Archive for ‘Cuba’

September 9, 2016

The fortified towers of Havana. Los torreones de la Habana

As nostalgia sits in, once in a while, looking at my past photos, I came upon the torreones or small fortified towers used for defense along the harbor of Havana. As a boy used to go there with my Mother, and now when back always stopped by. I left Havana, Cuba in 1971 early to Madrid Spain, and came back to it and Cuba in 1984, 1998,and 2012.

The one that always caught my attention was the Fuerte de Santa Dorotea de la Luna de la Chorrera, short for Chorrera. This one was built in 1646! On the English taking of Havana in 1762-63 it was almost totally destroyed and was rebuilt after they left. This tower fortress lies at the mouth of the river Almendares.

The other nice one is the Torreon de Cojimar, built in 1649. This is made famous as it was from where Ernest Hemingway used to go to do fishing and here influenced by it wrote The Old Men and the Sea from which he won a Pulitzer prize in 1952 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.  This one too was rebuilt after the English were expelled unter the Paris Treaty in 1763. Here a bust in memory of Ernest Hemingway was built in 1962.

One more is the Torreon de San Lazaro o Caleta; built in 1665. It was a lookout between the fortress of La Punta and Chorrera tower on a site of the old San Lazaro Hospital therefore its name . This location in the entrance of way of the bay San Lázaro, where many pirates landed and now sits in the property of the park Antonio Maceo by the Malécon.

These are some of the off the beaten path of Havana and well Worth the detour to know the city. San Cristobal de la Habana official name, founded in 1519 by governor coloniser Diego de Velázquez is said by Unesco to hold about 144 buildings from the 14-15-16-17 century , more than any other city in the Americas. More here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/0204/?gallery=1&index=13&

Official tourist sites on Cuba

http://www.turismodecuba.info/index.php#!varadero

http://www.cubatravel.cu/en

http://www.infotur.cu/destino.aspx?iddest=1

http://www.havanatur.cu/web/inicio.php#

Enjoy my bit of nostalgia and beautiful off the beaten path buildings of my Habana. Cheers

Havana Havana Havana

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November 21, 2015

Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Miami Beach, this is Florida!

OMG, I just look back of my blog and realise not written on these wonderful spots since 2011! Times flies, this was my last stronghold in the USA before leaving permanently to France. I had not been back there since 2009 and now had 3 great days in the area. This is the South Florida area where I still have family.

It has a lot to offers other than the beaches and night life, but I let you mingle and decide on that with the tourist offices there of Miami, http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/  and Fort Lauderdale, http://www.sunny.org/

I was Lucky to have on my way back from Mexico the company ok to attend a finance conference in Fort Lauderdale arriving at Miami airport on American Airlines. http://www.miami-airport.com/  . I must add nothing compares with Air France ::)

My cousin was there to greet me and take me to eat at a local Cuban restaurant now very popular for the last 10 years or so, Molina’s in the nearby city of Hialeah on which hospital my twin boys were born!!! The place was typical of old Cuba and the food very Cuban, something did not had for yearsss! picadillo ,moros rice, sweet plaintains, and a nice corona beer. http://www.molinasranchrestaurant.com/

Afterward I was taken to my conference hotel at Fort Lauderdale, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel; right off the ocean drive and very near Las Olas blvd chic area, http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/FortLauderdale/Default.htm

OF course, the hotel was top luxury, glad was not paying ::) the room well the apartment as it was two rooms with living room and bedroom, TV in both in addition to a smaller one in the bathroom. There had bathtub and shower and lavs for two. The wonderful beachside restaurant was wonderful too. A great place ,location, and friendly prompt service.

The evening had the chance to eat dinner there overlooking the ocean and Fort Lauderdale beach , nice oysters, shrimps, and cocktails mojitos was wonderful right at the bar with a friendly bartender. Needless to say went to bed very late into the morning hours lol!!!

Once the conference was over, we were invited for dinner as part of it, to the wonderful Brazilian charrusqueria Chima’s right on Las Olas blvd and about 15 minutes walking back to the hotel which me and a group of warriors found out. http://chima.cc/site/

Chima has a wonderful front terrace to mingle and drink, and then great laidout indoor tables for the feast of bringing those different cuts of meats charrusqueria style (call here steakhouse) all night long with wonderful glasses of red wines. Good company and pleasant evening afterward on the way back and at the hotel bar ::)

The last day got pickup by my cousin again and given a right in the laberinth of roads and tolls the area has become, really change feld big and different already. Saw the new Marlins baseball stadium, the Lincoln Road Miami Beach area, and the bridges before finally depositing me at Miami airport for the trip back home. A nice nostalgic if short trip to what was once call home ::)

http://miami.marlins.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=mia

http://lincolnroadmall.com/

http://www.lincolnroadmall.info/

At Miami before flight had some snacks at La Pausa in concourse J Mia for a mahi mahi sandwich fries and a glass of California Hogue cellars red wine. A nice send offs. http://www.shopmiamiairport.com/store_profile.aspx?unitid=519

The flight back was my first ever ,believe or not, delays at airport, happening after a heigthening of security tension for the atrocious terrorist acts in Paris, they found two bags checked-in but no passenger so the plane was ask to return to gate!! wait and wait finally departed to Paris. There, as was getting ready to board my last flight to Nantes, once already in the passarelle to the plane we were ask to return back Inside as they was a fuel leak on the plane, wait wait, finally took off. Arrive home five hours late missed by twins birthday outing and needed to catch up today lol! Now ready for another long journey tomorrow to Brazil!!!

Have a great weekend!

FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL FLL MIA mia MIA Mia mia

 

 

 

January 1, 2014

2013 in review, Thank you all, Best wishes for 2014.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 81,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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January 1, 2013

2012 in review. Thank you to all my readers in sharing with me this wonderful adventure.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 31, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL, PROSPERO AñO NUEVO A TODOS, BONNE ANNéE à TOUS!!!!

well just arrive from a wonderful trip to Brussels and its almost 21H or 9pm here in Auray Morbihan Brittany France!!! rainy all way and all week but we didn’t feel it lol!!!

Just want to write a post without a picture to say thank you all for following my humble blog and wishing you the best for 2013 to you and yours.

And wait until i get those photos loaded for more posts from Brussels.

Cheers

A+

April 20, 2012

My trip to the roots where all begun ,Cuba

Well this was a business trip with my company but took advantage to see the family still there and nostalgic moments in my life. It all began here for me many many years ago. My last trip there goes back to 1998 so this was a nice opportunity to go to La Habana, Cuba and others.

I took a long flight it seems endless from home in Brittany, went by car to Nantes airport; which you can change to English, at http://www.nantes.aeroport.fr/ANA/Page/  following the road N165 all the way to exit D201 Nantes Atlantique signs about 1h30 minutes. Then took a regional Air France flight to Amsterdam,Holland, change there to KLM for the flight to La Habana about 10 hours !!! lol!!! http://www.schiphol.com/  and finally arrive in Havana, http://www.cubajet.com/airports/jose_marti_international_airport.asp

I stayed at a Casa Particular of by now my friend Rogelio in Playa, absolutely the best coffee in Cuba!!! The men can do it any time as many times as you want. Stories about Cuba abound from all periods;great company while in the house at calle 76 E 15 y 17 playa, Miramar La Habana near the business center of Miramar and the hotels. If you need accommodation I can pass on the telephone to contact the son Pedro Luis who is a terrific guy and my driver while in La Habana.

We went to eat at EL Palenque, the resto of the Convention palace nearby, great Cuban food, why bother with all those international places if in Cuba eat like a Cuban. Calle 17 y 190, Playa.. Ciudad de La Habana tel  (53 7) 203-8222 . We had not much time so I took a ride on the Malecon, went over to the old church of San Francisco de Asisi, the Morro ,Fuerza ,and Cabanas castles, we had business lunch at Restaurant 1830 at Calle Calzada esq. a 20, Vedado. Ciudad de La Habana tel(53 7) 55-3090-92 . There was a special treat at a casa paladar on a fifth floor of a house but could not remember the name as it was at night and friends rode me there, we had lobsters supreme with a view of the city.

From i went to my native town of Punta Brava, just in the borders of the city of La Habana, visiting family aunt and cousins, I ate at a typical Cuban casa paladar in pesos nacionales, a dish of roast pork,moros black beans,yucca,tostones in garlic sauce, salad of tomatos and lettuce, plus coffee and four beers for two persons at 10 CUC or about 260 Cuban Pesos Nacionales. Just in Calzada before turning left to Guatao, the old Carretera Nacional.

I went further inland to visit another aunt and cousins at Cayo La Rosa, off Bauta, this was a huge textile plant of 5000 workers done by Americans now in ruins. The village have not change much, and took a ride with my cousin in an electric moto on the town ,crazy but a great and cheap means of transportation there now.  And proud of myself was able to take my local driver there as he did not know how,and I did with 14 years span of memory lol!

of course in each visit i ate with the family and reminicents of the old days, telling me what a nice guy I was …………………..::)

Finally, it was time to come back again, and took my flight from La Habana Jose Marti International airport, very easily, this time in route to Paris CDG, http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-GB/Passagers/Home/ on Air France. The plane was full and cheapy company me had economyclass but was bump up to Business Class ,and it shows the difference, very nice flight of 9 hours to Paris CDG. There change again on AF to Nantes, and took my car from the airport parking for the trip home after paying 54 euros of parking fees. Cheaper than renting a car lol!

I hope it wont the last trip like this, and will say that even if the system is the same, the faces of the buildings have improved from last trip, and I look forward to the future when all can have a pleasant place to visit with family and no life’s inconveniences. Some photos.

February 25, 2012

Havana, La Habana, a beautiful postcard of vintage beauty

Well sometimes surprises in life do happenned, and lucky me from work  I needed to go to Havana, Cuba. A whimsical place of many years and family memories, I was born there but left too young as a boy, came back once to see my grandparents who raised me, and now back again. What a change, what a shock full of wonderful memories and honest, too good people, humble ,nice, friendly, like been back into the family again.

This is Havana or La Habana or the complete real name San Cristobal de la Habana; St 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,(the best baseball team on the island,and my family’s team).

Upon arrival I had my cousin, husband there to greet me, but as in official company trip ,had a very nice friendly Cuban name Pedro Luis, who took me to the Casa Particular of his father Rogelio in the district of Playa, old Miramar, near the hotels Melia Habana,Commodore,Panoramico, and the Miramar Business Center. The house was built in 1923, and wonderfully renovated, huge bedroom,and bathroom with AC and TV, telephone on the hallways,central to all. The service was very friendly, the owner Rogelio chatted with me every morning for the ritual Cuban coffee expresso, strong and black and sweet!!! You and I were set for the day lol! His son Pedro Luis always in contact with me will come to pick me up for the business and took me around Havana for eateries and sightseeing a bit. Every night upon my return, the security person already knew me by name and hand me the key to the room!

I went to the wonderful Malecon, Plaza Vieja, church of St Franciso 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.

Foremost, wandering the streets of Havana, and Playa(Miramar),and Punta Brava took many memories of me, exciting and sad ,curious and forgetful; did not wanted to pass by the house I was born, too many strong memories,and better enjoy the sights tourists see. I am now a tourist in La Habana.

We had lunch at El Bosque inside the hotel Melia Habana, Avenida  3rd. between  76 and 80 streets, Miramar , the Spanish chain of hotels have done a wonderful job here, by far the best in Havana. 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 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!!!! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado section of La Habana.

Coming and going thru Madrid, I try for the first time the newer terminal T4 and T4S; very modern, spacious, lots of eateries, and shops, with a automated train between the two,and easy walking to the metro station of line 8 that ends there. 2,50 euros one way to Madrid. I had my lunch at Vinea, a nice tapas and wine place.

My return was to Nantes, almost by 11pm and took my car to arrive home here by 12h30 am. Very tired but happy to be able to see my native country again, even if now look more like a tourist than a native; the reception by all was very nice. I shall be back. Cheers enjoy the pictures.

January 11, 2012

2011 in review, Thank you all my friends, best wishes for 2012!!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 57,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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December 27, 2011

My last post of 2011,thanks for the memories…………………..

I am sitting at home after a long day at work and thinking about the end of 2011. ON a sad day for me as Four years ago my Mom passed away at our home, and the ashes layed at Honfleur in the ocean she loves so much. I do not know if will be able to write another post in 2011, but wanted to say a few words.

For many years, I have and do participate in several travel forums around the globe in English, French, and Spanish. The experiences have been sublime, the sharing of ideas have been superb. What is the difference between a visitor and a resident? Well, not much ,but we all love to see new things to search for new things and to share new things.

In my opinion, the best advice comes from the person who has visit and then live in a place or vice versa. There have been many times that a visitor will said something about a place where I live that if not for the mention I would never pass by it lol! and they have been interesting places. You learn every day. Sharing is important.

I had friends who told me to write a book on travel to France, well that was too much flattering, and time consuming. Then ,there were others who suggested why not a blog….a blog??? what was that lol!!! I asked several friends who were into it,and one from Spain who I have great respect for what he is doing (see my links below front page), told me to come to wordpress because it was easy to set up and use. Well as the saying goes the rest is was history.

Paris 1972 was born in november 2010,and it has been a thrill of a lifetime. Why the title ,well because after watching The Last Tango in Paris with Maria Schneider and Marlon Brandon I wanted to visit Paris,and I did for the first time. Its a love story that continues to this day without sight of ending it…. because Paris is a movable feast. And then, there was France oh well he did not have time to see it all, I have ,for the most part and can say France is a movable feast. Then it was the places I have lived in my life Cuba, Spain, and the United States, all have a bit part in this blog ,and of course football/soccer and my love for the Real Madrid (played alevin/benjamin in the 70’s there) ,and still member of the club.

Everything I write in these posts is personal experiences, not from books written by others, or saying in other forums although is great to share information, I only write about places I have been personally. So its my personal touch, and my personal spot on the internet paris1972.wordpress.com

I look forward to write more about the country or countries I love in 2012. I am still selling my house in Versailles so the entire family can move with me in near Vannes/Auray area of the morbihan, in Brittany.  So far I have half the family with me and the other in Versailles::::I guess real estate sales in these times is not that good.

I look forward to reading your comments, and I am very happy to see the following my blog had, and the ideas, sharing of travel,sharing of our world, and especially sharing of France. Thank you all, and each of you. Have a wonderful 2012, may your wishes comes thru, and may you have a wonderful time travelling and reading my blog ::) Cheers

Etel

Notre Dame life saver boat in Etel , one like this one took my Mom out to sea

April 24, 2011

Capitol, Havana, a symbol of a Nation

Lets bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my youth I spent many afternoon going by and on tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country.

I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana. El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 91,73 meters tall ( 302.7 ft).  It is located between the streets or  calle Pardo, Dragones, Industria, and San Jose. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. AFter the Cuban revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls here were destroyed in 1863. Here there was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architect Raul Otero and the participation of the French team led by urban planner Jean-Claude-Nicolas Forestier, and Architect Eugenio Raynieri Piedra as director of developement,and arquitec Jose M Bens Arrate. The actual construction was given to the American firm of  Pudri & Henderson Company. However, it was the French Forestier who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

The details of the work made the building  207,44 meters long in its facade  which included a large stair monumental of almost 36 meters wide( 118.8 ft) , 28 meters long (92.4 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze by the Italian Angelo Zanelli, call La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21.4 ft) .

To continue the description of this wonderful building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (118.8 ft)  and 16 meters high 52.8 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25.4 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (7.8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre ,also done by the Italian Angelo Zanelli.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (303.6 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (105.6 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne under the dome done also by Zanelli in bronze of  15 meters high  (49.5 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof.

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidos” ( the hall of the lost steps) , the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 47.9 ft)  and almost 20 meters high66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (located to the north) and the  Senado (located to the south). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (148.5 x 49.5 ft). 

58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance done by the English firm of  Waring & Gilow Ltd. of  London.   The wrough iron in bronze by  The Yale & Towne Mfg. Co. of Stanford, CT USA, Societe Anonime Bague  and  Saunier Frisquet of Paris,France for the lamps, and the house of Fratelli Remuzzi from Italy and  Grasyma of Germany for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba.  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio of La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,a nd the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C. Most of the detail information here came from wikipedia.

It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Some photos of old.