Archive for ‘Americas’

March 26, 2020

Trés Coraçoes, Brazil!!!

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

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

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

tres coracoes

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

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

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

tres coracoes

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

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

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

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

tres coracoes

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

tres coracoes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

March 26, 2020

The streets of Mexico DF, some!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mexico

Mexico

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

Mexico

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

mexico

mexico

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

 

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

Mexico

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

Mexico

Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

March 25, 2020

The Gentlemen from Paris, Havana!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

havana

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

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

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

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

 

March 25, 2020

A courthouse at Daytona Beach!

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

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

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

daytona beach

Daytona beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daytona Beach

Credit:Volusia County Courthouse City Island Daytona Beach

A bit of history I like

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

Ormond Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 24, 2020

Walt Disney, Orlando!!!

Wow, I just notice!!! Have not written a post on the Walt Disney parks in Orlando Florida!! Hear all about it, lived not far from there, visit even from my college days for rides and concerts, took my family as a tour guide!!! and later my wife and boys!! We did it and just briefly mentioned in previous posts where  I mostly wrote about our experience in Disneyland Paris. 

Well even if photos are few and between by now, I need to have this in my blog. Hope it helps and you too can visit the best Disney park, period. Photos are from early 1990’s.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the largest leisure complex of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. It is located about 30 km from Orlando, actually by the Lake Buena Vista city area but commonly call Orlando. The area covers more than 27,400 acres (111 km2), a little more than the city of Paris (105 km2) or twice the island of Manhattan (50 km2). Walt Disney negotiated with the State of Florida so that the domain could have a jurisdiction comparable to a city. It was the signing of the Reedy Creek Act which in 1965 created the equivalent of a municipality run by a private company, the first of its kind.

Between the end of 1963 and 1964, Walt Disney under the guise of agents and shell companies, proposed to buy from many small owners their orange grove or their marshland about 30 km from Orlando, between the Bay Lake, the intersection of Interstate I-4 highway, then under construction and the federal road US 192 for a total of 27,400 acres (11,088 ha) (111 km2). The secret was kept from the press so as not to cause inflation in the price of land.

Walt Disney decides to create a whole world and settles in Orlando. The Walt Disney World amusement park is being born. In 1971, it opened Magic Kingdom, the first of 4 major Walt Disney parks. Followed the opening of Epcot Park in 1982, Disney MGM Studios Park in 1984 and finally Animal Kingdom Park in 1997. When you enter the world of Walt Disney World parks in Orlando as elsewhere, you switch to another world led by the famous mouse with big ears. All done before we left Florida, after many trips here with my boys! And even before concerts by me!!!

orlando

In each of the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando, you will find a dedicated universe. In the Magic Kingdom park: Disney princes and princesses and the famous Cinderella Castle, In the Epcot park: a World Show Case. At Disney Hollywood Studios: the Star Wars world. In the Animal Kingdom park: a safari. In the parks of Blizzards Beach and Typhoon Lagoon: aquatic activities. And finally the new Downtown Disney: Disney Springs.

The traditional first park, meet Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jasmine and all the Disney princesses at Magic Kingdom! Embark on the Caribbean pirate ship, sing in Fantasyland and enjoy the magic of Disney.

orlando

Go on to Epcot and its world of the future imagined by the Disney team in 1970. Go to Epcot Park to discover 11 countries thanks to the World Show Case! Taste Chinese, German, French, English, Japanese and Mexican specialties on the same day!

Orlando

Welcome to the magic of Disney-style cinema! Face the ghosts of the Hollywood Tower of Terror! Use force to survive the Star Wars, watch a live Jedi combat show! In Disney Hollywood Studios Park, you will feel like you have passed to the other side of the screen.

Welcome to the Walt Disney World Wildlife Park. In the Animal Kingdom park, take a safari in Africa! Watch the gorillas and tigers! Escape the clutches of a Trex! And embark on an unforgettable journey on the planet Pandora to meet the Na’vi.

Fancy a day of shopping in the world of Mickey? Go to Disney Springs! An entire village dedicated to shopping and restaurants! All like the mouse with big ears.   Disney Springs is a commercial area divided into 4 parts by the lake

Pleasure Island party on an island with night clubs (we love it and I have many memorable nights here from college days lol!) More forest-based marketplace with many Disney boutiques, a Rainforest Cafe (we love it) and a huge McDonald’s. West Side part closer to Las Vegas with restaurants and attractions such as DisneyQuest and a permanent Cirque du Soleil theater.

Disney’s BoardWalk ; it is a commercial area integrated into a hotel, representing a pediment of a New England seaside resort around 1930.

Looking for freshness? Visit the Blizzard Beach water park where you will feel like swimming in the middle of an icy pool! Obviously, this is an illusion and the rendering is absolutely stunning and original. A water park that immerses visitors in the middle of the Caribbean islands. Welcome to Typhoon Lagoon. Relax in wave lagoons or hit the water slides at top speed!

Then, you have others such as the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Sports training and events center open to the public.   Five world-class 18-hole golf courses, a sixth of 9 holes, 2 miniature golf courses. The lakes with their hiking or horse riding routes, their marinas and many other activities: Bay lake; Crescent Lake; Lake Buena Vista; and Seven Seas Lagoon.

orlando

A whole world of entertainment awaiting you with lots of lodgings and eating places of all prices all over in addition to many other attractions nearby. This makes the area around Walt Disney a complete one stop family and fun place to be. Absolutely cannot miss it at least once.  A must in Florida, and it gets visitors from all over the world as well. As said, I have many memories there from going to concerts to going to rides and taken other friends or family as guide and eventually taking my wife and boys. We left the area in 2003 ,and I bet it has grown even more since then. On our subsequent visits to  Florida we had not stopped by.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Walt Disney webpage: Official Walt Disney

Tourist office of Orlando on Disney: Tourist office of Orlando on Disney

Tourist office of Florida on Disney: Tourist office of Florida on Disney

Tourist office of the USA on Disney Orlando: Tourist office USA on Disney Orlando

For out of park entertainment shopping, eating and just night fun see the Disney Springs: Official Disney Springs

There you go now you are well armed to visit this wonderful park and area of Lake Buena Vista, Orlando and not forget Kissimmee to enjoy it fully with the family. Hope you like the post and have the opportunity to see this marvel.

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

 

 

 

March 24, 2020

Villa Vizcaya at Miami!

Ok so here I am telling you of another jewel of my years in Florida, 18 to be exact and still searching for photos! Memories are forever ,they tell me and it is true. This property was many summers pastime for me and my family with great views of Biscayne Bay. Ok I am cheating a bit on the title as Miami is the better known name, but actually it is in Coconut Grove ok. Just a street over from Miami!

Let me tell you a bit on the other brother Deering and his Villa Vizcaya!

Villa Vizcaya or the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, built by James Deering, is a villa built in the style of a 16C North Italian villa. It is located in Coconut Grove ,next to Miami The villa was built as a winter residence for businessman James Deering .It is precisely located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Coconut Grove.

The name Vizcaya derives from the Spanish Basque province of Biscay. In fact, the villa dominates the Biscayne Bay while Vizcaya dominates the Bay of Biscay . This name would mean in Basque an elevated place.

The land covers 72.8 hectares. The main house was built in between while the construction of the gardens continued. The villa thus combines European marble and Florida limestone. The plants in the Italian garden were chosen to be able to withstand the tropical climatic conditions of the region. The accommodation thus resembles the Villa Rezzonico located in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

James Deering lived in the Villa Vizcaya from 1916 until his death in 1925. In 1945, the descendants of Deering donated part of the land to the Archdiocese of St. Augustine and to a hospital. The land, however, still included the main house, part of the gardens and the village. These were sold to Miami-Dade County.

Villa Vizcaya was opened to the public in 1953 as the Dade County Art Museum. It was later renamed to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The land now covers 20 hectares and hosts a botanical garden. The museum contains 70 rooms decorated with objects dating from the 15C to the 19C.

All the furnishings at Villa Vizcaya are just as they were in Deering’s time, including early versions of such amenities as a telephone switchboard, a central vacuum-cleaning system, elevators and fire sprinklers. The East Loggia looks out on to the bay, the exit guarded by a vast telescope. Off to the south stretch Vizcaya’s idyllic gardens, with fountains, pools, greenery, a casino and a maze. Strolling here on a quiet summer’s day can be magical indeed. Another bonus is the café, which offers above-average lunches and, on Sundays, tea for two from 13h to 16h. This is wonderful!

Miami

memories of my dear late wife Martine at Vizcaya and the gondolas

Villa Vizcaya was chosen to host the meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II during his visit in September 1987. Villa Vizcaya was chosen as the setting for the filming of many films. Some of these were Ace Ventura, detective for dogs and cats. Any Given Sunday, Bad Boys 2, Airport ’77 and The Money Pit.

The official webpage of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens here: Official Vizcaya

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on VizcayaTourist office of Miami on Vizcaya

This is a wonderful property to visit blending European finesse and natural beauty of Florida in a tropical setting. Easy to get to it taking from Miami Beach 5th street the McArthur Causeway I395 to exit 2 into Biscayne Blvd (US 1) turning left southbound on this street; then continue on US1 Biscayne blvd and this will become Brickell Avenue passing Rickenbacker causeway stay on the left unto South Miami Avenue and follow to entrance to Villa Vizcaya on your left hand side. A beautiful ride thru beautiful residential neighborhoods, you might see a star!!! Enjoy it

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

March 24, 2020

Deering Estate at Miami FL!

Well and here I continue in memory lane of my Florida. Harder to find photos each time but need to have it in my blog. These are historical sites and full of Florida nature living like no other. It was fun while it lasted. Nice looking at you kid

Let me tell you about the Deering Estate of Miami.

Charles Deering Estate ;also known as Deering Estate at Cutler Ridge Road was the Florida home of Charles Deering until 1927 when he died at the estate. Deering lived on the 444 acres (1.80 km2)[property for five years, from 1922 to 1927. No, not the same Deering who built Vizcaya castle, but close. The Deering Estate was, in fact, set up and built by James’s similarly well-off brother Charles, who erected his own winter retreat at about the same time that Vizcaya was constructed.

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The property consists of a three-story wooden house built in 1900, known as the Richmond Cottage and a three-story stone mansion. Other buildings were also built on the property to serve as auxiliary buildings to the estate. Charles Deering Estate is located in the Cutler neighborhood of Palmetto Bay, Miami. The grounds include what is thought to be the largest virgin coastal tropical hardwood hammock in the continental United States. The estate was acquired by the state of Florida in 1985.

In 1900 the wooden house was built and soon after S.H. Richmond’s wife, Edith, opened the house as an Inn called the Richmond Cottage. The Richmond Cottage was named the most southern hostelry in the continental United States by The Miami Metropolis newspaper (gone) in 1901. Charles Deering became secretary of his father’s company, which merged with McCormick Harvesting Machine Company  and became International Harvester in 1902. After the merger, Deering became the chairman of the board for International Harvester; (now history continue as part of CNH Industrial).

The Cutler Burial Mound is a prehistoric mound on the Charles Deering Estate. It is one of the few surviving prehistoric mounds in Miami-Dade County. The mound is about 38 feet by 20 feet at the base, and about five feet high. Artifacts from the mound are from the Glades II and III periods. The mound is believed to contain 12 to 18 burials of Native Americans. The mound is accessible via a boardwalk. In 1979 a sinkhole on the Deering Estate was found to contain bones of Pleistocene animals associated with bones and artifacts of early humans.

On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged and damaged the property of Deering Estate. The water front property was devastated by waves that reached as high as the second floor of the buildings. Water rose more than 16 feet (4.9 m) from sea level and caused major flooding on the property. The Richmond Cottage was taken off its foundation and splintered by the hurricane. It took seven years to restore the cottage. Deering Estate at Cutler reopened to the public in 1999 and officially opened in 2000

The house and grounds were featured several times in the 1980s TV series Miami Vice (yes!), and the estate was the starting location for The Amazing Race All Stars in 2007.

The official webpage for Deering EstateOfficial Deering Estate

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on the Deering EstateTourist office of Miami on the Deering

Miami-Dade county webpage on the parks, Deering EstateMiami Dade county on Deering Estate

You have good directions on the above webpage go to Plan Your Visit. This is a wonderful historical and architecturally stunning house and property, we love to come here with the family indeed, memories are forever. Enjoy Deering Estate at Cutler , Miami.

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

 

March 23, 2020

Seaquarium at Miami USA!

And again going back to memories and early posts in my blog. Just when I started my blog back in Nov 2010 had many posts that now seems lost in the web of posts done afterward. These I will try to renew or even expand on them now.

This is the case of my old Seaquarium of Miami. I even visited friends nearby and of course took my kids there. Then we left for France and done with it. However, if in the area is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more ok

The park was founded by Fred D. Coppock and Captain W.B. Gray and was the second marine-life attraction in Florida. When it opened in 1955, it was the largest marine-life attraction in the world. From 1963 through 1967, eighty-eight episodes of the 1960s TV show Flipper (yes!!) and two movies starring Flipper were filmed at the Miami Seaquarium. From 1963 to 1991, the Seaquarium also had the Miami Seaquarium Spacerail, which was the first hanging monorail in the United States.

The Miami Seaquarium is an oceanarium in Miami ,county of Miami-Dade, State of Florida on the island of  Key Biscayne. Opened in 1955, it is the main aquatic oceanarium of this type in the metropolitan area of Miami. The Miami Seaquarium has a dolphinarium with bottlenose dolphins, white-sided dolphins from the Pacific and an orca, named Lolita. It also displays fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles and manatees. Since 2014, it has been owned by the Spanish multinational Parques Reunidos.

Miami

You can see the following areas

The Shark Channel one of the most popular attractions in the aquarium when the it opened in 1955; and still going strong.

The Tropical Reef holds captive corals and colorful fish, with views of the beautiful beaches of Key Biscayne

At the manatee pool even if shows can be short due to the nature of the shy animals it presents several manatees of the rivers of Florida!

The Top Deck Dolphin and the Flipper Dolphin are shows that feature dolphins. The park has two pools dedicated to bottlenose dolphin shows, the Top Deck Dolphin Show and the Flipper Dolphin Show, as well as a third pool, Dolphin Harbor, dedicated to public interactions with dolphins.

 The Golden Dome presents a spectacle of sea lions and seals.

The basin hosting the Killer Whale Show, presents Lolita the orca of last count 48 yrs old and four white-sided dolphins from the Pacific

The Dolphin Odissey allows the most stubborn to swim for half an hour flat with the dolphins, for a fee.

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Precious memories

And as you are aware of the type of football played in the USA, the super super event Super Bowl LIV (last one) feature guessing the winner contest by the Seaquariume Nurse sharks . However, they failed as went over the SF 49ers and the winners were the KC Chiefs!!

The Miami Seaquarium is at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway,on Key Biscayne, Miami. Again the best way to get there is the car. Again to start you off at popular Miami Beach get on 5th street to the McArthur Causeway (I395 road) to   I 95 highway southbound exit 1A. Stay on I95 to SW 26 road exit direction Key Biscayne paid toll at Rickenbacker Causeway into Key Biscayne, will see seaquarium on your right.

The Miami Dade bus network taking Route 102 B provides bus service from Brickell Station to Miami Seaquarium. PDF route map here: https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/library/routes/102.pdf

Some webpages to help you enjoy your trip here and worth it

Official Miami SeaquariumOfficial Miami Seaquarium

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on the SeaquariumMiami tourist office on the Seaquarium

And my luck will have , been here more than on the other parks yet have much fewer photos! Memorable ones as they are when my boys were growing up in Florida. We enjoy a lot as a family the Miami Seaquarium. Hope you too can one day enjoy it.

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

March 23, 2020

Zoo Miami, FL USA!

And again going back to memories and early posts in my blog. Just when I started my blog back in Nov 2010 had many posts that now seems lost in the web of posts done afterward. These I will try to renew or even expand on them now.

This is the case of my old Metro Zoo ,and now call Zoo Miami. I even visited friends nearby and of course took my kids there. Then we left for France and done with it. However, if in the area is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more ok

The Miami MetroZoo, (as I knew it) now known as Zoo Miami is the largest and oldest zoo in Florida. It is located southwest of the city of Miami in the county of Miami-Dade. The zoo is home to nearly 1,200 animals and is the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States. It covers a plot of almost 300 hectares of which 120 hectares are equipped to accommodate the public.

miami

The origin of the zoo dates back to 1948 when three monkeys, a goat and two black bears were bought for 270 dollars from a small circus. These animals were the first of the Crandon Park Zoo on the island of Key Biscayne near Miami. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy ravaged the zoo, killing 250 animals. It was decided that the zoo would be transferred to land belonging to the Naval Air Base in Richmond in 1970, work began in 1975 and the zoo was opened on December 12, 1981.

In the 1980s, the zoo continued to expand. An additional 25 acres or 10 ha with six new African hoofed stock exhibits opened in 1982, along with the zoo’s monorail in 1984.  The Wings of Asia, a 1.6-acre (0.6 ha) free-flight aviary, was opened in December 1984. Three additional African hoofed stock exhibits followed in 1985, and two new exhibits were opened in the African savannah section in 1986. The Australian section of the zoo was opened in 1989, and PAWS, the children’s petting zoo, opened in 1989.The Asian Riverlife Experience opened in August 1990.

Miami

In 1992, the zoo suffered extensive damage when Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida on August 24. The small, yet intensely powerful category 5 hurricane toppled over 5,000 trees and destroyed the Wings of Asia aviary which had been built to withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) resulting in the loss of approximately 100 of the 300 resident birds. Despite the majority of the zoo’s animals remaining outside during the duration and aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, only five animals were killed from either debris or the consumption of contaminated water.

The MetroZoo, though looking dramatically different, was reopened on December 18, 1992; with the zoo’s tiger temple exhibit being renamed in honor of Naomi Browning, an active 12-year-old volunteer who was one of the storm’s casualties. In 1996 the Falcon Batchelor Komodo Dragon Encounter opened that same year, followed by Andean Condor (1999), Meerkats (2000), Cuban Crocodiles and Squirrel Monkeys (2001), and Dr. Wilde’s World, which is an indoor facility for traveling zoological exhibits. The rebuilt Wings of Asia aviary, housing more than 300 individuals representing 70 species of birds, opened in the spring of 2003. And we left before seen its re opening.

miami

miami

a family jewel

 

On July 4, 2010, the zoo was renamed the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, or Zoo Miami, for marketing and branding purposes The Everglades exhibit opened on December 10, 2016. The Zoo Miami is divided now into the following areas:   Florida: Mission Everglades , Asia, Africa , Amazon and beyond, and Australia.

It is a wonderful park and well worth the detour to see it while visiting Miami.   Zoo Miami is at 12400 SW 152nd street ,There is sporadic bus service but you need to walk. The best as there as always is the car. Going from the famous Miami Beach get on 5th Street and cross on the McArthur Causeway road bridge over the water this is the I395 highway that will link you to the SR 836 or Dolphin Expressway (which now is a toll road); until you hit the Ronald Reagan Turnpike (a toll road) take it southbound to the SW 152nd street (SR 992) exit 16 to the SW 124th St turning left and the zoo will than be on your right. Seems long but it’s the most straight route me think, should be easy to reach.

The official webpage of the Zoo MiamiOfficial Zoo Miami

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on the Zoo MiamiTourist office of Miami on the Zoo

The county of Miami-Dade on the Zoo Miami: Miami Dade county on the Zoo Miami

And there you are all set for a wonderful visit to a pretty natural site of lointime Miami, Florida. Hope you have enjoy the brief introduction and do come and visit ok.

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

March 23, 2020

Proprietary House , Perth Amboy!

So as I am doing a tour of the world virtually in my blog, let me bring you back to a memorable moment in my life. I came from Madrid, Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA way back too many years, and was my first contact with the American way of life: a shock! new customs, new language, new money, new laws the works. The best of it is that I was finally in a democratic country and free to learn new things, which I did. As usually back then no photos found so given credit to show the house.

Of course, I have written about Perth Amboy and New Jersey before, but left this out and I should not. This is part of history of the US often overlook for more recent ones; this is where all started for the country. Perth Amboy was colonial capital and the governor lived here at the Proprietary House. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok.

Perth Amboy

credit: facebook photo of the proprietary house

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, who was a royalist. The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independence movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancreas old Church Cemetery. The Proprietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy. Very near where I lived!!! Waterfront (NY) area. See it!

The official webpage is here: The Proprietary House at Perth Amboy

A bit of history I like

The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, is the only proprietary governor’s mansion of the original Thirteen Colonies still standing. It’s construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1764. The Georgian style mansion was first occupied by Chief Justice Frederick Smyth by rent and approval of The Proprietors  from 1766 to 1773. In May 1773, the mansion was repaired and fitted to be the residence of the royal governor of New Jersey, and leased by the proprietors as such.

Perth Amboy

credit: Proprietary-House mycentral nj

The home was occupied temporarily, 1774 to 1776, by the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin (the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin) . In January 1776, he was ordered to be held under house arrest on order of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey and under guard of the Committee of Safety. In June, after the onset of hostilities between Great Britain and the fledgling nation, he was ordered arrested and taken to Princeton for trial and then imprisoned in Litchfield, Connecticut until his release in a prisoner exchange in 1778. He eventually fled for Great Britain in 1782 and died there in 1813.

After the house was ravaged by a mysterious fire in the late 18C ;the new owner restored it. added a large wing and turned the property into The Brighton, a hotel of grand stature in its day. It briefly flourished as an elegant and popular hotel until the War of 1812 brought an end to tourism and the lifeblood of the hotel. The war a conflict between the USA and UK that many claims the precursor of the Napoleonic wars in Europe.

Mathias Bruen, who bought the property at a sheriff’s sale in 1817, became one of the wealthiest men in America while he lived here. His descendants made large contributions to America’s social and political history. In subsequent years, most of the original of its eleven acres were divided into building lots, and Kearny Avenue was cut through. The house experienced a series of owners. Over the years it deteriorated from a comfortable apartment house with a public restaurant to a dilapidated rooming house and suspected flophouse.The former Proprietary House was converted into a Presbyterian retirement home. It was adapted again as a hotel, but with modest accommodations. Now owned by the State of New Jersey, a portion of the building is operated as a museum by the Proprietary House Association. The upper floors of the original building and the 1809 wing are occupied by professional offices. The first floor and basement of the Proprietary House have been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration by the non-profit Proprietary House Association. The New Jersey Historic Trust and the Division of Parks and Forestry of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, along with private contributors, have greatly supported the effort to restore some of the former glory of the building. hroughout these phases, the house/museum was always open for tours, events, and exhibits.

Perth Amboy’s Proprietary House, the Royal Governor’s Mansion at 149 Kearny Ave has been voted as one of the top 8 NJ historic sites in a competition held by NJTV called #NJTVTourismTourney. Again, a must to see especially by all lovers of history and indeed American history.

A nice youtube video on the Proprietary House here

The webpage of the revolutionary war NJ on the Proprietary House: Revolutionary War New Jersey on the Proprietary House Perth Ambohy

And for general reference, the city of Perth Amboy webpage: City of Perth Amboy New Jersey

And there you go , yes my first city in America was lucky enouth to be in a historic city and learn a lot on the American way of life, which i continue even abroad. From our next door neighbor, have you heard? If you can do it in NY City, you can do it anywhere! true! Hope you enjoy the Proprietary House of Perth Amboy, in the Great State of New Jersey!

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

 

 

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