Archive for ‘Americas’

August 30, 2022

Rio de Janeiro !!

In my early travels of my life, the intensity was gear towards Latin America big cities as was closer, and fewer pictures…. And later base in France, the trips were done to other smaller towns all over Brazil, (see posts) ,One of my favorite destinations as to big cities was Rio de Janeiro; this would be sort of an introduction to the city.. And not to forget my adreline visit to Niteroi across the bay of Guanabara ! I like to update this older post with new text and links to revive old wonderful memories for me and you maybe. I found some personal pics of this adventure ! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The city was based originally on the Bay of Guanabara, discovered in 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discoverered Brazil. The inhabitants of the city are “Cariocas”. The inhabitants of the State of Rio de Janeiro are “Fluminenses”. It is known worldwide for its carnival, its beaches (Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema) as well as its statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado. Rio de Janeiro was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (old Republic) (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (New State) (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

You really need about two weeks to see it all and I only had four days and busy with business rdv but nevertheless had a great time, In my opinion , the things to see here are the Sugar Loaf (Pao de Açùçar) a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters ,always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer (O Cristo Redentor), a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. The statue measures 38 meters high. The work, dates from 1931.

The many wonderful beaches such as my favorite : Copacabana (see post) and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its 4.5 km of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. It was in the 1920’s that it gained its notoriety, with the construction, in 1923 of the prestigious Copacabana Palace, the only luxury hotel in all Latin America at the time. And this is the area I normally stayed while visiting the city. At the Othon Palace Hotel (see post)

Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city. Today, Ipanema is the center of fashion and sophistication. The most luxurious shops in Rio line the streets of Ipanema and Leblon. Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. São Conrado is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. This is where the Pedra da Gávea rises, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, than the famous Sugar loaf. The beach enjoys a certain popularity with the youth of Rio, the young people of the favelas and the intellectuals. With its 18 km long, the beach of Barra da Tijuca is at the same time the longest, but also the least frequented in Rio during the week. At the end of Barra, the small beach of Recreio dos Bandeirantes stretches in the shelter of a natural pier that forms a real miniature bay. From the Recreio, a road climbs into the mountain before descending to the beach of Prainha, frequented by the surfers, then that of Grumari, wonderfully secluded.

The mountain of Pedra da Gávea peaks at 842 meters of altitude. It overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. It is accessed after the Botanical garden.  The hill of Urca (Morro da Urca), this small mountain formation of 220 meters above sea level is located at the entrance of the Bay of Guanabara. The Hill also offers a great view of the Bay of Guanabara and offers a cable car that makes it possible to get to the sugar loaf. Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and world flora. The neighborhood of Santa Teresa, with its cobbled and tortuous alleys, with its spectacular views of the bay, is certainly one of the most picturesque in Rio. The most attractive way to access it is to take the famous tramways built in 1896.The forest of Tijuca (Floresta da Tijuca) ;the largest urban forest in the world, with an area of about 3 200 hectares, includes hundreds of species of flora and fauna found only in the “Mata Atlantica” and many of which are endangered. Places such as the Cascatinha (small waterfall), the Mayrink Chapel , the Mirador Excelsior, the Baracão, the Paulo and Virginia Caves, the Fairy Lake and the Solitudes pond. The Sambadromo-Marquês de Sapucaí, bordered by concrete bleachers, was built in 1984 to host the prestigious Rio carnival, which was held previously in the streets of the city, most often on the avenue Presidente Vargas. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Avenue Marquês of Sapucaí, usually open to traffic, is transformed for a few days in the Passarela do Samba (passarelle of Samba)  and sees the most prestigious samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro has many museums ,of all sizes, I have been briefly to the top major ones such as these : The National Historic Museum .This palace painted in pink, emblematic color of imperial buildings, is one of the oldest buildings in Rio. Tower Fortress (its Subterraneans serve as a prison for black slaves in the 17C and 18C), Arsenal, weapons factory, Siege of the military academy, it was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes. The National Museum. This ancient palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection in Brazil: Zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology. It is possible to see the meteorite fallen in the state of Bahia in 1888, the Bendego, which weighs 5 300 kgs as well as a curious mummy of an Egyptian woman: her legs are covered separately with strips (traditionally, the body is wrapped in one piece) . The Museum of Fine Arts the largest collection of art in Rio, it presents paintings of the Italian, Flemish, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Peruvian schools of the 16C, 17C and 18C. The Brazilian gallery presents paintings from the colonial period, the 19C and the 20C: Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Pancetti, Anita Malfatti, Alfredo Volpi, Manabu Mabe and Djanira.

And beautiful Churches , passed by them, such as, Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos. The Monastery of Saint-Benoît (Mosteiro de São Bento);  Gregorian chant can be heard every day at 11h. and 17h30. Built in 1641 by two monks who wanted to base their order, this monastery is a characteristic example of colonial Baroque. It is possible to see in the Church a work of carved wood, covered with gold leaves. The Church of the Third-Order of Saint-François-de-la-Penance (Igreja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco da Penitência): Very baroque, fully sculpted by hand . Jacaranda Furniture and solid silver chandeliers that illuminate, at dusk, the panel painted in the roof of the nave, representing Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy receiving the stigmata.

In all a wonderful place, however, the pictures I gathered and kept of a personal nature were on my hanggliding trip to nearby Niteroi !! It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it, Briefly, Niteroi was the village of São Lourenço dos Índios was recognized by the central government and given the new name of Vila Real da Praia Grande in 1819. On March 6, 1835, Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed Niterói, It is 13 km from Rio link by the Rio-Niteroi bridge and a catamarans service. The main thing to see here is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), housed in a building built by Oscar Niemeyer. For an anecdote, Niteroi is the birthplace of Leonardo Nascimento de Araújo, footballer and former player and sporting director of Paris Saint Germain (PSG). However, as said for me was a trip to paragliding off Niteroi, and this was the place ! You can do the paragliding tandem flight in the Parque Da Ciudade of Niteroi (city park) with Rio Tandem, Their webpage http://www.riotandem.com/paragliding-in-niter-i.html

And the Parque da Ciudade of Niteroi: https://www.nitfly.com.br/parque-da-cidade-niteroi?lang=en

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The official Rio de Janeiro tourist officehttps://riotur.rio/en/welcome/

The Rio de Janeiro prefecture local govt on tourismhttp://www.rio.rj.gov.br/web/smc/museus

The Brazil tourist board on Rio de Janeirohttps://www.visitbrasil.com/en/2022/02/18/destino-rio-de-janeiro-rj-ingles/

There you go folks, a wonderful city to visit even with few pictures, however, the memories lingered forever. Hope you enjoy this oldie post on one of the world’s loveliest city ,Rio de Janeiro. And who knows back to Niteroi. I always looking forward to be back, eventually.

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

August 30, 2022

Curitiba and football !!

If you read my blog, you know one of my favorite hobbies is to follow football/soccer. My playing time and pro period is long gone, but I am still a fervent follower of the sport. In my travels, I had time to see some good matches and in football crazy countries, So when came to live as an expat in Brazil naturally I sought out the football, and gladly was in a bit football craze city of Curitiba in the State of Paranà , south Brazil. I like to update this memorable post for you and me ; hope you enjoy it as I.

Starting from less to more let me tell you about the Club Athletico Paranaense  a football/soccer club based in Curitiba , State of Paranà. It was founded on March 26, 1924 of the merger of the International Football Club and the Paraná America. It plays the home games at the Arena da Baixada.  It is popularly known as Furacão (Hurricane), nickname that was won in the 1950s. It,also, became the first team in Paraná to participate in a national competition.

Athletico is the owner of the Arena da Baixada stadium, officially Joaquim Américo Guimarães Stadium, considered one of the most modern in Latin America. It also has a sports center, considered among the five most innovative in the world. The Joaquim Américo Guimarães Stadium was inaugurated in June 1999, for an Atlético friendly against Cerro Porteño (Paraguay). For the 2014 Football/Soccer World Cup, this same stadium would be chosen as one of the venues of the maximum world event. For this, the stadium’s capacity was expanded to 40,000 spectators.

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The colors of the Club Athletico Paranaense are T-shirt Red and black on first team and then t-shirt, black pants and black tights. Alternative t-shirt: White t-shirt, white pants and white socks. Their official Club Athletico Paranaensehttps://www.athletico.com.br/en/

However, the one I followed the most as most of my local friends there were fans was the Coritiba Foot Ball Club. Let me tell you about it ok.  The Coritiba Foot Ball Club is a club based in Curitiba, with its football/soccer section is popularly call Coxa. It was founded in 1909 by German immigrants. The first club in the State of Paranà as well as the first club green and white in Brazil.

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It plays the games at the Estadio Couto Pereira located at Rue Ubaldino do Amaral, 37 . Its record was 80 000 with the presence of Pope John Paul II in 1980. Coritiba FBC currently appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the holder of the best winning streak in football with 24 consecutive victories. The Paranaense team achieved that mark on September 8, 2011, and that same day the famous book of world brands decorated it with the name of “Most victorious team in the world.”  The Coritiba club has two groups of fans: the main one, Império Alviverde (green empire) with a second one known as the Mancha Verde (green spot). The official colors uniform are White t-shirt with two green horizontal stripes, black pants and white bands . The second team uniform: T-shirt with vertical green and white stripes, white pants and white bands. Alternative uniform: Green shirt, black pants and green socks.

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The largest and most traditional stadium in Paraná, Major Antonio Couto Pereira is the house of the nation “coxa-branca” (white thigh) and one of the symbols of the Paranaense capital. It was inaugurated in 1932 under the name of Belfort Duarte Stadium. The Couto, as it is affectionately called, is located in the Alto da Glória neighborhood, close to the commercial center of the city. It has capacity for 37 000 spectators, has modern structures of food, shops and recreation spaces. It has the best type of grass in the world for football/soccer practice and an efficient security system.

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I really enjoyed the games here and with great friendly company still in touch..! The official Coritiba Football Club: https://www.coritiba.com.br/Portal

After all, the classic advantage is for Coritiba, who has 127 wins against 107 Paranaense and 99 draws; last count I can find.Also, Coritiba has 39 titles to 25 for Paranaense. The Atle-Tiba is one of the most traditional derbies in Brazilian football/soccer.  There you go folks, a dandy times in football stadiums in Curitiba !! Memories forever in memorable Curitiba.

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

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August 24, 2022

My tunnels of Havana !!!

It’s not easy to find pictures that are in several modes from paper to usb , vhs videos to cd roms but finally got to these ones. I like to have it in my blog and hope you enjoy it as much as I. This is going back deep back in my life when as a boy lived in Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de la Habana! I remembered walking a lot around the main points there and was able to visit again as recently as 2012 to see it more dilipated than ever ; like if I really was born here ? I like to tell you my story from old books and brochures of my Havana on the Tunnels of Havana. Memories forever ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

For years, communications between the urban center of Havana and the west of the city were established by crossing the Almendares River through the existing bridges: Puentes Grandes, built by the French engineer La Carriere de la Tour at the beginning of the 19C on the Almendares river in the neighborhood of ​​the Cerro. The Calle 23rd Bridge, in the first decade of the 20C; the iron one in the second decade, and the old Pote bridge, built in 1919 for the Miramar residential development, which was demolished to replace it with the Tunel de Calzada tunnel, also known as the Tunel de la Quinta tunnel, which crosses the Almendares River near the Torreón de la Chorrera through the place occupied by the old Pote Bridge, connecting 5ta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) in Miramar with Calle Calzada street and the Malecón in Havana.

The Tunel de Calzada or Quinta Avenida (5th avenue) has two caissons with a total length of 200 meters and a longitudinal slope of 6% on each side. It has 4 tracks (two in each direction) of 3.35 meters wide each, and a free height of 4.25 meters in the center. Like the other tunnels, 3 levels of lighting were planned in the entrance areas and in the central area to adjust them to the external light. The problem of evacuating rainwater was solved by means of a drainage system towards the sea by a main pumping installation with two self-starting pumps of 600 m3/h each. Four cisterns with a total capacity of 300 m3 ensured the water tank during heavy rains and would be used in case of fire. It is done below the Almendares river near its mouth.  The work, inaugurated on June 12, 1959, was carried out by the construction company Societé des Grands Travaux de Marseille (France).

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The Tunel de Linea tunnel aka Almendares (my tunnel when a child taken to the city center) in the Vedado neighborhood built by Cuban engineers and builders with construction work starting in 1951 and ending in 1953. This one done with architect and construction company from Cuba. All the electromechanical equipment of the tunnel could be activated from the boards in the control booths. According to the original project, the 6 installed pumps could evacuate the flow of water coming from heavy rains. The Tunel de Linea or Almendares was the first, inaugurated in the middle of 1953. It is equipped with a lighting system that uses 880 cold cathode tubes of 8 feet each, and the lighting is graduated by means of a photoelectric cell according to the brightness of the day. The tunnel light is more intense at the entrance than at the exit, which prevents sudden changes in vision. The ventilation system is served by four air extractors of 75,000 cubic feet each, and all four work automatically through a carbon monoxide analyzer that acts according to the accumulation of this gas inside the tunnel. Three cisterns collect rainwater from the tunnel approaches, water that is drained by six bilge pumps, two for each cistern, capable of discharging 3,000 gallons per minute. The tunnel has a total width of 16.85 meters, with two drainage ways. 6.57 meters each one and two paths each way, divided by a resounding separator that indicates to the driver when the vehicle is diverted. The ventilation gallery, 1.70 meters wide, in the center, separates the two tracks and divides the tunnel into two equal halves. The height is 4.30 meters. The thickness of the floor plate measures 3.35 meters, and the river runs 1.50 meters above the roof level. The length of the tunnel in its covered part is 216 meters, and the two ramps that give access to the tunnel on both sides measure 306.40, thus, the work has a total of 522.40 meters.

The Tunel de la Bahía (bay tunnel) with entrance also through the Ave. del Puerto. the preliminary works of the future tunnel to the North American firm Raymon Concrete Pile Company, which is associated with the designers Palmer and Baker, Inc., and with Coverdale and Colpitt that would be in charge of carrying out the traffic census , Then, came a French company, which not only presents a project, but also offers the financing and the budget for the works. The project was awarded to the French company, the Societé des Grands Travaux de Marseille (France); the on-site inspection was carried out by the Frederick Snare Corporation and the higher management by the National Development Commission of Cuba, According to the approved project, the central zone of the tunnel is made up of five sections or prefabricated concrete boxes, four of which which have a length of 107.50 meters and a central box of 90 meters. The layout of this tunnel runs under the bottom of the Bay of Havana, between 12 and 14 meters. The drainage system was made taking advantage of the topographical characteristics where drains collect rainwater and take it to the sea. In addition to this, two tanks with a capacity of 500 m3 each were built for the accumulation of rainwater. Water is extracted from the cisterns with six pumping equipment of 2,200 g/m each, two on the Havana city side and four on the Cabaña fortress side. The tunnel allows the passage of four traffic lanes, each 3.35 meters wide. and it is 733 meters long and a total length of the connection work of more than 1,600 meters, which also includes the West (Havana) and East (Toll Zone) accesses. A telephone line with an automatic exchange of 28 pairs linked different places in the tunnel with 7 telephones installed in series within it.

havana tunnel de la bahia under the bay aug98

There is no specific webpage for the Tunnels of Havana, but the info above taken from my old books/brochures of my Tunnels of Havana. The pictures taken from paper pictures that I took in my last trip there in 2012. Again, hope you enjoy the post and see my other posts on Havana in my blog.

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

August 24, 2022

Havana , a step back in time !

Again was looking in my vault of photos, and I came up with some older photos of a time gone by ,of memories not to be forgotten, and family roots. I have written several posts on this native experience of mine very translucent as the times goes by and memory starts to flicker. Let me update this older post and tell you a bit more of my dear Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de La Habana.

It was the ultimate Caribbean destination, the “Paris of the Americas” (Hemingway ), the “key to the gulf (of Mexico) the bulkward of the West Indies (Caribbean ; King Philip II of Spain), to the whole of Cuba. It brings back memories of childhood, and still vibrates the world from no matter what place on the fence you might be. It is a beautiful city, if only can be kept in one piece. It was once the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything; streets names were changed, city names were change, province names were change, people left in hordes (over 2M), and more poverty than ever sets in all under the betraying revolution still there. I need to say this.

We spent many times by the Malecon and going in by the Paseo del Prado going into the Capitol (see post) last trip we were on a Ford 1954 lol!! things indeed change. All the Malecon area now is half and half some renovated with the help of Unesco and other crumbling.

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We just saw the inner soul of the buildings like the fabled Riviera hotel, by the Malecon, and tried to remember what they were before…

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And we passed by the University of Havana, where my Mom did studies before transfering to the Catholic Univ ,sister univ of Villanova in Philadelphia , PA USA at the time.

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We passed by another favorite of my family that took me there still very early in my life. This is the Cinema Trianon!  It is at Linea (orLline because old tramway passed by here) beween A & B streets. It was built in 1920 ,and completely re-modeled in 1955 and became the release theatre for 20th Century Fox films. My picture is from when it was renovated back in 1998.

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And we move on to the Morro Castle (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro) where they had remodeled the castle , and ate at the nice restaurant call the 12 Apostoles or apostles; which my Martine really enjoyed already with a few extra pounds.

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The official Cuba tourist board on Havana today : https://www.cuba.travel/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The official Infotur tourist guide to Cuba on Havana todayhttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

I found, bear in mind these are paper photos that I took a picture from. The pictures all date from 1998 when I made a family trip to introduce to my family there to my French wife.  One more post down memory lane, many moments spent with the family now almost all gone from there. I was the first one out 51 years ago !! Hope you enjoy the post as I. Havana is a city to fall in love for no matter what period of time in history you may choose to visit.  Enjoy the ride into nostalgia land. My dear late wife Martine enjoyed the trip down to my roots.

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

August 24, 2022

The Bayside Marketplace of Miami !!!

So coming back at you in memory lane of yesteryear and never forgotten, why should I , spent 18 years in Central/South Florida, and my boys were born in Florida! I like to update this old, even it has change from my time living there. I will post on our  last visit there in 2009. It was one of our hangouts on weekends and holidays, and gladly still there ; let me tell you about the Bayside Marketplace of Miami !!!Pictures are from old paper photos, bear with me please.

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The Bayside Marketplace at 401 Biscayne Boulevard; Miami downtown is a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great restaurants , all by the entrance to the Port of Miami cruise heaven. Bayside Marketplace is a two-story open air shopping center The banks of Biscayne Bay wrap around the property with the City of Miami marina at its side. Different from typical shopping malls, Bayside offers an entertainment experience with live music daily, restaurants, bars, open-container policy, family events, and the picturesque settings that come with a waterfront property. The shopping center was frequently featured on the crime drama TV series, Miami Vice! yes remember them?. The marina that runs alongside Bayside gives this Miami place a special cachet. You will particularly enjoy strolling there at the end of the evening. The mall is located on Biscayne Boulevard, (US 1) one of Miami’s largest avenues, at the edge of the marina preceding the harbor.

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The Bayside Marketplace is a shopping center where you can do your shopping in a very Latin atmosphere. An American mall, but also a Cuban one, in all its splendor and grandeur. It’s the perfect place to relax while being in the heart of Miami! Salsa musicians and dancers provide the relaxed atmosphere of the place. On the shopping side, more than 150 shops will allow you to find everything you need. Before or after your shopping, you can also stop and sit down at midday or in the evening. The Bayside Marketplace has the very big advantage of offering restaurants right by the water!  Finally, Bayside Marketplace is also the starting point for many cruises if you want to visit the bay in complete relaxation. Many companies await you for tours to discover the most beautiful villas of the stars.

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The Miami tramway, otherwise known as MetroMover, is the most convenient way to get to Bayside. Get off at the College / Bayside station then walk 3 minutes on 4th Street and you’re there! The Government Center metro/subway/tube station or known as Monorail is the closest to Bayside. Once down, allow 10 to 15 minutes of walking via 2nd or 3rd Street towards the sea. The bus lines that take you there are: 3 (this one also goes to Aventura Mall), 93 (only runs during the week), 95 (only runs during the week during peak hours), and no. 103, and no. 119. There is great parking we always use at the Bayside car park undeground. Check for the latest schedule on public transports as they may have change.  The Bayside Marketplace is right across from downtown or city center Miami with a plethora of shopping and restaurant/bars choices from all corners of the Earth. Also, a bit down on chic Brickell you now find plenty more newer shops at Brickell City Centre and the Mary Brickell Village.

The official Bayside Marketplace : https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on shopping/eating in city center : https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/things-to-do/shopping/where-to-shop-in-downtown-miami

Time change and do not know now, but for us back then ,it was a must stop on our go around road warrior trips in the area of Miami which is a lot more than just a city with about 7 different towns with Miami on their name. This one Bayside Marketplace is in Miami proper, and lots of family fun times. Hope you enjoy the post as I, and me will see for a return visit, eventually.

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

August 23, 2022

The Dolphin Mall of Miami !!

Let me get back at you and update this memorable post of the good old days of my life in Florida USA or more specific going shopping in Miami at the Dolphin Mall !! I am bringing back this post because I recently spoked with a cousin who is just arriving to live in Miami (another cousin !) , and she went to the Dolphin with her kids and love it. One of the nice places me and my family did was going to the malls to shop and a drink or two, and the Dolphin Mall was one of my favorite hangouts when lived closed by in Silver Lakes, Miramar, Broward County but worked in Miami, Miami-Dade County. Last visited it when came back for a family visit in 2009 ! Now going back oh well …memories forever.

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The Dolphin Mall (11401 N.W. 12 Street) is a shopping center actually today’s Sweetwater, Miami-Dade County,  west of the city of Miami. Bordering the now call Ronald Reagan Turnpike toll road on the west , and the junction with the Dolphin Expressway or State Road 836  that takes you all the way to the McArthur Causeway into Miami Beach at  5th Street and right into the Beach!! You really need to pinpoints the places there as there are about 7 different towns with the name Miami on it . This mall opened on March 2001, and just a couple years later we left for good….

Of course, I always drove a car there… 8,500 free parking spaces including a state of the art parking garage, featuring a convenient race track layout for easy-access shopping. The Dolphin Mall is located from Miami Airport (10.5 km) Coral Gables (13.5 km) Coconut Grove (15.1 km) ,and Little Havana (16.8 km).  And last check the hours are open 7 days a week. Opening hours may vary from week to week. In general, the shopping center opens at 10h or 11h and closes at 20h (8 pm). For public transports you need to verify but last I know ,the Dolphin Mall is accessible via bus line 7. If you go to the Dolphin Mall on weekends, take bus 238 from Miami Airport. It will take you directly and non-stop to the Dolphin Mall. 

Dolphin Mall has more than 250 stores and a wide selection of discounted brands making it one of the most popular and busiest malls in Miami area. It is the largest mall in city of Miami metro area , and the second-largest mall in Miami-Dade County. The Mall is separated into three major universes:

Ramblas: built in the form of a village square with restaurants and entertainment

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Playa: designed to remind South Beach, there are stores for clothing, accessories and home decor.

Moda: which refers to Collins Avenue and Bal Harbor with its chic and refined atmosphere.

The Dolphin Mall brings together shops for clothes, video games, toys, cosmetics, etc., as well as restaurants, a 19-screen cinema, a children’s play center, an arcade and a bowling alley.  Experience life with an exciting mix of entertainment venues such as CineBistro, Dave and Buster’s and Bowlero Miami. Crave life with more than 30 diverse dining options in the Food Court, and 19 sit-down restaurants. 

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My favorites there were the JC Penney store,( no longer there) , and Burlington, plus the cinema, the outdoor live music events under the Florida sky, just sublime. come to shop or come to party is all there. Gap, Banana Republic, the Borders Book store (no longer there 2009 picture), FYE Entertainment (no longer there 2009 picture) , Sbarro’s,  The Cheesecake Factory, and TGIFridays, for food eating, a great place for the whole family. Below my dear late wife Martine and my boys.

miami-dolphin-mall-borders-entrance

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The official Dolphin Mallhttps://shopdolphinmall.com/

The Miami and the Beaches area tourist office on the Dolphin Mall: https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/thing-to-do/shopping/dolphin-mall/2874

There you go folks, it is becoming a must to visit to all comers in the Miami metro area for some serious shopping in a grand location. Things have change a lot since I left it in 2003, and even more since 2009, but according to local family still a place to be. Hope you enjoy the shopping at the  Dolphin Mall Sweetwater...

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

August 23, 2022

The Daytona Beach flea market !!

And since I was in markets, why not take you over the pond or ocean the Atlantic for memories of old that never fade away!  As said we love the markets and this is not just a new found thing, we go way back as a family our first experience happened in Daytona Beach Florida USA !  This is a sentimental post for us but will tell you a bit about the flea market at Daytona Beach. And I am updating text and link from an older post in my blog.

Wow I had read that the Daytona Flea Market is ranked one of the top five markets in the USA and top 10 in the world! The market boasts hundreds of vendors, a top notch farmer’s market, specialty stores, antiques, and two indoor shopping malls!!! It has grown indeed over the years.  I have been coming here since living in nearby Ormond by the Sea and going to the University in Daytona Beach, the city I got married and my oldest son was born at Halifax Hospital, and baptized at St Brendan’s Catholic Church in Ormond by the Sea!  Memories galore of a wonderful place of fast speed and fast oh well everything in season. I have done some older post on these stories ,but not on the market.

My experiences here goes back to 1977!  And ended in 2003 when I left Florida for France! Already a French citizen since 2000 ! However, all my adult young history was base around here first alone, then with my parents, then with my wife and later my older boy and then visited with the twins before departing Florida. A one stop shopping and cultural experience recommended to all. Memories of always ! Yet hardly a photo left as I guess the old saying living and visiting are not the same thing holds true. The picture is with my visiting paternal grandfather Manolo! The one who raise me with grandma Candita since birth to 10 when left Cuba, and my parents to the left !

daytona-beach-flea-pipo-mima-y-abuelo-manolo

The Daytona Flea Market is another that makes a proper event out of the market. At least once a month it offers either an arts and crafts fair or the Classic Car Cruise-In. Daytona Flea Market features stalls stretching over 3 miles and there is plenty of shopping to be had. It is worth getting to this market earlier on in the day, for ease of parking as well as sourcing the best items. The  Daytona Flea Market is not the place to hit for specific antiques, but instead is a haven for all things second-hand and curious. Sellers are there to clear their tables, so barter away for some awesome bargains! Located at 1425 Tomoka Farms Rd, Daytona Beach, FL and open Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9 am to 5pm or 9h to 17h year round.

The official flea and market of Daytona Beachhttps://daytonafleamarket.com/

The city of Daytona Beach on the flea markethttps://www.daytonabeach.com/things-to-do/shopping/flea-markets/

The Florida tourist board on the flea market of Daytona Beachhttps://www.visitflorida.com/listing/daytona-flea-%26-farmers-market/17063/

There you go folks, a wonderful memory lane post . Hope you have enjoy the Daytona flea market as I , and have the opportunity to see it , or me eventually. Thanks for allowing me to share them in my blog.

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

August 17, 2022

My beginnings in France, Meaux forever !!!

I have said my blog is a tracing of my life’s history all is here since birth. My family enjoys it and my sons hopefully will carry it on for the family memories. I wrote a previous post on the family trace in France, racines Françaises!!! This time let me show in my personal blog some family pictures of old that my dear late wife Martine share with me.

In the continuing saga of family roots and places of yesteryear and today and tomorrow, etc. This is a personal post, as my blog is, just now sharing with the world this marvelous story of meeting a French girl in Paris, coming back to see her family and her again in 1990, she went to see my family in Ormond Beach Florida the same year and before getting there I asked to marry me and live there and she agreed ! A wonderful rollercoaster ride and 3 wonderful good boys later , she asked me to come to live in France and so I did in August 2003 ; they stay behind for the house closing sale and joined me in December 2003. However, not told you about her life before in France and the family , Therefore ,l tell you about the roots =racines of my family in France, and my mamie bleu…..

Below my Martine in her house garden home 36 rue Noefort. Meaux cabin in garden of gmere MF et PF sep90

Over the Marne river bridge my Martine, me and our boys early on visits!

Meaux marne river MF et boys c1994

Walking in Meaux with my Dad, Mom, my Martine and the boys

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Above maternal grandmother Fourré, my Martine and our boys, left holding frame is my dear late mother Gladys

It all started in Meaux , in departément 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. Many posts on the town and surroundings, This will be basically a pictorial post, more of the pictures less of the text,  I will cherish it forever, and hope you enjoy it to read, Thanks for reading my blog since November 26 2010, a way to unleash my thoughts and memories.

Below old pictures 1) maternal grandparents and Martine, 2) maternal grandfather Georges and Martine 3 maternal grandparents and Martine in garden

Meaux Martine and GP may18

My Martine very early on

Meaux Martine as a child

My young Martine in her bedroom of her house 36 rue Noefort, Meaux

Meaux martine in her room house of rue noefort meaux may1990

My beautiful Martine in her Catholic Communion dress

Meaux MF communion

Her parents Pierre and Yvette marriage picture!

meaux Pierre et Yvette parents of MF

As most would do by train, you can take a train at Gare de l’Est or Paris-Est in Paris and direct is 25 minutes or with stops 40 minutes according to the tourist office, You can, also, take the RER A direction Disneyland and terminus gare de Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, there take bus no 19 of the line Marne et Morin to the train station in Meaux, Or do as I did my very first time to Meaux ! Back in September 1990 from the airport CDG stop Aéroport CDG 1 (RER B) take the bus of the line Seine et Marne Express line no 20 to the train station in Meaux for only 2 euros !! And of course, by the road warrior way you can take it from Paris on the A4 direction Metz, Nancy Disneyland , in about 50 km, leave the A4 direction A140 direction Meaux Centre. You will see an impressive view of the Cathedral and Episcopal city !! Meaux is also , a 3 bikes city where the bicycle is used all over, You can use free bikes at the train station or city hall.

The  Meaux tourist office on the city information office : https://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/preparez-votre-sejour/informations-pratiques/loffice-de-tourisme

The city of Meaux on its walks and heritagehttps://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme/balade-a-meaux.html

There you go folks, a very sentimental city of Meaux for me and the foundation of my Frenchness that will last a lifetime thanks to my Mamie Bleu Martine forever !! This is one of those posts in my blog… Memories they said is to live again …To note, this is a very good inexpensive way to see Disneyland Paris only about 28 minutes by bus and 18 minutes by car! 

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

August 9, 2022

Epiphany and the kings!

The celebration of the 3 Wise Kings, or Los 3 Reyes Magos or simply the Reyes Magos is something that fascinated me since childhood and passed it on to my boys. It is difficult to carry traditions away from your home base but we try, From my Spanish Catholic tradition it is the day where we give our gifts to our children, as the Wise Kings gave it in honor of the new born child Jesus. Over the years my travels and my nationalities I have mix all tradition where we do follow up with all !

Living now in France since 2003, and as French since 2000 , the day is not celebrated even if a Catholic country per se, we just do the galette des rois a frangipane of almond with a figurine inside that according to leyend was the opportunity for role reversal as a Roman slave took the place of the emperor before he reigned for a day later was send to death. King Louis XIV was the first one in France who push for it, and the tradition flourished, where the person who gets the portion with the figurine in it, gets to be the king or queen for the day and especially gifts are given. The cakes differed a bit from the north to the South of France, what we do today is usually call the Parisien version of the almond bake frangipane cake.

In my other country of Spain, we have the similar cake of Roscon de Reyes;as a cake to eat on these days, but the celebration is much bigger with parades of the Wise Kings with great beautiful décorations, and the gifts to our children, under the arbol de Navidad or the Christmas tree. In my Madrid, the route of the parade change a bit every year but one popular one begin in the evening by Nuevos Ministerios (corner with plaza San Juan de la Cruz square ) down the Paseo de la Castellana, and passing through the Plaza del Doctor Marañón, Glorieta de Emilio Castelar, Plaza de Colón and the Paseo de Recoletos, with arrival at the Plaza de Cibeles, where King Melchior will read the message on behalf of the three Magi. After this there is a fireworks show.

Of course, in the USA this is not celebrate it we just do on our own even if in some Hispanic communities a parade is done too, No particular food on Epiphany neither In Cuba well that is another world, nothing is done , I never had it unfortunately

Basically the meaning ,and history  in Spain is like this

The Magi from the East is the name which according to tradition are the visitors who, after the birth of Jesús from Nazareth, came from foreign countries to pay tribute and give rich symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Gospels speak only about «magicians», nowhere lists their names, which were Kings, nor were three (a number that is possibly due to the amount of offered gifts). These beliefs were added centuries later and have remained in the popular tradition.  According to Catholic belief, these Magi were representatives of «pagan» religions of neighbouring villages, which the Gospels come as the first fruits of the Nations that accept the Catholic religion.  In some countries (usually Spanish-speakers) there is the tradition of representing Kings bringing gifts that children have asked in their wish letters during the night before Epiphany.  The Magi, traditions in some countries, part of the crib next to Joseph, the baby Jesus and Mary.

The Catholic figure of the Magi has its origin in the accounts of the birth of Jesus, some were integrated from the canonical Gospels that now make up the new testament of the Bible. Specifically the Gospel of Matthew is the only biblical source which mentions a few magicians (though not specific names, the number or the title of Kings) who, following a so-called Star, looking for the «King of the Jews has been born» in Jerusalem, guiding them such a star to Jesus born in Bethlehem, and to whom offer offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  In that same apocryphal gospel it is said that they had any family link, and that also came with three legions of soldiers: one of Persia, Babylon and Asia. 

According to subsequent interpretations, the wizards were considered to be originating in Europe, Asia, and Africa respectively . However, the last book written by the Pope Benedicto XVI on Nazareth Jesús, «Childhood of Jesus», notes that the Magi probably came from the East, as it has believed traditionally, but Tartessos, an area that historians located between Huelva, Cadiz and Seville (Andalusia, Spain). In this way, the wise men from the East have become Kings, and with them have come into the Manger camels and dromedaries, said  Benedict XVI and continues:”the promise contained in these texts extends the provenance of these men to the far West (Tarshish, Tartessos in Spain), but tradition has further developed this listing of the universality of the kingdoms of those sovereigns«, interpreting them as Kings of the three then-known continents: Africa, Asia and Europe “. They represented all men seekers of God of all times and all places and that included everyone until then known and whose western boundary was Tartessos, in the Iberian peninsula”, he explains. Mention to Tartessos, Benedict XVI refers to this geographical limit that had the world in the 1C, «magicians are East but that God seekers men of God of all places and all times are represented in that concern by search». With regard to the names of Kings (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) the first references seem to date back to the 5C through two texts, the first entitled Excerpta latina barbari, which are called Gathaspa, Melichior and Bithisarea, and other apocryphal gospel, the Armenian Gospel of childhood, which are called Balthazar, Melkon and Gaspard.

There you go folks, a wonderful story whether believe or not. The Epiphany is one tradition worth keeping especially in our agitated crazy world we live today. I will be looking forward to my next one whether on TV or in person in Madrid, we will see by January 2023 what the world will bring me. Hope you enjoy the post and feel free to tell me your versions of it.

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

July 31, 2022

WordPress ,you and me 2021 !!!

So taking a small time to thank you all for your loyal following during these last 12 years. It has been a wonderful trip which I have enjoyed very much, hoping you too.

I started on WordPress after advice from an American  friend living in Madrid for over 25 years who told me it was easy to work for the non technical guy in me and it has been so. It was November 26th 2010 so holy cow already almost 12 years !!!!!

And ,I have decided to look at my numbers with the help of wandering a bit into WordPress. Even with humble numbers compare to some of you, it has been a wonderful ride and fully satisfy. Again thank you so much. Merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, muito obrigado.

After already not counting this one, 3 824 posts in my blog, come to realize my best viewing day is Sunday…. and the best time is 9h or 9am!! The best day viewed was December 10, 2012! with 972 views!!! A record hard to beat !

My best view pages or posts for 2021 have been: A look back of history, a Palace in the Tuileries!, Some streets of Versailles !!! , and My college days in Florida-ERAU !!! The most view post all time has been Versailles and it’s historical Churches with 172!!!! ,Which since, I have split into individual posts ! Again , a record hard to beat !!

I have 974 other blogs following mine an honor! ,thank you all. I have cut down a lot as do not like folks just hanging on, need to have exchanges, views ,comments stories, suggestions that is part of traveling folks ! Anyway, never in my wildest dreams would I thought to have these many reading my blog wow! There are about 15 steady commentators and the top 10 are well known you know who you are , and my wish is to have more comments, constructive comments that is.

The countries that have most folks viewing my blog are in order: USA, France, UK, India, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, and Australia! Thanks!!! In actuality, it covers the world with many many countries in fact for 2021 counted 148 !!

The year of great activity with most views was 2012 with 120 701, and the one with the most visitors was 2013 with 27 140, the most likes , and comments was 2021 !! In 2021 , I had 48 635 views , 23 487 visitors, 26 977 likes, and 832 comments. . Another good year me think, Thank you!!!

There are a total of 7 pages on front page, 15 categories of posts and 15 tags with 7 favorite outside links in the blogroll . There are over 50 000 photos already here wow!!! 49,3% of memory space taken !

I am sure WordPress will have better numbers to tell in 2022. In the meantime, thanks for reading mine and sharing yours, always a pleasure to read. Enjoy your Summer as I.

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

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