo de la Reforma.  And Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur, from the Paseo de la Reforma, to the Monumento al Caminero.

The one I visit the most is the Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur: This area begins at the crossroads with Paseo de la Reforma and, due to its extension, will be divided into several zones. These are briefly:  Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Cuauhtémoc – Juárez). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Roma). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Napoles – Del Valle). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Florida – Mixcoac). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (San Ángel). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (C.U. – Pedregal). Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Cuicuilco – Tlalpan).

Mexico

Currently the avenue has a system of rapid transit buses called Metrobús, based on other systems such as the RIT of Curitiba (Brazil) and the TransMilenio in Bogotá(Colombia). Both tried by yours truly too.  Here are some interesting places to visit including the one I go to the World Trade Center  Mexico. The Galerias Insurgentes shopping center,  Plaza Manacar shopping center (both great) ,and the Teatro de los Insurgentes (wonderful) . The Torre Mural is a great shopping area too.

mexico

The Avenida de Chapultepec is one of the main roads of Mexico City located in the central and western part of it. It takes the vehicular route in both directions to communicate the central part of the city with the areas near the Bosque de Chapultepec, Tacubaya and Polanco districts. The name assigned to this avenue comes from the Nahuatl language Chapultepec, which in that language means “hill of crickets or grasshoppers”.

mexico

Part of the layout of this avenue is due to the old Aqueduct of Chapultepec, an indigenous work that was built on the old lake of Texcoco to bring the waters of the springs of Chapultepec to the Aztec capital. The same route was taken towards the end of the 19c by the Imperial Committee of Emperor Maximilian I before the route of the so-called Paseo de la Emperatriz (the current Paseo de la Reforma).

With the growth of the city finished the Mexican Revolution and in the 20C, the decision was made to expand the avenue, for which part of the old colonial aqueduct is demolished. The idea was taken to conserve only 20 arcades of the old aqueduct located in the central ridge, near the Sevilla metro station. Likewise, the famous Glorieta de los Insurgentes  beautiful roundabout (see picture) was designed and a replica of the fountain was placed where the aqueduct in front of the hermitage of Salto del Agua was concluded. Passing the roundabout we find the Zona Rosa on our right.My old hangout area when in Mexico!!! My bags loading was at the Hotel Royal Reforma in calle Amberes 78 almost corner with Avenida de Chapultepec from which the picture was taken! More on the hotel here: Hotel Royal Reforma

So there you go a nice view of nice walking areas in Mexico city (DF) for all to enjoy and soak in the local culture. Not to leave great views of this huge city that you need to pinpoint the address very well to get to your location. Hope you enjoy the tour!

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

 

 

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August 23, 2019

Soccer/Football/Balompie!!!

Ok so let me go into something more personal , that is my playing career in soccer/football/balompie covering my time in New Jersey and Florida. I skip my time in Madrid as been a poor boy have no photos or news clips from that time while learning the sport in the Real Madrid organisation.

pluvigner

Hala Madrid!!!!

I am sure this will bring some memories to those that play or played the game, as to me it is just a way to keep my history in my blog for future generations. Hope you enjoy as much as I to write about it now.

I have posted in my blog my earlier history but let me shorten here for the sport’s sake. I came from Madrid Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA in May 1972. I then, became an American ,learned English, got my driving license and graduated from high school.

While at Perth Amboy High School, i hook up with the latin american community there as well as the Portuguese. I played varsity soccer for Perth Amboy with ranking as high as No 1 in Middlesex County as per the News Tribune newspaper of New Brunswick, and No 6 in New Jersey as per the newspaper Star-Ledger of Newark. My position was central or libero defender at the varsity level, having been put there by the coach after playing mid midfielder in the Junior Varsity team for one year.

Perth Amboy

That was our Perth Amboy high school stadium main entrance

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy

The Perth Amboy soccer program has been on a downhill ever since and today they lose more than win. The current team is feature here: Perth Amboy Public Schools on the soccer team

Perth Amboy

Yearbook picture soccer Varsity team I am in there ::)

I did read up that the amateur team of Perth Amboy Portuguese club of which I played way back has re started the team as mention in the local Portuguese American newspaper El Lusoamericano. More in Portuguese here: Perth Amboy Portuguese soccer

I , then, went on to college/university in Daytona Beach, Florida with ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (founder in 1934 of American Airlines and in WWII train American and British pilots becoming a leading aviation university in the world). My dream at those tender ages was to go into aviation and from a friend heard about ERAU= Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One application form and I was accepted right away ,this was back in Augusut 1977 ::)

While hanging around a field that look like a soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and ask me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower kids divisions (alevin) , played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately sign me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

Daytona beach

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran,Portugal, Venezuela, Spain,etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played NCAA div 1 and 2 teams on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools.  The soccer/football continues at the club level in 1981  playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in FLorida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.

I participated in the NCAA Div 2 soccer program already in 1978-1980 playing against much bigger schools like FIU, Univ of Florida, Univ Central Florida, South Florida ;Univ of Tampa, etc with good results, winning records. However, the school decided to leave sports in 1981 and even with petitions by students the decision remained until starting again in 1988. The unfortunate thingy here is that those who participated before are not been recognized in school records!!!

Playing with the Daytona Beach Eagles team in the amateur league in Central Florida as well. I became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed  (unisex men and women) indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986. I had girls playing for the University of Central Florida which in those years went to be rank no 10 in the NCAA division 1.

Daytona Beach

The current soccer program at ERAU has excellent modern facilities and great support.  The intercollegiate soccer stadium, located behind the ICI Center, is a meticulously maintained soccer facility that has hosted nationally televised playing events. The official webpage is here: ERAU Eagles on soccer

Hope it brings back memories to some, it does enormously for me and now feel good about leaving the legacy here in my blog for my sons and onwards. The football season has started in Europe and I will be soon in Madrid to get first hand news of my Real Madrid!

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

August 22, 2019

Going south to Chetumal in Mexico!

Let me bring you across the ocean to a place very familiar to me not only for the many trips over the years there, and good friends ,but with locals coming into my family hailing from DF and Merida to boot.

I have gone down Mexico way to the beautiful Quintana Roo State and the wonderful city of Chetumal near the border with Belize.  Let me tell you a bit on Chetumal ok. Chetumal is the state capital of Quintana Roo and is located at the extreme south of the Yucatán Peninsula, this city is bathed by the Caribbean Sea at Chetumal Bay.

A bit of history i like

In the pre-Columbian period, it was the port of an ancient Mayan state that stretched north of Belize. The revolt of the Maya peoples against Mexican rule, known as the Yucatan Caste War in the 1840s, drove all Hispanic people from that region; many settled in the city of Corozal, today Belize. The modern city was founded in 1898 under the name of Payo Obispo. The city was populated by settlers from Belize ,including refugees from the Caste War and English nationals.

The city is on the border with Belize. Every weekend, residents of neighboring Belize come massively to the Chetumal markets, because in Belize life is much more expensive than in Mexico so they tell me. Chetumal is especially the point of arrival of many buses or planes coming from other regions. It is also from Chetumal that one can go to northern Guatemala and Belize.

chetumal

Some things to see here are

Cultural Center of the Fine Arts (Centro Cultural de las Bellas Artes), located in the center of the city. The building is housed in what was the school Belisario Domínguez, which was the first school of Quintana Roo.

Museum of the Mayan Culture (Museo de la Cultura Maya), considered the largest and most comprehensive museum in the state dedicated to the Mayan culture. It has an important collection of authentic and reproductions of classical works, and tells the development of Mayan culture, its origins, as well as various aspects of their daily life. The museum is very well designed to understand the traditions, beliefs and way of life of the Mayans. More from the Cultural ministry here: Mexico Culture Ministry on the Museum

chetumal

Museum of the City. Tied to the Cultural Center of the Fine Arts, dedicated to the exhibition of photographs, tools and documents that tell the story of the founding of the city.

There are various monuments around the city such as the monument to Renacimiento or rebirth of the city (after the hurricanes) , and the lighthouse monument by the beachside.

chetumal

chetumal

While at it we ate and enjoy it at the great shopping mall ,Centro Comercial Las Americas,located at the area of El Encanto on Avenida Constituyentes and avenida Maxuxac with 48 stores including a big hypermarket Chedraui, Liverpool dept store ,and outside a McDonalds , Burger King, Applebee”s, and Inside a great VIPS Insurgentes Km. 5-025  which we use for our lunch. Go bottom Restaurantes to find them hit Quintana Roo here:   VIPS Quintana Roo Chetumal

The Centro Comercial Las Americas shopping center more info here: Facebook page of Plaza Las Americas Chetumal

chetumal

chetumal

Oh yes important how I got here lol! I took a flight on Interjet Airlines ( a nice low cost in Mexico) from Mexico city to Chetumal airport, about 2 km from the city and a small country strip with two flights per day. Here we rented a car and drove around to  Chetumal. More info here: Chetumal Airport

chetumal

And I stayed here! City Express a nice down to earth chain of hotels already in various countries in Latin America. Once the night arrive we stayed  at the City Express hotel in Chutemal city center or downtown. Nice clean rooms ,AC ,breakfast resto, lobby with TV, and free parking, view of the city.  More info here: City Express Quintana Roo Chetumal

Some webpages to help you plan further your trip here are

Grand Mayan coast Mexican Caribbean on Chetumal

Zona Turistica site on sights to see in Chetumal

Mayan Beach Garden site on things to see in Chetumal

Belize ‘s take on Chetumal

There you go a wonderful paradise still not so much touch by the hordes of tourists and extreme sublime beauty all around. Hope you enjoy the post on Chetumal, me looking forward to a repeat!

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

 

July 29, 2019

The Bretons of America from Gourin!

Ok this as said in previous post is only one hour from my house but this is our first time in town! So much to see in our beautiful Morbihan, lovely Brittany and belle France! We are working on it! This was something that I have heard about a fund raising to repair and build new a statue of Liberty to honor the Bretons from this time who had emigrated to North America. Well we finally came!

It was fantastic and recommended to all especially North Americans , that is USA and Canada. The history is interwined with those of these countries and Brittany, and I just even learned more of this fascinating friendship that has its roots and the immigration between these countries. Gourin is it!!

gourin

All is base at the Château de Tronjoly that I have mentioned in my previous post. From city center next to the mayor’s office take the D1E road and right at the cemetery turn right into the chemin du roz to end. Here you arrive at another world.

gourin

Here you will see the history of immigration between Gourin, Morbihan, Brittany and Canada and especially the USA! All richly shown and arrange really beautiful a must to visit and we will be back!

gourin

There is a special show going on now. Ces Bretons d’Amérique or those Bretons of America.

Château Tronjoly will also open its doors to painters Lena Le Caignec, Alix Naudot-Guillerm and Bryan Mitchell Theriot; photographers Frédéric Bourrigaud and Jean-Marc Arthot; the engraver Aurélien Besson; to the sculptor Christian Georget.

gourin

The exhibitions will be punctuated by lectures on Aboriginal art and a musical painting on the evening, August 11, 2019 during which the artist Alix Naudot-Guillerm will paint, accompanied by the music of the duo Fragance of love. As every year, the Brittany TransAmerica association will open the exhibition Ces Bretons d’Amérique .More info here: https://bretagnetransamerica.com/

gourin

You will be able to see and read about lointime stories seldom heard nowdays such as one not yet known to me! On  February 14 1778 the cruiser Ranger led by Commodore John Paul Jones arrived in the Bay of Quiberon , it showcase the pride of the USA . The French squadron of admiral de la Motte Picquet (like a street in Paris…) born at Rennes (Ile et Vilaine dept 35) is at wharf in the protected harbor. All of a sudden all the guns from the French ship started firing its canons giving surprises to all those around the bay. This was the first salutation of a foreign country (France) to the birth from the 13 colonies to a new Nation (USA) .Yes very nice anecdote from the Castle of Tronjoly!

gourin

And known to me but seldom shown for obvious reasons here but love to see it here,such as our  Armand Tuffin , marquis de la Rouërie better know as Coronel Armand one of the most oustanding volunteers Bretons that fought in the American Independence war. Born at Fougéres, (Ile et Vilaine dept 35 now) ; he sailed from Nantes (loire-atlantique dept 44 now) when help and support was asked by Benjamin Franklin . His boat is sunk by three English naval vessels and he reaches American land swimming!   A few days later he was given a meeting with General George T Washington , head of the American army. Washington is impressed by this young Breton who spoked fluent English and gives him the rank of Coronel in charge of raising a force of adventurers, cavalry and food soldiers that became the legion of Armand or the 3rd Cavarly regiment ! He is considered as the founder of the US cavalry!   What the expo at the Castle of Tronjoly cannot tell you as politically incorrect is that he came back to France in 1791 created the Association Bretonne a group seeking independence from France (the base of the Chouans)  into the old duchy of Bretagne and conspired to toppled Napoléon Ier. He was caught found guilty and beheaded without trial, his body still has not been found. There is a statue of him in Fougéres at the Place des 12 Fusillées. Until now at Gourin!!!

gourin

yeah!!! my Sunshine State!

This is the castle of Tronjoly from the city of Gourin: City of Gourin on the castle

Local tourist office of pays du roi morvan on the castle

More on the current activities of the Castle of Tronjoly.  A lodging or Gîte d’Etapes   on the road of Santiago de Compostela, and rural lodgings ;arranged in an old farm of the castle are also available. More info here: http://www.gourin.fr/node/134

Activities hall at Tronjoly , more info here: http://www.gourin.fr/node/160

In all a wonderful property, very friendly folks and of course English spoken! Beautifully decorated and display for the enjoyment of all. Do dare to come to the west you will be surprise of the bounties of my belle France! Truly enjoy the château de Tronjoly at Gourin , and its expositions.

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

 

 

 

July 28, 2019

Gourin and America!!!

So in my road warrior trip I have come into many towns all over the world and especially my belle France. Some have been passing by chance others well known in advance but this one well;;; it is so close yet was so far. Only an hour from my house but this is my first time there! And there, because I have heard the story of the important link between Gourin and the immigration to the USA and Canada.  I like to tell you a bit of this story and many others in subsequents posts in my blog on Gourin an amazing little town. The amazing thing as well was that while walking the city center got to see one of my collegues from work near Vannes, he had moved nearby but a native of  Gourin and was visiting relatives!  So I got good tips lol!!!

Gourin is a town in the department 56 of Morbihan, in the region of Bretagne (Brittany), it belongs to Cornouaille (Cornwall) Morbihannaise. It has the particularity of being 83 km from Vannes, its departamental capital city , and only 40 km from Quimper, the departamental capital of the Finistere, dept 29 . Gourin is also located 15 km from Carhaix-Plouguer, 47 km from Lorient, 71 km from Brest, 74 km from   Saint-Brieuc and 143 km from Rennes. As well as been 71 km from my house! The routes we take are the D102 into the D769 (Lorient-Roscoff road) and the Quimper-Rostrenen-Saint-Brieuc road D1 which takes us right into city center Gourin.

gourin

A bit of history I like

In the 11-12C; Gourin was the seat of a viscount that extended over the parishes of Gourin, Guiscriff, Langonnet, Le Faouet and Leuhan and the Trier of Roudouallec, Le Saint, Lanvénégen and La Trinité. Among the viscounts of Gourin are the names of Cadoret who rose up in 1075 against Duke Hoel et Tanguy I who participated in the First Crusade with his Duke Alain Fergent. The Viscount was attached to the ducal domain from 1265. Gourin then became the seat of a ducal bar which after the act of union of Brittany to France in 1532 will become the seat of a royal seneschal until its removal during the French revolution.

The first lords of Tronjoly were the Kergoet, who lived in the old manor house from 1426 to 1660. The present castle was built in 1768, replacing the old manor. At the beginning of the French revolution, the lords of Tronjoly sheltered refractory priests and chouans (rebels against the revolution) . Under the supervision of the republican authorities, the L’Ollivier were forced in March 1793 to settle at Le Faouët and some members of the family emigrated; among them François Urbain L’Ollivier de Tronjoly, wounded during the landing of Quiberon (Breton immigrants from England coming back to fight the French revolution) on July 16, 1795, was tried and executed in Vannes on August 1, 1795 (as about 795 others) . More of the castle in a separate post and immigration exhibit as well.

An interesting part of the town of Gourin which is fascinating to me even if heard before , it is now the time I decided to visit the town only one hour from my house!!!

In the late 19C and early 20C, especially between 1902 and WWI, Gourin and its region experienced a strong emigration, mainly of young men, to North America, although it began in the 18C. There was a second wave of emigration from the cantons of Gourin and Roudouallec in the 1950s following the visit of the Canadian consul., several y oung Gourinois went to Canada between 1948 and 1953. Many of the Bretons currently living in the United States are from the Gourin region (it is estimated that the Montagne Noire region around Gourin has lost about 4,000 emigrants to the United States between 1945 and 1958). But emigration to this country began around 1885, not all emigrants are young men, but sometimes older people, small farmers, small traders or craftsmen, not having land able to feed them; At the end of the 19C and at the beginning of the 20C, a large group of emigrants from Montagne Noirs ( Black Mountains) settles in the resort area of Lenox, Massachusetts , with women becoming housekeepers, and men as gardeners. By 1928, there were approximately 3,000 inhabitants of Gourin in New York, 400 of whom were directly employed by Michelin (founded in 1901 in New York), the factory of Miltown, in New Jersey, and who recruited Bretons in a privileged manner. Between; only the years 1946 and 1955 emigrants, mainly young, leave the region of Gourin (13.4% of the population), a large part of it to the United States, the Bretons emigrants tend to regroup in colonies, a real “Breton district” being created for example in New York, on the border of Brooklyn and the Bronx, between 49th and 52nd Street; others went south to Louisiana and Florida or west to California. Three agencies of the “Compagnie Générale Transatlantique” also had their headquarters in Gourin and Roudouallec at the time to organize travel to the United States. The return to the country of some of these émigrés, nicknamed “Americans”, sometimes enriched, was a powerful vector of modernization of agriculture and housing as well as changing mentalities; but most remained settled permanently in North America. These emigrants were also sometimes nicknamed “ar lostou ru” (“red tails”) in local Breton, referring to the color of their license plates.

Proof enough of this exchange of the Bretons with America is the fact that they have a replica of the Statue of Liberty, in the central square, (place de la Victoire) testifying to the exodus of the population of Gourin to the American continent.  Air France donated in 1996 to thanks the travellers who went the route from their office in Roudouallec until 1985 ;the initial statue of Liberty! The new  Statue of Liberty of Gourin will be identical to that of the Luxembourg Garden in Paris (in partnership with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux) There is a fund raiser going on to do this .

gourin

gourin

There are other wonderful things to see here but I will tell you I separate posts in my blog soon.

gourin

As to been after lunch, we still got a bit hungry so we stop by at the local bakery pastry and salon de thé shop Le Clec’h at Rue Jacques Rodalle just before the steep street leading to the Statue of Liberty. Nice abricot pastries indeed to keep us at bay until back home! And a nice mayor’s office across too. And do not forget the usual wonderful Saturday morning market at Place Stenfort!

gourin

gourin

gourin

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you should lots of history here and America at Gourin.

City of Gourin and its heritage things to see

Local tourist office of pays du roi morvan on Gourin

And there you go now me and you have seen  Gourin! A nice find and certaintly been so close a return trip is in order. I had a good impression of the town, lively, clean , good ambiance and wonderful things to see. What can I say, my beautiful Morbihan dept 56!

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

 

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2019

Restaurant: Perth Amboy, NJ!

So let met take you way back in time to a period of renew hopes and challenges facing a new family arriving from Madrid in English speaking New Jersey USA!  Adaptation period, language, customs and then enjoyment! All positive experiences that enrich my intetelect and keep fond memories of the place.

I like to go back way back in time and take you to a place rich in US history as still keeps a copy of Liberty Bell and the bust of Gen George T Washington as well as the oldest in activity city hall in the USA! Yes many more monuments I have spoken before in my blog. However, today let me bring back my souvenirs of this entry city into the United States for me and my parents. Of course, the food is mistakingly think that is bad but America is a world melting pot and we have the very best from everywhere, this is the case of my beloved Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey USA!

Let me tell you about my fav restaurants of my parents who took me there first and then me, of course so far back pictures are so much missed. Bear with me.

One old reliable that I even went after football./soccer matches was the Portuguese Manor,. This at the time was an almost daily routine; and keep coming back as late as 2007.  You will be in Portugal or Europe here ,great food. Lately the reviews have not been that great so check it out it is at 310 Elm St, halfway between Fayette st and Smith st, and walking distance from the train station direct to NYC.

Open since 1989, the Portuguese Manor  has a pleasantly old-fashioned atmosphere. The menu at this family-owned restaurant has changed little since it opened. Fortunately, the same goes for the budget-friendly prices. The menu offers a fine select of traditional Portuguese meat and seafood dishes, along with appetizers. Live bands and DJs are often featured on weekends. The webpage was not working lately so here is the Yelp reviews page.

Yelp reviews on the Portuguese Manor

The Armory is another jewel of historic significance as class reunions and graduation parties are held here, as well as a restaurant. We had held the 30th Class reunion in 2007 here but last minute cancellation took me elsewhere when I visit from France.

Official Armory restaurant

Located on Perth Amboy’s historic waterfront, at 200 Front St, the Seabra’s Armory specializes in Portuguese cuisine, as well as seafood and steaks. The restaurant is set in a renovated naval ammunition building dating back to WWI. Its elegant interior offers lovely views of Raritan Bay and Staten Island, NYC.

Yelp reviews on the Armory restaurant

Another old favorite is the The Barge, by the waterfront, just wonderful seafood while overlooking the Arthur Kill bay to New York City, its an institution in the city where my father took his business partners and us and eventually I came alone to meet his ours friends.  THE meeting point in the town.

Official The Barge restaurant

perth amboy

The Barge has been family-owned and operated since 1925. The restaurant overlooks the city’s historic waterfront, offering an intimate bar and dining area, as well as an upper floor dining room that can be rented for private parties. Live music performances often take place on the scenic outdoor patio during the warmer months. The restaurant offers a wide selection of meat and seafood entrées for dinner. There is also lighter fare such as sandwiches and wraps for lunch. Try one of the charcoal-grilled steaks or the broiled lobster, which is delivered fresh daily from Maine. The ultimate dining experience in Perth Amboy.

Yelp reviews on The Barge restaurant

One of our favorite things to do in Perth Amboy that has caught up with us wherever we are now, good and drinks is all part of a great visit anywhere. Hope you enjoy it and do come over when visiting the area, easy transport from New York City. 

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

July 26, 2019

Restaurant: Florida USA!

So back to my newest regular posts on restaurants of memories past in my world trotter travels. This time will take you a cherish place of mine where I lived for 18 years, that is Florida USA! Hope you enjoy the memorable moments and can come and visit them one day. Thanks for reading.

Miami’s original Cuban kitchen , La Carreta (the wagon) was born out of the growing demand for an authentic cultural Cuban hub.  A Cuban family-owned establishment, it continues to be a staple of  old Cuba’s family dining traditions of “grandmother style” food and famous Cuban espresso. To characterize Cuban food in terms of other cuisines, it’s basically a fusion of Spanish, French, African and Caribbean cuisines, drawing many distinctive flavors from each of these, with heavy influences of garlic, citrus, and sugar cane.

As a restaurant, you don’t stick around for more than 40 years and expand into a local chain if you’re not doing something right. And for La Carreta, that something is food. Lots of it. Though you’ll find some Spanish-inspired dishes, you can’t go wrong by sticking to Cuban classics like ropa vieja (shredded beef cooked with onions and Cuban mojo sauce (coming from Tenerife) , served with rice and sweet plantains) and boliche (pot roast stuffed with chorizo). Even when the restaurant is packed, the waiters are great at making you feel like you have all the time in the world to figure out what it is you want to eat. They’ll help you figure that out, too, if you want, they’re full of suggestions, and recommendations. But mainly they’re super-friendly and fast.

Each day, the restaurant offers a selection of three or four specials, and weekday lunch deals include breaded pork chop, shrimp creole, and fried grouper for less than $10. Expect large portions on the plates and a backroom café for strong Cuban coffee, sweet pastries and sugarcane juice. Though most of the ordering happens at the walk-up coffee window, serving up flaky pastelitos and espressos until the wee hours.

Official la Carreta restaurant on locations

miami

We came to them many times and our favorites family location were at the International Mall parking lot outside the mall right next to the Dolphin Expressway (State road 836) coming from Miami Beach at NW 107 ave. you see it from the Expressway. One of my favorite restaurant is here La Carreta, Cuban Cuisine at its best.

Offiical International Mall for orientation

Another location we went is the original restaurant at SW 8th street Miami, this is some reviews: Yelp reviews on original restaurant of La Carreta

Another dandy is TGI Fridays reputation as the best corner bar in town started in Manhattan in 1965 and my fav location was near Sawgrass Mill Mall in Sunrise, Broward County, Florida just north of my old home.  Located near W Sunrise Blvd & Yellow Toucan Rd, proudly bringing you the best local mix of food, fun, and handcrafted cocktails. Many times here with the family!

sunrise

Sunrise

Sawgrass Mills shopping center is huge, I mean huge  ,one of the biggest if not the biggest mall in the USA, and Florida’s largest. https://www.simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills

Also, tried them while visiting the USA at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport near Gate B19.  http://apps.atl.com/Passenger/ShopDineExplore/ViewStores.aspx?comp_id=130

Atlanta

They were in Paris, France at 8, Rue Du Faubourg Montmartre 9éme,  but departed by 2013 and not back yet. However, they are in Spain and have tried their Madrid branch as well as Prague, Czech Republic.

Official TGIF Sunrise location

Yelp reviews on Sunrise location

Another twist on the above is Applebees!  They are  your go-to restaurant for burgers, chicken, steaks, and the infamous riblets all served in a relaxed family-friendly environment. And don’t forget to checkout  their Neighborhood Drink of the Month special. Applebee was Established in 1980 originally base at Kansas City Missouri, later in 2015 relocated to Glendale, California. The first restaurant opened in November 1980 in Decatur, Georgia.

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar offers a lively casual dining experience combining simple, craveable American fare, classic drinks and local drafts. Now that’s Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood. a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Doral– Miami. I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers. The webpage of Applebee is not available from France due to the owners refusing to adhere to the European rights of information laws (RGPD).

Offiical Applebees

Yelp reviews of Applebee at NW 41 st Doral

Miami

Another family souvenir is the  Latin American Bayside Cuban Café at 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, in the Bayside Marketplace right at the entrance to the Port of Miami.  Awesome food and the Cuban sandwich & coffee are to die for. Great service n friendly staff. Made us go back again everyday while we were there.  For the big eaters this cantine type restaurant is a go and the possibility of choosing from a large selection of salads, meat grills all you can eat. There is a wine cellar and drinks but small selection. However, the location is superb in downtown/city center Miami.

The Latin American Bayside Cuban Café  has a nice location, with a small indoor seating area and bar, and a much larger outdoor patio, so you can overlooki Bayside’s harbor a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor by the port of Miami and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great Latin American Cafe,  while enjoying a nice mojito and watching several plates of Cuban food being brought forth from the kitchen. Sure, there are a lot of places to eat Cuban in Miami, but Bayside is quite the restaurant given it’s location and price.

Facebook page of Latin American Cafe Bayside

Yelp reviews on the Latin America Bayside Café

Official Bayside marketplace open air mall at port of Miami

miami

Another hugely favorite of ours is the Columbia Restaurant; we have been to the original in Tampa and also, St Augustine.  Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the Columbia Restaurant is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. It began in Tampa’s Ybor City, (from city area founder Vicente Ybor) as a small 60-seat corner cafe known for its Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches, frequented by the local cigar workers. To this day, more than 114 years since it first opened, the Columbia remains in the same family.

tampa

Over the years, Columbia Restaurant has attracted some of the most well known athletes and entertainers from yesteryear to today. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, Lou Piniella, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin, from Liberace to Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Brian Johnson of ACDC, from Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano to Evander Holyfield, from Marilyn Monroe and Liza Minelli to Bo Derek, everyone enjoys the Columbia.  Other recent visitors include George Clooney, Stephen King, Bryant Gumbel, Brooke Shields, and Lauren Hutton.

The restaurant’s wine list contains more than 1,056 wines with an inventory exceeding 50,000 bottles, and Columbia has won several awards for their Spanish wines. The restaurant features performances of flamenco, one of Spain’s traditional dances. another wonderful Florida combination of shopping, food, and games for the whole family!

Official Columbia Restaurant

tampa

tampa

Ybor City is a 10 square block National Landmark Historic District comprised of cobblestone streets and brick buildings that are an architectural fusion with strong Latin influences. The area reeks with history, for example President Teddy Roosevelt stayed there during the Spanish American War as did Sr. Winston Churchill who was reporting on the war for the London Daily Graphic.

Tourist office of Tampa on the Columbia at Ybor City

Ybor City official webpage on the Columbia Restaurant

The exquisite Columbia Restaurant sits in the heart of St. Augustine in the historic district of the nation’s oldest city, which was founded in 1565. St. Augustine is  also home to the Columbia Restaurant , located in the heart of the historic district at the corner of Hypolita and St. George Streets. We used to lived 45 min from it and visited often!!

Tourist office of St Augustine on the Columbia Restaurant

St Augustine

St Augustine

And now two of my favorite French hangouts while living in Florida USA.

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, no longer there but post for the memories.  We had our Büche de Nôel always done here as was not sold to the public for lack of knowledge of it;  ordered by my dear late wife Martine. The Royal French Bakery was South Miami’s go-to boulangerie/patisserie, with all that you’d expect from a French bakery (tarts, macarons, croissants galore), plus salads, sammies and cafe au laits. You can score the flaky, buttery treats in flavors like guava, ham & cheese and almond, to name a few of the goodies we got here over the years. The location was at  7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143.Just off Sunset Ave or NW 72 St. Now Closed in its place there is La Crêpe Bistro no relation do not know them.  It’s reviews are here on YELP: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-crepe-bistro-miami

Miami

Pleasant to verify the Croissan’Time Bakery at 1201 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL is still there! This bistro, bakery, and grocery store opened in 1986 by Bernard Casse, from  Port-Sainte-Marie in the region of Lot & Garonne France and very nice guy!! We came here for everything French even paying more for import taxes. He had started as a bakery in the southwest of France in the 1960’s and arrived in the USA in 1978. He began working in several establishments such as the prestigious La Grenouille, New York, before starting his own business.  In his team there was also Matthieu Cartron, that had worked in France, Saint-Martin, and New York, that came to lent a hand as well as the baker Garry Petigny. All the breads of Croissan’Time  are done on site from scratch. More info at official webpage here:  http://www.croissantime.com/

Yelp reviews on the Croissan’Time

Ft Lauderdale

And to show how the French community of Florida mingles and get to know each other as we had for many years there from 1990 to 2003; Miami Accueil is managed by the Consulat de France de Miami (very helpful understanding group who helped us immensily the transition from USA to France! merci!) and groups all the French residents in its jurisdiction. The group was done to share activities with French families of all sorts including those above. Official Miami Accueil , Consulat de France de Miami

There you go hope not too long, try to be as brief as possible for all these souvenirs of my life ,never to be forgotten and thanks WordPress for allowing me to share it here for my memories and the enjoyment of others. Thank you

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

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