Archive for ‘Europe’

December 11, 2017

Madrid, well it’s a love affair from childhood and forever!

Ok , as the nostalgic season is continuing and I am on the mood of remembrance, I need to tell you about Madrid. I arrived on December 30 1971 and left on May 10 1974, it was a shocking beautiful experience.

After years been told by my family that were from Tenerife and speaking to me about Spain that elusive far away country I came to dwell on its customs and food and tradition, finally I was on the land of Cervantes. Lucky enough in life to be able to come back and visit often, and from 2003 every year at least once. Never enough.

I was thinking of writing something and put some photos up for the remembrance post. However, I decided to link all my previous post in my blog on Madrid. Hopefully , I found them all here. You tell me if there is another aspect of Madrid I left out, and will reply.  Enjoy it, or we say, From Madrid to heaven in a hole on the sky to look down on it everyday!! it probably was from Ernest Hemingway but not sure.

Here is all of mine on all or most of Madrid:

 There, now do enjoy Madrid to the fullest, as in Spain, everything is under the Sun.  Plenty of photos above, I leave you with my id photo while living in Madrid ::) Cheers!



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December 10, 2017

The wines of Portugal ,and the best Porto

I will talk about the wines of Portugal and especially about Porto. I have tried several Portuguese wines over the years and in Portugal. My best souvenirs have been drinking the porto wines. This post is about them.The wine producing Douro region is the third oldest protected wine region in the world.  In 1756, during the rule of the Marques de Pombal the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro or C.G.A.V.A.D., also known as the General Company of Viticulture of the Upper Douro or Douro Wine Company, was founded to guarantee the quality of the product and fair pricing to the end consumer.

Port wine  or vinho do Porto (Portuguese) are fortified wines produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It comes in sweet red wine often served as dessert wine although it came come as dry semi dry and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the  addition of aguardente (an eau de vie from sugar cane or grapes) in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.  The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy ,but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged often in barrels stored in a Lodge (meaning “cellar”) as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia just across in the douro river ,before being bottled. Also, in the area around Pinhâo and Sâo Joâo da Pesqueira considered to be the center of port production, and is known for its picturesque quintas— estates clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river.

The area is sub-divided into three official zones: the Baixo (lower) Corgo, the Cima (higher) Corgo and the Douro Superior. Over a hundred varieties of grapes (castas) are sanctioned for port production, although only five Tinta Barroca, Tinta Câo, Tinta Roriz (tempranillo of Spain), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional are widely cultivated and used. The Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes such as Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Câo, Folgasao, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

Briefly as much as possible the varieties are Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. Aged tawny ports (my favorite) are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result of this oxidation, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style.

A Colheita Port is a single-vintage wine fortified and aged in tawny style for at least seven years. Instead of an indication of age (10, 20, …), the actual vintage year is mentioned. However, Colheita Port should not be confused with Vintage Port (see below): whereas a Vintage Port will spend only about 18 months in barrels after harvest and will continue to mature in bottle, a Colheita may have spent 20 or more years in wooden barrels before being bottled and sold.

Garrafeira is an unusual and rare intermediate vintage-dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. It is required to spend some time in wood, usually between three and six years, followed by at least a further eight years in glass, before bottling. In practice the times spent in glass are much longer.

Reserve port is a premium ruby port approved by the official regulating tasting panel, Rose port is a very recent variation on the market; it is technically a ruby port, but fermented in a similar manner to a rosé wine, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose color.

White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles. Lagrima, meaning “Tears”, is the name for the sweetest style of white Port. When white ports are matured in wood for long periods, the colour darkens, eventually reaching a point where it can be hard to discern (from appearance alone) whether the original wine was red or white.

Late bottled vintage (or  LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a Declared Vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a Vintage in the Douro. Single Quinta Vintage ports are wines that originate from a single estate, unlike the standard bottlings of the port wine houses which can be sourced from a number of quintas.

The drinking of it Port, like other wine, should be stored in a cool but not cold, dark location (as light can damage the port), at a steady temperature (such as a cellar), with the bottle lain on its side if it has a cork, or standing up if it is stoppered.  With the exception of white port, which can be served chilled, port should be served at between 15-20C(59-68F). Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler. I served mine chilled without ice. Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine, but it is still best consumed within a short period of time. Tawny, ruby, and LBV ports may keep for several months once opened; because they are aged longer in barrels, these ports have already been exposed to some degree of oxidation. Old Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening, but young Vintage Ports can be kept open for several weeks, if not months when very young.

Cruises and tour official info here:

The tourist office is here:

Ok so now let me give some houses to look for them when buying porto as my favorites of course.


Quinta do Noval ,


Ramos Pinto (my favorite),

Taylor’s ,


Cockburn ,



King’s brand name of Nicolas stores for Warre’s,

Some pictures still around and one from the  Ponte de Arrábida over the Douro river that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.

There you have a bunch to enjoy the wonderful world of porto red or white, we drink both. Right now using a Lagrima white Ramos Pinto, and a red tawny King’s. Cheers and enjoy your Sunday.

Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto

December 9, 2017

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

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

There is so much to tell, I start with the New Jersey official tourist center here:

The State Government further information here:

And an external site that offers lots of things to do in the county of Middlesex , State of New Jersey:

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

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

Something on Middlesex county official government page on history and things to do :

The tourist info is gathered into the Central New Jersey area here:

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

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

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

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

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

Finally the city of Perth Amboy page is here

And more on the history of the city of Perth Amboy here

harborside marina above link and the bit on the history of the city here:

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

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

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

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

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



December 8, 2017

My Florida , always wonderful memories!

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

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

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

But enough of that, the tourist office is here:

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

Beaches and general info on Volusia county is here:
Info on their cities is here:
The main attraction here is Daytona Beach:

I take you to Miami-Dade county here:

and moving over to Broward county you have main town Fort Lauderdale here:

The towns city /town halls are:Miramar

Ormond Beach:
Daytona Beach;

Hialeah is here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 7, 2017

The wines of Champagne, oh yes they are just done differently !

Yes, this is another post trying to expand on wines; and of course Champagne have been put into a sort of different category but we talk about wines it should mean Champagne too. They are just done with the sparkle in it you know…

And believe or not, the area which can be call Champagne ,also includes areas in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ::)  The areas really are The Montagne de Reims (dept Marne 51) with the dominant grape Pinot Noir. The valley of the Marne (dept Marne 51, Aisne 02, and Seine-et-Marne 77) with the dominant grape Meunier; the ladders or hills call côte des blancs (Marne 51) with the dominant grape Chardonnay; and the vineyards of the ladder or hills call côte des Bars (around times of Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine in the Aube dept 10.

All this thanks to a monk , Dom Perignon (1638-1715) cellarmaster of the abbey benedictine of Hautvillers that handle different crus and the control of the must in the second fermentation. Of course, sparkling wine was done way before, but this event is the one that really took off the name and the pleasures of it for all of us. It is done basically with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. Although some lesser known grapes are authorize but seldom use such as Arbane, petit meslier, pinot gris or fromenteau and pinot blanc; also , the gamay  in the dept 10 Aube.  By towns you can tell the quality as some towns are Grand Crus, and many more Premier Crus and then there are the Autres Crus or others.

There, is also some others like red white, and rosé wines in the coteaux champenois especially in the towns of Bouzy, Vertus and Damery. The Rosé des Riceys produce in the town of Riceys in the Aube dept 10. the sparkler crémant de champagne  with a smaller sparkler and less pressure in the fermentation. The grapes to make champagne is also, use to do an aperitif call Ratafia and hard liquior marc de champagne.

All officially about Champagne you can find here in English and many other languages;

The tourist offices of the area are

The main towns for visits ,tastings and just plain Champagne are in Epernay and Reims. Their tourist office are here:

The last year with statistics is from 2016, that indicates that France is still the leader in volume of Champagne with  157,7 million bottles of the total of  306,1 millions bottles coming out of there or simply the French market represent 51,5% of the Champagne production.

Some distinction on how the wines should be drank in a progressive way  from the lighest to the heaviest or richer. We start with a Champagne or body white whine like a blanc de blancs or muscadet and finish with a red wine sharp like Bordeaux or sweet wine such as a Vin Doux Naturel (muscat, rasteau or banyul) . OF course, you can keep the same wine for the entire meal. And as far as temperature goes served the dry whites between 8-10°C (about 50F), the more body whites such as Chablis, Vouvray, Montlouis, or Montrachet between 10-12°C (about 54F), the body fruity red like a côtes du Rhône villages, Chinon, Bordeaux Supérieur between 15-17°C (about 6OF) and the more complex full tannic reds like a Bandol, Côte Rôtie, Haut-Médoc, or Margaux between 16-17°C (about 65F), after decanting.

And some of my favorites in addition to the Mercier,Môet & Chandon, etc etc that we can enjoy here and I believe ,also, abroad are these:

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée, from the former football/soccer player Michel Fauconnet in the house for 40 years with a mixing of crus avg 15 years and with  50- 55 %  chardonnay, 30-35 %  pinot noir, and  10-20 % meunier,including about 20-30 %  of reserves wines for about 38 €

Drappier Carte d’Or done in the town of Urville,in the border of the Aube and the Haute-Marne with impressive views of the cemetery of  Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises (Charles de Gaulle resting place). In addition to the regular bottle they do a Melchisédech a bottle of 30 liters good for about 150 persons a record of France and the World with an unique bottle for 4295€; the regular bottle is 32€ ; the blend is 75 %  pinot noir, 15 % chardonnay and 10 % meunier.

Leclerc Briant  Brut Premier Cru ; the house became a seller of Champagne of 50 years and settled in Epernay; finally in 2012 it was sold to an American couple that gave the management to the local Frédéric Zeimett. The innovation this year is a line of Classiques . The Champagne has mostly a blend of pinot noir 70 %, coming from three villages of premier crus. They are pioneers in the bio and biodynamic agriculture; bottle goes for about 48 € here.

Perrier-Jouët, Blanc de Blancs, done apart from the cuvees Belle Epoque, and showing the most of the chardonnay; done with a mix of several parcels of land on an extention of 65 hectares own by the house; mostly from Cramant and Avize; bottle goes for about 60 €

Ayala B de B 2010, the house settle in Aÿ from which the mark is not related to the name of the town but to a Colombian diplomat who  married a local and inherited the property. The house was purchased in 2005 by the group Bollinger. The brand is well appreciated in the UK. The winemaking is done by Caroline Latrive that gives it a soft dosage in the blends such as chardonnay that receives 6 grams of sugar per liter.  A blanc de blancs  brought out in small quantities from the best crus such as Chouilly, Cramant, Oiry, and Vertus). Goes here for about 49 €

Gosset Noir and Blanc, the oldest Champagne house since 1584! This year they come out with a Grand Blanc de Blancs brut fine and elegant and a Grand Blanc de Noirs Brut.  Doing an homage to the elegance of the pinot noirs where at least five crus goes into the elaboration of this wine with dominant areas of Ambonnay, Aÿ  ,and Verzy.  The wine spend 9 years in the cellars. the price here is 75 €  for the Blanc de Noirs ; and 54 €  for the Blanc de Blancs.

Piper-Heidsieck vintage 2008, queen Marie-Antoinette one day in 1785 received a bottle from the founder of the brand, and she will appreciate this bottle too. We cannot be sure but the cellarmaster Régis Camus, that blends this wine grape by grape and cru by cru has done a blend to dream of . It comes from 20 crus blending  chardonnay (52 %) and pinot noir (48 %) for about  39 €; one of my favorite Champagnes.

Tsarine Millésime 2012, the brand is of recent making but it comes from an old Champagne house founded by the canon  Frères,created in 1730.  It was purchased in 1991 by Philippe Baijot (Lanson). Tsarine  is done with a pretty bottle in twisted leaves . It is a blend of three grapes the usual ones and the winemaker done it the final twist with the pinot noir to built it , the meunier for the round fruity aromas and the chardonnay  to give it finesse; all for  33 €.

Enjoy the bubbly ,this is the season to be merrier or bubblier ::) Cheers

PS. Some nostalgic pictures I like to add here.

Epernay Epernay Epernay Epernay






December 2, 2017

My best restaurants in México

Hey,  I like these posts on restaurants that after doing  a few it’s time to do one on the other culinary delight that is Mexico. I have gone to the country since the 1990’s and from 2011 every year.

This is my treat on the Mexican cuisine, over the latter last few years, restaurants in no particular order or place. These are My favorites! Buen provecho !!!

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 I later came back in the week and it was equally impressive, definitively will be back here. More here:

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! More here:

El Bajio for my first dinner there, nice place if a bit hurry up to get rid of me lol! The lady kept giving me dishes to try and I keep saying no thank you have enough, endless, but the food panoches, chicharones, and the pork dish with black mole and sauce and drinks were good, bohemia black beers or negra bohemia. More here;

I had lunch at Los Bisquets de Obregon Ecatepec Edo de México, local cuisine restaurant with a great cecina steak (salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke) with mashed potatoes, Mexican rice, and mango/papaya juices here ! More here

After doing some walking around safe in DF! lol! I met some old friends at the Olive Garden in the Patio Universidad shopping;  here with ravioli stuff champignon and a great Trapiche malbec Argentinian wine, coffee nice, great memories fun; more here:

On another night went for TGI Fridays hahaha yes very original , I remember this resto from back in USA and love them. Found them here with a nice big burger and try Victoria and Pacifico beers !! This was ,also, in the Patio Universidad shopping!  More here:

Hoot hoot anyone? well did stop by at another old timer joint, this one in DF; Hooters another of my old favorites ::) Great Indio beer and nachos snacks with cheese and the action was good with friendly crowd. More here:

And yes, sometimes you have to eat at the airport, and my good one there is this one at Wings in the Guadalajara airport. Can’ t find webpage but was ok for an introduction before leaving. Guadalajara airport is small and nice ,here is the airport page;

Had lunch on the road at Birreria Chololo with goat meat and beers Indio oscura. An institution in the area, they are at Carretera  Chapala Km 17, Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, no webpage but a nice page to describe it a bit further, here:

A wonderful place for dinner Bistro 77 right in city center of Tepatitlàn, Jalisco,near the wonderful Cathedral and kiosk in the park. Wonderful Pulpo beers and pizzas with hot chili mexican here, great tv screens and wonderful friendly service, more here:

I was introduce to the restaurant Don Kmaron, in Tepatitlàn,Jalisco.  The sport TV all over, the friendly service, good food, good company was all it took; I came back always to eat here!!! It is at Dr. J. Ricardo Alcala Iñiguez 284, Alameda, 47650 Tepatitlán de Morelos Telephone +52 378 715 5140 a web to speak of it is Facebook, here:

Down in Quintana Roo had lunch as well in Las Tortugas resto in Calderitas just next to Bacalar, along the Bay of Chetumal, wonderful fresh fried fish, fries, sweet bananas, yellow rice, and beers Modelo Especial, nice. More here:

I had my drinks here at Hotel La Laguna in Bacalar (Quintana Roo) gorgeous place with wonderful views of the lake and I was allowed to roam free afterward, the site picture tells it all !! More here

El Paisa, a more rustic restaurant in a working class area with a nice second floor terrace, a very nice welcome with lots of Mexicans families there; nice ambiance and great conversation with many. The area is nice around a corner, and serve in the terrace in the back upper level. One of the places to go when you know the area and want to get away from tourists. Here we had more goodies of the Mexican cuisine such as the alambre with meat and cheese melted sort like a pizza but chewy and yummy, pacifico beers and coffee expresso, first we had some chicharones and all good. More here:

At the corner of Hamburgo and Niza streets, there is El Lugar del Mariachi, its a restaurant with live music pop and mariachis alternatively, and a dance floor !!! This is right smack in tourist central so a bit high price but very good food, secure,and a very good group of musicians playing from pop to bolero to cha cha cha and then a group of mariachi singers playing their songs as well; a very good ambiance with romantic overtones or in family. More here:

The wonderful Tezka restaurant basque cuisine of Spain and next to the Royal hotel in Amberes street, Zona Rosa close to Chapultepec always good chic reliable international cuisine. The hotel has been my central for many years, and it has an indoor door directly to the restaurant. More here:

Los Panchos in Condesa, Tolstoi 9, Col. Anzures, open Mondays to Sundays from  9h to 22h authentic Mexican food, I try all different dishes from tacos de carnitas, chicharrones, stuffed peppers , etc etc so much food down with agua de jamaica and agua de leche delicious.  More here:

The Sanborns,is a chain very popular in Mexico, my old firm used to sell to them and we of course stop there many times to eat and also to buy essentials electronics. Always had a wonderful time eating at the Peña Pobre mall, by Av. Insurgentes sur y Av. San Fernando, its a shopping center with many stores and restaurant ; clothing, electronics , music, gifts are sold here too. It is one of many all over the city. There is a sanborns site but the resto is better shown here:

Puerto Lapice, here it was the filete tampiqueño (Tampico) real beef that was the plate with Mexican wine chateau Domecq. Located at Poniente 128 647 ,Azcapotzalco, corner of Norte 45 , hours Monday to Saturday from 13h to 18h. tel (55) 55 67 68 09. More here

I went north into the Sonora State at Ciudad Obregon, and had my lunch here at Los Arbolitos de Cajeme . A great mero fish with butter here. More info:

Back to CdMex at Cambalache, an Argentine jewel small but all kinds of cuts beef that is, at Insurgentes Sur 1384. More here:

Taqueria Senele at Polanco great tacos alambre and taquitos al pastor,,,,calle Leibnitz, Col Anzures, 11590 just at the corner coming out of hotel Camino Real Polanco back door. More here:

I had to have my Spanish even in Mexico! Wonderfully refined great food and wine service of Spain at the Centro Castellano inside the Camino Real hotel,in Polanco where I was staying. More here:

I had a wonderful lunch while watching a football/soccer game France vs Germany, and really this is heaven around you of natural beauty and the food and cold beers was great; a must. Cenote Azul restaurant in Bacalar , Quintana Roo. More here:

Up in CdMex I had repeated good experiences at the steakhouse Angus Butcher House, Copenhage 31 , steaks are big, beers are cold, and the ladies are all beautiful ! Many other locations. More here:

Café Paris in the Grand Hotel of Tepatitlàn de Morelos, Jalisco, there is an old world ambiance with the hotel rooms decorated with a theme from Europe like I stayed in rooms Napoléon, and Rangel, and ate at the café, upper floor chic nice refined and all made to order. More here:

Another wonderful Argentinian resto with huge delicious burgers Angus beef, while looking the nice world going by is El Diego, Insurgentes Sur 1581; more here:

I am sure there are others but these are the lattest ones in my blog now condense here. Again, the city has a world of food and culinary delights to offer; these are the ones I know from personal experience. Enjoy it, buen provecho and vive la vida!!! Enjoy your weekend. Cheers!!!

Tepatitlan de Morelos Tepatitlan de Morelos Tepatitlan de Morelos Bacalar Calderitas Chetumal  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico

November 29, 2017

Some news from Spain LVIII

Never a better excused to tell you about my other love, my beloved Spain. The weather is going down even minus Celsius degrees here and over there the water still is scarce and the weather is better at 9C now and looking sunny with high of 9C and lows of -3C the rest of the week ,partly cloudy to sunny days.

Now the latest finds and good stuff from Spain, everything under the Sun ::)

At the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao. There is an exposition on the work of David Hockney, the artist that revolutionize the world of arts on the 60’s and recognize as one of the most influential painters of the 20C. His work at the  Academy of Arts of London, is brough over with 82 paintings on the this exposition call ’82 retratos y un bodegón’ or 82 portraits and a tavern. It will be open until February 25 2018. See more here: David Hockney

The auction house of Christie’s sold this past week for 450,3M USD a portrait done by Leonardo da Vinci five centuries ago!!!, The  ‘Salvator Mundi’, the only work of the Italian artist now in private hands.  The portrait used to be part of the collection of king Charles I of England (1600-1649), and later came to several hands  before the final sale a world record for a work of art of any kind ever. “Salvator Mundi” is considered the artistic re discovery most important of this century.  It was in 2011 that after a process of restoration and analysis the experts determine that it was the work of Da Vinci. More here: The last Da Vinci

The enigmatic vision of reality of Giorgio de Chirico arrives this week at the Caixaforum Madrid, where you can see until February 18 2018. De Chirico has passed in history as an inventor of the metaphysics painting that shows dreams, memory and time in suspense and he is considered the precursor of Surrealism but also a return to Classicism and was even criticized. The work can be seen on 142 works the majority oleos but also drawing, lithographs sculptures of his trajectory from 1913 to 1976.  In the 40’s the artist born in Greece of Italian parents dedicated his efforts in bringing back the values of the paintings tradition in the renaissance and baroque styles as well. More in Spanish here: Giorgio at Caixaforum Madrid 

Considered one the groups most famous of clasical ballet oldest and prestigious Bolshoi , from their visits to London from the 50’s onward. Now La Fábrica  is publishing in The Bolshoi  one of the works most famous of Sasha Gusov  translated into 110 pictures of white and black with memorable moments on the trips of the company to London. More here: La Fàbrica, the Bolshoi

Now the front causing many traffic problems and several friends having to be rescue in Madrid due to the taxis strikes.  Several thousands taxi drivers are protesting in Madrid coming from all over Spain due to the ubersation that according to them is doing public transport a run for their money.  The general strike of the UBER types or VTC of the companies Uber and Cabify and the disloyal competition that they are causing according to the taxi drivers protesting. Traffic was cut from the Paseo del Prado direction Cibeles with police protection along the way. The strike started at 6h or 6am and has cause enormous traffic jams in Madrid  and the gated roads such as the A-6 with 14 kms of traffic jams ;other roads affected were the A-1n A-3,  A-42.  By 12h they were already inside Madrid at different points claxoning all over without accepting passengers. The strike will go on until Thursday by 12h. The main association of taxi drivers such as the Fedetaxi, Antaxi, Elite, and TNT , Caracol etc. There is another march by 11h around the Atocha train station to the door of the Congress. So bear the traffic if in Madrid now or planning to be there by tomorrow morning.

I like to tell you about the heritage cities of Unesco that I like the most in Spain.

ALCALÁ DE HENARES  ; the first city made to have an university and a model for others in Europe and America. Here Miguel de Cervantes, was born in 1547  and in 2018 it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of world heritage site as well as the market or Mercado Cervantino.  ÁVILA ; the wall ramparts are unique in Europe, try to get lost on its streets to live the experience of a medieval town in the 21C. In 2018 , it is celebrating the Theresian jubilee and medieval feasts.  BAEZA  in the center of the province of Jaén, near the park or Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and las Villas, with its wonderful University in the 16C . Also, in 2018 it is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the declaration of world heritage site as well as the festival of antique music or Festival de Música Antigua de Úbeda y Baeza.  CÁCERES , the third monumental complex in Europe with towers, palaces , squares and churches of  Cáceres. In 2018 will host the Festival WOMAD ,and the San Jorge feasts. CÓRDOBA Córdoba  Two thousand years of history mixing Arabs, Romans, Jewish ,and Christian life; its Mezquita-catedral  or Mosque Cathedral an universal symbol of this magical and unique city.  In 2018 come for the flower patios festival or Festival de Los Patios as well as the white night of flamenco. CUENCA  a view of nature with its fortress and walls .Lookouts and the canyons beauty as well as hanging houses or Casas Colgadas ; its museums with the contemporary spirit. In 2018 see the religious holy music week or Semana de la Música Religiosa , and the summer festival of Cuenca.  MÉRIDA , founded on the first years of the empire of Octavio Augusto with the imprint of its bridges, aqueducts, walls, theaters and temples showing what it was in antiquity , an empire.  Also, in 2018, it is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World heritage site as well as the classical theater or Festival de Teatro Clásico. SALAMANCA , epicenter of the old Europe way of thinking on which University was raised in the 15C and 16C with a splendor like nowhere else. A city of two Cathedrals , a  Plaza Mayor  as the center of the world and glorious past of palaces and churches to show. In 2018 it is celebrating its naming as world heritage site already 30 years ago.  Also, celebrating the 800 years of its University.  SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LA LAGUNA , Tenerife, built on ramparts of previous to the those founded in the New World;  colorful houses with palaces with tropical vegetation.  In 2018 see the celebrations of Saints such as San Benito Abad ,and the white night.  SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTEL A jewel at the end of Europe and destiny of all routes of pilgrimage  of Christianity since the 10C. Santiago de Compostela is an open city, cosmopolitan, and university town on which center lies the square or Praza do Obradoiro, an extraordinary stone monument. During 2018 see its Apostle feast and the event  Santiago é Tapas. SEGOVIA , here you taste time and the history of Spain walking around its aqueduct Alcazar, Cathedral, and palaces in a wonderful natural surroundings.  The children will enjoy in 2018 the event Titirimundi , and the adults the music festival in the garden of the king or Festival Músicas en el Jardín del Rey. TARRAGONA , the streets and buildings around the squares keep the splendor of the antique roman Tarraco, from which the city center was built.  In 2018, the city will celebrate the Mediterranean Games as well as live history of Tarragona or  Tarragona Historia Viva.  TOLEDO , what can I say about its historic legacy with the mixing of cultures Arab, Jewish, and Christian that have left along the centuries a wonderful monumental complex such as making the city of El Greco ,an icon of Imperial Spain.

Indeed wonderful Spain. Go see them now.

And we have a wonderful chocolate tradition, having introduce it to Europe from the Americas; some of the best chocolates stores in Spain are in my opinion as well as many here:

Leónidas , a Belgian chain and one of my favorites anywhere. It sells over 100 different types of cacao and in Spain has stores at Calle Casanova, 100 (Barcelona); Calle Padilla, 61 (Madrid); Calle Uría, 8 (Gijón); Calle Easo, 4 (San Sebastián); Calle Felipe Gorriti, 33 (Pamplona).  Chocolat Factory , a varied choice trying to create original creations; with stores in many cities but the two I know are in Madrid at calle Zurbarán, 17 , and Avenida del General Perón, 40.  Cacao Sampaka ; trying to make cacao a social habit and it has innovating chocolates with 3 stores in Spain at Calle Orellana, 4 (Madrid); Calle Consell de Cent, 292 (Barcelona); Calle Conde de Salvatierra, 19 (Valencia).  Pomme Sucre  ; chocolates and breads with vintage furniture and iron columns; it has plenty of choices on chocolates at its stores ,especially fruits and chocolate pastes; they are at Calle Barquillo, 49 (Madrid,  and  Calle Libertad, 26 (Gijón).  Moulin Chocolat , this is a small store specializing in macaroons and French pastries as well as chocolates, truffles and tarts using the French chocolates of Valrhona, prefered by the great chocolatiers of the world.  The store at my beloved old street in Calle Alcalá, 77 (Madrid). Oriol Balaguer , makes tarts and chocolates homemade, the store looks like a jewerly store and it has catering service .  It offers boxes of chocolates refilled with figurines of all types and nougats as well. They are at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 44 (Madrid); Plaza de San Gregori Taumaturg, 2 (Barcelona). Chocolalabelga , another Belgian with excellent choices, tablets and truffles with many flavors to choose from and you can see making them at the store. They are at Calle Bonetillo, 1 (Madrid).  An all time favorite of the family are the Chocolatería Valor , a brand now all over Spain very famous for its churros chocolates . My favorite stores are at calle del Postigo de San Martín, 7 (Madrid).  And, Pasteleria Torreblanca Cero ; an assortment of chocolates, truffles, and artisanal candies compare many times with the best Belgian chocolates .  You can buy over the internet and the store I know is at Calle Alt de Guisop, 1, (Petrer, Alicante). Enjoy the chocolates!!

Again , enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun and more ::) Enjoy your week easy on the weekend is almost here. Cheers!


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November 26, 2017

My best restaurants of Brittany, Bretagne!!!

A few years back , I started a post on my best restaurants in France,  Paris and then of Versailles only etc. Well ,I have been a few years already in Brittany, gone to many restaurants, and will like to tell you about my better ones. Of course , always check for availability and times, and these are only the ones I think were good.

All of them are in my previous posts on the particular city or area I wrote, and they will be in no chronological order, the webpages will be found online, and some of them will be from National and International chains. I hope that as the season to be merrier is coming along , you find your way to enjoy one of the them while visiting very Christmas followed territory like Brittany.

La Boucherie, zone océane 3 ,rue de Danemark, Auray 56400

La Boucherie, Rue du Gay Lussac, Zone du Parc lann, Vannes 56000

Le Bistro du Port, 7 place Saint Sauveur, Saint Goustan, Auray 56400

L’Armoric, 1 Place Saint Sauveur , Saint Goustan, Auray 56400

Restaurant La Fromentine, 10 rue du Chateau, Auray 56400

Au Coin du Feu, D768, Camors 56330

Crêperie Saint Sauveur, port de Saint-Goustan, 6 rue Saint-Sauveur, Auray 56400

Le Grand Voyageurs Hôtel restaurant ,facing Ville Close ,Concarneau  29182

Kreiz An Aval, 1 avenue de la chapelle, Carnac 56340

Restaurant Le Cosy, 2 rue Saint Cornély, Carnac 56340

A l’Aise Breizh Café, Port de Plaisance du Moulin Blanc, Brest 29200

A l’Aise Breizh Café, Port de Plaisance, le port (above harbormaster house) Vannes 56000

La Gazzetta (italien) 4 rue de Siam, Brest 29200

Da Franco (Italien) 18 place Edouard Vaillant, Douarnenez 29100

Le Lion d’Or , 5 place Adrien Le Franc, Elven 56250

La Villa Toscane ,15 Place Jaffré, Guidel 56520

La Moule que Saoûle , Centre Commercial la Falaise, Guidel plages 56520

Le Guéthenoc, 11 place Notre Dame, Josselin 56120

L’Escale Hôtel Restaurant le port (harbor) facing the ocean, Locmariaquer 56740

Hôtel Restaurant Les Voyageurs, 10 rue de Cadélac, Loudeac 22600

La Terrace, 31 place des Otages, Morlaix 29600

O’Brothers 7 quai des Cabestans, Arzon 56640

Le Voilier, 8 quai des Voiliers, Arzon 56640

Les Trois Etoiles, ZA de Tréhuinec , D779 road Plescop 56890

Crêperie de l’Enclos ,51 place du Général de Gaulle, Pleyben 29190

Crêperie du Chateau de Rimaison, 6 rue de la Gare, Pluvigner 56330

Crêperie Restaurant Le Vorlen ,rue de la Gare, (across from above) Pluvigner 56330

Restaurant Le Martray, 32 rue du Pont/Place du Matray, Pontivy 56300

L’Aiglon, 42 du Général de Gaulle, Pontivy 56300

Restaurant Crêperie du Pont Fleuri, 5 rue Ellé, Basse ville, Quimperlé 29300

Restaurant bar Les Cariatides, 4 rue du Quéodet, Quimper 29000

La Taverne de  Maître Kanter, 14 quai du Steïr, Quimper 29000

Back to the 60’s American Diner, 58 rue de St Malo, Rennes 35000

Café Hoche, 15 place Hoche, Quiberon, 56170

Le Vivier (seafood), Côte Sauvage, Quiberon 56170

Au Goüt du Jour, 5 rue St Michel, Pluvigner 56330

Pizzeria Le Scampi, 11 Place du Marché, Pluvigner 56330

Crêperie des Bés, 4 rue Thévenard, St Malo 35400

Crêperie La Metairie de Kéroser, Allée de Kerozer, Saint Avé 56890

Crêperie Les Ajoncs, 4 rue de Vannes, Saint-Anne d’Auray

La Pataterie, ZAC Parc Lann, Rue Gay Lussac, Vannes 56000

Le Scoop bar brasserie, 60 rue Théophaste Renaudot, ZAC Kerlann , Vannes 56000

Le Gavroche, 17 rue de la Fontaine, Vannes 56000

Don Camillo Pizzeria, 20 rue du port, Vannes 56000

Les Remparts, 6 rue Alexandre le Pontois, Vannes 56000

Restaurant Anna & Paul, 23 Place du Général de Gaulle, Vannes 56000

Balade en Crepanie, 21 rue de la Fontaine, Vannes 56000

Chez la Mére 6 sous, 11 rue Thomas de Closmadeuc Vannes 56000

La Saigonnaise, 2 place de la Madeleine, Vannes 56000

Les Oliviers, 60 avenue du Verdun, Vannes 56000

Villa Valencia, 3 rue Bienheureux P Rene Rogue, Vannes 56000

Le Petit Belon, 3 place de la poissonnerie, Vannes 56000

Crêperie de la Tour Trompette, 4 rue Venelle, Vannes 56000

Le Gambetta, 1 place Gambetta, Vannes 56000

Lecocq & Folks, 5 rue Saint Vincent, Vannes 56000

Restaurant Poivre Rouge, Rue Aristide Boucicaut, Vannes 56000

TablaPizza, ZAC du Parc Lann, 6 rue Jacques Rueff, Vannes 56000

L’Orée des Monts, 5 place Charles de Gaulle, Sizun 29450

Pizzeria del Castello , 5 rue Maréchal Joffre, Hennebont, 56700

 brasserie Le Carré  15 place Aristide Briand ,Lorient 56100

Café Breton , 8 rue du Porche, Rochefort-en-Terre 56220

Ok these are the ones I like, no particular order, and only those I kept a business card ::) the rest if missed , are on the posts lol!!! I think you have plenty to choose thus…… bon appétit, and drink wines, cider, beers all in moderation , good for the economy and the traditions of France. Unesco World Heritage Intangible lists :Gastronomic meals; Cheers!

PS. I added some photos and dare to put some personal ones as well. No copying please, thanks.

Dinan Brest Concarneau Quimper Pont Aven Landerneau Douradenenez Quimperle Plougastel Dauolas Dinard Rennes Auray Auray Auray Auray Carnac Elven Guidel plage Hennebont Josselin La Gacilly La Roche Bernard La Trinite sur Mer Larmor Baden Le Roc St Andre Locmariaquer Locmariaquer Lorient LE Govello Plescop Plumelec Pontivy Quiberon Quiberon Quiberon Quiberon Rochefort en Terre Port du Crouesty  St Gildas de Rhuys Pluvigner  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes












November 23, 2017

Some news from Spain LVII

And I am back rather quickly as too much info on my posts do not like.  Spain is everything under the Sun, and I need to tell you more of my beloved Spain. Here are some places you should stop by on your lifetime visiting or living in Spain.

We have to visit Oviedo in the Principality of Asturias, name after the heir to the throne of Spain, the Princess of Asturias currently is Leonor de Borbon y Ortiz oldest daughter of King Felipe VI. On the trip to this wonderful region it is best to leave two days; one day for the west part of the capital city of Oviedo and another for the east side. Most of the trip will be in the Camino de Santiago also call Camino del Norte. Road to St James or the North walkpath.

The road to the west takes you to visit the Church of  San Juan de Priorio, about 10 kms away by taking the road N-634 until the path that takes you to the thermal city of Las Caldas.  This is a Church from the 12C to 13C and additions later from the 18C to 20C. You can continue for 6 km to see the Church of San Esteban de Sograndio, also from the 12C. Following our road, this is all by car of course…. you leave the Valley of the Trubia river that in roman times was the old road between Asturias and Léon to extract minerals; you will reach the Teverga at about 32 kms on the road AS 228; here you will see the Church Collegiale of San Pedro, from the 11C with deco of pre roman style; go on for 5 kms towards the town of Villanueva de Teverga,where it is worth the detour to the Church of  Santa María from the 11C and 12C; come back to Villanueva de Teverga towards Arrojo, at about 23 kms on the road AS-229 and see the rural style Church of San Pedro  from the 12C.  Continue for about 40 kms and reach the town of Cornellana, here you should visit the Benedictine monastery of San Salvador, with a roman Church from the 13C and a monastic complex in baroque from the 17C to 18C.

In the second day, you can do the town of Villaviciosa with its Churches of San Esteban de Aramil and  Santa María de Narzana both of rural style and modest proportions. Continue onwards passing the Alto de la Campa, taken the road leaving the Valley of Valdediós. At the end of the road you will reach the monastery of Santa María de Valdediós, a nice monastery complex in the Cistercian tradition from the 13C and next a Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, pre roman style. Back to the road to Villaviciosa, another road takes you to the Church of San Andrés de Valdebárcena, 12C a rural temple; and finally at the doorsteps of Villaviciosa you need to see the Church of San Juan de Amandi ,13C of the Asturian roman style. You come back to Oviedo our starting and ending point for a total of about 45 km trip.

In Oviedo itself you come to the old Ovetum that since its foundation in the 8C by the Asturian monarchy reaching to be the Capital of the kingdom. The old town is left with a medieval look with an easy modern tracing of the streets.  The old town is pedestrian and easy to walk from the University to the Cathedral and from the Palace of  or palacio del Marqués de San Félix to the  Camposagrado (holy field). The tower of the Cathedral of Oviedo is the start of any walks in Oviedo , done in flamboyant gothic style with a tower, rosary, and arch gate entrance guarding the biggest Asturian symbols.  The Chapel of San Miguel, or Cámara Santa,keeps the holy coffer or Arca Santa, the cross of the angels or Cruz de los Ángeles, and the victory cross or Cruz de la Victoria, also visited by the pilgrims that continue on to Santiago de Compostela.  These symbols are shown in the shield of the city of Oviedo as well as the Principality of Asturias.  Around the Cathedral you see the most important heritage of the city such as the Church of San Tirso, the fine arts museum or  Museo de Bellas Artes or the archeological museum or  Museo Arqueológico. The square or plaza de la Catedral  takes us to the square or Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto, where you can see the palaces of  Valdecarzana and de la Rúa. At Cimadevilla, the oldest part of the old town you find the peculiar square of plaza de Trascorrales, where the old stock house or lonja is located as well as the nice square or Plaza de la Constitución.  The latter has colorful houses that continue into the squares of plaza de Daoíz y Velarde.

At the University of Oviedo the last building before reaching the river  with a plateresque facade of the 16C giving to a cloister hosting cultural events all year. The closeby facades of the palaces of  Toreno and Camposagrado are worth a visit.  From here starts the Oviedo of the end of the 19C around the square or plaza de la Escandalera and the park or parque Campo de San Francisco.  Here are the Palacio Regional,home of the council of the Principality, the bank or Caja de Asturias, and the old bank or Banco Herrero.  All of the latter are in a French style.  Here near, we find the theater or Teatro Campoamor, where each year the prizes of the prince of Asturias are given (Príncipe de Asturias). Also, the modern arts center is located here or Centro de Arte Moderno. You have to continue on the street or Calle Uria to come to the more commercial Oviedo following one of the ending streets such as Gil de Jaz, you reach the provincial hospice or Hospicio Provicial from the 18C today is the luxury hotel or Hotel Reconquista. Nice Oviedo!!!

Some of my favorite Cathedrals in Spain, and there are many nice ones, are these.

The one in Oviedo of course, call the Sancta Ovetensis for the amount and quality of its relics. The Santa Iglesia Basílica Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador de Oviedo is of a Gothic style; from the the road to St James/Santiago in the times of king Alfonso II el Casto, the Cathedral started to be built in the 12C and lasted until the 16C even if later in the 17C  some Chapels were added to the lateral nerfs. More info :

In the year 916 king Ordoño II gave its royal palace to built a Church thanking God to allowed him to beat the Arabs/moors in the battle of San Esteban de Gormaz ; and here his remains lies.  The stained glass are from the 13C to 20C and add up to about 1705 meters of superficie; the Cathedral of Leon is the best and purest example of gothic in Spain. More info here:

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the last trip of the pilgrims that covers their pathways or caminos.  The construction in the roman style started in 1075 and has a latin cross and three nerfs with amplications later on in gothic, baroque, plateresque and neo classic styles.  Its porch or Pórtico de la Gloria built in 1188 shows 200 figures of the Apocalypse. More info here:

The only Cathedral declared world heritage by UNESCO was built between 1221 and 1765 with a predominant gothic style added to others. The gate or Puerta del Perdón is located in the façade of the Catedral de Burgos, where you can see a rosary on both sides two towers of 84 meters high, crown by arrows from the 15C. More info.

The Cathedral of Sevilla was built over that which in the 12C was the great Mosque or Gran Mezquita, of which still is preserve the prayer tower or alminar, known as the Giralda , the patio de Abluciones and the gate or Puerta del Perdón.  It was converted Christian in 1248 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III.  In the Cathedral there are five nerfs, with elements of the moorish or mudéjar, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neo classical. More info here:

Converted to the Christian cult in 1236 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III, the Cathedral of Córdoba is built over the old mosque ; the most important Islamic monument in town.  The Cathedral shows the complete evolution of the Omeya style in Spain including other styles such as gothic, renaissance, and baroque. It was in the 16C that in the middle of the mosque a great renaissance Christian nerf was built. More info here:

Built over a mosque, that at the same time was raised a Church in the times of Recaredo, the Primate Cathedral of Toledo or Catedral Primada de Toledo began to be built in 1226. The floorplan has five nerfs on which ceiling hold 88 columns and 72 coffins as well as stained glass polychrome from the 14C 15C and 16C. In a gothic style with French influence, its choir is considered the biggest in Christianity. More here up once maintenance is done to the site:

Attach to the old, the new Cathedral or Catedral Nueva de Salamanca started building it in 1513 and open in 1733.  The construction began in the tardo gothic style but has elements of newer periods.  The Cathedral is rectangular with 3 nerfs and oven style Chapels cover with coffins etc. More here:

OF gothic architecture style and related to the Anglo Normand arts as well as Franco Normand of the 12C, the Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María y San Julián de Cuenca began to be built from 1196 and finished in 1257.  The Cathedral has three nerfs, five sloping absides ,transept and triumphorium with windows decorated with statues of angels. More here:

Known as the dame of the Cathedrals or La Dama de las Catedrales for its dimensions and elegance, the Cathedral or Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción y de San Frutos de Segovia was built between the 16C and 18C in gothic style with renaissance influences.  It was built after the old Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María de Segovia was replaced during the war of communities or Guerra de las Comunidades in 1521,works began in 1525.  It has three nerfs with windows and gothic coffins of 30 meters high as well as a tower that reaches 90 meters. More info here:

IT is considered the first marian temple in Christiniaty, the Cathedral or Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza with a baroque style of three nerfs ,covers with coffins and canon, cupolas and pillars.  At the same spot there was already existance of another Church in a moorish style dedicated to St Mary , therefore its origins goes back to the 9C.  The Basilica has four towers built between 1715 and 1961. More here:

Hope you enjoy the ride brief but essential to indulge in the history and beauty of Spain, now it’s your turn to seek them out. It will be worth your time. Happy travels to all, Cheers

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November 21, 2017

And I present you again ,Meaux!

And I do present you with Meaux, a historical town east of Paris in department 77 Seine-et-Marne near Disneyland Paris and the Champagne region, but most importantly the fields of war of World War I and its gothic Cathedral , one of the best in France.

I need to give you my previous two posts on it here:

And had to tell you from a personal point of view, is the native town of my dear Frenchie ,my wife. family still all around it ,and hopefully get to it this Christmas season. Meaux was my first introduction to France; when every one arriving at CDG or Orly airports rush to see Paris and others, I was humbly taken a bus , yes a bus to reach Meaux and hook up with my girlfriend….::) That was 1990.

The bus still does its runs no 20, here is the pdf of its schedule:

There is a new WWI museum nearby ,actually next to the Monument Americain in honor of US soldiers who participated in the Battle of the Marne here. Well you can read a lot above on my previous posts on the town.

Here I like to tell you a bit on the St Stephens Cathedral (St Etienne) of Meaux. A wonderful gothic Cathedral where only one bishop is buried ,he is the Eagle of Meaux, confessor of king Louis XIV and bishop of Meaux, Bossuet.

The city can claim wholly this beautiful Gothic Cathedral and its episcopal palace now museum , the garden done by André Le Nôtre!!! the remains of the medieval ramparts, and its historical festival recreating the middle ages! A must. Meaux is the biggest town in Seine-et-Marne, and the Cathedral took 350 years to built it, when normally a Cathedral took 100 years. This gives it a unique architecture and one of the rarest in France with remnants of the Gothic in the middle part of the Cathedral, like the Choir, then the Rosary and organ tribune in a flamboyant style post 15C. Between the two a part of the nave stayed with its primitive style of the 13C; the stained glass are smaller.


It used to hold a cemetery of priests and bishops, today there is only one. The Eagle of Meaux as he was called. Two huges statues honor the centenary and bicentenary of his death inside the Cathedral. The old Chapter still is authentic and where the priest elders gave justice; you go in now on guided visit only. The Palace was the home of the bishop and it became a museum in 1908.

You reach the lower rooms ,the Chapel , and the bedroom of the Bishop as well as a reception room. The wooden floor is from the 19C, the windows gives you a view over the garden or Jardin Bossuet bordered with chestnut trees. The geometrical shape reminds us of a miter for the Bishops. It was designed by Le Nôtre. This green space link the episcopal palace museum to the walls of the old fortifications and the town.  At the times it was only a garden as well as a part of the town with canons houses; they purchased the land and later the bishop purchased the ramparts to enclosed all and creating the suspended garden in 1642! It was a great idea because today , are the only ramparts still on in Meaux. The whole is to be visit for free as well as the Cathedral, garden and courtyard (very nice). You can get information in France on tel +33 (0) 1 64 33 02 26. For individual guided visits they are done from April to November twice per month. They are free access on the weekends from April to October.

The museum or Musée Bossuet as I said opened in 1908  in the episcopal palace; today we can see an  aquarelle by Delacroix , and a portrait by  Courbet, given by the son of Chemistry NObel Prize winner Henri Moissan, before going to WWI in 1914.  The museum , also , gives credit to its biggest donor the neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, that gave it about 50 portraits and about 20 engravings.  You will see a huge herborist collection of 18 volumes given to the museum by him in the 19C.  In the Chapel , the town has put enclosed glass furniture with archeological items like a collar on shells from the Black Sea dating from  4 000 years BC.  A room is dedicated to portraits representing Bossuet.  The museum is concentrated with paintings from the 17C to the 19C, and has on display between 1000 and 15000 works. Admission is 3,10 € , free for those under 18, students and on Wednesdays, hours are from 10h to 12h and 14h to 17h , closed Sunday mornings, Mondays, and Tuesdays all day.

What better way to finish the post with a video on the Cathedral and museum and Meaux.

Enjoy your week wherever you are, happy travels; Cheers!!!




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