Archive for ‘Europe’

October 21, 2017

Getting around public transport in Paris and IdF

On a cloudy on and off rainy day ,and the sun in and out with temps in the 15C/60F in my neck of the wood, I left early into the main town here and then came back. This is the time to tell you again about the public transport options in Paris and the region IdF=ïle de France of which Paris belongs.

First, let me re post two previous posts on transports in Paris going back to the beginning of  my blog experience in 2010 and another in 2012. It might be interesting to some to see the differences.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/12/11/public-transport-and-getting-to-paris/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/07/06/paris-transport-bits-and-pieces/

Of course, as you can by the post, trying to tell all on the transports in Paris is a tall task, there are so many variables and locations that the reader might be wise to ask me if doubts as some already have in my post on airports connections on private. I will just try to update on the previous posts and a bit more to help you understand. As for me, I have been using public transports in Paris since 1990, all modes at all times and days; whether on business or personal. After a few years, I have become accustomed to do public transports on business trips still need to do in the area and on personal trips I use my car. Yes ,you can drive in Paris…. if used to do so in big cities of course if your experience is from smaller towns than Paris might seems overwhelming at first.

The Paris transport sites that sometimes overlaps to the region is the RATP=Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens https://www.ratp.fr/en

The weekdays operating hours of the Métro are from 5h30  to about 01h15.  On Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as on the eve of bank holidays, trains run until about 02h15.  The RER operates daily from 5h30 to about 01h20 . When the metro is closed, the Noctilien night bus network takes to the road. Night buses operate from 00h30  to about 5h30.

Roissybus connects Paris (Opéra rue Scribe) to the Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport (CDG) and runs from 5h15 to about 0h30.  Buses depart every 15 to 20 minutes and the trip takes about 60 to 75 minutes.  Orlybus connects Paris (Denfert-Rochereau) to the Orly airport (ORY) and runs from 5h35  to about midnight. Buses depart roughly every 8 to 15 minutes and the trip takes about 30 to 40 minutes.  Orlyval connects the Anthony RER B station and the Orly airport (ORY) and runs from 6h to 23h35 . Trains depart roughly every 4 to 7 minutes and the trip takes about 8 minutes.

Mobility impaired folks can take advantage of the accessibility programme to make 57 RER A and B stations accessible for persons with reduced mobility: These stations are clearly marked by the access pictogram on our line maps.

RER A B C D E  are Five lines that serves 257 stations and stops including  33 inside  Paris.). You , also, have 8 trains lines in the region IdF all named with letters for easy distinctions. These are Trains H, J, K, L, N, P, R, and  U.  You have 10 tramway lines running in and around the periphery of Paris , these are lines  1, 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11Express.  There are really 16 lines of Métro and these are lines 1, 2, 3, 3Bis, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7bis, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14; all with 303 stations/stops. The bus lines are numbered from 20 to 199. To understand the number we go to a nice definition: The first number correspond to a quartier or neighborhood of Paris such as the lines Saint-Lazare/Opéra for the lines 20 to 29 , and Gare de l’Est for the lines 30 to 49).  The second number corresponds to the periphery neighborhoods ; for example  the west or ouest for the  3 ,and the southeast or sud-est for the 7. The lines 20 to 99 are the ones inside the city of Paris and the near periphery. The bus lines 100 to 199 are for the suburbs of Paris and some like the lines 102, 109, 111, 132 , and 169  entered a bit inside Paris. The night bus Noctilien works around 5 axis on big stations with correspondence such as the stations Châtelet, Montparnasse, Gare de l’Est, Gare Saint Lazare, and Gare de Lyon.  All the RER stations are served by the Noctilien bus and its 47 lines working from 0h30 to 5h30.

The prices are adjusted every year usually around July but sometimes in January, and of course it goes up/ Right now the single inner Paris ticket or Ticket t+ cost 1,90 €; and if planning to be for a few days it would be cost effective to buy the Carnet of 10 Tickets t+ for  14,90 €. For the bus if buy it on the bus it cost 2€ and if buy it with the metro Ticket t+ will be 1,90€, and the carnet works the same. There are other tickets ,the most commonly used are the tickets origin/destination to do a traject between two stations in the region of  Île-de-France. Once you validate the ticket it is good for the trip with a limit of 2 hours after validation. It allows you do the roundtrip between points in Paris and the RER ,Métro, The tramway T2 between La Défense and Issy Val de Seine as well as the tramway T4.It is good on both directions and can be use on the bus Noctilien as well.

The forfeit Mobilis is good for one calendar day from 0h to 24h to do as many trips as you need in the zones chosen and all modes of transports except going to the airports CDG and Orly. The Mobilis is given in a magnetic coupon with the chosen zones (Paris has 5) ,you need to write your name and the first day hour of use, as well as validated on the entry machines to the transports, usually yellow. This is a personal ticket and cannot be used by another person, not exchange and not reimbursable.  The costs per zone are Zones 1-2 7,50€ ,Zones 1-3 10€, Zones 1-4 12,40€ and Zones 1-5 17,80€.

The other use by visitors especially foreigners are the Paris Visite, you have as well several reductions to discover Paris and the region in entertainment, transport, culture museums attractions etc.  You buy according to your needs and stay , always good to compare on single ticket use on what you plan to do here. The costs are Zones 1-3  on days 1, 2, 3, and 5; 12,19,50,26,65,and 38,35€ respectively and on Zones 1-5 on days 1,2,3, and 5; 25,25, 38,35, 53,75, and 65,80€ respectively. There are reduce prices for the 4-11 years old, free below 4.

There another good one that is a take down of what we use to go to work in Paris but design to help the visitors. This is the Navigo Découverte, that comes in a case, the identity card, and a magnetic card to recharge money into it. This card allows to travel all over for a week and you need to keep all of them with you. The cost of the card along is 5€ and need to go to an agency SNCF, OPTILE, RATP, or the counters of the  Guichets Services Navigo SNCF.  You will receive it immediately with a life span of 10 years, keep it as for next visit it will just need recharge new money and off you go, the card keeps the money unused on it. The only situation is that it needs to be use from Sunday to Saturday.

The site for the region and some lines in Paris is call the Transilien and you can access it in English here:  https://www.transilien.com/en

Many ask for the use of Wi-Fi in the public transport and Paris is modernizing as I write.  Right now the Métro and RER stations with free WiFi are: Metro  Gare de Lyon (M1 platform, direction La Défense);  Gare du Nord (M4 – SNCF transfer hall; M4 around information and ticket desks); CDG Etoile (Transfer hall, Sortie Carnot); St Lazare (Transfer hall); Porte Maillot (Around information and ticket desks) ;Chaussée d’Antin (Around information and ticket desks); Gallieni (Eurolines access area);Bibliothèque François Mitterrand (Passenger area) ; St Denis Université (Passenger area). On the RER : La Défense (Transfer hall; RER A platform, direction Paris; Mezzanine (1), Mezzanine (2)); Auber (Transfer hall); Cité U (Around information and ticket desks);  MLV Chessy (Around information and ticket desks) Noisy Le Grand (Passenger area, bus station side) ; Val de Fontenay (Passenger area)

If you are going to or from the airport, there is also free WiFi available on all our Orlybus and Roissybus.

How to connect to the Wi-Fi:

To connect to WiFi service, first activate the WiFi function on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other portable device; then select the network named “RATP gratuit” and validate the General Users Conditions (CGU).  You can enjoy 20 minutes of free internet access, and at the same time discover our services: the RATP and Next Stop Paris apps and the maRATP programme.

Zenway is an itinerary search engine that is more intuitive. Using large tactile displays, Zenway allows you to make multi-modal itinerary searches and access practical information about the station’s immediate area – map, address search, points of interest, available services – in 7 languages. This orientation information rounds out the real-time traffic information provided on our multimodal displays.  You can already explore our Zenway passenger information displays at Gare de Lyon, Montparnasse – Bienvenüe, Denfert Rochereau, Charles de Gaulle – Etoile, Les Halles, Madeleine, Gallieni, Concorde, Porte Maillot, Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, Gare du Nord, Saint-Lazare, Val d’Europe, Bir-Hakeim, Bastille, Opéra, La Défense, Saint-Michel, Grands-Boulevards, Havre-Caumartin, and Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre.

I will try to uploads some helpful maps on the whole system here, and they are name Paris do not know how but it shows the metro, RER, Noctilien, Buses, zones tariff map, whole network map etc.. Enjoy Paris and its wonderful Ïle de France region or the island of France! Enjoy your weekend and happy travels. Cheers!

Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris

 

 

October 20, 2017

Some news from Spain LII

Getting back on my beloved Spain on its best face. The weather is nice in Madrid at 67F  and hotter sunnier days for the weekend with little chance of rain.

Some of nice things happening in Madrid and Spain are these:

Museo Lázaro Galdiano (Calle Serrano, 122) from November 17 onwards there is an exposition for the first time showing the collection of primitive Flanders put together by a private collector José Lázaro Galdiano. We travel from the 15C to the 16C in wonderful art pieces from the schools of Hertogenbosch ( Bosco), Brussels (Lucas Gassel), Bruges (Gerard David and Adriaen Isenbrandt), and Anvers  ( Quentin Metsys , and Jan van Dornicke). A total of 73 works of arts some inedit and some after a process of restoration. More here :http://www.flg.es/your-visit-to-the-museo-lazaro-galdiano

Museo Reina Sofía (Calle Santa Isabel, 52) Until November 27th and then from December 20 to March 18 2018.  Soledad Lorenzo gave her collection to the  Museo Reina Sofía in 2014.  A selection of the works there , about 392 from 89 artists are shown now for the first time in two consecutive expositions. Different generation of artists from Spanish to International especially from the USA with paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos, engravings, audiovisual work and installations. The first expo shows the work of Spanish artists of 3 Generations that the gallery Soledad Lorenzo was active. Here next to known artists like Pablo Palazuelo and Antoni Tàpies, you see works by Soledad Sevilla, Txomin Badiola, Ana Laura Aláez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta ,and  Juan Uslé. Then, the expo personal questions or  Cuestiones personales, opens on Dec 20th dedicated to the recuperation of the figurative language and the transformation of the representation of the work in the last part of the last century . Here is shown works by  Gordillo, Broto, Barceló, Schnabel, Juan Ugalde, and George Condo to name a few. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/soledad-lorenzo-collection

Staying in the Museo Reina Sofia we have the expo of William Kentridge  From November 1 2017.  The South African artists William Kentridge (1955, Johannesburg) prize Princesa de Asturias in 2017 showing the exposition Basta y sobra  (Enough and more than enough). Kentridge  is famous for export to other media like animation, theater, opera a new etiquette way of drawing  from his beginnings learned to draw as an spectacle  and he filmed it. He drew with carbon paper of used newspapers, and now you can see his work here, a reflection of his efforts against tyranny and authoritanism. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/william-kentridge

At the Fundación Canal de Isabel II (calle Mateo Inurria, 2) until January 5 2018.  Magnum contact pages or Hojas de Contacto. There were not conceived to be shown and many photographers are reluctant to show them even today . However, the secrets of some of the most famous of Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Steve McCurry, Cristina García Rodero , and others of the agency  Magnum will be shown. From the landings of Normandy, to the revolts in Paris in May 1968, the protests in Tiananmen square or the act against the twin towers will be some of the events shown in photos. More in Spanish here: http://www.fundacioncanal.com/18049/expo-magmum-hojas-de-contacto/#None

And now a bit of a tour thru my beautiful Spain.

 At Sahagùn in Léon on your way to Santiago, St James you will see a group of beautiful Churches of different times like the Church of San Lorenzo or the Church of  San Tirso.  Here you can follow 6 different routes to discover really truly wonders in time. If I have to choose one, it will be the Church of  San Facundo y San Primitivo de Cisneros.  There are more around Villafáfila (Zamora) as well as in Guaza de Campos (Palencia)  where you find about 18 buildings of great architecture and historical value .  There are two belltowers with gorgeous views over the  Tierra de Campos (land of fields). One of them is found at Paredes de Nava, forming part of the Church of  San Martín that houses the center of interpretation of the municipality , and the other the local tourist office . Another one is the  Fuentes de Nava, the highest belltower in the province that of the Church of San Pedro.  If looking for something more natural you go to the lookout at  Autilla del Pino ,where you can see a dozen towns and great sunsets.

Continuing in our tour of my beloved Spain , You reach the Canal de Castilla. One of the tranches of more significant tourism wise is found done by the boat Antonio de Ulloa from Medina de Rioseco. You can even do it on foot!! or in bicycle!! There are several museums and interpretation centers along the route. The most impressive baroque looks on Churches are found in Santoyo, in the beautiful Church of San Hipólito de Támara de Campos ; but there are more like at Frechilla or the Church of Santa María de Fuente de Nava.  July and August is great to come during the Organ Festival when all are working the organs. Even in  Boadilla de Rioseco , the town has invited several artists to use their streets and buildings for improvising art museum on the streets.  You only need to past by their mudéjar Churches and squares as well as the ruins of the old train station or slabs in the old Cemetery

In Becerril de Campos  stop by the old Church of San Pedro,converted into an astronomic center; where you can observe the meridian with a dark camera like the ones used by the Hungarian jesuist Juan Wendlingén (1715-1790) , which was built for king Fernando VI.  Later past by the pretty Church Museum of  Santa María la Antigua that houses one of the best collections of renaissance art including works by Pedro Berruguete, and Alejo de Vahía. In this region of Tierra de Campos, you will see a great dam or natural reserve such as Reserva Natural Lagunas de Villafàfila (Zamora) and the Natural space or Espacio Natural de la Nava and the Campo de Palencia; two essential sites for the observation of birds of the Iberian peninsula. Here you find the biggest concentration of great bustards birds in the world? and also 221 other species including aquatics. At the Church of Santa María de Mediavilla,passing by the Church of  Santiago Apóstol ,and the Church de la de Santa Cruz. All of them with guided visits as well as the works related to the canal de Castilla such as the old flour factory or antigua Fábrica de Harinas. At  Villoldo, the perfect place to explorer the Frómista and its romance Church of  San Martín or in  San Cebrián de Campos; the Church of San Cornelio y San Cipriano. A wonderful ride, more on this region and the autonomous region of Castilla y Léon here: http://www.turismocastillayleon.com/

Then, we search for comics stores in Madrid, plenty of them;but some of the latest to come out are these:

Red Flacks Comics located in the district of Malasaña, a few steps from the Plaza del Dos de Mayo.  The underground of the 1960’s and 1970’s and the junior American to dig into their boxes to find the jewel like the first Futurama (35 euros, in English). However, there are prices for all pockets like the magazine Mad (5 euros, in English)  to the no 7 of Black Hole (90 euros, in English). For the lovers of the superheroes classics of  Marvel like Fantastic Four (22 euros, in English) or the Star Wars, like the December 1977 issue on the magazine  Famous Monsters (25 euros, in English).  Do not forget the mythical albums such as the detective Dick Tracy (25 euros, in English) or the black humor of Idées Noires (41 euros, in French). More here: https://m.facebook.com/redflackcomics/

Arte 9 Calle Dr Esquerdo 6 , you find here Corto Maltés, as Equatoria(22 euros), the last number of the adventures of marine created by  Hugo Pratt, or the series of 3 albums of Érase una vez en Francia (22 euros). For the lover of Star Wars the book of graphic designs  (44 euros). At the lower level you find the cards of  Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic on Fridays and Saturdays from 17H. More here: https://www.facebook.com/arte9madrid/

Akira Comics  at Avenida Betanzos 74 open here for over two decades and by next March 2018 will expand to  700 m2 of space . Even if the name refers to the Japanese mangas in its shelfs you find stories for all tastes like the albums of the Marvel Universe (4,25 euros each), Some with original front portrait design for the store. You find toys like the figurine of the son of Batman (29,95 euros). More here: https://www.akiracomics.com/

The Comics Co at Calle Divino Pastor 17, 13 years at same address; and here you can find the American superheroes  to the publication of Corto Maltés.  The store specializes in the books of Tintín. You find here in original language or Spanish all the literature associated with Tintin.  The complete collection of figurines of the personages of the series some small some in white (35 euros), others huge and at all colors like the silhouette of  Tintín and Milú (135 euros). More here: https://www.facebook.com/thecomicco/

You come to the culinary of Madrid, at this ample bar with walls of Bordeaux colors and golden signs with the castizo spirit of Madrid. This is La Playa de Lavapiés, a creation of friends and frequent guests of the street bars of the calle Argumosa.  You can try the afrodiac drink of  La Cachonda, cloves and cinnamon or the  Mermafrodita, rose petals and pear or the La Rosita, a touch of red fruits or the La Estrecha, with gingebre and lemon grass.  Also, the destornillador, with slices of ice and orange and each week are added new creations . The cocktail is the double of beer and vermouth with a tapa.  It has a small terrace to see the world go by. Open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 18h to 02h and Fridays 18h to 02h30 ,Saturdays and Sundays from 13h. More here: https://www.facebook.com/laplayadelavapies

From an article in El Mundo newspaper; took this excellent blog on Madrid, Secretos de Manu, Pamplona en Madrid: http://www.secretosdemadrid.es/

The article mentioned how the district of Hortaleza comes from the vegetable gardens that were done here, under the Fountain of Cibeles there is the safe of the Bank of Spain or the smallest store in Madrid is still there a few steps from Plaza Mayor. When you live in Madrid (I did) you come out looking at the sky and try to imagine what more can the city impress on you . Maybe that is why we call From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!  The city is very energetic and vibrant, which I knew that !!! For nice photos go to the garden or Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona, or the lookout Mirador de la Huerta de la Partida, in the  Casa de Campo; as well as the garden or  Jardín Educativo del Monte Mediterráneo, next to the museum of  Sciences, an oasis next to the  Castellana. The author third book on Madrid with the name of Secretos de Madrid 2 (Secrets of Madrid 2)  will reach the stores next month. Webpages here:

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-del-palacio-del-principe-de-anglona

http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Vivienda-y-urbanismo/Urbanismo/Madrid-Rio-Especial-Informativo?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=5acc7f0917afc110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=2af331d3b28fe410VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&idCapitulo=5697981

http://www.mncn.csic.es/Menu/Exposiciones/Permanentes_jardinEducativo/seccion=1182&idioma=es_ES&id=2010100411300002&activo=11.do

A bit of  Malaga, at the Museo Carmen Thyssen calle Compañia 10 will be the exposition of Juan Gris, María Blanchard y los cubismos (1916-1927)  until February 25 2018.  Pablo Picasso and George Braque  redefine the world of arts in the 20C as fathers of Cubism and this expo shows how Juan Gris and María Blanchard helped this movement to move on with a different look at arts in the world . Here at the museum you can see works by  Dalí, Moreno Villa,and Cossío as well. More here: http://carmenthyssenmalaga.org/en/exposicion/juan-gris

Moving over to Valencia , you can see the constellations or Las constelaciones de Julio Gonzáez at the  IVAM , calle Guillem de Castro, 118 until January 14 2018.  Since 1985 , the IVAM owns 10% of the work in sculpture of  Julio González. This year they are showing 42 of his work together with other 11 artists work to show another vision of the one considered the father of steel sculpture.  You can also see the German documentary that shows the importance of this creator in the 20C. More here: https://www.ivam.es/en/exposiciones/julio-gonzalezs-constellations/

Another one, the end of an era, a Spanish tradition is now dead. The taurino spectacle of the Bombero Torero” ( the firefighter matador) has said his last goodbye last September 15 2017 in the plaza of  Almodóvar del Campo (Ciudad Real), putting an end to 69 years of history. Rafael Celis,55 , the last of a dynasty is ending the show ; he found no replacement, and did not look for one either. The personage was created in 1928,inspired from a drunken firefighter with a thick mustache that  Pablo Celis, encounter when worked in a theater. The show became a hit from 1953,when he got the idea of including dwarfs of the circus in his show like the famous Eduardini in a bullfights arena.  At 18h15 it will be unveiled a plaque on the big gate of the arena next to other memories of the mythical taurino days of  Almodóvar del Campo. Another past time goes bust, but even if already past, worth mentioning here for the memories, for the history, for the good times Thanks Bombero Torero!!!

Let’s move on south to another great place of mine. Arcos de la Frontera is a wonderful town full of m onuments and how well preserve with its proverbial whiteness. Full of temples, chapels and convents. You see the castle or Castillo de los Duques, the gate or Puerta de Matrera, next to the wall with its palaces and mansions. It was the capital of Taifa de Arcos and duchy, the town looking at the Guadalete river . No beach but has a lake is artificial of 250 meters long but has restaurant with terrace and Nautical club where you can enjoy Padel surf, sailings, aquatic ski, boat ride and swimming; it is call El Santiscal in the natural forest of Cola del Embalse de Arcos where you can see many wild birds like the fishing eagle. You can take a trip to the rock Peñon de Zaframagon reaching here by the Via Verde de la Sierra road near Grazalema where you find one of the biggest colony of vultures birds in Europe. In town you can see pottery makers, ceramics, leather and fabric makers dating from the 18C, plomb and forge steel as well. Not to forget the gastronomy with vegetable meat balls, windmill garlic, stews, rices, escargots, pig products, etc  as well as the wines like at the Bodega de Albalà. Tourist office for Arcos de la Frontera here: http://www.cadizturismo.com/destinos/provincias/cadiz/municipios/arcos-de-la-frontera/?set_language=en

The Bodega de Albalà site is here in English: http://www.huertadealbala.com/en/home/

We end the trip in my gorgeous Madrid. The city welcomes Harry Potter at the IFEMA from November 18 2017. Giant statues of the personages are all over the city for a total of four.  They will be up until December 10th even if the exhibition will be on until end January 2018. The four statues will be at these four points in Madrid:

The starting point will be at the Glorieta de Bilbao. Here you will find the statue for  “Dobby no tiene amo. Dobby es un elfo libre” (Dobby has no owner, dobby is a free elf) . What  Potter said coming ouit fo the mouth of the elf that at the end has its freedom. The Dobby de Bilbao measures 1,60 meters.

Next is the Plaza de Colón. About 10 minutes walking you arrive here.  You find the hat of one of the houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin the students belongs. You remember this hat with more than 10 centuries old doubted on the head of Potter or the face of fear on his best friend Ron Weasley,in the selection of first year. There is a replica of 3 meters high and 4,5 meters wide with the same sad face as the movie

We come to my emblematic best of the city , the Puerta de Alcalá. Who wanted to fly at some time in our life with a Ford Anglia much better right? You need to walk about 9 minutes to reach the gate of Alcala to see the 105E Anglia in blue that the father of  Weasley modified to be able to fly. The replica of 4,5 meters long and 1,4 meters wide.

And we end the journey at the Plaza de Callao. You reach here in about 18 minutes walking from the Puerta de Alcalá.  In the center of the square you find the  Nimbus 2000, the most precious flying broom of the good player of  ‘quidditch’ with a beautiful handle in mahogany wood. The replica could take not one but several Potter’s as it measure 2,4 meters long.

More on the Harry Potter exhibition in English here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/harry-potter-the-exhibition-feria-de-madrid

And that’s all folks, until next time on my blog airwaves or linewaves ::) Have a great weekend y’all. Cheers

 

 

Tags: , ,
October 18, 2017

Some news from Spain LI

Here is the turn of my beloved  Spain. There is a lot things going on there now but I concentrate on the tourism/cultural side of things. Spain is everything under the sun! Right now is about 60F or 15C in Madrid nice weather in Fall with rain forecast later tonite and tomorrow. Bear with me this is one huge post with lots of information for your leisure tourist travel in Spain and more !!!

Recently the baroness has commissioned the Thyssen 25 yrs a photographic chronicle a free exposition on the 25 years of the Museum or Museo Thyssen. You saw 26 photos personally selected by the baroness coming from her archives, the museum, EFE news agency, and the ABC newspaper from the best moment of the history of the pinotheque. In 2016, there were 1M persons that visited the museum or  a 10% increase from 2015. And as part of it’s year long 25th anniversary you will see wonders.

You have an expo on the genius Picasso-Toulouse-Lautrec. They had a 17 years age difference and 9 cm of height but their talent was inversely of their statute. They spend the majority of their careers in Paris and never met!!! A young Picasso arrived in Paris at 19 yrs in 1900, and Toulouse-Lautrec already was sick and will died a year later before his 37th birthday in the Château de Malromé. The career of the French genius only lasted 15 years and the Spanish more than 7 decades! Picasso died in 1973. Moreover, there are many similarities and affinities vital as well as creative between the two masters of modernism that will be measure in the Thyssen museum.

 Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec had more names and last names then height with just over 1,5 meters (about 5 feet). He was born in 1864 at Albi France in a aristocratic family. His father was the Count Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa who married his cousin sister Adéle Tapié de Celeyran. The child was born with an congenital anomaly that made it worse the fracture of his femur in falling from a horse. This stop his bones to grow normal. Pablo Picasso  was born in 1881 at Malaga and measure 1,63 meters (about 5,60feet ) coming from a middle class family, his father was a painter and art professor. He arrived to Paris with his friend Carles Casagemas and took an atelier left available by Nonell on the rue Gabriel. He was depressed from the refusal of Germaine, Casagemas took his life in the Hippodrome leaving Picasso immense in a melancholy blues.  He exhibit the portrait of a dead Casagemas still with the print of the bullet that took his life. Both share the admiration for El Greco, Degas and Ingrés of which Turkish bath or Baño Turco always obessed Picasso.  They ,also, share the way of looking of work and the drawing skills,the affection for the caricature and pity for the less fortunate ,passion for the circus and the erotism. Picasso self portrait in several occasions while Toulouse-Lautrec a couple of times. He had a self portrait that he drew in 1893 on the backside of the poster for Jane Avril in the The Divine Japanese or El Divan Japones; serious client of the Moulin Rouge, Le Chat Noir, or the Le Mirliton. Picasso frequented in Barcelona the Els Quatre Gats and the Barrio Chino as well as La Butte  ,the hill of Montmartre as well as Toulouse-Lautrec, the Moulin Rouge, Moulin de la Galette, and Folies-Bergére.  Recently arrived in Paris he is able to expo in 1901 in the gallery of Ambroise Vollard and some of these paintings are shown in the halls of the Thyssen. See it and believe the genious at “Picasso/LautrecMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Paseo del Prado, 8 Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 19h Saturdays 10-21H from now to January 21 2018: more here: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/exposiciones/picassolautrec

Let’s have a memorable walk in my beloved Madrid, the one of my adolescence and every year thereafter of coming back to it, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!!

You need to be at the Parque del Buen Retiro and see the famous Palacio Cristal (Crystal Palace) or why not go to the romantic Parque de El Capricho , that still keeps a bunker from the Spanish Civil War. And there are others such as the parque Tierno Galván, the Botanical garden or Real Jardín Botánico or the newer Madrid Río ( by the river Manzanares). See the famous museum of Prado but please visit the museo Sorolla and the spectacular Museo Lázaro Galdiano;passing by others less known such as the Casa Museo Lope de Vega or the museo del Romanticismo. For the Madrid culinary tradition have a cocido Madrileño at restaurante La Bola,calle La Bola, 5, founded in 1870; or the Casa Lardhy founded in 1839 where so famous it has been named in worked by Galdós, Azorín, and Gómez de la Serna.  The modern Madrid allows you to take a Segway tour that starts in the Plaza Mayor and ends at the culturally wonderful Matadero.  You can, also, take a ride in the Tuk Tuk going by  Neptuno, Gran Vía, Templo de Debod ,and many others. Some of the webpages here:https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-capricho

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-enrique-tierno-galvan

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/real-jardin-botanico

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/madrid-rio

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/sorolla-museum

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/lazaro-galdiano-foundation-museum

http://labola.es/

What about the wonderful castles or castillos of where else Castilla or Castile in and around Madrid.

In the middle of the Sierra Norte you come to  Manzanares el Real. One of the best preserved castles in Madrid and one of the oldest. When there was no castles in the Cave of Los Aljibes rupestres paintings were seen here and now the Museum or Museo Etnológico y Arqueológico keeps a good collection of them. The castle is the vast area of the Mendoza family that gives the name to the castle in the middle ages. In the interior it was signed the statutues of the autonomous region of the community of Madrid in 1983. More here better in Spanish: http://turismomadrid.es/es/portada/10059-castillo-de-los-mendoza.html

Another beauty is at  San Martín de Valdeiglesias, near  Ávila  on the river Alberche. The castle or Castillo de la Coracera, built in the 15C many times restored had the honor of hosting the Queen Isabel (I) la Católica, that lived here when she was named heir to the crown of Castilla. Also,  Álvaro de Luna,  strongman of  her father king Juan (John) II,of Castilla. More here in Spanish;  http://www.castillodelacoracera.com/

Batres, limits with  Toledo. It was the  La Gran Watria, as it was called house an important Roman villa, destroyed and restored by the Christian near the river Guadarrama . In time the castle or Castillo de Batres  was famous by one of its inhabitants the poet Garcilaso de la Vega. Reopen in December 2017, more here: http://www.castillodebatres.es/

Chinchón is a must if not for its bullring in the middle of the town with gorgeous houses around it. The Plaza Mayor, of medieval origins does it and more since the 15C.  The castle or  Castillo de los Condes, built by a count and residence for many centuries as well as resisting the war of succession to the Spanish throne. So much damaged was left that later become a liquors factory. More here in Spanish: http://turismomadrid.es/es/ver-y-hacer/cultura/red-de-castillos/10817-chinchon.html

Villarejo de Salvanés, one of my nicest memories visiting the region for the last several years. The castle or Castillo de Villarejo de Salvanés is uniqueNot only its origins is very much documented or its role in the wars but for the Homage tower or  Torre del homenaje, that today is all that is left of the castle. Look at the particulars of this castle that the peaks in the crown of the tower are cylindrical when they are usually on the sides of the tower are in the center here 3 on each side. More here in Spanish: https://todosobremadrid.com/que-hacer/castillo-de-villarejo/

Fuentidueña de Tajo , we reach the end of the castle tour with the castle or Castillo de Santiago,also known as the tower or Torre de los Piquillos, belonging to the order of Santiago and one of the strategic enclaves of the reconquest.  It served as a prison and kept some personalities such as Pedro Manrique or Álvaro de Luna. It was a house of kings too, but the most famous was the one who gave the name to the tower or  Torre de Doña Urraca.  This lady also known as the owner of the town and springs at the foot of the castle was born here. Of all this today only ruins remains but worth a detour. More in Spanish here: https://todosobremadrid.com/que-hacer/castillo-de-fuentiduena/

One interlude on a nice bottle of wine just tasted and recommended for the lovers of Madrid and Spain: Bernabeleva Carril del Rey, vinos de Madrid 2015, garnacha grapes about 23€ from Bodega y Viñedos Bernabeleva. Blackcurrants and Redcurrants liquorice, lots of fruit and balance tanins fresh. More in English here: http://www.bernabeleva.com/index_e.html

You want to eat octopus or pulpo in Madrid too far from Galicia ,no problems. We have it all in the city of Spain. Just go to Casa Toribio for the traditional. Or the in omelette like at Las Tortillas de Gabino or with cheese tetilla and kimchi purée at Morgana. And even more a la Galician in Lùa cook à feira or like the oven with potato purée and  ajada (garlic and papripka sauce). Webpages here:

http://www.restaurantecasatoribio.com/#sl_i3

https://lastortillasdegabino.com/

http://morgana.eltenedor.rest/en_GB/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/l%C3%BAa-madrid-2

Just to show some culture here. The seven brothers Elías, Judah, Josua, Cristo, Israel, Aaron , and  Josué  together in the musical Nacidos para bailar .  From the start in May 2016 at the Teatro Tívoli in Barcelona, now it is spreading. They are the  Los Vivancos a mixture of rock of Metallica and Deep Purple. See them at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, plaza Tirso de Molina, 4 until November 12 2017.  More here: http://www.summummusic.com/los-vivancos/

The creation of  Alphonse Mucha, considered as the father of Art Nouveau, the Czech artist went beyond such as been sculptur, painter, photographer, illustrator, and designer,  The American press had call him the best decorative artist in the world in the early 20C and now the protagonist of an exposition that Arthemisia has brought to the Palacio de Gaviria  with collaboration of the Fundación Mucha. It contains 200 works that traces the trajectory of the artist from his beginning in Paris to being famous for the poster on actrice Sarah Bernhardt in the opera Gismonda. The divine Sarah was so impressed that offered him a contract for 6 years. In the Epopeya eslava, 20  historical portraits that tells of the Eslovaquian unity with last work by the artist such as the triptice  The age of Reason, knowledge and love  that he could not finished due to the resurgance of Nazism. One of the first citizens arrested by the Gestapo for his condition of Mason , a men that dedicated his last years on spread peace. More here in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/alphonse-mucha-gaviria-palace

And continuing we have the exposition entitled Zuloaga en el París de la Belle Époque. 1889-1914,or Zuloaga in the Paris of the Belle Epoque 1889-1914 in the room of the Fundación Mapfre at Recoletos.

The exposition brings together about 90 works of Ignacio Zuloaga, and other artists like Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Giovanni Boldini, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Auguste Rodin ,and Émile Bernard.  Portraits and sculptures of the creation of the basque artist that shows the progress until WWI , when the European theater was radically changed . Ignacio Zuloaga arrived in Paris with 19 yrs old and found amongst others Santiago Rusiñol, Isidre Nonell, Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa, Joaquín Sunyer, Pablo Picasso, and Edgar Degas.  With them he entered in contact with symbolism and other artistic movements that laid the foundation for modern art that he participated.  See it all until January 7 2018 at the Fundación Mapfre ,Paseo de Recoletos, 23. More here: https://www.fundacionmapfre.org/fundacion/en/exhibitions/recoletos-hall/zuloaga.jsp

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the creation of the ceramic center or Centro Cerámico de Talavera de la Reina,the museum or Museo Cerralbo presents  Evolución-Revolución. 25 años de cerámica, a show of a tradition with today’s creations .  The expo combine pieces taken from the centuries past including vases, azulejos (decorated tiles), and decoration elements of architecture as well as collection pieces from a number of makers such as Guille García-Hoz, Aitor Saraiba, Rubenimichi , and Luis Sánchez Parejo. More here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/mcerralbo/la-casa-museo/recorrido-salas.html

And the expo here: http://www.mecd.gob.es/msorolla/colecciones/colecciones-del-museo/ceramica.html

A bit of info on a nice area and the Cabrales cheese…in the heart of the Picos de Europa mountain range. the Council of Cabrales, is form of 19 towns and 2K people! and one of the most beautiful of the Principality of Asturias. Picos de Europa  are the 10 peaks most deep on Earth , one of them is the peak of  Trave (1.445 m).  One of the best walkers heaven route is the one known as the garganta del Río Cares, (the throat of the Cares river) between the towns of  Poncebos and Caín (province of León).  The traject is about 11kms between mountains of 2000 meters high over canyons, bridges and falls ;You can get more info on the walks here:  www.cabrales.org.  You see peaks such as the Torrecerredo (2.600 m),the roof of the mountain range of Cantabria, and the peak of Urriellu (or Naranjo de Bulnes), symbol of Spanish alpinism with a height of 2.500 m, the peak of  Pozo de la Oración (about 600 meters outside the Poo de Cabrales); peak of  Camarmeña, in the town of same name ; the lookout or mirador de Pedro Udaondo  in the town of Asiego,named after the alpinist , and the lookout or Mirador de Bulnes,in the town of Bulmes.You can climb on foot here and a cable car as well from Poncebos, price: 17,10 euros.  The rupestre quaint paintings of the cave or cueva de La Covaciella. Today its impossible to visit them but the interpretation center has a replica and a tactile screen showing its course at the Edificio Casa la Barcena, in Carreña de Cabrales; admission 1,50 euros.  The main street or Calzada romana of Caoro, in Arenas de Cabrales, shows the presence of  Romans in the area. In the same town you see the mansion houses from the 17C and 18C well preserved such as the  Casa Palacio de Los Mestas y Cosio (17C),  and the Church or iglesia de Santa María de Llas.  The medieval time stays in the many bridges crossing over rivers that irrigate Cabrales like the La Jaya (Poncebos), Pompedri (La Molina), and La Olla (en Berodia). The wonderfully spectacular caves of Cares at only 1km from the town of  Arenas de Cabrales. You can see the cured cheeses here admission 4,50 euros; more here:  www.fundacioncabrales.com)

There are today  28 queserías or cheese makers in Cabrales ,making one of the best blue cheeses of the world. The cheeses matured in 3 to 6 months in natural caves ,today only five remaining in the mountains with difficult access.  There is a guided visit of about 45 minutes in the cheesemaker home of Queseria Ganaderia Vega de Tordin La Eria, Arenas de Cabrales. You can see the entire process here from curing it, feeding it, and milking the cows to the worker, dry chamber, conservation and labeling zone. The tour ends with tasting: price 4 Euros , reservations at tel: +34  674 59 77 38. More here:  www.vegadetordin.com Also, at the Queseria Main Barrio la Heria, s/n, Sotres de Cabrales there are organized tours that include the cave of maturation , and tastings of two types of cheese, mermelades, and ciders price of 7,95 euros. Reservation at tel: +34 618 93 80 44; more info here : www.quesosdecabrales.es).

Moving right along the north and into the Basque country we reach Bilbao!

It has been already two decades Bilbao is synonymous with the museum Guggenheim. From its opening in October 18 1997 at the banks of the Nervión river, next to the bridge or puente de La Salve; the museum of modern art has been the principal pull to the city by tourists with more than 1Million visitors per year.  The installations are in  24.000 m2 of space and on the exterior are emblematic designs such as the giant sculpture of the spider Mamá , the enormous tulipans of polychrome steel and of course  Puppy, the flowery dog of 12 meters. The museum is celebrating its 20th year with a complete program of expositions and other activities like music, cinema, theater, dance, and gastronomy; admission 13€ for the 20th anniversary program. In addition, the titanic walls of the pinotheque will be projected with the film Reflections, a light and sound show running for a bit over quart of hour on the 20 years story of the emblematic building. There will be 7 showing each day and the access to the garden will be free (already past) . The best place to see the show will be from the streets of  Paseo de las Universidades, between the Puente de la Salve ,and Pasarela Pedro Arrupe. https://www.guggenheim.org/blogs/checklist/architects-critics-curators-and-museum-directors-reflect-on-twenty-years-of-the-guggenheim-museum-bilbao

However, there are other worthy museums and monuments to see in Bilbao or Bilbo. One of them is the Museo de Bellas Artes or fine arts museum located only about 5 minutes on foot from the Guggenheim.  With more than 100 years of history the pinotheque is considered one of the best and most complete in Spain! Items from the 13C to our days, and more than 10K objects of Basque arts antique, modern, and contemporary, work on paper, applied arts as well. The permanent collection can be visited free every day between 18h to 20h, and the temporary exposition have a reduced price on these hours. https://www.museobilbao.com/in/

Right in city center/downtown in the old town or Casco Viejo de Bilbao, there is a building from the 17C that was the college of St Andrew of the Company of Jesus and now have other cultural centers. Such as the Basque arqueological ethnographic and historical museum or Museo Arqueologico, Etnogràfico e Historico Vasco at  Plaza de Miguel de Unamuno, with a collection that includes the Biscayan arqueology and etnography of the Basque country from prehistory to the 18C. Amongst the exposition showing are arms from the civil war, Carlist wars, the Basques and the sea, the pastoral life, and domestic arts on ceramics, and textiles :admission 3€. more here! https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/museums/basque-museum-basque-archaeological-ethnographic-and-historical-museum/aa30-12375/en/

Not too far about 600 meters you see the old convent of the Incarnation or Antiguo Convento de la Encarnación, founded in 1513, Today house the museum of sacred arts or Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro at the Plaza de la Encarnación, 9, with more than  2.000 works from sculptures and paintings related to religion , some dating to the 3C.  The pinotheque also has workshops and guided circuits thru the old town for 1,5 hours duration and 3€ admission. http://www.bilbaoturismo.net/BilbaoTurismo/en/otros-museos/diocesan-museum-of-sacred-art

Another stop a must is the marine museum or Museo Maritimo Ria de Bilbao where it was the shipbuildings of Astilleros Euskalduna, next to the palace by the same name.  In the interior parvis you see the old docks  , lifting equipment and a restored one the la Carola, several boats showing as well as metal work on boats.  Inside, the expositions shows the evolution of the Ria (estuary)and its history;admission 6€ .More here: http://www.museomaritimobilbao.eus/mmrb/web/paginas/index.asp?cod=30B0F148-9898-4775-AC34-6FA176BD059A&Reg=2FE5D2A4-B09C-4E16-ACD7-9FF0851B391D

The foundation or Fundación Siglo de Oro writes a page on the history of classical theater in Spain. The showing of  «El Rufiàn dichoso” OF Cervantes.  It is one of the most valued works and the only saintly comedy, written between 1605 and 1615 belonging to his last times with several hot subjects for the times, laughts, and aleogoric persons.. The work reaches its high point at the Teatro de Bellas Artes of Madrid. The story tells of the conversion of a men  Cristóbal de Lugo, belonging to the underworld of Sevilla and domestic servant of the inquisitor  Tello de Sandoval and his wife, María de Sandoval, that are at the same time his protectors. Showing until November 5 2017. More in Spanish here: http://www.teatrobellasartes.es/es/ex/1481/el-rufian-dichoso

The once resident of Mougins, south of  France , where the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso spent the last years of his life ,and where he died in 1973 was auction today and given to a New Zealand financial person name Rayo Withanage ,founder of the real estate firm of BMB for a bit more than 20M €.  The house was baptized as the Mas de Notre Dame de Vie, and the auction house of R365 the Dutch subsidiary of Christie”s took place in the tribunal of Grasse. The Spanish artist from Malaga purchased the house in 1961 and made it into a workshop where he worked and lived until his death. There lived too until taking her life in 1986, Jacqueline Roque ,his last wife. The daughter of Jacqueline Roque and engineer André Hutin inherited the house and sold it to the auction for 12M€. The residency home has 1700 square meters and surrounded by 3 hectares of land with views of Cannes, and the massif of Esterel. Three floors includes 32 rooms including 15 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms as well as tennis court, pool, spa and wine cellars. House description in pdf file here: https://storage.googleapis.com/s2media/files/5960f25635e93d3c99b67e93_b40c31736edea458a724c0cee3386e2e.pdf

And with the great one Picasso I finish my blog post for today. Enjoy it, as I do, Spain everything under the sun . Cheers

Tags: , ,
October 11, 2017

Cap d’Ail, and a sneak at Monaco

And after the hectic travel day , time to tell you about my latest hunts in the south of France. This is the famous French Riviera, very chic and very much in the news lately. The road A8 is the famous traffic jammer road of France especially in Summer, lucky me took it now flawless with hardly any traffic.

I had a taste of Cap d’Ail just in the border with Monte Carlo, Monaco! The tourist office here : http://cap-dail.com/en/home/

I arrive by Avis rental car from the Nice-Côte d’Azur airport coming in on the A8, then M6007, and into city center and port Cap d’Ail. The ride was flawless into my hotel.

Ahh the Hotel was the venerable the Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco in the port de Cap d’Ail right by the harbor on avenue du port. Wonderful views over the harbor , and city including Monaco from my room in 5th floor. More on the hotel here: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mcmcd-riviera-marriott-hotel-la-porte-de-monaco/?removeBrowserLangPref=true

I had my underground garage parking with many fancy cars of great value for 25€ per day; a must as parking is very tight on a Cape location. My room was a king size room facing the harbor towards avenue du port. Glorious!!!

Once here I headed to get some foodie and drink, so stop by the Restaurant Le Cap that gives to the side of the hotel facing the harbor by the pool, and had my Riviera Club Sandwich ,huge and excellent for 20€ with a glass of Carlsberg beer.

A bit of relaxation around the harbor, walks of sizing the huge amount of money in the harbor yachts and beautiful apartments all around the hilly mountains around the harbor. An idyllic place for a honeymoon, romantic, couples, not really for a business meeting or tourism.

At night , I headed with some friends over to Monaco to find a place for dinner. We were recommended the Restaurant Amici Miei at the harbor of Fontvieille facing the cliffs and on top the Prince of Monaco’s castle; lovely.  This is an Italian restaurant cook by mamma herself and husband serves you with all the dishes explanation. The top is the son who is also a server comes to pick us up from the hotel and back, style chic this is after all Monaco.  The restaurant site is here: http://www.amici-miei.com/

And if you need more as their site is under construction, check my favorite place in my blog roll bottom of my front page here: https://www.thefork.com/restaurant/amici-miei/6830

Again, the place is very chic upscale and nice. The kind of place you can dream of retiring too lol! A bit slow pace for me, too up the ladder but worth a visit in my belle France. I left the hotel and came back to Nice airport (see previous post). The trip was nice and quicker until the airport……

Another adventure another needle in my map of France, and at least can say I was here! Enjoy the small introduction to Cap d’Ail, I saw a nice beach too, and lively city center so might be a repeat with the family God’s willing in the future.

Stay safe and enjoy your life’s giving they are precious; happy travels. Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,
October 10, 2017

When France is on strike ,the world shakes ::)

Indeed this is a national pastime , I am convince. Here in my belle France going on strike looks like a party a great event to be out ,and to tell each other of the mess we found in our days at work or travel. I have stories but they seem so natural and so routine that I seldom mentioned them. Now is time to tell at least one.

I had my trip to Cap d’Ail just in the border with Monaco for this past weekend and early week. It seems a natural simple trip until…..monsieur madame Gréve decided to intervene.

I took my usual leisure drive with my car on the N165 road to the airport at Nantes Atlantique, it was first block by a huge accident and long lines of jams , but luckily I left much early with plenty of time, even thus needed to rush to the gate at gate 42 to take my Easyjet flight to Nice Côte-d’Azur airport.

The flight was flawless even still complaint about the lack of food and paying for anything extra you want, not my kind of airline but……you know.  I arrive at the airport of Nice by 14h40 or 2:40 pm

I headed to the Avis car rental counter where I was ask to choose a car so decide to pick a Fiat big wagon, can’t even recall the model name lol!!! Once out of Terminal 2 to the Car Rental Center, was a bit difficult to find the spot J21 ,so needed to ask an attendant, fine. I had purchase a GPS package knowing all these corniches (very tight turns hilly roads ) here and not been back in a while. Finally, got into my car and put on the GPS to reach the closest final destination Port du Cap d’Ail.  Well , this is like a fortress to get out me think, and I do quite a bit of car rentals here (found out some of my collegues found it so as well reassuring not alone lol!). It took me two round trip tours inside the car park and ask an attendant again to finally get my car out of the car rental parking lot going thru security gates and ticket machines and al. Amazing control….!!

And I was on the road, the GPS worked very nicely ,indeed.  But it directed me to the expressway A8, really want to go all the way on the M6007 but already a bit tired of the turns and the desire to reach destination opted for the easy directions on the A8.  This is a toll road twice for a total of 3,90€ each way. The tolls station can take cash coins and credit/debit cards and you can ask for a receipt on a green or red button.

I reach my hotel on the spot, no problems at all. This was the Marriott but on that more on a later post to follow. There was underground parking ,nice for 25€ per day and the cars underneath were awesome !

Now the headache was on the way back fron Cap d’Ail. I left the hotel alright with my GPS but this time it took me into Monaco where the famous regular police check point ask me for my papers just routine and nice manners; we need these.

I already knew by email alert my flight on AF return by Orly then Nantes on October 10th was cancelled due to the air controllers strike on the day in addition to others. So rather than risk an extended strike, decided to change my flight to come back on the 9th October.  The drop off car rental was nice and got on my T2 terminal at Nice.

The flight was to leave at 17h30 and reach Orly terminal Ouest or west by 18h55. However, the flight was delayed on Air France and missed my connection at Orly West! Wow here began the fun. Missed flight and the strike starting officially the employees of the airline were busy and the people screaming for quicker service….me included lol!!!

All flights to Nantes were gone and there was no more schedule because it would fall after 22h and the strike was officially started.  Therefore, after much negotiations with the AF staff, they book me on a flight to Lorient; nearer me and know the airport if you can call that ….

Then, I said to them, wait my car is at the Nantes airport covered parking! and would reach Lorient by midnight (which did ). The employee of AF got to work again for me, (I am Sky team gold member); and told me there would be a taxi at Lorient waiting for me to take to Nantes about 1h43m away and AF will cover the bill!!! Wonderful. The fly was done on a ATR 42/72 two propellers airplane that serve as a taxi to get passengers out of Orly , one group landed like me at Lorient and the plane will take off again to drop another group in Quimper !!!

The cries of passengers to find connections was frenetic and loud , and the airline employees were doing their best to get them out before the strike, even losing money which indeed with me they did.  The gates were changing ,and some cancellation posted on the board, sure was to be many passengers stranded. I heard my colleague was robbed of their suitcase in city center/downtown Nice!! and other colleagues were attack by knife and hospitalize while doing some tourism in Marseille. Just to top it all off for the day.

Me at Lorient a bit past 10pm or 22h the taxi was waiting for me. The guy was a nice talkative type and we had a great trip, it was saying talking the trip goes faster ,indeed. We discussed the world and try to fix it hehehe!!! and figure out he likes Spain and scuba diving but it’s more into rugby then football/soccer…oh well .I reach the covered parking at Nantes airport by midnight.

My car was waiting for me to take me home. The ride out was fine and the road was empty, arriving home a bit past 2am or 02h00. At least, I made it back very tired but glad to be home and now can watch the news on the strike; even the nurses are on strike not enough paid and support  see life is a routine here. The teachers too, not enough staff, we seems to have a bunch of complainers not realizing why 85 millions people come to us to indulge themselves of our way of life !

The good thing it is my last trip by airplane of the year and my time will be taken with the family and taking care of my wife illness; we go to Rennes to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Enjoy your week and keep safe in the airwaves! Cheers

Cap d'Ail Cap d'Ail Cap d'Ail Cap d'Ail Lorient Nantes  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice  Nice Orly Orly

 

 

 

October 1, 2017

México DF is back and I was just in time

Well I am back to my blog again after a nice trip to Mexico, partially done. The trip was to include trips around Mexico city (DF) and into near Guadalajara and Mérida but with all that was going on there due to the earthquake and flooding ,we kept it short just to the city.

I had another crazy trip going first from Nantes to Amsterdam on HOP the regional French carrier who was totally late missing my connection with KLM there at Schiphol. The flight was delayed due to fog for almost 1,5 hours!!! no way to get any flights on a Saturday to needed to stay at a hotel and flight back the next day Sunday. Yikes!!! I do not think will be on HOP again.

The rest was nice as KLM gave me a nice shuttle bus ride to the Bastion Best Western hotel with dinner, breakfast included all free; then a 10€ voucher for lunch on Sunday. The return shuttle bus was nice also. Schiphol,  I have been before and always lateness there do not understand why going around you need to fly north and then south !!!

This is my going out airport ;Nantes; always nice and covered secured parking:  Nantes Airport

The Schiphol airport of Amsterdam is here (which they claim an excellent transfer airport but to me has always been late there) : Amsterdam Schiphol airport

The hotel Bastion BW i stayed complement of KLM; site here: Bastion Best Western Hotel

My Sunday KLM flight to Mexico City (DF) airport or Benito Juarez was excellent ride and on time; airport site here: Mexico City Benito Juarez Airport

Once arrival, I was picked up rather nicely by a car and driver service to take me to my hotel in a nice area of the city corner of Insurgentes Sur  and Mercaderes; the City Express  Plus Hotel. The best of it is the location, but not a hotel for a family visit more so business trip is ok. The hotel info is here: City Express Plus Hotel at Insurgentes

My office building has a gorgeous view over the city from our 19 floor office and seeing again the Diablos Rojos Mexico city baseball stadium was nice; I have seen games in it several years back. As well as the very nice Teatro de los Insurgentes theater always nice memories.  The stadium and team site is here in Spanish: Diablos Rojos baseball Mexico City

And the teatro de los Insurgentes site is here in Spanish: Teatro de los Insurgentes

However, as always, the best part is to meet old friends ,always there when I stop by the city , former colleagues of many years we counted 15 years and still going strong.  I had gone to the Wing’s Army bar on Insurgentes Sur to see the football/soccer match between the PSG and Bayern Munich as a French team was playing and won 3×0, the ambiance was nice and plenty of good Miller High Life beers by the liter which have been a long time not drank again, this was neat and the Army hamburger great with good company. The bar site is here in Spanish: Wing’s Army

Later in the evening I met my other friends mentioned above, and figuring out a place to go in the area as they are from outskirts of the city I told them about the Wing’s Army and interested all went there. It was great loud music and great selection of beers I try the Mexicali Pilsen with a Tank hamburger delicious and plenty of more beers. It seems to be a nice place for an after work/happy hour/apéro meeting of friends!

I had another lunch at a great find: Restaurante La Bella Lula , Oaxaqueño style food (Oaxaca) and had a very nice Tasajo de Res con Enfrijoladas with another nice set of local Dos X beers, nice flan dessert to kill for as well. Ah the dish is about four slices of beef with a tortilla spread in black beans soup, delicious! The place is here: La Bella Lula

And ratings here at Yelp: La Bella Lula ratings Yelp

Finally, I have to give you a simple great Argentinian cuts steakhouse call El Diego. This was the best dinner of the trip with great bife de chorizo beef steaks and nice Negra Modelo beers, great wooded dining room and views over Insurgentes Sur, nice street and great people watcher spot! A must to return next time: more here in Spanish: El Diego

At the short end, I was given a nice trip back by the same car driver and not too congested Mexico city. This time I took Air France all the way , just a small delay to start the rest was flawless thru Paris CDG and Nantes where my reliable car is always waiting to get back home. Until next trip next month.

ps I like to tell of a terrible bad news I had upon my return. My wife was doing tests and they came back she has cancer of the pancreas advance. She will start chemotherapy in the next weeks and of course seeking alternatives, she still young. Great mother excellent wife I am very sad but taken it one day at a time and hopefully with the help of God she will remain longer than normal for these diseases of hell. Thank you for your prayers.

Tags: ,
September 16, 2017

Some news from Spain XLX

And after a great August summer vacation in my  beloved  Spain, here I am back for an update on the scene there. The weather has been nice still even going into the 30’s C there. In my neck of the wood is beginning to be like Fall, rain (heavy at times), clouds, gray and cool around 13C and even 8C in the mornings. Oh well, got to give a rest for a while;but can’t , travel is on the horizon to the Americas and south of France coming up.

As for Spain, here are the latest.

The tourists come to Spain for the beaches and the rest is almost empty. I did took advantage of this,with easy flowless traffic and great prices not to mention all the sites we were looking forward to see were open. ON a study done by Eurostat where the density of trip per km2 in 2015 the top spots were the Baleares islands, Canary Islands, Comunidad de Madrid, regions of Catalunya, Valencia while one of the least visited was the one I went last August, Castilla La Mancha with only 55,09 visitor per square kilometre. The region is ,also, the third least visited in the European Union! Lots of info here official EU site:  Eurostat tourism

The town or old town of Belchite (Zaragoza) devastated by the Spanish Civil War and where one of the fiercest battles were held with over 5K dead in only 14 days. There were people that stay here afterward until 1964. There , many films were done such as “EL Laberinto del Fauno” of Guillermo del Toro in 2005, a videogame started by Arnold Schwarzenegger and a photo shot session by Monica Naranjo. Only 19 km from Belchite you find Fuentedetodos (Zaragoza) here you find the birth home of famous painter Francisco de Goya born here in 1746. The house is kept in three levels and was identify in 1913 by painter Ignacio Zuloaga and a group of artists. The great admiration of Zuloaga for Goya . There you see the Sala Zuloaga design to host temporary exhibitions and on which walls you can see great painters such as Picasso, Miro, Chillida, amongst others. You can visit the Museo del Grabado, graphic arts in homage to Goya that currently has two of the originals by Goya, the La Tauromania and Los Disparates.. You can see as well the Ornitologic reserve of El Planeron or the reserva ornitológica de El Planeron, a wonderful place to know the natural scenery of the region   with 700 hectares of wild birds such as   Royal Eagle or the Mochuelo; by the Hoz Mayor de Fuendetodos. You see the fallen off a a ceiling of an old cave and in addition you can see foxes, wild pigs, bears and mountain goats. From Madrid by car you take the highway direction Barcelona and go out on the exit or salida 271 once reach Almunia de Doña Godina, you take the road A 220 until Belchite. More on the old Belchite here: Old Belchite

To see the Goya of Fuentedetodos in English here: Fuentedetodos Goya

This year there is celebration of the Centenary of the first boutique of fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga opened in San Sebastián. It was exactly at Calle Bergara, 2 and he called it Eiza,in memory of his mother, Martina Eizaguirre. In the neighborhood of the Ensanche that began to be built by the end of the 19C   after the wall that surrounded the town was destroyed; there is a plaque to remember this on the buildings now available for rent. There is a museum in his native Guetaria where the exposition “Rachel L. Mellon Collection” under the direction of  Hubert de Givenchy, brings together the legacy of this American socialite that was one of his favorite clients . You can see the exposition until January 28 2018. More here in English Balenciaga museum

And for a bit of winegrowing in me, the harvest the vendimia the best time of the year, in Spain and elsewhere. Here are some of my favorites.

One nice one is at Ribera del Duero with the big Gran Fiesta de la Vendimia Sept 23rd a whole day dedicated to the wine, music ,and many traditional activities like the prayer, stepping on grapes, and first tasting. The activities are held at the Plaza Mayor and other points even with Cuban Salsa music. Also the first concert of Tequila on their tour of their last record Maldita Nerea. More here in Spanish : Vendimia Ribera del Duero

In the patron Saint festivities of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios celebrated until Spet 17 in Tequeste (Tenerife) ( a bit late I know sorry) there are many activities of vineyards and winegrowers such as the traditional Vendimia de la Esperanza that is done by schoolchildren in a contest of farmers on the 17th. Agricultural trucks, tractors equipments etc are taken to the road with decorations like a carnaval and plenty of paella, wine , music for all. More here Vendimia de la Esperanza

By a place I past this last August, Cariñena (Zaragoza) the weekend of Sept 23rd they party celebrating the initial of the harvest or vendimia. Stepping on grape, and lighting of the fountain or Fuente de la Mora from which wine comes out not water! ; you end up the party with Bodega visits , wine tastings and tapas. There is ,also a tourist bus of wine leaving every Saturday and Sunday from the center of Zaragoza. More info in Spanish here: Fiesta de la Vendimia de Cariñera

You will enjoy the festivities at San Mateo from Sept 21th in Logroño in the Paseo del Espolon ,grape harvest or vendimia with stepping on grapes with two men holding arms and grapes deposited in a vase that they dance with. The must of the grape that is taken out is offered to the Virgen de Valvanera. All week you have carriages in a carnaval atmosphere ,tastings, food extravaganzas organise by the different associations, bullfight events, basque pelota game, concerts, stree music, firecracker shows over the river Ebro etc. Complete program downloadable in pdf file here: Fiestas de San Mateo Logroño

Back in Madrid, and enjoy some nice quaint markets . You can stop by the old railroad station of Delicias and where some of the scenes from the movie Doctor Zhivago (1965) was done, and today houses the Museo del Ferrocarril or Railroad museum.   Several expositions and of course trains. You find design furniture, arts, gourmet products, leather shoes, hats, toys, original items as well as vintage clothing, records, photo cameras etc. They held here on October 7/8, and November 11 to 22, from 11h to 22h a great flea market call the Mercado de Motores; free admission. Paseo de las Delicias 61 : more here : http://mercadodemotores.es

Another big flea market type in the Barrio de Las Letras and they celebrate the Frog’s Market on the first Saturday of the month. The market takes its name from the street or Calle Cantarranas – currently call Calle  Lope de Vega-, because in the 17C there were many frogs in the potholes of the vegetable gardens of the Convento de San Jerónimo that occupied the place. Again first Saturday of the month except August and from 10h to 21h. Done by the Asociación BDLL at Calle de las Huertas 39 free admission/ more here! http://www.barrioletras.com

The first Saturday of the month except August and from 10h to 14h30 in the Centro Comercial La Ermita., and the 3rd Saturday of the month except August from 10h to 21h in the Centro Comercial Plaza Aluche. Centro Comercial La Ermita, is at Paseo de la Ermita del Santo 66, and the Toy market in the Centro Comercial Plaza Aluche at the Avenida de los Poblados 58 all free admission. More info here: http://www.juguetedemadrid.es

Then, we come to celebrate something dear to me, the Casa de America , a place to share, learn , and understand the fabric of Spain and Spanish America since 1992 the year of the 500 years anniversary of the discovery of new lands by Europeans.  For the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Casa de América there are many activities, my favorite is on until Sept 23rd 2017. Plaza Cibeles, 2 Mondays to Fridays from 11h to 19h30 Saturdays from 11h to 15h and Sundays and Holidays closed. Free admission more here on the Casa de America 25th Anniversary Casa de America is 25 yrs old

New findings in Cantabria. The management of the Museo de Prehistoria de Cantabria, have announced the discoveries of four small caves with new rustique paintings of 20-30K years old so older than those at the famous Cueva de Altamira that are between 12-15K years old . They have found paintings at the caves of El Rejo, in the municipality of Val de San Vicente; also, in Los Murciélagos, Entrambasaguas; Las Graciosas I and II, Medio Cudeyo; and Solviejo(Voto). The paintings are in red color with isolated points or threads that in some case figures are form of animals. To find out more about this museum and others in Cantabria check this site in Spanish ; Museo de Pre Historia de Cantabria

Ok so you come to Granada to see the Alhambra. Fine. However, there are many nice things to see in the city. These are ; going to the lookout at El Carmen de los Martires and at Realejo , you can take a look at the Mirador de San Nicolás. The laundry, Squares and buildings around it all very well preserved from the 17C given you a medieval ambiance see it for free and very romantic. Go over to the Las Cuevas de Sacromonte and see the museum in front of the Alhambra and half of Sacromonte. You can walk around the caves, there are guided tours and a space dedicated to the history of Flamenco; in summer ,there is an open air cinema with a terrace foodies. See the wonderful La Madraza a palace founded by Yusuf I caliph in 1349 hidden behind the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel. It was the first University of Granada where laws, maths, and medicine were taugh in the Arab/moors period;also, served as a city/town hall during a long period and today houses again many dependancies of the University. Go see my favorite spot at the Corral del Carbon , the oldest monument left by the Arabs/Moors dating from the 14C, at the time it was a warehouse of goods for the sale of medicine and also house persons and animals. During the Christian era it was changed into a corral de comedias or comedies circle with a central patio that hides the story in the heart of the city. More on visiting this wonderful city from the official tourist office here: What else to see in Granada

In all, it’s an avalanche of choices, inmense historical value, and the best quality/price ratio in Europe. Come to see Spain, everything under the Sun. Cheers, and enjoy your weekend.

Tags: , ,
September 10, 2017

The wines of La Mancha, Castilla La Mancha that is !

I like to make my small contribution to the wines of La Mancha, and a bit story on wines of Spain in general.

My first ever taste of wine was by my maternal grandmother at my tender age of 8, and of course , it was Spanish wine from Tenerife. Ever since, my love for the drink has increase exponentially to the point of taken professional courses from the ICEX commercial office of Spain, and SOPEXA Food and Wine from France government entities over the years. I have tried tasted it wines from many countries and even arrive of having my own small cellars averaging 50-100 bottles in the cave or basement cellar of my home as I write.

Wines are part of us, part of our culture ,and accompany with food of any kind they are always sublime, even on a hot day a glass of white or rosé is very good. Studies have repeatedly shown that the anti oxidant in red wines especially is good for your health, of course in moderation.

Spain has a strong old tradition on wines going back especially to the Romans. The wine business developed slowly with small families and the quality shows deficiency. However, as the country move up the ladder and investments came in, and more technically educated families began to get involved the quality has increase exponentially. Now the wines of Spain are all over the world even here in France my wine merchant has Spanish wines! And we buy them too!!!

My recollection of Castilla La Mancha was of very high alcohol content wines, cheaply made and quantity prime. As the years went by ,and my visits to the region increase, my tasting grew to the point that now there are several properties worthy of me buying and can recommend very good to all.

La Mancha is a Denominacion de Origen or DO area , an area designated to be of quality wines and you can see on the bottles the grayish black label on the back.  The areas are Toledo, Albacete, Cuenca, and Ciudad Real.  Going irrigated by the rivers Guadiana, Tajo, and Jucar ,and you have the biggest vineyards in the world with  about 400-600 000 hectares of grapes of which about 170 000 are under the DO La Mancha denomination. This makes it into the biggest vineyard area in Spain ,and it is known as the winery of  Europe or  “La Bodega de Europa”.  There are about 182 towns and more than 250 bodegas in it ,some with huge sizes. It is ,also, the biggest Spanish exporter of wine with 22% of their production exported.

You have them as in Spain in general the reds or Tintos  (we do not say red tinto comes from how we name the grape tinto del pais ! that here it is call tempranillo ::)) . You have them jovenes or youngs, 60 days of ageing minimum, and crianza with 6 months ageing minimum, and reserva with 12 months of ageing minimum and gran reserva with 18 months ageing as minimum.  Of course, also, rosé or rosados, white or blancos, sparkling or espumosos, naturalmente dulces or naturally sweets. The region uses many kinds of grapes such as the whites: Airén, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez, Parellada, Torrontés, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Viognier. The Reds or tintos such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlo, Petit Verdot, Graciano, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. The last few years the harvest have been great and very good wines were produced, such as 2010 (Very Good) 2011 (Excellent), 2012 (Excellent); 2013 (Good) 2014 (Excellent) and 2015 (Very Good).

The official wine regulation DO webpage is here in English: http://lamanchawines.com/en/

Some of the pioneers of this region and the most famous is the Marqués de Griñon ,Carlos Falcó. Here is a brief story:  There is about 43 years ago that he planted the first grape in the area; it was a cabernet sauvignon that he hidden in his apples as at the time it was illegal to bring foreign grapes into Spain. Within the olives and flower trees of Toledo he set up the winery in the farm call  Pagos de Familia Marqués de Griñón, an extension of his family since 1292. The denomination of  Valdepusa, as his wines are label for the first simple wines bottled in Spain and today export to the world.  More here in English: http://www.pagosdefamilia.es/html_en/home.html

There is the cooperative or Cooperativa Virgen de las Viñas, the biggest in Europe and maybe the world, presided by Rafael Torres.  In the bodega of Tomesollo, (Ciudad Real) built in 1961 with 17 farmers and 300K kg of grape, following year 6M kg and now more than 200M kg of grape!  Managing an area with 3000 farmer associates and about 7000 families in  Castilla-La Mancha. More here in Spanish: http://cooperativarua.com/

An anecdote, the wine labels  Oristan Crianza , and  Marqués de Toledo Reserva  from the Bodegas Lozano, were prized with double gold and silver at the  Sakura Wine Awards 2017,the most important wine competition in Japan and Asia with a jury all of women; they tasted almost 5000 wines!! More here: http://bodegas-lozano.com/

However, these are some of the more famous. We drank the local La Mancha wines that were superb! all purchase in Cuenca at the La Licoreria store here: http://www.lalicoreria.es/index.asp

There is a wholesale store just entering Cuenca by the bottle or box, we purchased there, and there is a regular liquor store of them in city center Cuenca.

We tasted/purchased  a bottle of Finca La Estacada, from the Uclés area year 2014 red tempranillo Crianza 5,57€!  this was great yummy full and crafted in an old farm belonging to the descendants of queen Maria Cristina of Spain and widow of king Fernando VII. Acquired by the current owners in the mid 20C the family Cantarero Rodríguez ,winery from 2001. The complex now has bodega, hotel ,and restaurant. The wine like said is heavy powerful red full with raspberries and vanilla, light fruity tannins in mouth full body , great yummy in the end. Excellent price: quality value to grab by the case! The webpage is here in English: http://www.fincalaestacada.com/bodega/13_vinos

The, we attack the Finca Antigua recommended by the rental house owners.  This winery is part of the great Spanish winegrowers Martinez Bujanda, very well known to me. The wines of Finca Antigua were first time tasted and we got several bottles due to the knowledge of the winemaker and the local recommendation. The winery is in the town of Los Hinojosos practically in the border of the provinces of Cuenca and Toledo in Castilla La Mancha of course. We first tried the Finca Antigua Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza 2014 and it was a bit light for our tastes; mineral hints from the cabernet but with nuances of dairy and undergrowth, indicating the freshness we obtain due to the altitude of the estate; grapes from Las Mejias lot. However, only 5,12€! worth it for the price.

We moved up to the Finca Antigua Unico Crianza 2011, with cabernet sauvignon ,syrah, tempranillo, and merlot grapes.  This one was much better for our tastes. Highly intense dairy hints of yoghurt, toasty character with woodland hints oak spicy nutmeg clove and tobacco and slight toasted sensation. smooth creamy on the mouth, full bodied and rounded, well integrated acidity/alcohol and very balanced, long creamy finish, very fresh . Just fantastic at only 6,38€ to grab by the case!

Finally, we have drank the Finca Antigua Reserva 2010 cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot.  Very intense, delightful sensations of fallen leaves with fresh mint, thyme, eucalyptus to the front. Touches of vanilla and dairy ,oak well integrated with the fruit hints of tobacco, leaf, juniper, aniseed, very elegant complex suggestive. The taste full and powerful great body with backbone very rich and pleasant, great for rich cuisine. We love it, and only 10,24€ to grab by the case!!

More on Finca Antigua direct link in English here: http://www.fincaantigua.com/en/

Then, we drank the unique Alejandro Fernandez  (Grupo Pesquera) a winemaker very well known to me and have met him, this was again a first time drink on the El Vinculo 2011 Tempranillo red. The winery is near the windmills of Campo de Criptana (of Don Quijote fame) that was purchase a manchego typical house that was modernized into the winery or bodega in 1999.  The name of the wine is to make it close to the original bodega of the family in the Duero region ; El Vinculo= the tie end or link.

The wine El Vinculo 2011 red tempranillo was aged for 18 months in American oak barrel and 6 months in the bottle. In the mouth has sweet tannins mark with a mature fruit and an explosion of cherries, blackberries and blueberries. Wonderful and price at 10,16€ is a bargain to grab by the case! More on it in Spanish here: http://www.grupopesquera.com/index.php/es/bodegas/el-vinculo/k2-categories

Well as I finish this post, my sneaky sons already had the  Calzadilla Classic 2010 out for drinking and we did!  This is the property we tried to visit twice in last two years and always closed in August even if we did call ahead to see it. Well , we purchase the bottles at La Licoreria and try today the red wine.  Their site tells us in Spanish and I translated, the Bodega under the name of Bodega Familiar Uribes Madero is born in 1980 and the first bottle under Calzadilla does not come than in 1992. Today at  PAGO CALZADILLA  you have 26 hectares of which 20 are dedicated to the vineyard with a production of 100K kg of grape to produce the tintos or reds.   The Calzadilla Classic 2010 is done with Tempranillo 60%, Cabernet-Sauvignon 20%,  Syrah 10%, and Garnacha 10%. Harvest from land parcels name Fogón,   Aldehuela, Bildorado, Chocilla del Vinagre, and Viña Olivos.  The taste is of the lighter variety,not our favorite on this bottle but nice nevertheless.  The color is deep red with aromas of prune, raspberries, and white fruits like pear. You see the eucalyptus and tobacco, vanilla, and glycerine. Fruity sensation by the mouth from beginning to end Round  , balance with good acidity , long and expressive final. I just need to add was light texture with hints of wood, and high tannins still in it. Price at 12,71€ is ok but can do better cheaper.  More on the webpage here in Spanish:http://www.pagocalzadilla.com/web/es/nuestros-vinos/calzadilla-classic.html

Of course, all these wines were purchase and brought home !!! and we are not yet done drinking them all lol!! But we have still in bottle (if you care to stop by hurry up ::)) Wines from Cuenca, La Mancha area Dominio de Valdepusa Cabernet (Marqués de Griñon ), Pago Calzadilla Allegro 2007, and from other regions the Viña Real crianza, Ramon Bilbao Edicion etc. We do buy here Jumilla area the Petit Clos Taja that are about 6-7 euros and when they come to our store Nicolas in Vannes we scoop all the bottles!!! own by Frenchmen Mahler Besse of Bordeaux fame ::)

Again, all these wines are great to buy and drink, the price/quality ratio is huge, and bargains of gastronomic proportions; La Mancha is it, and Spain is stepping out. Drink with moderation but drink wines is good for you too. Enjoy your Sunday y’all, Cheers!!!

Cuenca

 Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca

 

September 7, 2017

Back to Huete, province of Cuenca, and the manchegos!

So on our last day of our summer vacation August 2017, we re visit Huete , a nice provincial town we have visited last year too. The post is here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/27/clm-and-comu-de-madridtorrejon-de-ardozhuetesegobrigaand-belmonte/

The tourist office in the city hall webpage there has many in Spanish here: http://www.huete.org/web/?p=situacion&c=6|0

And of course, the Region Castilla La Mancha has more: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/huete-39731/descripcion/

The town came  to Christian hands when king Alfonso VII took the city from the Arab/Moors. The king left the management of the city to the Castro family ,and after some concerns with the young son Alfonso VIII, and the separation from the region of Castilla y Leon, brought a huge battle against the Manrique de la Lara family in 1164. The city was huge and the Arab/Moors caliph came back to attack it with over 100K men so says the legend, and they were repulsed  due to storms that make them change their mind and stop the advance. This was on the day of Santa Justa and Santa Refina therefore, the town’s patron Saints now with their date on July 19.. In 1290 king Sancho IV celebrated the pardon of the Jewish Castilians.  It was name a city in 1428 by king Juan II. The city felled to the Catholic kings  when their troops march in the city in 1476, and by 1477 Huete was name Noble and Loyal town of Spain.

There are a couple of museum worth seeing such as the Museo de la Fotografia, Fundacion Antonio Perez, with photos done by local photographers. And the Museo Arte Moderno, Florencio de la Fuerte with paintings by Dali, Picasso, Corot, Bores, Villatoro, Ortega, and Guayasamin.

We went around town to soak in the locals and eat and buy fruits and cucumber very good ones here. As to what to see well this time we passed by the Convento Justinianas de Jesus y Maria , work began in 1554 as well as the Church by the same name there. In the convent you see the museum of photography mentioned above.

You can see and if you dare climb to the old Castle ruins seen from the city center in town , and get into the inner city on Calle Mamerto Alique with nice architecture in buildings. The Church of San Nicolas de Medina, started by Jesuist and done between 1700-1703, once there see the Puerta de Medina gate the only medieval one preserved from the ramparts built at end of the 12C. King Charles III gave the Church the title of Royal , and has Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1770, and in 1795 the Fraternity of St John the Evangelist had a Chapel built too.   You can see the hill around the town by the Castle and notice the big Christ statue on top overlooking the city.

The beautiful Church and Monastery of Santa Maria de la Merced ,the Church was done in 1670 with the Sacristy built in 1754. The monastery was done in the 13C  and the beautiful baroque cloister between 1645-1648. The facades and wrought iron windows were done in the 18C.

You can see the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman , done in the Classical to the Baroque in 1621 and finished by 1642.  The façade is impressive and nice walk in the surrounding streets.

Then, you go over the El Posito or the little well; a historical building but also a store of local goodies. The Posito Real or Royal Stores that is.  Here we stored grains in the old days, cereals, etc. We lend it to the farmers ! The façade is from the 17C with a Royal shield and two of Huete. The left of it was built in 1698 , and the central section and other in 1871.

We went out outside city center into the Quesos Opta and Rio Mayor, these are the Manchego cheeses of world fame, from the Oveja or sheep!! They make them all, and sell them at the store in the factory. Also, the one in Cercedilla do tours !! We took advantage as last year we only came to purchase. Just magical.  Lacto-Ganadera Rio Mayor, Srl Ctra CM 310 km 101 , more here: http://www.quesoshuete.com/en/

We shop always for the etiqueta negra or black label, queso mescal tierno or young mix cheese with goat and milk as well as sheep blend, and the Romero or Rosemary. Just great still enjoying it ::)

I try in vain to visit the Pago Calzadilla wine on the road towards Cuenca CM2019, just out of Huete near the town of Caracenilla.  These wines I had in Cuenca and bring them home, but last year it was closed by the time we got there. This year I call ahead asking if open and yes, however, when we got there ,they were doing inventory and were closed again. Oh well, we will just have to drink their wines!!! More here: http://www.pagocalzadilla.com/web/es

And we headed back to our vacation home in Las Majadas, Cuenca. This was our last venture out,and we left the next day , see post on the departure a few days ago . Sad to go again ,as it was a wonderful family vacation and always many fond memories together. Cuenca , Castilla La Mancha, Spain has been our get away for the last two years! Do not if 3 is a charm but it sure feels good here, you ought to check it out indeed!

Therefore, my posts on Spain towns and regions will end and back to the realities of work in France, one day it will be, can’t wait ! Enjoy your week and close weekend wherever you are ,and with all that is going on in our world, think, be safe and enjoy life to the fullest. Cheers

 Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,
September 6, 2017

Cathedral Santa Maria, Primada de Toledo!

I had spent days here over the last few years of my life,and coming back is always wonderful; the city is wonderful, the Cathedral is heavens. Let me give it credit and do a single post on it. The Cathedral Saint Mary , prime of Spain and Toledo. Catedral Santa Maria de Toledo, Primada de España!

The construction began in 1226 with white stone  in Gothic style;finished in 1493.  The official webpage for it is here: http://www.catedralprimada.es/catedral/primada/eng/

The city of Toledo was conquered Christian by king Alfonso VI in 1085. One of the point of the capitulation of the city was that the cults will be respected to all as well as the buildings of muslim or mozarabe ,Christian origins which included the main mosque in the city. A bit later he was absent from the city and left his wife Constanza and the abbot of the monastery Bernard de Sedirac (or Cluny) recently name bishop of Toledo in charge.  These last two conspired in 1087 to send armed personnel to take over the mosque; later they installed a bell on it as a Christian symbol. The king was very upset as this almost cause an uprising, and ordered all involved to be executed.  The legend tells us that it was the Muslim residents of the city who implore with the king to save their lives with main negotiator the iman, and accepted the bell in the Mosque. As the Cathedral grew in same spot, there is a Chapel dedicated to him; officially creating a Christian Church in a mosque without changes to the structure. I think is a nice story of tolerance.

The Cathedral is 120 meters long by 59 meters wide and has five nave in addition to a cruiser aisle and dome as well as a cloister, 88 columns, and 72 vaults. The main façade has three gates such as Puerta del Perdon (Forgiveness), Puerta del Juicio FInal (final judgement), to the right, and Puerta del Infierno (hell) to the left. There is , also the Puerta del Reloj (Clock) oldest from early 14C; the Puerta de los Leones (Lions) is 15C . Other gates are Puerta Llana (flat) , Portada de Santa Catalina( St Catherine), and Puerta de la Presentacion (Presentation).  The Bell tower is 92 meters high and finalized in 1422 in Gothic style.

Many Chapels were replaced,altered, or eliminated over time.  Of the Minor Chapels there are only two remaining such as of Santa Ana ,and San Gil. From the Mayor Chapels the ones that have original elements are of San Juan Bautista ,and Santa Leocadis. Altered Chapels but ornamentation is the original are Reyes Viejos , and Santa Lucía.

You have the Capilla Mayor , inside of it you see the Capilla del Sepulcro (burial) , the beforementioned Capilla Mozarabe; Capilla de los Reyes Nuevos, Capilla de la Epifania, Capilla de la Concepcion, Capilla de San Martin, Capilla de San Eugenio, and  Capilla de San Juan Bautista.

The Sala Capitular, you find more Chapels such as Capilla de San Ildefonso, Capilla de Santiago, and Capilla del Cristo de la Columna. On the north side you have the Capilla de San Pedro, Capilla de la Piedad, Capilla de la Pila Bautismal, Capilla de Nuestra Señora de Antigua, and Capilla de Doña Teresa de Haro.

Then, you have the Sacristia or sacristy. Capilla de la Virgen del Sagrario, Capilla del Ochavo, and the choir or Coro, the Trasparente by the Capilla Mayor representing the eucharist of the holy sacrament (1729-1732) . The treasury or Tesoro.The lower and high cloister from 1389, where you find the Capilla de San Blas chapel.

The stained glass in the Cathedral  is one where the medieval glass has been best preserved. They were done in the 14C to 17C with renovations in the 18C. The wrought iron is from the 16C in renaissance style. Many kings of Castile are buried in the Cathedral, amongst them are Juan I and son Enrique III of Castille.

Check the official webpage for dates and hours, admission now is 10€ with audioguide included. More in the Tourist office of Toledo here: http://www.toledo-turismo.com/en/catedral-primada_243

And the Tourist office of the region Castilla La Mancha: http://www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/catedral-primada-23364/descripcion/

This is a must to visit here, if only one thing to see in Toledo this must be it.  Again do not missed it.

I have come to Toledo sometimes just walk around it ,and others go inside, always a great satisfaction of seeing it. Catedral Primada de España, Catedral Santa Maria of Toledo. Enjoy it! Cheers

 Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo  Toledo

Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: