Archive for ‘Cuba’

January 23, 2023

Curiosities, well, of my life !!

Well, never the creative mind, this is the best I could come up for a title ….I found me some old pictures in my vault that for memories’s sake need to be in my blog. After all, as said, this blog is my life’s history and hopefully for generations to come of my sons and family. It has been a thrill to tell you about these incidents of my life and appreciate the support and kind words I have gotten in the past. Hope this post will be enjoy by all as well as I.

It will be mostly a pictorial, with brief comments on each picture. Of course, will be in chronological order. There you go folks short and to the point easy does it. Thanks

From the roofstop of my maternal grandmother Amparo towards Santa Fe beach on Calle 50 and on right Bodega de Chencho where we shop when available ! The street running at it is Avenida 247, my street in Punta Brava. My native town you know. 

Punta Brava abuela amparo house to bodega chencho y mi calle 1998

While visiting Havana in 1998, the peacock in the garden of the historical Hotel Nacional

Havana hotel nacional garden patio peacock 1998

The monument to Antonio Maceo y Grajales located between El Malecón and the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital. Havana, Cuba. It is opposite the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, at 701 Calle San Lázaro Street, is a bronze representation of the protagonist of the First War of Independence, one of the most important Cuban generals. The Bronze Titan as he was called , It was installed here in 1916.

Havana monument to Maceo 1998

The Swiss embassy in Havana, also, home of the American Interests Section that is so much known and needed !

Havana Swiss embassy american interest section 1998

The Perth Amboy High School, 300 Eagle Ave in New Jersey. My yearbook graduating picture 1977.I read they are in the process of building a new high school and this one do not know if stays as school or not. Historical building there from 1973-1977. Any alumnus ?

Perth Amboy HS graduating picture 1977

My ERAU, Daytona Beach campus South Clyde Morris Blvd in Florida. The yearbook graduating picture 1982 ! Still going strong. Any alumnus ?

Daytona Beach ERAU graduating picture 1982

The ERAU univ newspaper , find me a copy in pdf lol! April 14 1982 The Avion (airplane) see ride we took to the Atlanta Inter Airport! :https://commons.erau.edu/avion/435/

The ERAU yearbook graduating management club 1982 (I was the treasurer!)

Daytona Beach ERAU Management Club meetings and me 1982

The ERAU yearbook graduating page activities for active students, ,,, I am there !

Daytona Beach ERAU yearbook activities credit page 1982

You ERAU official booklet of commencement activities to the graduating class of April 1982, mine !!!

Daytona Beach ERAU commencement graduation 1982

The Le Bellevue restaurant BB at 4 Av. Félix Faure in Les Mureaux, near the Sailing Club we enjoyed while living in the Yvelines dept 78 of the Île de France region,Sadly, it is no longer but here for the memories of always !

Les Mureaux le Bellevue resto bb 2011

The famous Arc de Triomphe of Paris while driving snowing in 2009 lol ! Road warrior here no worries.

Paris arc de triomphe driving under snow 2011

There you go folks, a short and dandy ,but very memorable post. Here now for me to browse easily when nostalgia sets in which in my retirement ,and many love ones gone is daily. Again, hope you enjoy this small nostalgic run of my life, and again thank for reading me since November 26 2010 !

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

January 20, 2023

A personal touch of Santa Barbara !!!

I have said the blog is my personal life , all of it since birth; just search around and you will know me. It is my past time and have fun telling you of many places on earth, sharing my experiences with the world, and learning some more. In my family we are not and never will be extremists but we are a conservative traditional family and we believe in God, just that. There are many who claim to be but really do not, we are simple followers of good and do good and like to see good for all. I like to tell you a personal touch of Santa Barbara !!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Plu house 3D carte postale Santa Barbara de mima jan23

The legend of Saint Barbara tells that in the 3C in Asia Minor, a very pretty young girl named Barbara lived, according to the will of her father, recluse in a tower to protect her from her suitors. But one day, while his father was away, Christ appeared to her. Barbara decided to convert to Christianity, and had a third window cut into her tower, symbolizing the Trinity. This decision made the father of the young woman mad with rage. Brought before a judge, Barbara refused to renounce the Christian religion, and was condemned to be tortured. Despite all the abuse she endured, she felt no pain, thanks to the intervention of God. Her father decided to end it and beheaded her. He was then immediately struck by lightning and reduced to dust.

When the Christians come to ask for the body of the young martyr, not wanting to use her pagan first name nor reveal themselves using her Christian baptismal name, they can only refer to her as “the young barbarian woman”, hence the name of Barbara given to her. The Byzantine emperors particularly venerated his relics, which they had transferred in the 6C to Constantinople. A part was taken to Italy by the Venetians, and another in the 11C by the daughter of Alexius Comnenus to Kyev, where they are still in St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. Since then, Saint Barbara has become the patron saint of trades facing the dangers of fire and explosions: firefighters, pyrotechnicians and miners celebrate her every year on December 4. A day off for miners, this day was more than a religious event during which a statue of Saint Barbara was blessed and then lowered into the galleries to grant her protection. to workers. On the surface, the party becomes popular and shared by all, all religions combined.

Her worship was confirmed by Pope Saint Pius V in 1568 and she became one of the fourteen holy helpers of the Saints. At the time of the Napoleonic wars, the sacred relics were taken to the temple of Saint Martin on the island of Burano, where they are still kept. until today. The remains are in a chapel dedicated exclusively to Santa Bárbara In the Church of San Juan del Hospital, Valencia, is the column where she was martyred, in a chapel dedicated to the saint. This relic was brought to the city of Valencia by the Empress Constanza Augusta of Greece. In the Church of San Jaime de Moncada ,also, in Valencia, there is a one-finger phalanx of the Saint brought from Rome to Moncada. Saint Barbara is often associated with three other saints who have taken a vow of chastity: Sainte Catherine of Alexandria, Sainte Marguerite of Antioch and Sainte Genevieve of Paris. This is the case for the altar of the Virgins of the Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz Church in Roscoff (Finistère 29 ) presenting a statue of Saint Barbara accompanied by those of Sainte Catherine and Sainte Geneviève.

Santa Barbara is usually represented young, either with the palm of martyrdom, or with peacock feathers, since this animal is a symbol of resurrection or immortality, and it already appears in the oldest known representation, dating from the 8C. It also usually appears with her attribute, a tower with three windows, sometimes enclosed in it and other times the tower appears at her side or in miniature on one of her hands. The meaning of this tower with three windows is the refuge of faith in the Holy Trinity. And she usually wears a crown, which admits of variations: in some it is that of a princess and in others it is a complete crown made up of several towers. The image of Saint Barbara is also sometimes associated with the sword with which she was beheaded, which has contributed to her being associated with war, but said sword represents a symbol of unwavering faith. With a chalice, which signifies her conversion to Catholicism.

The Santa Barbara is the patron saint of coal miners in Asturias,Spain.  She is, also, the patron saint of my native town of Punta Brava in Cuba, and venerated by all my family anywhere in the world.  The National Sanctuary of Santa Barbara can be found in the town of Arroyo Naranjo just 22 km south of Havana. The building has an eclectic style and was built in just a year with the local community’s help and funded by the Archbishop of Havana, Manuel Arteaga Betancourt and first lady Martha Fernandez (Fulgencio Batista’s wife), and it was inaugurated on the day that commemorates her,December 4, 1953. 

Plu house statue Santa Barbara de mima jan23

A bit of Rome for Santa Barbara Her first depiction is perhaps in Rome, in a fresco in Santa Maria Antiqua, and both the oratory attached to the Church of San Gregorio al Celio and the Church of Santa Barbara dei Librai also have remote origins.  In 16C Rome devotees of Saint Barbara were inevitably the forerunners of the modern artillerymen, that is, the bombardiers in charge of the defense of Castel Sant’Angelo. At their own expense, they restructured one of the chapels in the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, dedicating it to their patroness and decorating its walls with astonishing stucco  thrusters,  mortars,  cannons,  howitzers,  balls,  bullets and barrels of gunpowder. Organized into a confraternity since 1594, the papal bombardiers enjoyed a number of privileges and exemptions, including the possibility of releasing a condemned prisoner twice a year, on 29 September, for the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, and precisely on 4 December for Santa Barbara.

A great prayer known to my family is as follows:  «Saint Barbara, blessed virgin, great with immense power, God be with you and you with me on the path of good. With your winning sword deliver me from evil, injustice, envy and evil eyes. With the power of lightning protect me from my enemies, glorify the muzzle of my cannon and allow me to be victorious. With the chalice of your cup and the wine, keep the strength of my body and spirit for the hard struggle and combat. Receive my apples and daisies as an offering that I always have you present in my thoughts and in my home, and I beg you to never abandon me and come to me every time I claim you to defend my faith, my land, my family and my fights; and that in the end you always take me to glory like you. Amen.”

An unofficial site on the life of Santa Barbara :http://www.stebarbe.com/stebarbe.php

The St Peter’s Basilica of Rome on Santa Barbara: http://stpetersbasilica.info/Exterior/Colonnades/Saints/St%20Barbara-36/StBarbara.htm

There you go folks, a wonderful story of faith and peservering in our difficult times then and even more today, In my days of sorrows, I had the comfort of my family and Santa Barbara with statues kept by my dear late mom Gladys at home which I am showing here for the record, for the history, for my blog ,me and the world, Again, hope you enjoy this personal post on a personal saint, Santa Barbara as I

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

December 29, 2022

A beautiful postcard of vintage beauty,my Habana !!!

I have look over and saw several old posts that needed to update text and links as well as condense them into one, A big task considering was a beautiful city now mostly in ruins unless Unesco has provided some money, This is my native capital City, the city where I spent a great part of my very early life until 10 years old, Luckily was able to visit it in 1984, 1998, and 2012 , This City is Havana or La Habana or the full name San Cristobal de La Habana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba.  This is my Habana and would like to share it with my new readers as well as the old ; do see my other posts on it, Hope you enjoy this post as I.

My Saint Christopher, the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(was the best pro baseball team on the island,and my family’s team). There are so many buildings in Havana, once the Unesco did a report that I lost track of it but mentioned 144 buildings of the 14C, 15C, 16C, and 17C in Havana ;more than on any other city in the Americas. The multitude of beauty is enormous even if the history is sad. Hemingway once call it the Paris of the Americas, and he should know some.

la-habana-c-oficio-y-teniente-rey-feb12

On my last trip in 2012 was a business trip so stay by Playa or Miramar as old in a casa particular very near the Mélia Habana, Commodore, Panoramico and the Miramar Business Center, I went to the wonderful MaleconPlaza Vieja, former Church of St Francisco de Asisi, saw the statue to the Caballero de Paris, gentleman of Paris a beggar who knew like Enstein and told wonderful stories to passerbyers from the 1950’s. We went by the bourse of commerce or Longia; and of course, we sip a daiquiri at Floridita Bar,(in 1957 Esquire magazine name it the best bar in the world!). We went inside the hotel Nacional, and walks it historical alleys and patio with its Aguiar canons, magical. I saw my Morro castle, and the excavations of the Zanja Real or royal sewers now open and shown above ground to tourists.  Coming by grand Miramar on my way to visit my old native place, I saw the clock tower on 5th avenue of Miramar, the Palacio de Convenciones, and the wonderful old houses now occupy by foreign embassies. We had lunch at El Bosque inside the hotel Melia Habana, Avenida  3rd. between  76 and 80 streets, Miramar , the Spanish chain of hotels. We ,also,, had our meetings there in the 9th floor breakfast business center with wonderful views of Havana.  I had lunch with the family at a parador private folks have at Parrillada 84  y 15, Playa, all done by charcoal, with my Aunt and cousins. The highlight was at El Palenque, near pabexpo Cuba, wonderful typical Cuban place and food, very nice lechon or pork with yucca,moro (blackened rice), and the local Cristal beer, address at Calle 17 & Calle 190 , Playa, La Habana  . In Havana we ate at Factoria Plaza Vieja, at Plaza Vieja, terrace outfit with shrimps and lobsters,pork,and chicken grilled platters. All very cheap compare to Europe. For a nostalgic trip we passed by El Potin resto, my Mom Gladys used to take me here as a little boy, just a sandwich and light platters place and ice cream,juice and soda drinks, still there!!! and it looks nice after 43 years!!!! Inspired by French immigrants! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado section of La Habana.

la-habana-el-morro-castle-feb12

la-habana-zanja-real-feb12

la-habana-playa-el-palenque-resto-feb12

havana-plaza-vieja-resto-feb12

la-habana-potin-restaurant-feb12

The Plaza Vieja or old square was done in 1559 surrounded by beautiful homes of the colonial times. It is bordered by the streets of Teniente Rey, Muralla, San Ignacio and Mercaderes all in Old Havana of course. This was renovated by a grant from Unesco, Over the past 150 years, Plaza Vieja has played host to an open-air food market, a park, and an amphitheatre. Plaza Vieja was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and Fiestas,  all witnessed by Havana’s wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their balconies. In the 18C, the Plaza Nueva was transformed into a market place. And in 1814, with the emergence of the market at the Plaza del Cristo, it was renamed to Plaza Real, Plaza Mayor, Plaza Fernando VII, Parque Juan Bruno Zayas and Parque Julián Grimau, until it finally received the name of Plaza Vieja.During the 17C to the early 20C, the area was developed with residential, commercial and recreational buildings that fortunately maintained coherence, including the majestic Palacio de los Condes de Jaruco (or palace of the counts of jaruco) and the first exclusive recreational society in Havana, Sociedad Filarmónica, (or philarmonique society) housed in a residence at Calle San Ignacio 352-354.

havana-plaza-vieja-walking-feb12

There are many other churches in Havana other than the cathedral (see post) ,and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.These are my favoritesChurches of Havana just for introduction very condense text : The Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes,ou will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome,The construction of the temple began in the year 1630, After many acts and renovations the last one was on January 31, 1867. Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day, Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 ,The Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999. Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world.In the garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France). Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, (now just known as a Christian church) also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi (see post) and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela.

Captain General Residence and Museum of Havana, I am talking about the residence of the Captain General of Cuba (this was the governor of Spain in Cuba), over the years use for many things and now a museum of Havana.Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former parish church, as the imposingPalacio de los Capitanes Generales. It served as Spanish colonial government headquarters until 1898 and housed 65 Capitanes Generales (governors), after which it served as the center of U.S. military administration (1898-1902), then as the Cuban President’s resident, and finally (1920-67) as the City Hall.It is today theMuseo de la Ciudadthe fabulous City Museum telling the tale of the city’s history. The different halls or rooms:Sala Parriocalor Parish Hall, Sala Giraldilla(lady symbol of Havana like Sevilla) symbol of Havana has become the first molten sculpture in the city, Wind vane, done for  the tower of homage of the Castle of the royal force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)  between 1630 and 1634. Heraldic room  (or Sala Héraldica) small room designed for exhibiting objects and documents that testify to the importance that the Cuban nobility attributed to heraldic symbology, Room set B (or Sala Ambientada B) (19C), Carriages room (Sala Cochera)  in the area occupied by the garage and Palace stables are exposed various models of cars: Sala Emilio Roig retains pieces belonging to the personal collection of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, whose arduous work bequeathed fruit as the founding of the Office of the historian of the City of Havana in 1938 and the Museum of the city of Havana in 1942, located in the Lombillo Palace, in the Cathedral Square(Plaza de la Catedral). Pinacoteca: shows a series of important works of key artists within the Cuban plastic, covering different periods within the history of this artistic manifestation, Cuban copper room (Sala de los Cobres Cubanos) within the vital offices of the old City is the blacksmith, which, by its application in construction works, in shipyards, agricultural, industrial and defensive work, occupied a significant place in the development of the City, Sword Cemetery (Cementerio de EspadasBishop Juan José Díaz de Espada and Fernández de Landa distinguished himself during the first three decades of the 19C for his progressive and enlightened work. Among his many works is the creation of the first Necropolis, which took its name and was inaugurated in 1806.Statuary and stoning room ( Sala Estatuaria y Lapidaria) the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19C enabled the abundant entrance of marble and the visit of Italian artists of more or less relief. Spanish uniforms Room (Sala de Uniformes).Public office (Despacho publico) .This room shows one of the two offices with which was used by the captain Generals of the island of Cuba,Spanish banners, flags and pennants room (Sala de Estandartes, Banderas y Banderines Españolesflags, pennants and banners of different bodies of the Spanish colonial army are exposed.Spanish armaments Room (Sala de Armamento Español) It gathers a small but varied sample of the weapons and allied equipment used by the Spanish forces in Cuba, Anteroom and Hall of the Cabildo (Antesala o sala del Cabildo) .The Cabildo was one of the forms of local government existing in Spain later applied in its Hispanic colonies, Leonor Pérez, mother of José Martí, was veiled in ardent Chapel in May 1907.Room of thought (Sala del Pensamiento),it addresses the ideological currents that were manifested in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C, Heroic Cuba (Cuba Heroica) , After the failure of all the actions of the Cubans, either by the reformist way or by the annexationist, it will be shown that the contradictions metropolis-colony were insurmountable and the impossible annexation. And this is demonstrated by the independent outbreak of October 10, 1868, in front of which was located the radical and patriotic wing of the Cuban landowners, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Hall of the flags (Sala de las BanderasThe halls of the flags are the most relevant of the City museum due to the national treasures they expose: The original flag that flew for the first time in 1850 and that, once the war of the ten years began , became national insignia;American Intervention Room  (Sala Intervencion Americana) On February 15, 1898, the explosion of the American-flagged battleship cruiser Maine  was produced in Havana Bay, in which 266 members of its crew, including 2 officers, were killed. The funerals were held in the Hall of the Palace Council. In 1901 the Constituent Assembly was convened to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, a document establishing the constraints (Platt Amendement) that defined the future Cuban dependence.Wicker Salon (Salon del Mimbre) .The wicker boudoir reflects the atmosphere that dominated the palace during the last two decades of the 19C. It highlights the art Nouveau furniture, artistic style that erupted in the late 19C and became fashionable in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.Dining Room  (Salon del Comedor) Set in the style of the colonial palaces of the 19C, it is located in the same space that occupied during the colonial period and the first decades of the 20C, and where they offered great banquets to commemorate or to celebrate political events or Simply for celebrations sponsored by the Captain General himself. Trinchante,Small hall that exhibits luxurious tableware and pieces destined for the service of table, Coffee Room (Sala del Cafe) It denotes one of those spaces destined to the receipt of the General captain. It highlights a set of room of knob of the 19C, Infanta’s Room( Habitacion de la Infanta) ; In 1893 the Infanta Eulalia of Bourbon visited Havana, and during her seven-day stay she occupied this room that served as a bedroom for Captain General. Bath room (Sala del Baño) .Despite the fact that the Cuban tropical climate imposes a daily need for the bath, it is not until the middle of the 19C that the act begins to be integrated into the life of the inhabitants of the city of Havana, Room set A (19C) (Sala Ambientada A)The splendid way of life reached by the Cuban aristocracy in the mid-19C reveledan elitist interior environments characterized by the mixture of various foreign influences, White Room (Salon Blanco) . The Spanish and Creole elites selected recreational places among the halls of their elegant residences. The anteroom of the main hall of the palace was used as a complement to receive guests on holidays and space for musical auditions. Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, Hall of Mirrors (Salon de los Espejos). It was the space of greatest political and social importance of the Palace of the Captain General. Photographs and documents of the archives reveal some important events that took place in this Hall: transfer of powers of the Spanish colonial administration to the American government, on January 10, 1899; Birth of the Republic on May 20, 1902; among others.

You can see the marvelous Presidential Palace ,on 1909 the governor of Havana decided to build a new headquarters to host the Provincial government.The interior decoration was under the responsibility of Tiffany Studios of New York.  The Salon de Espejos or Hall of Mirrors, which was conceived in the image and likeness of the homonymous Galerie des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of  Versailles, France. Its floors and staircases are made from the famous Carrara marble of Italy. The building, built on the basis of the canons of eclecticism. In 1917 the history of the building had a transcendent turn that marked its subsequent destiny. At the end of that year, the first Lady of the Republic visited the works, and was captivated by the magnificence of the building and the privileged of its location. No more needed to be said, she turns to her husband ,Mario Garcia Menocal, President of the Republic, and took over the necessary legal quibbles and dispossessed the Provincial government of the property of the palace. In the beginning of 1918 everything was arranged so that the building located in Calle Refugio No. 1 between Monserrate and Zulueta became thePresidential Palace of the Republic of Cuba.  The construction work followed its course and on January 31, 1920 the official inauguration of the Executive Mansion took place. The work, in all its details, was not completed until the 12th of March of 1920. The palace building  has four floors: the ground floor served to accommodate the dependencies that secured the main functions; Telephone exchange, auxiliary offices, power plant and even the stable for police horses. The first floor welcomed the most important spaces of the palace: presidential office, Gallery of Mirrors, Chapel, Golden Hall and the place where the Council of Ministers made decisions. On the second floor was installed the Presidential residence and in the last of the floor was placed the garrison responsible with the custody of the Presidential mansion. The building is crowned by a dome clad in the exterior of glazed ceramic pieces that, at the time, was one of the highest in the city. In all, there are 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics of CubaIn the building are present paintings and sculptures of representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the moment: Leopoldo Romañach, Emilio Hernández Giro, Enrique Cabrera, Esteban Valderrama, Esteban Betancourt and Armando Menocal.The first revolutionary Provisional Government was established in the former presidential palace. From there the dictator, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the position of Prime Minister and carried out the great process of nationalization of all the private companies that existed in Cuba until that moment; including the American companies that gave rise later to the US Embargo due to non payment.  Later, the former Presidential palace houses since 1976 the Museum of the Cuban revolution with  holes  in the wall of historical shots as if they were the bones of a saint, as well as weapons, tanks or boats (the mythical Granma that brought the revolutionaries from Mexico) that led to the eventual drastic changes in the country for the worse.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana :https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/destinations/havana-cuba

The official archidiocèse of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva//

The official Catholic Church in Cubahttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/index

A Cuba site on tourism in Havana: https://www.tripcuba.org/havana

There you go folks, a bit long but a real postcard on my Havana, Many faded memories now, but the real Havana of old always in my heart, Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

December 29, 2022

Arroyo Arenas, Havana, Cuba !

And coming back to the roots, a bit of my old neighborhood, its been 52 years ,but the memories lingered. I like to tell you briefly as not much info on the internet on one of my sights when my dear late Mom Gladys passed by here taking a friend’s car or the bus line 99! We always made the cross sign passing by the Church of Arroyo ArenasThe blog is also a way to keep my history for eternity I hope ,my future generations can see it all. Hope you enjoy the post as I,

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

Arroyo Arenas was granted in 1672 status of village by the Spanish colonial governor. By 1778 they still subordinated its existence to the city/hall of Havana. In 1780 the local city hall were constituted, corresponding from Arroyo Arenas to Santiago de las Vegas. The Captaincy were subordinated to El Cano and Bauta. The first was subordinated the town of: Arroyo Arenas. Towards the last decade of the 18C, this seat made possible the foundation of the town of Arroyo Arenas, a fact that was recorded in 1790 when a chapel was constituted that apparently was attached to a house or room, separated from common uses. Likewise, in 1794 the first tile house was built in this town and in 1795 the hermitage of Arroyo Arenas was officially erected under the invocation of Jesús Nazareno del Rescate or Jesus Nazarene of the Rescue.

arroyo-arenas-church-of-arroyo-arenas-toward-havana-city-cuba

The location of this site on the side of the Camino Real to Vueltabajo  (best tobacco area in the world) was enriched by the migration of Canary island peasant population initially settled in Vueltabajo (the best cigars in the world and my ancestors the Guanches of Tenerife and Grand Canaria) . Its growth as a town is evidenced by the fact that in 1843 the Spanish Army Weapons Command was established there and already in 1846 it had 12 masonry houses, 7 of wood and tiles, 36 of mud and guano, a clothing store, 3 mixed, 2 shoe stores, 2 tobacco shops, 1 carpentry, 1 blacksmith shop and 298 settlers, of which 44 were slaves. From 1878, according to the new political-administrative division established by the colonial government on that date, the city hall of the towns of El Cano, Marianao and Santiago de las Vegas were created.. To each of them the districts were subordinated to El Cano corresponded Arroyo Arenas, Barandilla, Falcón, Jaimanitas and El Cano proper; Marianao was subordinate to La Lisa, and to Santiago de las Vegas, the districts Bauta, Punta Brava ;and Guatao (local cementery and my grandparents are here) were subordinated. In the judicial order, all these municipalities were subordinated to Bejucal until 1880. In the first months of 1955, the construction of a highway that would connect Columbia (army and airport barracks) to the central highway at the exit of Arroyo Arenas was announced. In April 1956 it was finished. The Hermitage and Country Club, were projected to link with the with the Biltmore Riviera, Boulevar del Biltmore and Montecarlo, which would extend to Novia del Mediodia ( roundabout call the noon girlfriend) . These projects were interrupted with the triumph of the Cuban revolution.

The Hermitage is now a National Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno del Rescate , located at the Central Highway (that goes from one point to the other of the island country) and here it is call Avenida 51 building no. 26455. The same route that passes by my native town. The Church was erected in 1795, under the invocation of Jesus of Nazareno del Rescate. But the church instead of one, has two stairs, the one on the right where the ladies went up distributing alms, and the one on the left that has more steps, 29 in total. In general, here, women and humble men, the true devotees, those that Jesus did not expel from his temple were climbing. Have one photos souvenir of our passing by it in my last of 2012 !

No webpage but the memories lingered. Hope you can appreciated and maybe one you can pass by it and make the sign of the Cross too , for me at Arroyo Arenas! Last I read as much there the church is in delicate conditions and nothing is planned on restoring renovating it ,another sad story. Thanks for reading and again hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

December 14, 2022

Curiosities of the Americas !! Part IV

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my digital camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of the Americas !!, Part IV.

Fort Myers Beach is located in Lee county , Florida on the Gulf of Mexico and is accessed from the mainland by a bridge over Estero Bay, A popular wonderful beach recently destroyed a lot of it from hurricane Ian, and in the process of rebuilding, Sadly.  Many family memories here bringing my little boys to play with their cousins who live just across in Cape Coral, Memories forever ! You too can eventually enjoy this magnificent white sandy beach on the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico !

Ft Myers beach and pier c1999

The city of Fort Myers Beach on the beacheshttp://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/102/Beaches

Hollywood Beach is located in Broward county,Florida,  just north of Miami, Hollywood Beach is known for its beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean and its “Old Florida” spirit of palm-lined brick walkway, the broadwalk, roller-skating, bicycling, walking and pedal-cart riding. also finds tikis bars, seafood restaurants, motels and hotels, My last home closest great beach, to enjoy it , party and be seen simply awesome, Memories forever !

Hollywood beach bvld c1999

The city of Hollywood on the Hollywood beachhttps://www.hollywoodfl.org/1049/Hollywood-Beach

On March 9, 1994, locals voted to officially change the name to the shorter version of St. Pete Beach, to distinguish it from the city of St. Petersburg a few miles inland, This was another grand beach I recommended to my cousins when afterward they move in into Tampa and Cape Coral areas,. St. Pete Beach is located in Pinellas county , Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, The downtown is centered on Corey Avenue. This district contains bars, restaurants and shopping and retail outlets , St. Pete Beach occupies the entire space of Long Key, a barrier island of the Gulf of Mexico. Three bridges lead into the city, connecting it to Treasure Island, South Pasadena and the Bayway Isles area of St. Petersburg.

St Petersburg beach c 1999

The Clearwater-St Pete Beach tourist office on the beachhttps://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com/communities/st-pete-beach

Beaches are big event in Florida, and there are so many good ones. Lucky enough to been to most even if some bring more nostalgia than others.  The State of Florida tourist board on beaches :https://www.visitflorida.com/beaches/

These last two are nostalgia and sadness on world events: it happened to far back. However, my last time in Cuba was in 2012. These were my passing by many times as a child under 10, but vividly reminded always by my parents. San Cristobal de La Habana or St Christopher of Havana, my little heart away from it all.

El Templete or small temple built in 1827 on the spot of the first Catholic Mass in Cuba! This was held on November 16, 1519, Experts believe that El Templete was the first building of neoclassical character in Havana, and one of the civil works that have most influenced the architecture of Cuba.

This monument is shaped like a Greek Doric temple. The facade consists of a portico with six Doric columns, supporting a decorated frieze, and a prominent pediment with an inscription commemorating the inauguration. The facade has four pilasters with Doric capitals and other decorative ornaments; flat roof and wide cornice, mansard plinths and interior marble floors. Inside the enclosure are a bust of Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the island and a ceiba tree. In the gardens is the Cajigal column in honor of the Spanish governor who ordered its construction in 1754, when the first ceiba tree planted died. Above this column, an image of the Virgen del Pilar, patroness of Spanish sailors. A marble bust of Don Hernando de Soto, who was the first governor of the city of San Cristóbal de La Habana (Havana), is visible at the base. Inside the small room are three large paintings by French artist Jean Baptiste Vermay, founder of the San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts in Havana. Vermay’s paintings represent the first Mass and the blessing of the Templete during its inauguration.

Havana el Templete c1998

The Parque Central is one of the best known and central sites of the city of Havana It is located between Prado, Neptuno, Zulueta and San José streets, and San Rafael Boulevard. Among the buildings surrounding the park are Gran Teatro de La Habana (The Great Theatre of Havana), the Hotel Inglaterra (England Hotel), the Hotel Telégrafo, el Hotel Parque Central (Central Park Hotel), la Manzana de Gómez, the Hotel Plaza and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, The gardens surrounding the monument statue of Jose Marti have a series of paths that intersect. There are 28 royal palms that signify Martí’s birth date, as well as 8 coffin-shaped stonework, representing medical students shot by the Spanish colonial government on the Island during the Ten Years’ War on November 27, 1871.

Havana mon Jose Marti parque central c1998

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips in the Americas. The wonders of the Americas that still rings a bell to my ears on each stretch of meter I take on this world. Hope you enjoy the post of curiosities of the Americas , Part IV as I reviving these old pictures into life brings back many memorable moments in my life.

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

October 4, 2022

My life in my belle France !!!

Well , my kind of town ,actually my entry into FranceVersailles capital of the department of Yvelines, No 78, region of Ile de France, and another world. This is France. Big enough to be call a Capital of France when constitutional changes are needed per the French Constitution , and small enough to keep that French country flavor of old, things are not the same here as in Paris. Life is easier, slower, friendlier, and the nights ends earlier. It was the center of royal power for centuries, and it still keeps that royal outlook in life, Paris might be worth a republic, Versailles its worth a kingdom. My humble hommage  to a glorious city, one that was worth saving from a war, one that is revered, and one that will be eternal, Paris , my eternal love. For the senses, the sights, the romance. And I worked there for 9 years! What a combination to be in France a one two powerful and memorable punch indeed !

Before Versailles, I moved in with my in-laws for free in Chambry, Seine et Marne  dept 77 of the Île de France  region where I first touch base with France and married a local girl, my dear mamie blue Martine, from the first city I visit , her hometown of Meaux, Memories forever always in my heart and soul.RIP

My first job was in a management position in Cergy Saint Christophe , Val d’Oise dept 95 in the Île de France region as well, This lasted a few month as it was my entry point to France, From here I moved to Paris rue de Castiglione between the Jardin des Tuileries an d the place Vendôme, Some time here, then to Suresnes in Hauts de Seine dept 92 of the Île de France region as well, Later, back to Paris by Montparnasse.

Then in June 2011, moved to a new multinational firm in Saint Nolff , Morbihan dept 56 of the region of Bretagne. I rented an apartment in Corn et Hôet , Brec’h.  Shortly, thereafter, we purchase a house in Pluvigner on July 13 2004, and been here ever since, The more I know it, the more I like it, and of course, the Morbihan (Mor=sea bihan=small in Breton French would be petite mer or small sea) iwill be my home until gone from this world.  My capital City which we visit at least every week is Vannes or Gwened in Breton language! 

The working life is gone, and feel a bit lonely if not for my 3 boys and our travels, and this blog ; thanks for reading me over the years since November 26 2010, I have been in France , 19 years already since August 23rd 2003 !! My family followed on December 13, 2003. My blog was a request by many friends in a now defunct travel forum that was very popular for a time and many convince me to write a book or a blog, Well me kept it simple and did a blog with the help of another friend from Madrid that had a travel forum on Spain, now abandoned, I guess I am strong to keep up this blog , it keeps me going and I thank you all.

My down moments as life is not perfect was losing my dear late Mother Gladys on December 27 2007 (22h) ,and later my dear late wife of 28 years, Martine on April 30 2018 (19h). And if not enough, my Dad Elio felled sick for the last year on a wheelchair and me taking care at home with the help of nurses and home domestic help ,thanks to the French social security and health benefits at no cost,

On a bright side, we have our dog Rex , a borador (mix Border Collier and Labrador Retriever) that is already 4,5 years old (we got it from local farm in Moustoir AC when 4 mos old) ,and a lovable friend who is always around me and follow me everywhere, This was chosen by my wife and she gave it the name Rex after an Austrian police series in Europe she like very much, I have my 3 young men , twins of 28 and older boy of 30, still with me and very much attach and helpful, well raised from grandparents and parents who care, We love the aperos and going out for a drink or keeping me company in my road warrior trips in my belle France and beyond.

We have finished doing work on the house , just maintenance stuff, and grooming the garden of 1000 m2 (about 10 800 sq ft) of land ! The house is 255 m2 (about 2744 sq ft) and only about 400 meters (about 1320 feet) from the centre ville or city center/downtown. Easy town with the N165 and N24 expressway on either side close by and the beaches just 30 km (about 19 miles) away, Life follows its course, and we have enjoy it after all.

My mother took me out of a dictatorship (Cuba) when a child of 10 (the best decision made for me in my lifetime) ,and passed by another one (Spain) until 13,5, and finally in New Jersey USA for 13 years, and then 18 years in Central/South Florida USA before the move to France, as said already going on 19 years ! (the best decision done by me as an adult thanks Martine ) Visiting 81 countries of our world, and working as expatriate in 4 ! Speaking 4 languages and some all worthwhile and thankful.

There are no webpages here ,just my rambling and story telling ; hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more of me, After all, have said, my blog is my life’s history ! Hope you enjoy the posts as I. Again, thank you for reading me, commenting, and liking my posts to all over the years.

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

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).

Havana tunnel quinta avenida apr12

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.

havana-ent-paseo-del-prado-c1998

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…

havana-malecon-riviera-hotel-c1998

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.

havana-univ-stairs-c1998

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 !!!

July 17, 2022

La Trocha of Havana !

Well digging deep into my vault found another beauty that needs to be in my blog. As I an amateur of history and architecture if you have been reading me, this fix perfect into my domain . The trocha of Havana or at least one of them were setup during Spanish colonial rule in Cuba to tried to stop the liberators called Mambises or men of the jungle! There was one near my native town so will tell you a bit about it. Hope you enjoy it as I.

It is always a shot to go by them as they are still or at least were as of 2012. We drove by the Mariel Majana trocha in the family (no longer in Cuba)  Ford 1954 convertion !!

The trochas or “trails” or « military surveillance lines », were an important element in the Spanish strategy to annihilate the mambises liberating forces. The Mariel-Majana Trocha of General Arolas, was in 1896 for the Spanish, a military line of strategic, tactical and observation entrenchments, with intervals very well equipped with blockhouses, forts and redoubts with artillery.

havana La trocha 1998
This trocha was divided into sections such as the larger Mariel -Artemisa trocha done to operate against General Maceo (Cuban independence hero) in Pinar del Rio province after he have taken the fight from one end to the other of the island, It was reinforced with a second line whose main bases were Alquizar, San Antonio de los Baños, Punta Brava (my native town) and Hoyo Colorado (later Bauta). The main HQ was located in Artemisa, The first 12 km journey was between Mariel and Guanajay, the second 10 km journey between Artemisa and Guanajay, and the third journey between Artemisa and Majana formed by between 10K+ and 16K+ Spanish soldiers.

It is a wonderful thing to see along the road by car or a bus passing on the old Central Highway or Carretera Central between Artemisa and Guanajay. As a child many times passed by them with my parents.

The Cuban base Ecured source has more on the trocha: https://www.ecured.cu/Trocha_Mariel-Majana

There you go folks, a dandy historical fact about the wars of independence in Cuba, seldom mention today with the new/older regime. Hope you enjoy the post and seek it out if going there some day. For me, its a historical trivia.

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

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July 17, 2022

Varadero of Cuba !!!

This again a find in my vault of older pictures and a spot that needs to be in my blog. Many memories of going here as a child and my parents before me. It was a family tradition until the revolution put an end to it. Today the Varadero of old is gone and a new face is turning into new tourists unaware of its history. I like to tell you a bit more of Varadero of Cuba !!!

Varadero beach horse wagon NF 1998

Another favorite beach of my family were Guanabo ,Santa Maria del Mar ,and Salado (see post). Of course Varadero was the prime spot. As a child do not have pictures of it but did took in my last family visit in 1998. My parents of course had one from pre 1959. 

Varadero, is in the province of Matanzas, and part of the town of Cárdenas. Located on the northern coast of Cuba, Varadero is a popular beach resort, one of the largest in the Caribbean, It is precisely in the Hicacos Peninsula, 140 km of Havana, at the eastern end of the Via Blanca highway. The peninsula is only 1,200 meters at its widest point and is separated from the island of Cuba by the Kawama Channel. It is connected to the island by a drawbridge. Punta Hicacos, is the northernmost point of the island of Cuba and the closest to the United States. At the northern end of the peninsula is a nature reserve with pristine forests and beaches.

Varadero beach, also known as Playa Azul, stretches along the narrow peninsula between 700 and 1,200 meters wide. Its 22 km of white sand beach are characterized by a strip of fine white sand and a gentle descent of its platform towards the sea. Varadero, which is a free port, has conditions for diving, fishing, yachting, all kinds of nautical activities, skydiving and a congress center.

varadero-beach-c1998
The first tourists began to frequent Varadero as early as the 1870s and for years it was considered an elite destination. Tourism flourished in the 1930s when Irénée Dupont de Nemours, an American billionaire, built an estate there. Irene Dupont own the land between the current 54th street to the popular Cueva del Pirata, that is, some 512 hectares, We have as December 15, 1887 as the date of the official foundation of Varadero.

One day Enrique Torres built a kiosk to sell all kinds of items, and in 1926 he built the hotel identified with his last name in 1926, The Torres Hotel was demolished in the 1960s to the surprise, frustration and embarrassment of architects and historians. Total demolition occurred in 1971. Meanwhile, in 1931, La Mansión Xanadú was built, a four-story mansion, numerous rooms and bathrooms, a library and even a superbly stocked cellar. It is located on the rock of San Bernardino

The Spaniard who was the director of the famous Arechabala rum factory, bought a plot of land around a lagoon and built his house in 1938, near which in 1945 the company would build a social club for its employees. residence located in Parque Josone (initials of the owners , José and Onelia). The tunnel built by José Arechabala S.A. is still active. below the first avenue that led to the beach, and which leads to the International Diving Center of the resort, which has the second largest coral reef on the planet. Between the current streets 42 and 48, the first hotel on the peninsula called “Varadero” and later “Club Nautico” was also built in 1915, for the participants of the rowing regatta which was held annually since 1910.

Varadero beach chinese resto fam 1998

The modest Torres Hotel was joined, in 1931, by the Kawama, and during this and the following decade, the Imperial (1936), Dos Mares, Casa La Rosa, Vista Alegre, Casa Portilla Inn, Miramar, Chez Roig, Playa Azul, Varadero, etc., as well as many other buildings outside the jurisdiction of Irene Dupont, In 1950, and with the aim of equipping the spa with a casino, an American company inaugurated the Hotel Varadero Internacional, which during the following years would become an emblem of the place and very exclusive gaming mecca. In addition, thanks to its good location, it has become an excellent base to explore nearby enclaves, since excursions to well-known places such as Cayo Blanco, the Bellamar Caves, Cueva Ambrosio, the Zapatata Peninsula, Bahía Cochinos depart from here; Boca de Guamá, with its Taíno Village and the Laguna del Tesoro, or even nearby cities such as Trinidad, Cienfuegos or Santa Clara.

varadero beach pipo y mima de vacaciones en cuba

The current Cuba tourist site on Varadero: https://www.tripcuba.org/varadero

There you go folks, another dandy of my old Cuba , memories forever, even if today they are becoming blurred and far away in my mind. Varadero still an attracting place even if the crowds are different and the conditions worse; life goes on in this sad forgotten island of the powers to be . Hope you enjoy the post on Varadero and see if for yourselves eventually.

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

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