Archive for ‘Asia’

December 30, 2022

The airport of Cebu, Philippines !!

Well looking at my vault of pictures and posts in my blog realised had just small mentions of the Airport of Cebu, Philippines. This was my most entries to the country for several years and 6 visits, sometimes straight there and others rerouted after Manila. Therefore, let me put more into my blog of the Cebu airport and hope you enjoy the post as I.

Let me tell you the airport for the main Cebu city had to passed first by Lapu Lapu, and Mandaue towns. The trips were routine, same route each time. The island of Cebu is 122 miles (196 km) long; nowhere does it exceed 20 miles (32 km) in width. The capital city of Cebu city is located in the Central Visayas region VII, consisting of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Cebu is the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines. Cebu city forms part of the metropolitan area with Danao city, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay cities. Mactan Cebu international airport is in Mactan island the second busiest airport in the Philippines !!

Cebu lapu lapu city drive jan17

cebu lapu lapu passing jan18

A bit of history which was interesting to me tell us that on April 27, 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi and the friar Andrés de Urdaneta arrived on Cebu and founded the first Spanish settlement and Catholic mission in the Philippine archipelago. For six years, until Legazpi’s removal to Manila, Cebu was the Spanish colonial capital. It remained the primary Spanish bastion in the southern part of the Philippines. The local native language is the Cebuano an unique language of the region which as a result of the 333-year Spanish colonial period, Cebuano contains many words of Spanish origin. Indeed it is very interesting to listen to it.

The Mactan Island side of the bridge, which is in Lapu-Lapu City, is accessed by Old Patiller Road, a spur road of the Manuel L. Quezon National Highway. On this island is the Cebu Mactan International airport. Here I have landed and take off several times on my travels there and was by the end routine; always going by car to my hotels. The main airlines here which I have taken are Cebu Pacific Air , operating flights to over 60 domestic and international destinations across 14 countries , and Philippine Airlines , which took to the skies on March 15, 1941, laying claim to the distinction of Asia’s first airline.

cebu overbridge from mactan apt to hotel jan18

From the airport you have the taxi yellow and taxi white located at the Terminal 1 Domestic Arrival and Terminal 2 International Link Bridge Arrival , There is My Bus ,located at the Taxi Bay Area of T1 Domestic Arrival and Bus Bay of T2 International Arrival, MyBus provides daily connectivity from SM City Cebu (a big mall see post) to Mactan Cebu International Airport and vice versa. There is a premium bus service between terminals 1 and 2 ; passengers will need to secure a shuttle coupon from the arrival transfer desk / information counter and present it to the bus dispatcher before boarding, There is a nice car parking located at Terminal 2 grounds and walking distance going to terminal 1, There are several car rental operators on both terminals including international known names such as Alamo, and Hertz, I have used none of the above, here just for information.

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At the airport I have use the Mabuhay Lounge in Terminal 2 flying for Philippine airlines ,Did purchases at the Duty Free store at Terminal 1 Domestic Airport Village ,Arrivals, Had my coffees at Illy Caffe on Terminal 1 South Wing Pre-Departure

cebu airport going to hotel nov18

With more time some of the things to see here me think are:

The Santo Niño Basilica, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu. Casa Gorordo is a house museum located in the historic Parian area of Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines. Fort San Pedro is a military defense structure in Cebu , built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor.  The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception is the ecclesiastical seat.  The Jesuit House or Museo De Parian is possibly one of the country’s oldest houses, having been built centuries ago. The Magellan’s Cross Pavilion is a stone kiosk in Cebu City, the structure is situated on Plaza Sugbo beside the Basilica del Santo Niño. The Colon Obelisk marks the start of Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines established in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House in Parian, Cebu City is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China. Museo Basilica Del Santo Nino, a museum was first established in the year 1965. The Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu is the only ecclesiastical museum in the country that is completely housed in a Spanish-era rectory.

cebu airport arriving from the air jan16

The official Cebu Mactan airporthttps://mactancebuairport.com/

The official Cebu tourist office : https://cebucitytourism.org/

There you go folks, wonderful memories forever of my forays into the Philippines. Many friends later longing to be back one day eventually, For now hope you enjoy the post on the airport of Cebu as I.

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

December 27, 2022

The Taman Mini Indonesia Indah museum of Jakarta !!!

Back in 2012, I came to Jakarta, Indonesia for the first time ever. It was unique to be there, and over the years until 2019 I came 8 times more. A pleasant experience and many I can call friends now. This first time , stayed at a hotel just across from this museums and then came back for more. I have written several posts on Indonesia in my blog but I will like to give you a bit more on the the museums of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah . Hope you enjoy it as I.

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The Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) or Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park is a culture-based recreational area located in East Jakarta. It has an area of about 250 acres (1 km2). The park is a synopsis of Indonesian culture, with virtually all aspects of daily life in Indonesia’s provinces encapsulated in separate pavilions with the collections of rumah adat as the example of Indonesian vernacular architecture, clothing, dances and traditions are all depicted impeccably. Apart from that, there is a lake with a miniature of the archipelago in the middle of it, cable cars, museums, Keong Emas Imax cinema, a theater called the Theatre of My Homeland (Theater Tanah Airku) and other recreational facilities which make TMII one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Indeed.

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Since each Indonesian province maintains its own unique and distinct cultures, shelters, attire and dialects, TMII built a model of each of the houses from Indonesian provinces. TMII attempted not only to reconstruct the homes of the various provinces, but also to create a realistic model of the environment and shelters of the various people of Indonesia. The venues, which are situated around the main lake in a similar fashion to the different islands of the Indonesian archipelago, are thematically divided into six areas in respect to the main islands of Indonesia; Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Maluku and Papua. Each pavilions featured in typical vernacular Indonesian architecture of each provinces.

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The religious buildings of several official faiths is meant to showcase the inter-faiths tolerance and religious harmony of Indonesia. The religious buildings are: Pangeran Diponegoro Mosque, Santa Catharina Catholic church, Haleluya Protestant church, Penataran Agung Kertabhumi Balinese Hindu temple, Arya Dwipa Arama Buddhist temple, Sasana Adirasa Pangeran Samber Nyawa, and Kong Miao Confucian temple. There are about ten gardens spread within TMII complex, but most are located primarily on the north and northeast side of the main lake which are: Orchid Garden, Medicinal herbs Garden, Cactus Garden, Jasmine Garden, Keong Emas (Golden Snail) Flower Garden, Fresh Water Aquarium, Bekisar (a type of rooster) Garden, Bird Park, Taman Ria Atmaja Park, stage and music performances, and Taman Budaya Tionghoa Indonesia, an Indonesian Chinese cultural park.A Reptile Park in Komodo Zoological Museum compound. A fully grown Komodo dragon nicknamed Bima resides in the reptile park near the eastern gate, which you can pet and take pictures for a small fee.

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Pusat peragaan Iptek or Science and Technology Display Centre is under coordination of Research and Technology Ministry. At the end of 2011 has 15 sites with about 300 science tools. The sites are Robotic, Electric and Magnet, Mechanics, Mathematics, etc. There are fourteen museums at TMII !, and these are:  Indonesia Museum , Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum, Soldier Museum, Indonesian stamps Museum, Pusaka (Heirloom) Museum, Transportation Museum, Museum Electricity & New Energy Museum, Telecommunication Museum, Penerangan Museum, Sports Museum, Asmat Museum, Komodo Indonesian Fauna Museum and Reptile Park, Insects Museum, Research & Technology Information Centre,Oil & Gas Museum, East Timor Museum (former East Timor province pavilion), Keong Emas (Golden Snail) Imax Theater, Tanah Airku Theater, and 4D Theater.

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There are several monuments in the complex of TMII and these are: Kala Makara main gates , Flower clock, Tugu Api Pancasila, the main monument, an obelisk celebrating Pancasila, Baluwerti, a twin gate with relief of Indonesian history on its wall, Pendopo Agung Sasono Utomo (Grand Hall), the main building in Javanese Joglo style, Sasono Utomo, exhibition hall, Sasono Langen Budoyo, indoor stage and theater, Sasono Manganti, Sasana Kriya, multi purpose function hall, Park Management Office, Cokot Sculpture, a display of wooden sculptures by Cokot, a famous Balinese artist, The Miniature of Borobudur, APEC Memorial Monument and Garden, Non Alignment Nations Friendship Monument and Garden, The Miniature of Indonesian Archipelago on central lake, Indonesian Archipelago Plaza and Stage , Jati Taminah, a remnant of a large teak tree, Kayu Gede (large wood), the display of large tree trunk

And several rides of Skylift Indonesia cable car, Aeromovel Indonesia, a wind powered people mover , Mini train around the park, Boat ride on Indonesian archipelago lake, Swan paddle boat on Indonesian archipelago lake,  Bicycle rent ride, and Car ride around the parks. In all one stop place to see all Indonesia. 

The official TMII museumshttp://www.tamanmini.com/pesona_indonesia/museum.php

The Indonesia tourist board on TMII museums of Jakartahttps://www.indonesia.travel/au/en/destinations/java/dki-jakarta/taman-mini-indonesia-indah

There you go folks, of course,  I have not been to all of them, but several and you have here a one stop visit to Indonesia, very convenient and inexpensive time with a family or friends. Hope you enjoy the post on the TMII park museums as I.

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

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December 26, 2022

My hotels in Jakarta and Surabaya !!!

I need to tell you about my memorable experiences on hotels in Indonesia, basically base in Jakarta and Surabaya. This was my first experience with Indonesia and over the years had the opportunity to be back 8 times and got to know the country well, Many friends still in touch and lots of wonderful memories I like to keep in my blog, There are many posts on the country and its monuments and places to even airports! Do not know when back, but the memories will lingered forever, Hope you enjoy the post on my hotels in Jakarta and Surabaya as I,

First, let me give you Surabaya, a lot written on it in my previous posts; so here is the hotel I always stayed and by now has change name too. The old Somerset !

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There was always a shuttle to my home base hotel , in Surabaya , the usual have come here Somerset Hotel and Résidences, great place where many in front desk knew me! Very centrally located and restaurant lane just a few blocks on foot from it. It is well located off the main highway for in and out quick which helps in traffic flooded Surabaya. The hotel is now under new owners and is call the Verwood Hotel & Serviced Residence.   The hotel is still located at Jalan Raya Kupang Indah, Surabaya East Java.

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It is a huge property with all the trimmings, and always book here, easy walking to a street of many restaurants and right near the main road taking me to my assignment. This hotel features a restaurant, an outdoor pool, and a bar/lounge. Good for family and enjoy the children’s pool, playground, and arcade/game room. Enjoy the fitness center and perks like free self parking and a free area shuttle. Free WiFi, LED TVs with cable channels on the 467 soundproofed guestrooms with 24-hour room service. Other amenities include coffee/tea makers and free bottled water. Superbe always for several years.

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The official Verwood hotel and Serviced Residence :http://www.verwoodhotel.com/index.html

Now let’s go full throttle to big Jakarta ,they were several here. They were :

The first stayed was at the  Hotel Santika Taman Mini Indonesia Indah at  Jl. Pintu 1, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, is connected to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII),(see post) one of Jakarta’s most popular museums park. Featuring a “miniature Indonesia,” the park showcases the rich cultural and natural diversity of this spectacular country. Located on the ground floor, Krakatau Restaurant offers the best in international, oriental and indonesian cuisine. Available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the Jali-Jali Lounge is open 24-hours a day. The plus was to walk across the street to the wonderful park as above.

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The Hotel Santika offers an outdoor pool, 2 dining options, free Wi-Fi and free parking, and modern rooms with a flat-screen TV. The rooms are tastefully decorated, elegant interiors, wooden floors, a safe, tea and coffee facilities and a bathroom with a hot shower. The hotel offers a gym, a business center, a 24-hour reception and a concierge service.  Hotel Santika Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is a 20-minute drive from Cilandak Town Square’s dining and shopping mall, and 1.5 hours from Soekarno Hatta International Airport.  (see posts)

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The official Hotel Santika Taman Mini Indonesia Indah https://www.mysantika.com/indonesia/jakarta/hotel-santika-taman-mini-indonesia-indah/

In subsequent trips I stayed at my most used hotel the Grand Kemang Hotel right in the entertainment center of Jakarta. You really don’t need a car staying here as all shopping, restos, bars to boot are walking distances. It has a wonderful Sparca restaurant. I must say for lodging was my best experience in Indonesia. Location is at Jl. Kemang Raya 2H Kebayoran Baru, Kemang.

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The strategic position of the hotel, just 1 km from the city center, allows guests to easily and quickly reach many tourist sites. With the city’s main attractions including Kemang Street, Kemang Village, Wijaya Golf Course close to the property, guests will love this location. the establishment offers, among other things, 24-hour room service, free WiFi in all rooms, 24-hour reception, WiFi in public areas, valet parking. The hotel rooms have been furnished to the highest standards of comfort and ergonomics and some include the following amenities: flat screen TV, additional bathroom, additional WC, free instant coffee, free tea. The hotel offers an excellent variety of leisure facilities, including outdoor swimming pool, garden. Painting and art installations will spoil the eyes of visitors on various sides of the hotel. Now for the rooms, there are 203 in total. Some of them are the Junior Suite Room with an area of 48 m2 and an Executive Suite Room covering an area of 47m2 . Junior Suite Room in a spacious room, there is a bathroom with TV, minibar, refrigerator, sofas and tables for relaxing, dining together or talking with relatives. Meanwhile, to enjoy food and drinks, there is Sperta with a la carte menu and buffet, Sparca lounge, courtyard by the pool with Vibar. Great souvenirs and would love to come back here!

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The official Grand Kemang Hotel : https://grandkemang.com/

The next in time hotel I stayed was the Amaroossa Cosmo Hotel was right in front of an overpass highway along the whole front even if told is in the chic district of Cilandak. My first sampler was at  the hotel Andromeda Cafe, ok with a nice mini garden in the back but again that wall of highway, the other was the Bell Lounge but it was dull no action nobody there lol!!! Not a pleasant experience even if quiet and friendly staff. It is located at Jalan Pangeran Antasari No. 9 a-b, Cilandak, Cipete Selatan, Jakarta.

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You have   98 guest rooms, all of which are decorated and designed to give you the right to enjoy the most important things offered by all major hotels: the perfect place for you to rest, relax in fantastic comfort where all the needs will be fulfilled and pampered. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, LCD TV, kitchen, living room, safe, hair dryer, telephone and mini-bar. Internet network can also be accessed free of charge in all areas of the hotel. There is also an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and restaurant to support your activities while in the hotel. You will also find other facilities such as laundry, free parking. You can drive about 20 minutes to Cilandak Town Square mall, while a trip to Soekarno Hatta International Airport takes 60 minutes from the hotel.

jakarta cosmo amaroossa hotel andromeda cafe breakfast cart jan16

The official Amaroossa Cosmo Hotelhttps://amaroossahotel.com/jakarta-cosmo/

And my very last hotel in Jakarta and Indonesia was the Swiss Belinn Hotel Simantupang. And twice to boot on same trip with an incursion to Surabaya and back to Jakarta.  The first round was for five nights and then there is one night before heading back home. Both times at a new hotel experience, the Swiss Belinn Hotel Simantupang, was a great experience even if the breakfast choices were few to me. The rooms were great, modern clean and spacious, and the location was good.  It is located at Jalan R.A Kartini 32, Lebak Bulus, Cilandak, Lebak Bulus, Jakarta.

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In the city center, Swiss-Belinn Simatupang at about a 40-minute drive from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, and located in the vibrant Simatupang area of Jakarta. The popular Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club and Pondok Indah Mall are both reachable within 7 minutes’ drive from the property. Gandaria City Mall is a 15-minute drive away. The hotel’s 159 comfortable and stylish rooms in 20 floors feature dedicated workspace, sitting area and floor-to-ceiling windows with city views. In-room amenities include air conditioning, LCD TV, IDD telephone, personal safe, desk, refrigerator and complimentary Wi-Fi access. For a luxurious, guests can choose to stay in the hotel’s opulent suites.  After a hectic day of sightseeing, guests can relax in the hot tub or feel refreshed with a dip in the outdoor pool. The concierge staff assists with ticket bookings and restaurant reservations. Other than this, it also offers luggage storage, parking, laundry and free Wi-Fi access. A hearty local meal can be enjoyed in the elegant setting of the in-house restaurant, Barelo. It also serves a wide range of international delicacies, and lip-smacking Indian food. The anecdote was that driving back we got hit with a huge Jakarta traffic jam that in several years coming there never encountered. We decided to walk once saw the hotel on the distance from the road! and got to it first than our driver !! Always funny to tell the story !!

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The official Swiss-Belinn Simatupang Hotel : https://www.swiss-belhotel.com/en-gb/swiss-belinn-simatupang

There you go folks, another dandy memorable post for me and great hotel experiences in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia. Plenty of good memories and still good friends, looking forward to be back, eventually. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

December 26, 2022

The Ayala Triangle Park of Manila !!

I found me a couple pictures of my adventures in the Philippines and just need to have them in my blog, In my eagerness to know the town or district where I was lodge in Makati I took a long walk and came across the wonderful Ayala Triangle Park. It was one of the hightlights of my stay as came back several times, Let me tell you a bit on it ok, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Ayala Triangle Gardens is a 2-hectare (4.9-acre) landscaped urban park in MakatiMetro ManilaPhilippines. It is a triangular public garden and courtyard in the center of the Makati Central Business District. It opened to the public in November 19, 2009 , inspired b Hyde Park in London, the park, which is dotted with palms, acacia trees, and tropical foliage, is considered one of the few green areas in Makati.

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I had several times good lunches at the Banaapple resto, and for the great local dish Lechon or pork dish at Simple Lang  in the wonderful park. Unfortunately, Simple Lang will have to be for the memories as it has closed down. Nevertheless, Ayala Triangle Park is a wonderful place to spent your time in Manila. The Ayala Triangle on Banaapple resto: https://www.ayalatriangle.com/gardens/restaurants/banapple

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The buildings on the Ayala Triangle Park include the old Makati Stock Exchange Center and Ayala Tower One (home of the Philippine Stock Exchange) along the Ayala Avenue side, the old Nielson Tower, and Ayala Triangle Tower One and Ayala Triangle Tower Two ;home of The Shops at Triangle Gardens, and Ayala Mall (see post), at the intersection of Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. Ayala Triangle Gardens Attractions: Filipinas Heritage Library, Gabriela Silang Monument, Ninoy Aquino MonumentSultan Kudarat Monument, Ayala Triangle Gardens Public Art:Homage to Antoni Tapies, Homage to Eusebio Sempere, Homage to Fernando Zobel, Homage to Luis Feito.

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The land of the present-day Ayala Triangle Gardens was once the 42-hectare (100-acre) Nielson Field, Manila’s pre-WWII airport, located in the vast Hacienda de San Pedro de Macati of the Zóbel de Ayala family. When the airport was decommissioned in 1948 and transferred its present site in Nichols Field, the site was returned to the Ayalas and redeveloped as a commercial district The runways were converted into roads which now form the Triangle’s boundaries:Ayala Avenue, Paseo de Roxas and Makati Avenue. Only the airport’s control tower was preserved,now the Nielson towers,which was converted into the Filipinas Heritage Library, and later as the Blackbird fine dining restaurant.  By 1971, the Ayala Corporation moved to its new headquarters in the Triangle at the Makati Stock Exchange Center building , The rest of the Triangle was then transformed into the football field known as Ugarte Field, named after the Filipino football legend of the 1930s, In the 1980s, Ugarte Field was the site of regular protests against the Marcos dictatorship.

The Ayala Triangle Gardens hosts the annual Festival of Lights, a lights and sound display from November to January of the following year for the Christmas season. It premiered on November 20, 2009 as the symphony of lights. The show runs every 30 minutes from local time 18h until 22h, More info webpage : https://manilaforkids.com/community-stories/the-festival-of-lights-kicks-off-the-christmas-season-in-makati/

The official Ayala Triangle park:https://www.ayalatriangle.com/

The National Philippines tourist office on Manilahttps://philippines.travel/destinations/manila

There you go folks, a dandy park in a nice district of Manila. This is a nice place to spend some time in the city, Ayala Triangle Park of Makati. Glad to have it in my blog and hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

December 5, 2022

My travel stories so far !!!

We are coming to the end of 2022 another year and another battle, My 87 years old father Elio is already 18 days in the hospital recuperating from an episode of epilepsy and coming along slowly in stable condition, He is the last as my mother Gladys died in 2007 and my dear wife Martine in 2018, I am at home with my 3 young men and our dog Rex waiting for Christmas and another year, I decided to look back and briefly tell of my travels and countries visited in my life, All wonderful trips with family and alone that will be in my memory forever, Hope you enjoy the reading along with me of this wonderful post,

I have gone out into the world from the Miami International airport, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Later from CDG Roissy airport (Paris) and Orly airport (Paris), Lastly my trips have been from Nantes Atlantique airport or even the Lorient and Rennes airports. Many experiences all good me think even with some delays, No sad event on any of them.

The countries I have visited are group by region below :

Asia : Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia,Taiwan, and Thailand,(14)

Africa : Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Argelia, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania,Angola, Namibia, Mozambique,Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon,and Senegal, (16)

America : Mexico , Brazil, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Canada, USA, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay Bolivia,Dominican Republic,Guatemala, Jamaica, and Haiti (27)

Europe : Spain, France, Portugal , Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy,Greece, San Marino, Russia,Israel, Austria, Bulgaria, Andorra, Monaco, and the Vatican, (24)

So there you go 81 countries so far, and some were done from France ,the latest ones, and others done from the USA the oldest visits, All wonderful memorable moments in my life.

The family was always sitting down to figure where we are going, and the endless choices mostly turn out to be France or Spain. Lately, alone with the boys we have been concentrating closer to home in our lovely region of Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh, Life goes on, beautiful life but short to many, enjoy it fully while you can, Remember as I needed to, don’t do tomorrow what you can do today, This post will allow me to keep track of where I have been because it took some work to put it together.

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

ps, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2023

August 31, 2022

My airports in Indonesia!

I have been thru too many airports in my last 40 years to last me for the rest of my lifetime! I do not look at them as tourist attractions but a necessary step to tourism. As Indonesia is a country of many islands and vast distances the use of airplane is a must. I have made about 8 trips in the last 11 years to the country and always fond memories of places and friends, Let me update and tell you briefly on my airports in Indonesia!And, plenty of domestic flights once there!

My main point of entry was the Jakarta International Airport (Soekarno-Hatta), the main airport serving the greater Jakarta area on the island of Java. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu, who also designed Paris-Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) airport. The Soekarno-Hatta airport was Inaugurated in 1985, it was named after Soekarno, first president of the Republic of Indonesia, and Hatta, first vice-president. They were the ones who proclaimed the independence of the country in 1945.   Jakarta International Airport has 150 check-in counters, 30 baggage carousels and 42 gates. Each sub-terminal has 25 check-in counters, 5 baggage carrousels and 7 gates at my last count.

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The airport is divided into three terminals. Terminal 1 accommodates domestic flights, except for Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia AirAsia, NAM Air and Sriwijaya Air. Terminal 2 accommodates all international flights other than those of SkyTeam companies, as well as domestic flights of Indonesia AirAsia, NAM Air and Sriwijaya Air. Terminal 3 accommodates all Garuda Indonesia flights as well as those of SkyTeam companies. A shuttle system connects the 3 terminals.

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Taxi counters are located on the Arrivals level after customs and outside at the taxi stand. Several Taxi companies operate at Jakarta airport, including Blue Bird, Silver Bird, Golden Bird and Gamya. Blue Bird taxis are blue and provide basic taxi service from a reliable company. Silver Bird taxis are black and provide premium taxi service at slightly higher rates. Golden Bird is a limousine service. I have been picked up by locals as well as use the Silver Bird services.

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The official Soekarno-Hatta airport : http://www.soekarnohatta-airport.co.id/

The official Jakarta tourist officehttps://jakarta-tourism.go.id/visit/

The Surabaya Juanda International Airport serves Surabaya, East Java and surrounding areas. It is my second most used airport in Indonesia. It is located in the kabupaten ,department of Sidoarjo, 20 km south of Surabaya. Open December 7, 1964 as an air and naval base, December 24, 1990, Juanda Airport obtains the status of international airport, after the opening of an international terminal.

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The Surabaya Airport has two terminals: Terminal 1 is split into a couple of sections: section 1A and section 1B. The Level 1 is the Arrivals level, where check-in counters and baggage claim area are located. Level 2 is for Departures, where the boarding area is located. Find in this level access to boarding gates 1 to 6 ,and 7 to 12.   There are lounges close to gates 2, 8 and 11.   Terminal 2, handles international flights and some domestic services of Garuda and Indonesia Air Asia. Terminal 2 is the newest one and opened in 2014. It is located at the east side of Terminal 1. The Ground level This is the Check-in area and the Arrivals level. It has a boarding lounge at west and the Arrivals facilities plus the baggage claim can be found at east.   Find also here transportation options (bus, taxi, shuttle, car rental). Upper level: This is the Departures area, split into the Domestic and International departures.   Access to boarding gates 1 to 9 from a single point. Mezzanine level Find in this level the airport lounges. Taxi ranks are properly located outside Arrivals of both terminals, after the baggage claim area.   In order to take a taxi at Surabaya Airport, passengers should purchase a taxi coupon from the transportation counter. Blue Bird and Orenz Taxi.I have was picked always here by locals.

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The official Juanda Surabaya airport https://www.juanda-airport.com/id

The official Surabaya tourist office : http://www.surabayatourism.com/

A very nice experience for me was to go inland into Yogyakarta and Ngoro, etc towns. The Yogyakarta Adisutjipto International Airport was the airport of the city of Yogyakarta. The airport was inaugurated as international in 2004. Adisucipto airport also houses an Indonesian air force base. Adisutjipto will be gradually replaced by the new international airport of Yogyakarta in the kabupaten of Kulon Progo. Airport taxis are available on the arrivals level. Taxi rate is fixed depending on the distance. Purchase a fixed price taxi coupon from the Transportation counter and proceed to the taxi stand outside. This is the one I used; here for the memories of always.

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The official oldAdisutjipto airport : https://adisutjipto-airport.co.id/id

The new airport Yogyakarta International Airport or Kulon Progo International Airport, is in the district of Temon, kabupaten of Kulon Progo, which serves the special territory of Yogyakarta in Java, It is 45 km from the city, and was inaugurated on May 6, 2019. The airport became fully operational on 29 March 2020 with all scheduled flights (except turboprops, cargo and other non-commercial flights) relocated from the old airport , This one I have not tried yet.

The new official Yogyakarta airport:: https://yogyakarta-airport.co.id/en

The official Indonesia tourist board on Yogyakartahttps://www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/destinations/java/yogyakarta

The best way to move about in Indonesia using various airlines most of the time Garuda Indonesia; Sriwijaya airline; and Wings, etc. The official Indonesia Tourist board : https://www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/home

There you go folks, now you all set to enjoy this exotic beautiful country in Asia. Lots of memory of my trips there in the last 11 years! And lots of good friends still in touch. I am always looking forward to be back, eventually. In the meantime, get to know my airports of Indonesia !!

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

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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 !!!

July 27, 2022

The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City !

I have come to Asia quite recently in my life actually last trip was 2018, but before that were over 20 trips ! One of the most visited was Vietnam, and there Ho Chi Minh City. For an amateur lover of history and architecture this is a must for a different look even if history tells us that there are ramification of the world mobility all over for one reason or another vestiges of France are in VietnamLet me tell you about a place not been in it as no time to see all,  but did walk by and was inspired by something familiar! The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam looks like the the Petit Palais of Paris!  Another wonderful experience of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city on the move, plenty of moves always busy and exciting day or night. Ho Chi Minh City , the former Saigon.

The theater of Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon Opera House was nice and another French inspired building.  Inspired by the architecture of Petit Palais de Paris, it was built in 1898-1900. During the Vietnam War, this theater was the seat of the parliament of the Republic of South Vietnam. Located on the main axis of the city center, the building is a cultural landmark of Lam Son Square and Dong Khoi Street or the former Catinat Street, between the famous Caravelle and Continental hotels. Exactly at No. 7, Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe, District 1.  With its white columns and elegant arcades, the Ho Chi Minh City City Theater makes one imagine for a moment that one is in a small romantic Paris, away from the busy downtown.

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Saigon’s Opera House has its specific characteristics. Its architectural style is influenced by the flamboyant style of the Third French Republic. The facade is inspired by the Petit Palais built the same year in Paris. The interior is well equipped, with perfect acoustics and lighting. The building includes a parterre and two balconies, capable of offering up to 800 seats but the oval auditorium has 468 seats.  However, the facade decor has suffered some criticism. Following the Gothic style, the facade of the building was decorated with inscriptions and reliefs , which was worth describing as complicated. In 1943, some of this decoration was removed. In 1998, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Saigon, the city government reconstructed part of the decoration of the facade.

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The Saigon Opera House is worth the detour for a high-end show that must satisfy contemporary and traditional art lovers; in addition to concerts and ballets, it offers a whole range of activities promoting the local culture by adopting innovative and original approaches.

The Vietnam tourist office on Ho Chi Minh City things to see, see video theater:  https://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/southern-vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city

A good info Lune productions site on the theater: https://www.luneproduction.com/saigon-opera-house

There you go folks, another architecture and historical landmark in the former Saigon,now Ho Chi Minh City. For the opera/theater lovers is worth the detour. For me well just happy to see it and admire its French architecture in the Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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July 18, 2022

My other towns of Indonesia !!

Here I am remembering my footpaths in the world and recalling Indonesia. A far away land for many years, and then all of a sudden 8 trips ! Many nice memories and more important nice friends, always looking forward to seeing again. For now let me tell you about my other towns of Indonesia , such as Bogor, Mojokerto, Ngoro, Malang and Sidoarjo. Memories forever.

The Sidoarjo Kabupaten admin area is located in the province of East Java, south of Surabaya, (see posts) the provincial capital and main town is Sidoarjo. The Surabaya International Airport (Juanda) is located in the Sidoarjo Kabupaten. Interesting thing to see here are the Pari temple located in the village of Candipari, one km south of Sidoarjo. It is a fairly massive but well preserved brick building. The date equivalent to 1371, is engraved on the pediment of the door. The temple of Sumur is located a hundred meters from that of Pari. It is a brick building of which there are only half remaining, but whose staircase still allows access to the cella, which is distinguished by a well about one meter on a side, located in one of the angles. The temple of Gunung Gangsir, located in the village of the same name, near Bangil, south-east of Sidoarjo on the road to Pasuruan, dates from the end of the 14C; it has terracotta decorations representing offering pots and goddesses holding lotuses.   The Sidoarjo mud volcano has caused great damage to the local landscape to say the least. The flows have  repeatedly  buried  villages, communication  routes and fields despite  the construction of numerous retention dams.

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The road warrior in me passing Sidoarjo and a great city center shot indeed for the memories. The East Java tourist board on Sidoarjohttps://www.eastjava.com/east-java/tourism/sidoarjo/candi-sumur.html

Malang is a city in the province of East Java as well. It has a history dating back to the age of Singhasari Kingdom. It is the second most populous city in the province. During Dutch colonization, it was a popular destination for European residents. Dutch heritage in general in the form of ancient buildings such as the Kayutangan Church and Ijen Cathedral which has gothic architecture. The city was capital city of Singhasari in 1222, then transferred to Dutch colony. During the Japanese occupation, Malang was also occupied by Japan by March 1942. After the Independence of Indonesia in 1945, Malang became part of the Republic of Indonesia on 21 September 1945 and re-entered on 2 March 1947 after being re-occupied by the Dutch East Indies.

The city of Malang is surrounded by Mount Arjuno in the north; Mount Semeru to the east; Mount Kawi and Mount Butak in the west; Mount Kelud in the south.The popular active volcano Mount Bromo is about 25 km (16 miles) east of the city. Malang Metropolitan Region is a leading tourist destination in Indonesia with the City of Batu as its center. Malang has various tourist areas including volcanoes to beaches for all to enjoy.  We were on the road warrior mode I love so much , the freedom to move about to exotic splendid areas and of course a novelty a gas/petrol station Pertamina at Malang! I also passed by you guess it a market, always love these anywhere. Time to eat of course, and ate at Warung Bu Kris a concoction of local platters and fruit juices very exotic, so much do not recall the names ! all I know is that it was good, and great live rock music!! The Foursquare on Warung Bu Krishttps://fr.foursquare.com/v/warung-bu-kris/4e3bccbee4cdab9b932bff73

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The Indonesia tourist board on Malang :https://www.indonesia.travel/fr/en/destinations/java/malang

The town was Mojokerto a city in East Java Province It is located 40 km from Surabaya, and constitutes one of the component units of the Surabaya metropolitan area ,which comprises  Gresik Regency, Bangkalan Regency, Mojokerto Regency, Mojokerto city , Surabaya city, Sidoarjo city,(see above)  Sidoarjo Regency and Lamongan Regency. The Surabaya–Mojokerto Toll Road or Sumo Toll Road, is a part of Trans-Java toll road with a length of 36 km. Very nice quick clean road to take each day of my stay and each visit.  And again Pertamina gas/petrol station. Driving by car and ate in Mojokerto at the Me Joyo Restaurant of local cuisine. The Foursquares on Me Joyo Restaurant: https://fr.foursquare.com/v/rm-mejoyo/5149417ae4b00b4871d39af9

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The Indonesia tourist board on Mojokertohttps://www.indonesia-tourism.com/french/java-est/mojokerto.html

It was easy pickup and delivery to the job site in Ngoro Industrial Park, and always with private shuttle. Passing by the great Volcano on the horizon, nice view but its active so nice to have it dormant every time I visit !!!  This is where my branch office was, and I was in charge of Finance team for them. The official Ngoro Industrial park :https://www.ngoroindustrialpark.com/location

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Bogor is in the province of West Java, and its ,also the name of the kabupaten (admin area) of Bogor in which the city is located. Its capital is Cibinong. It is part of the Jabodetabek conurbation, which also brings together the cities of Jakarta,(see posts), Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi and the kabupaten of Tangerang and Bekasi. It is surrounded by extinct volcanoes such as the Gede and the Salak. It experiences more thunderstorms than any other point on the planet! I never got wet thus !!!  Bogor has a Botanical garden. The garden was founded in 1817 by the government of the Dutch East Indies, which wished to bring together the plants that the Javanese and natives of other regions of their colony used in their home use or as medicine, and allow to study them in order to use them for commercial purposes.

They have discovered inscriptions in Ciaruteun, Kebon Kopi and Jambu in the region of Bogor, written in Pallava alphabet of South India and in Sanskrit, which dates from around 450. They are attributed to King Purnawarman of Tarumanagara. A second inscription found at Kebon Kopi, dated 932 and written in Malay, mentions a king of Sunda. The site of Pakuan, the capital of the Sundanese Hindu kingdom of Pajajaran (1333-1579) was in present-day BogorThe name of “Bogor” appears officially in a document dated April 7, 1752 and signed by the Hoofd van de Negorij Bogor, that is to say chief of the village of Bogor, which is located at the site of the Botanical garden. Bogor was called Buitenzorg or carefree in Dutch in colonial times and was the residence of the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies at the time of Herman Willem Daendels ,and Thomas Stamford Raffles ,and much later.

I did a bit of driving to Bogor just about 1h30 from Jakarta (50 kms but always traffic) and into another world,different more exotic; well just preferred the city.  The Jakarta–Cikampek Toll Road or Japek toll road was one I took several times on the many trips to this part of Indonesia, driving was part of the thrills just road warrior trips and not enough photos in these smaller towns.

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The Indonesia tourist board on Bogor : https://www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/destinations/java/bogor

These were on the road warrior run trips with not much time to see tourist related areas as this part was for the big cities, however, part of the nostalgia of been to Indonesia and the rides with by now friends. The memories of these sites and friends will be long remembererd fondly, and always looking forward to a repeat visit to Indonesia. There you go folks, a dandy ride in exotic Indonesia ; hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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