Archive for ‘Cuba’

June 7, 2018

Those wonderful castles of Havana!

Ok so we like castles, actually I love them. Just one reason for me to visit a city is if it has a castle. Any shape really a castle on a hill or by a river is just wonderful. My old Havana has plenty and still in good shape. I like to tell you about them a bit.

In the first place the castle of the Real Fuerza was built, the oldest of all. After it were built at the same time the castle of the Morro and the castle of the Punta, to finally add the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. Not to leave out the more inland Castle of  Atares.

After the British took Havana in 1762, besieging the castle of Morro from the hill where today stands the Fortress San Carlos de La Cabaña, the Spaniards realized that they needed to build a new fort that complemented the defenses of the city . When they recovered the villa in 1763, the construction works of the fortress began. It was the most expensive building that financed Spain outside the peninsula, being also today the largest fortress in all of America. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Che Guevara installed his command center in San Carlos de la Cabaña. At this time numerous deaths by firing squads were also carried out. Today the San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress functions as a historic park, along with the nearby Morro Castle. Also inside is the museum of fortifications and Weapons and the Cultural center of Che Guevara, as well as restaurants and shops. But the most famous attraction is the cannon at 9pm or 21h, recreated by military dressed in 18C uniforms. It is reminiscent of the time when Havana was surrounded by ramparts, whose doors were closed every day at 21h.

Havana

Located at the entrance of the Bay of Havana, next to the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, the castle of the Tres Reyes del Morro was one of the strategic points of the defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction of the castle took place between the years 1589 and 1630, at the same time as the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta, an impregnable fortress up to 1762, when the English troops after a siege of about two months, managed to get the castle of the  Three kings of the Morro and therefore the city.  An irregular polygon that is formed by huge walls of 3 meters of height surrounded by a deep moat. The most emblematic point of the castle is the lighthouse of the Morro, it has illuminated the entrance of the boats to the bay from 1844. With a height of 30 meters, it is the ideal place to enjoy with the panoramic view of the Malecon of Havana, especially at dusk. Nowadays, it is part of the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park, along with the nearby fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, and inside it is the Maritime Museum.

Havana

Located next to the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of Old Havana, the Castle de la Real Fuerza is part of the defensive ensemble that the city had during the colonial era, next to the San Salvador de la Punta Castle and the Morro-Cabaña military historical Park.  The Royal Force was the first to be built in Havana, in fact it is considered the oldest stone fortress in America. The works began in 1558 and were terminated in 1577, although it soon lost its defensive function due to its remoteness from the bay. In 1588 became the residence of the Governor of Havana, later it worked as a national archive, army barracks or National Library. Today the castle of the Royal Force houses the Museum of the Royal Force and in its impressive moat the most important maritime museum in Cuba. The most striking element of the ensemble is the tower that houses the Giraldilla, it was added in 1634. It is a woman-shaped vane that is one of the symbols of the city, besides being the oldest cast bronze sculpture in Cuba. The weather vane that can be seen today on the tower of waiting (Torre de la Espera) is a copy, the original is kept in the museum of the city.

Havana

Located at the entrance of Havana Bay, San Salvador de la Punta Castle formed along with the castle of the three Kings del Morro, the main line of defense of the city during the Spanish occupation. The construction works began in the year 1590, parallel to the works in the nearby Castillo del Morro. Because of this proximity, since 1630 when the cannon of  9pm (21h)  was sounded and the doors of the wall were closed, a heavy copper chain was stretched between the two forts to leave the access to the bay closed. In 1997 a deep renovation was carried out to install in this historic building the Castle Museum. At the moment you can see in the Castillo de la Punta a hall that tells the history of the fortress, as well as an exhibition of ships built on the island and a treasure room with objects that have been found in the marine depths.

Havana

Castle of Atarés, military fortress that integrates the defensive system of Havana built by the Spaniards to protect the city in the 18C. The castle of Santo Domingo de Atarés, began construction in 1763, together with that of the fortress of the Cabañas, due to the need to complete the defense of the villa in its vulnerable points. The Castillo de Santo Domingo de Atarés was the first of these new military buildings to be completed, specifically in 1767. On the Loma de Soto site from where the bay is partially dominated-, an irregular hexagon without bastions, crowned in its vertices by the same hexagonal openings, which corresponds to the forms used for these elements during the 18C. The castle has a large vaulted bomb-proof barracks in its enclosure for all the garrison that can contain cistern, warehouses and all the offices necessary for its defense. It was fitted with 26 cannons and its garrison had about 90 men.  The castle was named in honor of Count Ricla, whose father was the  Earl of Atarés. In addition, in complements this fortress has a covered road filling and a small Central square, surrounded by constructions for lodging, warehouses and other services, in whose roofs were conditioned platforms to establish the artillery, as well as a perimeter trench. Photo credit GUIJE.COM

Havana

The bay of Havana was heavily protected because after some mishaps the Spaniards learned to assembled the fleet with the gold of the Americas here, and then set sail for Spain with all the load and minimize the attack by pirates/corsairs and other powers.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here

Tourist office of Havana: Havana tourism

Tourist office of Cuba: Cuba Tourism

Hope it helps your curiosity for these castles in Havana of yesteryears. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

 

 

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June 6, 2018

Let’s get central, the Capitol of Havana!

One of the most recognisable buildings in Havana and a childhood past time. This is a wonderful building and a must to see while in Havana. I am talking of the Capitol.

I have written before in my blog a bit on it, here it is, The Capitol of Havana

The Capitol of Havana is a building built in 1929 commissioned by the then Cuban President Gerardo Machado. The building would be destined to host the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba.  Inspired by the pantheon of Paris, Saint Peter of Rome and the Capitol of the United States, the building presents a neoclassical columnar facade and a dome that reaches about 92 meters in  height between the streets Prado, Dragones, Industria, and San Jose.

Havana

It is the kilometer zero of the network of Cuban roads, from where all distances are measure from a diamond inside. The materials  needed to built it were about five million bricks, 38000 cubic meters of sand and 40000 of stones, 150,000 bags of cement, three 1500 tons of structural steel and two thousand of dowels, quantities truly impressive at the times.  Among the treasures of the installation is the statue that symbolizes the Republic (Giraldilla), Legend of love, history, art, symbol….. everything enclosed in this little statue, made by the Cuban sculptor Jeronimo Martin Pinzon in the 3rd decade of the 17C , and which today is the third largest sculpture under the roof in the world.

Havana

The Capitol of Havana constitutes one of the most notable symbols of the city, comparable to the Morro Castle, Havana Cathedral and the image of the architectural profile of the Malecón . It is named by some experts as one of the six most important palaces in the world.

Something to see and talk about when visiting Cuba and especially Havana, oh Havana, the Paris of the Americas once and still trying to come back, when do not know.

Check the webpages for updates as it was recently been renovated wholly. It should be worth the wait ,for me do not know.  Here as some outside information to help you.

Cuba Travel: Cuba Travel

Tourism Cuba Tourist office Cuba

Hope it helps come to this beautiful buildng of a wonderful era of my roots. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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June 6, 2018

And we go to the Cathedral of Havana!

Why not go back to tell you about a beautiful building in a distance land, you know its me. I am nostalgic on a cloudy, warm rainy day in Brittany, France. So let me tell you about the Cathedral of Havana, Cuba.

Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception of Havana, this is the long name, simply call the Cathedral of Havana.  I had written a piece on it in my blog before, here it is.  Cathedral of Havana

At first , in 1748, the Church would be the oratory of the Children of St. Ignatius of the Order of the Jesuits, then it would become a Cathedral. By royal decree in 1714, the Jesuits obtained the long-awaited permission and by 1727 they were notified of the exact place where they could build the Church and the convent. In the year 1767, the school was finished, but not the church, at that moment the expulsion of the Jesuits of the New World takes place. In 1772 due to the deplorable state of the major parish, the Spanish authorities decided to move it to the oratory of San Felipe Neri and in 1777, moved to the Church half-built of the Jesuits. In 1778 by order of Bishop Felipe José de Trespalacios began the process of transformation of the old oratory of St. Ignatius in the Cathedral of Havana, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, whose image is visible on the main Altar. The central nave was occupied until the independence of the island by a funerary monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus, then, at the end of the colonial period , the ashes of the admiral were transferred to Santo Domingo and thence to the Cathedral of Seville. The wooden frame on the funeral square inside the Cathedral of Seville is original wood from Cuba.

Havana

The Cathedral is of Baroque style, and considered more similar to those done in Tuscany, Italy by its two side bell towers, its temple forms a rectangle of 34×36 meters,with  three naves and eight lateral chapels, divided by thick pillars. The floor is in black and white marble. The sculptures and goldsmith works of the altars as well as of the main shrine were done by the Italian Bianchini, they were executed in Rome in 1820 under the direction of the famous Spanish sculptor Antonio Solá. Behind this altar are three original frescoes by the Italian painter Perovani. The interior paintings were made by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Vermay. Among the various chapels that houses is the one of Our Lady of Loreto, 1755, before the transformation in Cathedral of the Former Jesuit parish, it has an independent entrance. Its dome that is below the side towers is visible from the surrounding buildings with an intense orange color.

It is surrounded by the square that bears its name, that houses the mansions of the colonial nobility, among these are the Palace of the Marquis of Arcos, the House of the Counts of Casa Bayona, 1720, which is currently the Museum of Colonial Art and the mansion of the Marques de Aguas Claras.

You do well to take a look at the tourist office in Cuba and elsewhere for more information as to current shape, status and if there are opening hours.

Tourist office of Havana: Havana tourism

Tourist office of Cuba: Cuba Tourism

Hope it helps your planning and see the wonders of the Paris of the Americas even in its last gasps.

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

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December 12, 2017

For me it all began here a looong time ago, Cuba

Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba CubaIn continuing my saga of remembrance of my life’s corners and meandering places I now take you back to where it all began for me a looong time ago, Cuba. As a holder of four passports, the first one was Cuban.

I was born there in the town of Punta Brava, a once historical town of Cuba,where the war of Independence from Spain saw one of our greatest hero fall in combat. Now with the new revolution, all that history is gone and hardly ever mentioned. Cuba has change a lot ,it is not the same and for me it will never be the same.

Now, only memories lingered, and some places of share family values and love. Far far away, it seems difficult to even write that upon my latest visit in 2012, the area where I grew up seems different;;;well unrecognizable;;; well poorer. It seems to me like I was not from there. It required some days of adjustment for things to come back again.

This post is to all and especially to me as  a reminder of what it was, a lingering space in time of a once upon a time place call Punta Brava, city of Havana metropolitan area, Republic of Cuba.

Enjoy the stories, I read them myself once in a while just to keep my feet on the ground. Glance the photos some are new some are very old, all meaningful as a source of my DNA. Enjoy the pictures, and feel the people when visiting , they are the main things, the regular guy on the street. Cheers

My previous entries on Cuba in my blog are here:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/04/20/my-trip-to-the-roots-where-all-begun-cuba/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/01/22/san-cristobal-de-la-habana-havanacuba/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/09/09/the-torreons-of-havana-los-torreons-de-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/02/25/havana-la-habana-a-beautiful-postcard-of-vintage-beauty/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/23/cathedral-of-havana-or-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/message-to-havana-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/havana-nights-and-more-of-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/22/habana-hilton-or-libre-and-yara-or-radiocentro/

  

 

December 9, 2017

New Jersey ,a story of human triumph: My American life!

I think I came up with a poetic title to this post. After running from left and right wing dictatorships I finally landed in democracy. Not an easy adjustment with a totally different culture and language, but we persevered the American dream , and I made it with my parents. American as apple pie and proud of it ,even on further lands we came to know and be part of, we will always be thankful of the New Jersey experience. This is my humble homage on the season to be merrier 2017.

There is so much to tell, I start with the New Jersey official tourist center here: http://www.visitnj.org/

The State Government further information here: http://www.nj.gov/nj/things/

And an external site that offers lots of things to do in the county of Middlesex , State of New Jersey: https://www.funnewjersey.com/upload_user/cool_things_to_do/top_50_attractions/top_50_attractions_in_middlesex_county_nj.htm

Some background info on the State of New Jersey: New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states! Three geographic regions: North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey.

Ok so we move on to the county I lived for 13 years of my early life; Middlesex County. Middlesex County or Central Jersey area. Middlesex is part of the New York metropolitan area, and its county seat is New Brunswick. The center of population of the state of New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, in East Brunswick Township, just east of the New Jersey Turnpike. The county was primarily settled due to its ideal location near the Raritan River and was established as of March 7, 1683, as part of the Province of East Jersey and was partitioned as of October 31, 1693, into the townships of Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge ; The county’s first court met in June 1683 in Piscataway, and held session at alternating sites over the next century in Perth Amboy, Piscataway and Woodbridge before relocating permanently to New Brunswick in 1778.

Something on Middlesex county official government page on history and things to do : http://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/About/Pages/History.aspx

The tourist info is gathered into the Central New Jersey area here: http://www.gocentraljersey.com/Things-to-Do/Historical-Sites-and-Tours.aspx

And now to the town I lived for 13 years and my first contact with the American scene. My English is from here, my last years of middle elementary school, high school, my first driving license, sports, work in parents small businesses as well as industry to save for University studies in Florida. Wonderful early life ,always fondly remember; Perth Amboy Panther forever !!!

Perth Amboy was formed by Royal charter on August 4, 1718, within various townships and again by New Jersey Legislature on December 21, 1784, within Perth Amboy Township and from part of Woodbridge Township. Perth Amboy Township was formed on October 31, 1693, and was enlarged during the 1720s to encompass Perth Amboy city. Perth Amboy Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey’s initial 104 townships through the Township Act of 1798 on February 21, 1798. The township was replaced by Perth Amboy city on April 8, 1844. Perth Amboy served as a capital of the Province of New Jersey from 1686 until 1776. In 1684, Perth Amboy became the capital of East Jersey and remained the capital until the union of East and West Jersey in 1702, and became an alternate colonial capital with Burlington until 1776. thanks for several sites of historical government sites and Wikipedia to gather all the information above.

Some of the colonial legacy is still around such as the Proprietary House, the home of William Franklin, the last Royal Governor of New Jersey and estranged son of Benjamin Franklin, still stands in the waterfront area of the city. St. Peter’s Church was founded in 1718 by the first Episcopal congregation in the state. Its current building, dating from 1875, is surrounded by a graveyard of early inhabitants and displays a collection of stained-glass windows with religious scenes as well as early depictions of New Jersey receiving her charter and a meeting between William Franklin and his father, Benjamin. Perth Amboy City Hall, first built as a courthouse in 1714, survived major fires in 1731 and 1764 and is the oldest city hall in continuous use in the United States, since 1789.  The Kearny Cottage, moved from its original location, is a remaining example of 18th Century vernacular architecture. The site of a ferry that crossed the Arthur Kill to Tottenville, Staten Island. Regular service began in 1709. This ferry became less important when the Outerbridge Crossing opened in 1928, but continued to operate until 1963. In 1998, the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip was restored to its 1904 appearance.  A replica of the ticket office has been constructed and is used as a small museum. The Waterfront, This is where the city was first settled and one of the few places left in New Jersey that has a historic and marina culture surrounded by water. Local attractions include the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip, two small museums, an art gallery, a yacht club, and a marina. Near the marina lies a park with a small bandshell. And this is the area of my last residence before moving on to Florida.

The Outerbridge Crossing, which opened to traffic on June 29, 1928, is a cantilever bridge over the Arthur Kill that connects Perth Amboy with Staten Island, NYC. Known locally as the “Outerbridge”, it is part of a popular route on NY-440 / NJ-440 from the south and west to New York City and Long Island. The bridge clears the channel by 143 ft (44 m), providing passage for some of the largest ships entering the Port of New York and New Jersey. The Victory Bridge carries Route 35 over the Raritan River, connecting Perth Amboy on the north with the borough of Sayreville to the south. A project completed in 2005 replaced a swing bridge that carried four lanes of traffic with twin bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic, an outside shoulder and a bike lane. The city has NJ Transit train service at Perth Amboy station. The station provides service on the North Jersey Coast Line to Newark Penn Station, Hoboken Terminal, Secaucus Junction, New York Penn Station and the Jersey Shore. NJ Transit buses serve the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

My schools! The William C. McGinnis Middle School for grades 5–8; and Perth Amboy High School for grades 9–12.  All from the 7th grade onwards , memories never forgotten and fondly remembered.  The school board here: https://www.paps.net/

Finally the city of Perth Amboy page is here http://www.ci.perthamboy.nj.us/

And more on the history of the city of Perth Amboy here http://ci.perthamboy.nj.us/pa-all-about-us.html

harborside marina above link and the bit on the history of the city here: http://ci.perthamboy.nj.us/the-history-of-perth-amboy.html

We came in renting an apartment at 349 Oak Street, then move on to a bigger second floor apartment house at 809 State Street,and finally my parents were able to buy our first house ever at 106 State Street by the waterfront area. My parents had several small businesses in town that I of course help out; from grocery story, men’s clothing store, nightclub with live music and dancers, restaurant, and handyman sales of sundry items all over the State and even into NYC and Philadelphia, PA.

I played baseball on the Babe Ruth World Series sponsored by Chicken Delight restaurant and we won! Played baseball Freshman and JV at High School, intramural Volleyball, and foremost continue my soccer/football paths at the High School as I came over from Madrid, Spain.

All many memories, friendships that I must tell you endure today even after 40-46 years!!! My last visit to the State dates from 2007 for four days! coming there from France.  A blog post or even a blog won’t be enough to cover it all but the heart is on this post. Thank you Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA; from a grateful citizen.

Enjoy some of the pictures still holding on from those days. Enjoy your weekend as here in lovely Brittany, France is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to all.Cheers!!!

Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Edison Point Pleasant Beach New Brunswick Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy Perth Amboy

 

 

December 8, 2017

My Florida , always wonderful memories!

 Tampa  Tampa  Tampa Saint Augustine Saint Augustine Saint Augustine South Miami Port Orange Orlando Orlando Orlando Ocala Miramar Miami Miami Key West Miami Gainesville Fort Myers  Daytona Beach  Daytona Beach  Daytona Beach  Daytona Beach Miami Coral Gables Altamonte Springs

If you search my blog you will see several older posts on Florida. I am in the season to be merrier and reminicent of my previous lives. Read and you will notice I lived for 18 years in Florida in addition to four years of University studies!!!while living in New Jersey ::)

Florida is the Sunshine State incorporated into the USA in 1845. It has about 1,350 miles (2,170 km) of coastlines so a water lovers paradise as well. The earliest settlers were here before those northern claims…. when in 1513 a Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed and named it La Florida ( land of flowers) as it was during the Easter season or Pascua Florida.

But enough of that, the tourist office is here: http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

You have several other sources for tourist info depending on the area you are going. I lived in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach,both in Volusia county, North Miami, Hialeah,both in Miami-Dade county; and Miramar in Broward county.

Beaches and general info on Volusia county is here: https://www.volusia.org/services/public-protection/beach-safety/
Info on their cities is here: http://www.teamvolusiaedc.com/about-volusia/
The main attraction here is Daytona Beach: https://www.daytonabeach.com/

I take you to Miami-Dade county here: http://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

and moving over to Broward county you have main town Fort Lauderdale here: https://www.sunny.org/

The towns city /town halls are:Miramar
https://www.miramarfl.gov/

Ormond Beach: https://www.ormondbeach.org/
Daytona Beach; http://www.codb.us/

Hialeah is here:http://www.hialeahfl.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11&Itemid=207&lang=en

And North Miami is here: http://www.northmiamifl.gov/
a totally different city than Miami in fact there are about 7-8 towns with Miami on the name including the county!!!

My last town was Miramar, Broward county, before leaping forward to France with after convincing her to live with me in the State for 13 years she convince me to come to France where we are already 14 years here ::) as French. If only the US will leave us alone with filing taxes and providing the treasury dept with our bank accounts, something those living there do not have to do; call it Fatca/Fincen political crap. The US is the only country in the world who do this to its citizen abroad, the other is Eritrea !!!

I will show some pictures many personal ones of our passing in the State some never before shown in previous posts. Eat out at a Cuban resto in Altamonte Springs near Orlando; the train ride outside Fort Myers, the alligator sights at Cypress Reserve in the Everglades marshes; the frozen papaya trees in Ormond Beach, yes it can get cold there like down to 25F (minus celsius 0C =32F).

Go on to watching the Yankees baseball spring training in Tampa, our eating runs into Columbia the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA since 1905 in Tampa and then we also visited their branch at Saint Augustine, the oldest city in the USA. The fancy French as always great restaurant La Provence in Miami still going strong!! The visits to Magic Kingdom and Epcot center French Pavilion! The visit to the Daytona Beach museum of Arts and Science and the best Cuban arts collection outside of Cuba!!! My university old dorm and apartment house right on Hollywood st off Main St Daytona Beach home of Bike Weeks!!!

The Miami seaquarium and Zoo as well as Mallory square in Key West, the beaches of Daytona and Ormond , the birthplace of speed! (world record automobile in 1902). Picking up wines in Coral Gables from Crown wines, and up to the concerts at Daytona bandshell on the beach. And our last house in the USA at Miramar. All wonderful memories that I like to share with my readers and keep in my blog for the memories,for history,and for passing on down to generations of my family.

Now something more touristic for these unforgetable towns of mine while in Florida.

Some of the things to see in Daytona Beach, other than the beach itself of about 23 miles or 37 kms are :City Island, City Island Ball Park, Daytona Beach Bandshell and Oceanfront Park Complex Seabreeze Historic District , South Beach Street Historic District, South Peninsula Historic District, the Tarragona Tower , Daytona 500 Experience, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Daytona Lagoon Water Park, Halifax Historical Museum, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Main Street Pier , Museum of Arts and Sciences, The Ocean Center.

Some of the things to do in Ormond Beach ,other than the beach are: The Casements is a mansion , famous for being the winter residence of American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. It is currently owned by the city of Ormond Beach and is used as a cultural center and park, Bulow Creek State Park is a Florida State Park next to the Atlantic Ocean. The park is adjacent to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, and close to North Peninsula State Park, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area and Tomoka State Park. Tomoka State Park within the park is the site of the Timucuan village of Nocoroco, located on the Tomoka River. The site was inhabited approximately a thousand years ago ,North Peninsula State Park.

Some of the things to see in North Miami are: The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) ,The Miami Auto Museum with large collection of classic cars, Hollywood cars, mini cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles from the collection of Michael Dezer, The Oleta River State Park is the largest urban park in the Florida State Park system. The park is located on 1,043 acres (4.22 km2) – 993 acres (4.02 km2) of land and 50 acres (0.20 km2) of inland water – on Biscayne Bay; the park contains one of the largest concentrations of Australian pine trees found in a Florida state park; and The Arch Creek Park is an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street and Biscayne Boulevard ,and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the original coontie mill are still visible across the creek, and the park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County.

Some of the things to see in Hialeah are: Great transport hub served by the Miami Metrorail at Okeechobee, Hialeah, and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer stations. The Okeechobee and Hialeah stations serve primarily as park-and-ride commuter stations to commuters and residents going into Downtown Miami, and Tri-Rail station to Miami International Airport and north to West Palm Beach. The Hialeah Park Race Track is a historic racetrack on a site covering 40 square blocks of central-east side from Palm Avenue east to East 4th Avenue, and from East 22nd Street on the south to East 32nd Street on the north.The Hialeah Park Race Track is served by the Miami Metrorail at the Hialeah Station at Palm Avenue and East 21st Street. Originally opened in 1922 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and his partner, Missouri cattleman James H. Bright, Hialeah Park opened as a greyhound racing track operated by the Miami Kennel Club. The Miami Jockey Club launched Hialeah’s Thoroughbred horse racing track on January 25, 1925. Even Winston Churchill visited in 1949.There are plans for a redevelopment complex but still going on unfinished.

Some things to see in Miramar are : Silver Lakes Sports Complex (where I played softball), Forzano Field (where I played beach volleyball), and SoccerZone Indoor (where I played indoor soccer). The city has over 40 parks, for the entire family.

Cheers y’all, enjoy it as much as I do. Florida, the Sunshine State.

October 23, 2017

And yes there is a Colon in Havana but is for the dead.

HavanaWow, it’s been a long time do not write anything on Cuba, but as not often there nowdays the inspiration is minimum. There was a nice site I pick up that mention very good information on it,and it brought my attention to the cemetary of Colon in Havana, the largest in the Americas, many have said.

I have I believe one old picture from it that had include in previous posts on Havana and will include here and some maps from the site I read. The site is the NORFIPC , more of that later.

Part of my rich heritage is of several nationalities and one of them is Cuban, where I was born in Havana. It has been a long time out of it and scarse visits but the memories of old always stay with me. Oh yes I am ,also, Spanish, American, and French ::)

The cemetery or necropolis of Colon is in city center of Havana, the biggest in the Americas and one of the most important of the world. There lies the most important persons in Cuban society since it opened in 1886. From 1854 it was already thought to do a cemetery to replace the Espada, the first in Cuba and Latin America.  The Colon was renovated already in 1934.  It is 140 acre (57 ha) cemetery!!!

The cemetery is rectangular with four sections and two wide large avenues forming a big Cross. In the center there is the Chapel where the funeral services are held; the tracing is done by cardinal points NW NE, SE, and SW. At each cardinal point there is a grand entrance , the biggest is at Zapata with 12 street known as the Puerta de Triunfo or an Arch de Triomphe. On top there is statues representing faith, hope and charity.  The Latin writing on it Janua sum pacis means I am the gate of peace.

The cemetery has over 56 000 mausoleums chapels, pantheons, galleries etc where they are buried about 2 million persons.  The most majestic monuments are along Avenue de Colon in the north entrance. At the Avenida de Colón to the right of the north entrance you see the monument to the firefighters ,at the center the Central Chapel and on  the left part of the pantheon of  Catalina Lasa. Others here are the monument to the 8 medicine students, the pantheon of the prelates on which bishop Espada lies, the pantheon of the Falla-Bonet family, the chapel of Pedro Baro and Catalina Lasa, the chapel of Conde (count) Rivero, and the pantheon of Marta Abreu.

The Central Chapel was built in 1886  in a roman-byzantine style been the only octagonal religious building in Cuba. It has a wonderful mural painting showing the Final Judgment and the stained glass showing different Saints and Bible stories were brought from Cologne, Germany.

There is a humble tomb of the couple of  Amelia Goyri and José Vicente Adot. Amelia Goyri de la Hoz is known as the Miraculous or La Milagrosa, because for many years has given wishes and petitions making miracles to those seeking solutions to their problems. On top of the tomb there is a sculpture of a woman, with a child in one hand and the Cross in the other.

Other famous tomb with a story is that of Catalina Laza and Juan Pedro Baró. When they met she was already married to Luis Estévez Abreu, son of the Vice President of the Republic of Cuba, and who refuse to give her the divorce. Nevertheless, Catalina and Juan continue their relationship for many years until finally the Pope gave the divorce in 1917 confirm by then President of Cuba Mario Menocal. In 1926 they built a luxurious palace at 406 Calle Paseo where they lived and Juan gave her a new Rose flower her favorite colors of rose and yellow. Unfortunately, happiness did not last long as Catalina fell sick and died in 1930. She was beautiful and on her last years hide to no one can see her face. Juan ordered to built a pantheon design in a form that the rays of the sun penetrating through glass will draw a rose similar to the one she carried. She was buried with all her jewelry and under a hard cement dome so nobody could violate here peace. Juan died ten years later and is buried at the foot of the tomb.

Another popular one is of the one of the rests of Jeannette Ford Ryder, and her loyal  dog  Rinti:It is known as the Fidelity tomb or the Lady of the dog such as  La Tumba de la Fidelidad, or La Dama del perrito.   Jeannette Ford Ryder an American lady (1866-1931) came to Cuba in  1869 where she found the Piedad or pity Bando a philanthropic organization doing charity work helping domestic animals, invalid women, children, orphans and poor in general. At her death at 65 yrs old, her loyal dog Rinti stayed at the tomb until he died. The employees left food for the dog and the dog refuse until dying of sadness. This tomb is at quadrant S.O.(SW) street or calle 14 between H and  Fray Jacinto.

Other famous tombs are the pantheon of the Basque Navarre association or  Asociación Vasco-Navarra de Beneficencia.  Calle 3 between G and F.  The tomb of World Chess Champion  José Raúl Capablanca; it has a big piece of white king that goes higher than the others and located at  Calle 8 between  A and B. The first person buried in the cemetery was in September 29 1872 of the architect builder of it ,the Spaniard Calixto de Loira. Buried in the gallery or Galería de Tobías, this was a underground gallery of 100 meters long. Intriguing a month later his replacement also died and now a legend is on of malediction to all those who had a hand in building this cemetery.

There is even someone who is buried erected on foot! The last will and testament of the men askf or this and it was done.  His name was Eugenio Casimiro Rodríguez Carta  sentenced in 1918 to life in prison while lucky met in the prison a María Teresa Zayas, the daughter of the then President of Cuba who felled in love with him. He was finally let go and married the lady, took a great political career even a seat in the House of Representative, becoming rich and powerful. He ordered built his pantheon at Quadrant N.E. 22, Campo Común. Vertically!

There was a time that folks thought the famous Cecilia Valdés was just a personage out of fiction from the writer Cirilo Villaverde, but after some searching it was found that it was indeed a women name like that and she rests here. She was beautiful mulata (mix black and white person) that was very pretty and was even call the little virgin of copper. The rests of  Cecilia Valdés  daughter of the royal house of maternity or Real Casa de Maternidad who died in 1893 at the age of  86 rest at quadrant N.E., square 6, Campo Común.

It even has tombs of the fallen from WWI and WWII  at Avenida Zapata and Calle 30 (Street) The remains of the casualties are located in the mausoleum of the Anglo-American Welfare Association.

The information details taken from the site in Spanish:  https://norfipc.com/sobre-mi.php

Some of the notable names buried here are: Manuel Arteaga y Betancourt, Cardinal , Hubert de Blanck composer, Federico Capdevila, lieutenant Colonel of the Spanish Army who defended the medicine students in 1871; Alejo Carpentier, writer and musicologist, Eduardo Chibàs, politician,  Dr Carlos Finlay, physician and researcher (discovered mosquito of the yellow fever) ; José Migule Gomez, President of Cuba, Maximo Gomez, hero of the war of Independence, Harrison E Havens US Congressman , José Lezama Lima, writer and poet, Dulce Maria Loynaz, poet novelist; Adolfo Luque, Major League baseball pitcher ; Armando Marsans major league baseball outifielder , William Alexander Morgan, US combat soldier even against Batista and Castro;  Juan Rius Rivera, Puerto Rican military hero, etc etc

 

Just one of the oddities of Havana ,you will have a map of the cemetery as well.  I am not going to tell you to go to Havana to see this, but if you are in the neighborhood , why not, very educational and historical too.

Havana

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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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