Archive for ‘Americas’

January 22, 2022

Miramar, my Havana, mi Habana !!

This is another time lapse for me going back many years 51 in fact! One has travel the world from a small spot on earth and gather many moments and souvenirs but there is always home. I am a native of Havana, and to come from my district to the old Havana needed to passed each day by Miramar. The name might seems familiar to those in Florida as there is a city there name after the one in Havana, and gosh I lived there many years later!!

Let me give you a bit of off the beaten path trip that would be wonderful to see again if possible. I am talking about the neighborhood of Miramar one of the main residential areas of the city of Havana, Cuba. Today , they put it in the county of Playa in Havana.

The Cuban upper class lived here before 1959 in sumptuous mansions and houses with pools, large patios, and other amenities. Being located in front of the coast, it made possible the existence of numerous spas, yacht clubs and social clubs in the wealthiest sectors. The stores were the best known in Cuba. Its busiest and most fundamental street, Fifth Avenue, with the same name as the famous one in New York, is considered by many to be the most beautiful street in all of Cuba.

The urban project for the construction of Miramar was conceived and signed in 1910 or 1911. The Miramar project was carried out on the grounds of the “La Miranda” family estate, making it a 100% Cuban urban project. This project is approved by the Marianao (another city just next to Havana ,and part of Marianao at the time) city council on February 6, 1911. On July 19, 1913 the contract to execute the urbanization of the Miramar neighborhood is signed.

The metal drawbridge over the Almendares river was popularly called the Pote bridge, an iron bridge over the Almendares river, in the extension of Calzada del Vedado ,a boulevard (going into another modern neighborhood Vedado)   towards Miramar. In 1920, when the 5th avenue to 42nd street section was completely designed and built, the Torre del Reloj or Clock Tower on 5th avenue and 10th street was made between 1921 and 1924 and is a 22-meter-high tower with its old carillon, a replica of London’s Big Ben, according to what it says as there is no written proof. The machinery of the clock has a mechanism by which music and time are synchronized, also chimes that sound every 15, 30 and 60 minutes, as well as every nine hours. After a period of deterioration in the 1960’s and onward, it was decided to do work on it which took three months, and finally the quarter of an hour and the melody of the bells were heard again. The four spheres, located on each side of the tower, give the exact time as they did in a distant 1924. The tower keeper need to climb the tower ladder every 72 hours and wind the machine, using the same mechanism as the manufacturers did. And the tradition is thankfully kept. Great for me as really when you passed this clock tower you really finally were in Miramar for us, memories. I have the first picture from my last visit in 2012.

havana miramar 5ta avenida clock tower feb12

You will see the Fountain of the Americas located at the beginning of 5th Avenue and the sculptures were made in 1920. The Fountain is integrated into one of the parks on both sides of 5th Avenue, like the 2 large street parks at 24 and 26th streets. It is next to one of these two park blocks that the Church of Santa Rita was built in 1941. In Miramar  numerous artificial beaches were built, the so-called Playas del Oeste or west beaches, formerly private clubs. The Miramar Yacht Club founded in 1926 with a nautical, sporty and social atmosphere, began in 1927 with a classic wooden construction on Avenida 96 and the sea. It was in 1952 that it was replaced by one in modern architecture. The 1950s was the year of the real estate explosion in Miramar, the Almendares tunnel and the Linea tunnel date from this time, to substantially improve access to the neighborhood. The most luxurious buildings in Cuba are built in the Miramar at that time, true mansions and palaces, with swimming pools, large gardens and patios decorated with statues and fountains, which alternated with yacht and social clubs such as the Havana Yacht Club, in addition to others truly colossal churches such as that of Jesús de Miramar Church on 5th avenue and 82 street, in addition to the San Antonio de Padua Church on 5th avenue and 60 street. The picture below on the fountain is from my first visit back ,in 1998.

havana miramar 5ta avenida aug98

At the end of the construction of the Malecon (big bulkward to the ocean) that extended it to the mouth of the Chorrera (tower bordering the Almendares and Cojimar rivers), the 5th Avenue becomes its natural extension, towards the other side of the Almendares River, with which the new neighborhood and all the territory of the west becomes a new housing seat. The crossing that was made through the Pote drawbridge, represented a great problem for the heavy traffic in the area and was finally replaced by a double track underwater tunnel in 1957. The vast majority of the people who lived here left Cuba as a result of the triumph of the Cuban revolution (or as some said the stolen revolution) in 1959 and went with their families to the United States, and Spain mainly.

The unofficial Havana Guide on Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/havana-guide-home/places-in-havana/

The Cuba travel site on Havana : https://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The Cuba tourist office infotur on Havana: https://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, another nostalgic tour of yours truly. Hope you enjoy the post and possibly visit Miramar in better times. The Clock tower or Torre del Reloj is a memory of the past still shining for all to enjoy in Miramar,my Havana, mi La Habana!

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

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January 22, 2022

Two memorable spots in my nostalgic Havana, La Habana !!!

Of course, when I write/speak about Cuba its all nostalgia from times far away in another world, I am a native son who left the messy dictatorship long ago to into another one before reaching the free world, It has been a long journey indeed. I am remembering my early life and thought about Havana , and search for some pictures , hardly any left but got me one and another on a postcard for the memories still lingered of what it was. My Havana.Mi Habana ! Let me update this older post for you and me and old time’s sake.

When I was just a little boy back in the 60’s I remember my mother Gladys taking me on bus rides the 27, 99, etc into Havana as well as with some friends and family by an Oldsmobile or Chevrolet Bel Air’s mind you.I still have the miniature models of the Bel Air, my maternal grandfather’s cars, One of the essence of Cuba is the cooking, coming from mixtures of races European, African, and in between some Orientals. The choices were big back then, and some scratch for better today.

One of my old time favorites that I have found a picture were the El Conejito (little rabbit) and El Potin (coming from old French Gossips). They are still in my heart today thanks to my dear late mother Gladys or mima as I called her.

The El Conejito was created by 1966 in Vedado district of Havana. On Calle M and 17 . It was a sumptuous restaurant serving many dishes all with the rabbit as main course. I do not recall how many variarities of it they did but it was a full menu carte.  There is not much information online just memories. The below is from a postcard no pictures sadly.

havana-el-conejito-resto c 1971

I remembered we always had to make reservations and it was packed back in the late 60’s. We would be visiting old Havana and on the way home we stopped here; just great souvenirs. Luckily for you,the restaurant is still there and I highly recommend you try it while in Havana. A family hairloom memory ; I believe they are still open.

The El Potin cafeteria restaurant was even closer to home at Linea and Paseo del Prado in Vedado district as well. This is actually a French name meaning gossip, and we really enjoy the cafeteria style sandwiches that are so famous in Paris such as croque monsieur and croque madame as well as French desserts like the Paris Brest! Coffee of course was sublime from the mountains in eastern provinces of Cuba like Oriente; where many French landowner colonists from Haiti settled after the Haiti Revolution of 1805 made them leave there. And maybe this is where my French love affairs really began without noticing it !

havana

I came here with my dear Mom Gladys even more often I recalled, and sat by the terrace looking over Linea street which is a no number street in Vedado. It is one of the modern historical streets there. Linea was for the streetcar (tramway of today ) tracks that ran along this street. It was renamed to Avenida del Presidente Wilson in 1918 and to Doble Vía General Batista in the 50s, but people kept calling it by its original name. One thing that is peculiar about this street is that it has a tunnel across the Almendares River. The picture I have is passing by car as had no will to entered, too many memories.

Again not much information online , just the memoriesI again highly recommend coming here, is not what it was but the feel of Havana and Cuba is still there, and you will mingle with locals. Enjoy i

The unofficial Havana Guidehttps://www.lahabana.com/guide/havana-guide-home/places-in-havana/

The Cuba tourist site on Havanahttps://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The Cuba tourist office on Havanahttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, another nostalgia spot in my vault. These are or were unique places not back since 2012 and do not know if still open. Nevertheless,El Conejito and Potin are here for the memories of always in my blog!

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

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January 6, 2022

The Havan dept store of Curitiba!!

Well, there you go me talking about shopping! I am getting better of the past time…While working in Curitiba, Paranà State, of Brazil , I needed to do my own shopping. This was on everything! One day driving around in my glorious Chevy Prisma(!!) I past by a building that had the Statue of Liberty out front! The name did not mean anything to me, Havan, but did stop and went in.

This was a pleasant surprise and a great shopping spree thereafter for my 3 months in Curitiba! Havan is a dept store loaded with everything for the house except food. I am glad find it  and will finally tell you about it because found a picture in my vault!  My store was at Avenida Paranà 3693, neighborhood of Boa Vista. 

Curitiba Havan dept store front 2008

The store started its activities in 1986 in the city of Brusque (Santa Catarina state). From the beginning, the owner Luciano Hang showed a forward vision. The store that sold only fabrics, opened its doors to import, changed from segment to department store, expanded the number of branches, and today there are more than one hundred stores and it continues to grow.  Havan receives more than 110 million customers per year, who have at their disposal a mix of more than 100,000 national and imported products. The Havan dept store is represented by the brand’s symbol: the Statue of Liberty ! , which is much appreciated by all. The stores also have a food court, free parking and much more. This whole set makes Havan a center for tourism, leisure and shopping, and the most complete department store in Brazil.

It has range of products going from Decoration Articles, Beach and Camping, Toys, Bed, Table and Bath, Electronics, Tools, baby line, School supplies, Women’s, Men’s, Children’s Fashion , Carpets, and Household items. All under one roof, with a nice parking area.

The official Havan dept store webpage : https://www.havan.com.br/

There you go folks, a dandy nice experience never to forget, and to boot I did the shopping on my own lol! I even bought gifts here for the family back home in France! The Havan experience was nice indeed.Hope you enjoy the post as I, memories forever!!!

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

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January 6, 2022

The Praça do Japão or Japan square of Curitiba!

And here I come around the wonderful monuments of this pretty city of Curitiba, of many memories if you can tell from my posts. I really enjoyed my stayed here ( 3 months) and looking forward to one day be back.  Let me tell you a new spot with new text and an older picture about the Praça do Japão or Japan square of Curitiba! 

The Praça do Japão or Japan Square is located near my home there at Av. Sete de Setembro, s/n , neighborhood of Água Verde (I lived off same street further in at neighborhood Batel!) .  It was built in honor of Japanese immigrants who arrived from 1910 onwards. The capital of the State of Paraná, Curitiba, has the second largest Japanese community in Brazil, behind São Paulo.

Curitiba parque japan 2008

In a wooded area of ​​14 thousand square meters, there are 30 cherry trees, sent by the Japanese empire, and six artificial lakes in Japanese molds scattered around the square. A sculpture of Buddha in the center of one of the lakes, symbolizes the brotherhood between Curitiba and Himeji, in addition to transmitting the patience and art of the Japanese, present in Brazil since the beginning of the 20C.

There is also a lantern carved in stone, a traditional symbol in the gardens of Japan, which was donated by the legislative assembly of Hyogo, sister region of Paraná, in 1979.  In July 2018, Espaço Tomie Ohtake was opened, in honor of the artist, who died in 2015. A work by her, consisting of a red sculpture seven meters high and structured in steel, was installed at the site.

The city of Curitiba tourist guide on Praça do Japãohttp://www.curitiba-parana.net/japao.htm

The Curitiba tourist office on the Praça do Japão  : https://turismo.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/praca-do-japao/1618

As you can see while I was there, they were renovating the square but still was beautiful. I can imagine now should be gorgeous. This is another dandy spot I walked and drove (had a Chevy Prisma car!!) in pretty Curitiba, nice memories of the Praça do Japão! Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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January 5, 2022

The Ukranian memorial of Curitiba!!

A wonderful city of great happy memories that was Curitiba, State of Paranà in Brazil. I happened to be sent there as an expat and even was offered a permanent job that the other half rejected but I had a great time there. I am relieving these wonderful moments and on this one is all new text with an older picture. Let me tell you a bit on the Ukraniam Memorial of Curitiba!!! Hope you enjoy as I!

Inside the ​​Parque Tingüi, located at Rua Dr Mba de Ferrante s/n, the visitor finds, at the entrance, the portal and, further on, the replica of the old chapel of São Miguel, in Serra do Tigre, a town in Mallet-Pr ,Ukraine, with its golden dome , built in wood, in Byzantine style, where there is a permanent exhibition of pêssankas (hand-painted eggs), icons and embroidery. Beside the chapel is the bell tower, which symbolizes integration into the new land and the importance of religion as a maintainence of cultural unity. A souvenir shop is located in a typical house of Ukrainian architecture, where handcrafted products are sold ,Folklore demonstrations and typical ethnic festivities take place with support from the Cultural Foundation of Curitiba and the Ukrainian community: Bênção dos Alimentos (sales of foodies on the Saturday of Alleluia), the National Day of Ukraine (in August), the Feast of the Harvest (in October) and the Feast of St. Nicholas (in November).

curitiba mem ucraniano 2008

It was inaugurated on October 26, 1995, in honor of the centenary of the arrival of immigrants from Ukraine. The Memorial, is a tribute to the contribution of these people to the state’s culture. Eight Ukrainian families arrived in Paraná in 1891, settling in the Santa Bárbara Colony, between Palmeira and Ponta Grossa, but it was only after 1895 that the large waves of immigrants settled in the outskirts of Curitiba and, later, in Prudentópolis and Marshal Mallet. It is estimated that by 1914 about 45 thousand Ukrainian immigrants had arrived in Paraná. The main monument of the Memorial is the replica of the Ukrainian Church of Saint Michael, in Serra do Tigre ,town of Mallet, one of the oldest in the country.

The official Ukranian portal on the memorialhttps://www.ucraniano.com.br/memorial.html

The Curitiba tourist office on the Ukranian Memorial: https://turismo.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/memorial-ucraniano/1638

There you go folks, another dandy monument of Curitiba, great architecture and even better history; I love it. Hope you have enjoy this post as the others of this international city of Curitiba! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 5, 2022

The Parque Tanguà of Curitiba!!

And I bring you south to Brazil, that is and the biggest country there, which lucky enough to have been visiting since 1992, and as latest as 2018; even had the opportunity to lived in Curitiba on a job assignment back in 2008. I lived in Curitiba and it was superb! I have several posts on the city, and feels this park needs a post of its own, Let me tell you a bit on the Parque Tanguà of Curitiba!!! in the State of Paranà, Brazil!

Tanguá Park is one of the main parks in the city of Curitiba, capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná. It is located  at Rua Oswaldo Maciel, 97 – Pilarzinhoin the northern region of the city, in the barrios Pilarzinho and Taboão. It was founded on November 23, 1996 and built where there were two quarries, deactivated since then. It occupies an area of 235,000 m², and serves a function of preservation of the northern basin of the Barigui river, quite close to the town of Almirante Tamandaré.

Curitiba parque Tangua main entr 2008

In the old quarries of the Gava family ; that’s why the unusual geography of the Parque Tanguá , The park is divided into two parts. At the top are the gazebo and the gardens. At the bottom there are lakes, hiking trails, an artificial waterfall and a rock tunnel that is 65 meters high, It, also, has towers that give the visitor a panoramic view of the city. The Parque Tanguá has a semi-circle lookout that provides a beautiful view of the city and an even more special view of the sunset. This lookout is on top of a stone wall of an old quarry. If you want, you can even cross the quarry through a 45-meter long tunnel, on a walkway over the water, just schedule the visit. It is equipped with anchorage, bike trails, track and field courses, cafeteria and two parking lots for cars; one in the lower area and the other in the upper area. In the upper area is the garden Poty Lazzarotto, inaugurated on June 6, 1998 . Its name is in homage to the local artist Poty Lazzarotto. I have to say it was my favorite park!

curitiba parque tangua to city 2008

curitiba parque tangua waterfall 2008

I say it is worth it for the whole family, especially for: Visit the Poty Lazzarotto Garden (entrance via R. Oswaldo Maciel), observing its French style with flower beds and water features; go through a tunnel that passes through a rock that joins two lakes, 45 meters long, observing the beautiful scenery around; have a picnic or barbecue using the local infrastructure (kiosks, barbecue grills, etc.) and walking and/or running along the trails/tracks in the park, admiring nature. Sublime!

curitiba parque tangua tunnel lake 2008

The Curitiba Paranà guide on Parque Tanguàhttp://www.curitiba-parana.net/parques/tangua.htm

The Curitiba Paranà govt tourism on Parque Tanguàhttps://www.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/parque-municipal-tangua/318

The city of Curitiba on Parque Tanguàhttps://www.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/croqui-parque-tangua/319

There you go folks , a very nice parks good for the whole family and where the whole city of Curitiba meets. I had many opportunities to see my co workers here on weekends for further chats and got to know their families in a friendly typical Brazilian way. The Parque Tanguà was it on weekends, just great memories forever always in my heart. I hope one day to be back to Curitiba. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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January 5, 2022

The Bosque Alemão of Curitiba!!

And I bring you overt to Brazil, that is , which lucky enough to have been visiting since 1992, and as latest as 2018; even had the opportunity to lived in Curitiba on a job assignment back in 2008. I lived in Curitiba and it was superb! I have several posts on the city, and feels this park needs a post of its own, Let me tell you a bit on the Bosque Alemão or German Forest of Curitiba!!! in the State of Paranà, Brazil!

The German forest or Bosque Alemão formerly the Schaffer family estate with 38000 m² of area, was inaugurated in 1996 in the city of Curitiba. It is located in the neighborhood Vista Alegre (Jardim Schaffer) and is formed by dense native forest. It was created to honor the culture and traditions that German immigrants brought to Curitiba from 1833.[ The Neighborhood Vista Alegre (Jardim Schaffer), houses the entire area of the grove that is located between the streets Franz Schubert, Niccolò Paganinie and Francisco Schaffer.

Curitiba bosque alemao german park main house 2008

Oratorio Bach, a music hall. It is one of the main attractions of the German Forest and is installed in the replica of an old church. The salon was inaugurated on April 13, 1996.  Some of the things to see here are, the Tower of the Philosophers, with a gazebo from where one sees much of the preserved area. The João and Maria Trail, where children have the opportunity to experience one of the most beautiful children’s tales. The Enchanted House, with a children’s library, and where is made the time of the tale for kids, with witches and fairies. The Germanic Culture Square, where the cultural richness of German immigrants is showcase. The Forest of native Atlantic trees is preserved with clear water springs.

curitiba bosque alemao cascade 2008

The view from the top of the lookout is impressive. The German Forest offers one of the best spots in Curitiba to observe the city from the Serra do Mar. The green space has exuberant nature and several spaces that pay homage and reference to the Germanic peoples. Praça da Poesia Germanica is a reproduction of the facade of Casa Mila. This was an early 20C Germanic building that was originally in the center of town. The Gradil in the central upper opening of the portal is original from the old building.

The Curitiba tourist office on the Bosque Alemaohttps://turismo.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/bosque-alemao/1099

The Curitiba Parana govt on Bosque Alemaohttps://www.curitiba.pr.gov.br/conteudo/bosque-municipal-alemao/268

There you go folks , a very nice parks good for the whole family and where the whole city of Curitiba meets. I had many opportunities to see my co workers here on weekends for further chats and got to know their families in a friendly typical Brazilian way. The Bosque Alemão was it on weekends, just great memories forever always in my heart. I hope one day to be back to Curitiba. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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December 31, 2021

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

This is probably will be my shortest post but with the most intense desire in me. I like to thanks all my readers, followers, posters, well wishers during 2021 for their kind following of my blog.

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!! Some traditions I Like

Happy New Year 2022

In Italy, Lentils in a New Year’s dish serve the same function as the black-eyed peas in Hoppin’ John, with their round shape representing coins. And in the Philippines, it’s customary to eat 12 round fruits, one for every month, to ensure a year of abundance. The fruits usually take center stage at the table for the media noche or middle night or the midnight meal.

And in the Philippines, revelers don’t just try to eat circles — partygoers wear them, too. Polka dots are all the rage on December 31, increasing the chances for a fortunate new year.

New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop since 1907. And while the first one was just iron and wood, today you can watch a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs make its descent, even from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Me saw it from 1974 to 1985!

Plymouth, Wisconsin hosts a Big Cheese Drop; Kennett Square, PA uses a giant mushroom, and New Orleans drops a fleur de lis (à la française).Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year’s Eve outfit ,everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.

You might think that making resolutions for the new years is a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old, probably more than 4,000 years old, in fact. Historians believe Babylonians, one of the first cultures to actually celebrate the changing of the year made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects. It’s a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded.

In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing , people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family.

Yes, exactly 12,one at each stroke of midnight. That’s what they do in Spain , pop one grape for every month of the New Year. If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you’ll face misfortune in the new year.

On New Year’s Eve, families in Greece hang bundles of onions above their doors as a means of inviting that prosperity into the home. It’s also said that, on New Year’s Day, parents wake up their children in the morning by gently bonking their kids on the head with the onions that were outside.

In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you’d gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps.

Walloon and Flemish farmers in Belgium make sure everyone can get in on the festivities,  even the livestock. They rise early on January 1 to wish a “Happy New Year” to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they’ll have a good farming year.

Ireland’s most interesting tradition doesn’t involve eating. Instead, the Irish bang on the walls of their homes with Christmas bread. It’s said to chase any bad spirits out of the house to start the new year off with a clean slate.

In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It’s supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel.

In Japan, it’s traditional to eat “toshikoshi soba” a dish with long, buckwheat noodles that’s served hot or cold. The noodles symbolize longevity, and the hearty buckwheat plant represents resilience. In Japan, for ōmisoka, buddhist temple bells ring out 108 times as in the lead up to the new year. Each chime is supposed to root out a worldly passion, such as anger, suspicion or lust. The last toll comes at midnight.

In Turkey, pomegranates are symbols of abundance. Eating them is great, sure, but if you really want a good 2022, you’ll smash the fruit on your doorstep.

Singapore decorates its Singapore River with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of new year revelers.

In Ecuador, the bad parts of the old year or año viejo are turned into effigies and burned. People make sawdust-filled dummies out politicians, pop-culture figures and other characters, and then burn them at midnight as a sort of cleansing ritual. For extra good-luck points, participants try to jump over the flames 12 times, once for every month.

In Scotland, the Isle of Man and some other parts of Northern England, the “first footer,” as it was called, was extremely important. Tradition in those parts of the world states to select a man who is tall and dark (as a protection against Vikings), who would come with simple gifts of coal, salt, shortbread and whisky, representing the basic needs of heat, food and drink. Choosing wisely meant good luck for the upcoming year.

In my belle France we usually ring in the New Year with a huge feast, commonly know as le réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. The meal is full of traditional, decadent eats, including foie gras, oysters, lobster and escargot. And, Champagne is the drink of choice.

This is for the memories the New Year’s celebration from the Château de Chantilly awesome!!! Also, to thank you again for your loyal following as 2021 gave my blog 48 629 views ,23 487 visitors, 26 980 likes, 839 comments, and did 1 215 posts! Thank you all!!!!

Chantilly castle entr new year 2022 dec21

Some of the traditions not all. Hoping they are alright, you let me know ok. I just know for sure France , Spain, and the New York USA. Again

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

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

December 18, 2021

The Capitol of Havana !!

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early childhood years ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country. Again the pictures are from 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I.

One of the most recognisable buildings in Havana and a childhood past time. This is a wonderful building and a must to see while in Havana.  I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana.  The building was destined to host the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba, before its unfortunate revolution. After the Cuban communist revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

havana entero

El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft). It is located between the  calle Pardo, calle Dragones, calle Industria, and calle San Jose, streets. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. The materials  needed to built it were about five million bricks, 38000 cubic meters of sand and 40000 of stones, 150,000 bags of cement, three 1500 tons of structural steel and two thousand of dowels, quantities truly impressive at the times.  It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls in this section were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

havana capitolio-middle-diamond-all-dist-in-cuba-measure

The details of the work made the Capitol building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

havana capitolio front

To continue the description of this wonderful Capitol building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the communist revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne or Giraldilla under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof. Among the treasures of the installation is the statue that symbolizes the Republic (Giraldilla), Legend of love, history, art, symbol….. everything enclosed in this little statue, made by the Cuban sculptor Jeronimo Martin Pinzon in the 3rd decade of the 17C , and which today is the third largest sculpture under the roof in the world.

havana capitolio-la-giraldilla-simbolo-de-la-habana

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidosthe hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance. The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by a Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba (so they said).  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio de La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.

havana capitolio-pas-perdu

The Capitol of Havana constitutes one of the most notable symbols of the city, comparable to the Morro Castle,  Cathedral and the image of the architectural profile of the Malecón . It is named by some experts as one of the six most important palaces in the world.  It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it as I flashing memories in my mind.

The trip Cuba travel site reg in Cuba on the Capitol of Havanahttps://www.tripcuba.org/el-capitolio-havana

The La Habana private travel site on the Capitol of Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/capitolio/

The Havana tourist office on its heritage: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

There you go folks,another dandy memory lane monument in my precious Havana. The Capitol building is it, read could be under renovations, needed for sure but worth the wait to see it anytime. Me always dreaming someday to see all of this again with a better government. Hope you enjoy the post as I recalling these memorable monuments of my Cuba.

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

December 18, 2021

The Cathedral of Havana!

I will go back to tell you about a beautiful building in a distance land, you know its me. I am nostalgic on a cloudy, cold day in my now belle France. I like to tell you about a wonderful building so dear to me when a kid taken there by my dear mother ; this is the Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana or the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Cathedral of Havana.  The Cathedral is link directly with the history of Havana and Cuba. My pictures are from last trip in 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I recalling it.

The Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana  is in the old casco historico or historic center of the city name to UNESCO world heritage sites as a whole. First it was a prayer by old huts and bird dropping use as a house of prayer since 1528 ,then,  it was a prayer site for the disciples of  Saint Ignacio of the order of the Jesuistes in 1727, then construction began by 1748 and by 1767 the collegiale was built but the church not yet completed. It was declared a Cathedral on June 22,  1790. The Cathedral was not finished until 1832.

havana catedral plaza de la catedral

At first , in 1748, the church would be the Oratory of the Children of St. Ignatius of the Order of the Jesuits, then it would become a cathedral. By royal decree in 1714, the Jesuits obtained the long-awaited permission and by 1727 they were notified of the exact place where they could build the church and the convent. In the year 1767, the school was finished, but not the church, at that moment the expulsion of the Jesuits of the New World takes place. In 1772 due to the deplorable state of the major parish, the Spanish authorities decided to move it to the Oratory of San Felipe Neri and in 1777, moved to the church half-built of the Jesuits. In 1778 by order of Bishop Felipe José de Trespalacios began the process of transformation of the old Oratory of St. Ignatius in the Cathedral of Havana, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, whose image is visible on the main altar. The central nave was occupied until the independence of the island by a funerary monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus, then, at the end of the colonial period , the ashes of the admiral  were kept for 100 years ,later were transferred to the Cathedral of Seville. The wooden frame on the funeral square inside the Cathedral of Seville is original wood from Cuba.

havana catedral altar feb12

The Cathedral is of Baroque style, and considered more similar to those done in Tuscany, Italy by its two side bell towers, its temple forms a rectangle of 34×36 meters,with  three naves and eight lateral chapels, divided by thick pillars. The floor is in black and white marble. The sculptures and goldsmith works of the altars as well as of the main shrine were done by the Italian Bianchini, they were executed in Rome in 1820 under the direction of the famous Spanish sculptor Antonio Solá. Behind this altar are three original frescoes by the Italian painter Perovani. The interior paintings were made by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Vermay. Among the various chapels that houses is the one of Notre Dame of Loreto, 1755, before the transformation in cathedral of the former Jesuit parish, it has an independent entrance. There is  a  fine sculpture of  San Cristobal or Saint Christopher, patron saint of Havana, (for Christopher Columbus name as Havana official name is San Cristobal de La Habana) dates from 1632 and was made by Martín Andújar in Sevilla. Its dome that is below the side towers is visible from the surrounding buildings with an intense orange color.

havana catedral inside feb12

It is surrounded by the square that bears its name, Plaza de la Catedral, that houses the mansions of the colonial nobility, among these are the Palace of the Marquis of Arcos, the House of the Counts of Casa Bayona, 1720, which is currently the Museum of Colonial Art and the mansion of the Marques de Aguas Claras. Also, the Palacio del Conde Lombillo or palace of count of LombilloThe Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral in 1998 to try to bring peace and respect of human life to the island rule by a so call communist dictatorship.

The Havana tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Cuba tourist office on Havana: https://infotur.cu/es/destinos/habana

 The Archdioceses of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva/historia/

The Catholic Church in Cuba, with parisheshttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/directory/132

There you go folks, a dandy on a beautiful experience in diehard Havana, Cuba. Hope it helps your understanding and see the wonders of the Paris of the Americas (Havana) even in its still sad situation. The Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana is beautiful, simply call it the Catédral!

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

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