Archive for ‘Europe’

July 26, 2021

The passages de Paris!!

Ah here I am in a cloudy fresh day after the heat of the last days in my belle France. I thought about a nice thing to do in Paris full of history and especially architecture. I had written on some passages or covered lanes of Paris before, but let me give you and me an overall view of them, all of them in Paris.

As the pictures are on the previous post I just will do this one in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy this wonderful thing to do in Paris, shop and eat in a covered corridor or passage de Paris!

The ancestor of today’s shopping centers, the unique charm of Parisian covered passages will immediately transport you back to the 19C.  So what is a passage? It is a private lane open to the public, a shortcut between several lanes, whether it is covered or not. A pedestrian space, the passage can house both commerce and housing. Only the abundant decoration and the luxury of the shops differentiate a gallery from a passage.

Typically, the covered passages of Paris form galleries pierced through buildings or built at the same time as them. These galleries are covered by a glass roof offering overhead lighting which gives them a special light.  Almost all of the covered passages are on the right bank of the Seine, within the limits of Paris before its extension in 1860, mainly near the Grands Boulevards, that is to say in areas draining customers. easy at the time of their construction

Most of the covered passages were built in the first half of the 19C, in order to shelter a wealthy clientele from inclement weather and usually offer a variety of shops. Haussmann’s work, which opened up neighborhoods by piercing large avenues, and competition from department stores led to the disappearance of most of the passages.

I have posts on the passages which will post here as references and minimize repetition.

The Passage du Havre:

The Passage du Grand Cerf and Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé  :

These are the other passages of Paris:

Passage des Panoramas (2éme) , Galerie Vivienne (2éme) , Passage Brady (10éme) , Passage Choiseul (2éme) , Passage Verdeau (9éme) , Passage Jouffroy (9éme) , Passage Vendôme (3éme) , Passage Molière (3éme) , Galerie Véro-Dodat (1éme) , Passage du Caire (2éme) , Passage des Princes (2éme) , Galerie Colbert (2éme) , and  Galerie de la Madeleine (8éme).

The list of covered passages still accessable to the public continues with the passage du Prado (10éme),  passage Puteaux (8éme), passage Sainte-Anne ( 2éme),  passage du Ponceau ( 2éme), passage Ben Aïad ( 2éme) ,and the passage des Deux-Pavillons (1éme).

I am sure you can find full description on them, I just leave you with the names and the thoughts of getting to see them in person in better times.

The Association of passages et galeries of Paris :

The city of Paris on the passages:

The Paris tourist office on the passages:

There you go folks, a wonderful way to see Paris at its best, with great shopping and foodies galore, simply sublime! The passages are seldom seen or mention sort of an off the beaten paths of Paris; however, they are worth the detour!

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

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July 25, 2021

Château de Versailles , Salon d’Apollon/Salle du Trône !!!

And this is again a wonderful update of my fav palace museum in my dear Versailles. I love to tell you all about this great city of my belle France, and this is one of the intriguing rooms of the palace still with a throne room! Therefore , let me tell you a bit more on the Salon d’Apollon and its Salle du Trône of the Château de Versailles!

So I am coming back again to my beloved old home of Versailles. What can I say when you are lucky enough to lived there for about 9 glorious years and worked in Paris.… Well I have come back several times and have many posts on it in my blog. However, there are areas missing a bit more of it me think. This is the case with a nice living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or more commonly call by us locals as the Throne room or Salle du Trône.

It is inside the wonderful beautiful palace/museum of  Versailles, holding its name from the ceiling representing Apollo on its chariot. The living room of Apollo is located on the first floor of the Château de Versailles, in the King’s large apartments. It is adjacent to the mercury and war rooms (Salon de Mercure et Salon de la Guerre).  Serving as the King’s room from 1673 to 1682 and then as the Throne room as soon as the king and the court settled in Versailles, the king granted his ordinary hearings here. The room was also reserved for dancing during the evenings of apartments.


The living room of Apollo is dedicated to the Greek god, god of the Sun, to whom the Sun King identified himself. Commissioned by king Louis XIV, the ceiling is a painting by Charles de la Fosse which represents Apollo on his chariot dragged by four couriers, accompanied by the figures of France, the Magnanimity and Magnificence and the procession of the seasons figured by Flora, Ceres, Bacchus and Saturn in the center. The covings represent Porus led in front of Alexander, Coriolanus raising the Siege of Rome at the request of his mother, Vespasian raising the Colosseum in Rome, and   Augustus building the port of Miseno . The four continents are represented in the four angles of the ceiling.


The chimney was surmounted by the portrait standing of king Louis XIV in a royal suit, wearing the insignia given to the Kings on the day of their coronation. Painted in 1701 by Hyacinthe Rigaud to illustrate the power of the king and his natural majesty. This portrait is now preserved at the Louvre museum, a copy replaces the original in the living room of Apollo. In front of the painting is a portrait of king Louis XVI.


The living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or Salle du Trône  was restored last in 2014.

The official Palace/museum of Versailles on the rooms including the Apollon:

The whole palace/museum of Versailles is magical and to think it was once practically my backyard literally used to play and jog with my boys in the gardens! magical sublime nostalgia setting in and vacation time is coming again!  Versailles it is! Enjoy the post and thanks for stopping by.

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

July 25, 2021

The Villeroy & Boch ceramics of Mettlach!

We have been fan of this brand for years and we love it. Little did we know it was close to where we were staying in Germany, exactly Trier. Therefore ,we took a road warrior trip to the nice town of Mettlach and found this beauty of ours, the Villeroy & Boch ceramics. Let me update this older post and show you a bit more on it. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I had other posts on wonderful Mettlach, Germany on my road warrior trips with the family in that neighboring country. The city center is very nice quant old pretty, and the monuments are nicely put historically and architecturally as I like. However, there is one store we like.  Again, I am not the heavy shopper but on somethings I rather go along with the wife, she is no longer with me due to the dreadful cancer, but all the memories still are intact forever. She love it here and did some heavy duty shopping my dear late wife Martine. This is my bit of story on the Villeroy & Boch ceramics store in Mettlach, Germany!


Initially a manufacturer and distributor of pottery, the Villeroy & Boch company, created in 1748 in Audun-le-Tiche in Lorraine(still French), has evolved into multiple ceramic products for the private sector and major construction sites.  An outlet specializing in the arts of the table that leaves also fashionable. In the south of the country, close to the French and Luxembourg borders, Mettlach houses 9 factory shops and first of all the seat of the Villeroy & Boch company, whose origin dates back to 1748, specialist in the art of the table, porcelain, crystal and cutlery. At Villeroy & Boch Mettlach, prices are between 30 and 50% cheaper than in a classic store and you find a shop dedicated to Christmas open all year round.


Behind the facade of the ancient Benedictine abbey of Mettlach, today’s headquarters of the specialist of the Art of Living Villeroy & Boch, 260 years of history of ceramics and business relive.  The Keravision, the Museum of Ceramics and the Museum Café dating from 1892 traces the course and the success of a family dynasty.

The Villeroy & Boch Discovery Center presents centuries of tradition of ceramics and future-oriented ideas on the theme of live and living. The Keravision in the Discovery Center showcase an exhibition of the current palette of products. In the neighboring Ceramics museum , you will discover the evolution of the art of ceramics and culture through time. In front of the table, the Arts Information Center invites you to an innovative exhibition of tables staged with different dishes services. Among the many exhibits in the Ceramics museum, you can admire the dishes of Pope Benedict XVI. The Information center bathrooms, kitchens, tiles and well-being will give you ideas for your interiors decoration.  Close to the Discovery Center, take a break at the museum cafe, decorated in the style of the Dresden Dairy. More than 15,000 tiles, decorated by hand from original pieces of the 19C, were made for its decoration. Not far from the Villeroy & Boch Discovery Center, the city center of Mettlach invites you to do good shopping in these different factory stores as well such as Land End, Trigema, and many more.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its all worth it me think ,are:

The official Villeroy & Boch in German but can be translated bottom of page:

The Mettlach outlet center store on the  Villeroy & Boch in English:

Hope you like the shopping tour and again it is worth it ,the old abbey building is gorgeous from a historical/architecture point of view and facing the Sarre river! A tributary of the Moselle river . Enjoy Villeroy & Boch at Mettlach!

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

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July 25, 2021

Torre del Homenaje and Iglésia de San Andrés in Villarejo de Salvanés!

This is again the wonderful opportunity due to the times to spend time updating my older posts in my blog. It has been a wonderful rollercoaster ride with lots of memories and thrills! One of this was our road warrior trips in the Comunidad de Madrid of my beloved Spain. This time let me tell you about the Homage tower, and the Saint Andrews Church of Villarejo de Salvanés! Hope you enjoy it as I.  So let’s go to my beloved Spain and gorgeous Madrid community region that is just wonderful me think. Again, these I have written before a while back on a general passing sense, and I feel they need a bit more exposure in my blog. 

A bit of orientation first just to tell you ok. Villarejo de Salvanés is located at the km 48 of the expressway A3 Madrid-Valencia.  Some anecdote on the town I like on my history was that here in 1866, General Prim rose up against the government of O’Donnell and the Isabeline regime, failed coup.  Ahh for those in public transport you can easily go from Atocha in Madrid to the town on bus lines 351: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid)  Estremera – Barajas de Melo, bus line 352: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid) Fuentidueña – Tarancón,  and bus line 353: Atocha (Madrid) Villamanrique – Santa Cruz de la Zarza.

The Torre del Homenaje or tower of homage or castle of Villarejo of Salvanés, constitutes a unique architectural site in Spain. It belongs to the city/town hall of Villarejo de Salvanes. The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was part of the defensive system that protected the passage by the old way of Toledo, as well as by the so-called Senda Galiana (Roman road that linked the Galia (France) and Hispania (Spain), in use during the Middle Ages). The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was the seat of the special court of the military orders and, in the 19C, was accommodated as a refugee to Gen. Juan Martín Díez ,the subborn one ( Empecinado). Hero of the Spanish War of Independence, El Empecinado participated in several episodes, which became legendary, where he routed the Napoleonic army.



This is where we parked and walked around and my dear late wife Martine found a lady who told her where to buy groceries just around the corner in a Mercadona. She could speak Spanish/English too. My memories of always ok ;thanks. Another anecdote not told in original post is that on subsequent trips to the area we had thought of buying a house in this town on what would have been our next trip August 2018 . Unfortunately, she could not make it due to pancreatic cancer, ideas cut but not forgotten. RIP

The parish Church of San Andrés Apostol or St Andrew the apostle. Built in the 14C has high towers and on the front the shield of the order of St James (Santiago) as well as on the lateral door. The Church is on the Plaza del Castillo square. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War it lost its artistic heritage. After an earthquake in 1969, the roof and vaults were demolished and completely restored in the 1980’s. The Church of San Andrés Apostol, consists of a polygonal apse with high buttresses, which make it similar to the castle. It is a single nave and has two side chapels, sacristy and tower, recently topped by a slate spire. In its main façade we see a pediment with a shield of the order of Santiago in the center as in the side door. It is presided by San Andrés, patron Saint of Villarejo de Salvanés, the image is framed in a plaster altarpiece inaugurated in 2000. The images of the Blessed Nicanor Ascanio and José de San Jacinto, both illustrious sons of the locality, complete the ensemble, which is crowned by a carving of Christ in its color. In the ample presbytery stands out the neo-Romanesque tabernacle, the altar, the seat and the pulpit in white stone.


The interior of the Church of San Andrés, also has two side chapels. The one on the right or the Aponte chapel is closed by a Renaissance gate and contains two altarpieces with the images of the Immaculate Conception and Jesús Nazareno. In it you can contemplate the founding headstone in addition to the images of the Virgin of Health (Salud), the Resurrected, San José de la Montaña, San Juan Bautista and the Naked Cross, which is called here  “La Sabanilla “. In the chapel on the left we find the baptismal font of 1959 and the altarpieces of Nuestra Senora  Del Carmen, wood carving, and Nuestra Senora De la Soledad with the recumbent Christ. In the nave of the church are the images of Jesus attached to the column and the Holy Christ of the Faith, as well as a Holy Supper. The sacristy, which was one of the old side chapels, is the one that preserves the ribbed vault and there is a size of San Andrés from the beginning of the 17C.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here as an off the beaten path of my Spain are:

The Villarejo de Salvanés tourist office:

The local villas of Madrid on Villarejo de Salvanés:

The Madrid city tourist office on Villarejo de Salvanés:

Lovely town we love to pass by and come in for a relaxing afternoon and walks on our road warrior ways in old Castile!  Villarejo de Salvanés is a nice clean town with friendly folks! and nice monuments. Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

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

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July 24, 2021

Athens for the old times’ sake!!

It has been a while I was thinking of writing on this wonderful city of Athens, Greece. I was here back in 2006 and had pictures but could not find, so there is only one and will dare do a post for Athens for the old times’ sake!! Another of my life’s trails and now in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I.

First a bit on the country of Greece. Mostly the text taken from wikipedia fyi

Greece officially the Hellenic Republic , and is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin , and the 11th longest coastline in the world; featuring many islands, of which 227 are inhabited.

Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, western philosophy, western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, theatre and the Olympic Games. Greece one of the most visited countries in Europe in the recent years.

The Greece tourist board

Now let me give some info on Athens again mostly from wikipedia as would be unfair to tell my story from so many years back.

Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years , and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11C and 7C BC. It was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, and the home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, particularly Ancient Rome.

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments, while its historical urban core features elements of continuity through its millennia of history.  The oldest known human presence in Athens is the Cave of Schist, which has been dated to between the 11C and 7C BC. Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 5,000 years. Athens is built around a number of hills. Lycabettus is one of the tallest hills of the city proper and provides a view of the entire Attica Basin The Cephissus river, the Ilisos and the Eridanos stream are the historical rivers of Athens.

Some of the most interesting areas me think are the Omonoia Square, the oldest square in Athens. It is surrounded by hotels and fast food outlets, and contains a metro station, named Omonia station. Syntagma Square,(Constitution Square), is the capital’s central and largest square, lying adjacent to the Greek Parliament (the former Royal Palace) and the city’s most notable hotels.   At Ermou Street, an approximately one km-long (.6 mile) pedestrian road connecting Syntagma Square to Monastiraki, is a consumer paradise for both locals and tourists.

Plaka, lying just beneath the Acropolis, is famous for its plentiful neoclassical architecture, making up one of the most scenic districts of the city. It remains a prime tourist destination with tavernas, live performances and street salesmen. Nearby Monastiraki, for its part, is known for its string of small shops and markets, as well as its crowded flea market and tavernas specialising in souvlaki. Another district known for its student-crammed, stylish cafés is Theseum or Thission, lying just west of Monastiraki. Thission is home to the ancient Temple of Hephaestus, standing atop a small hill. This area also has a picturesque 11C Byzantine church, as well as a 15C Ottoman mosque. Kolonaki is the area at the base of Lycabettus hill, full of boutiques catering to well-heeled customers by day, and bars and more fashionable restaurants by night, with galleries and museums. This is often regarded as one of the more prestigious areas of the capital. Exarcheia located north of Kolonaki, often regarded as the city’s anarchist scene and as a student quarter with cafés, bars and bookshops. Exarcheia is home to the Athens Polytechnic and the National Archaeological Museum.

The Athens International Airport (ATH), locally Eleftherios Venizelos is located near the town of Spata,some 35 km (22 mi) from Athens. The airport is served by the Metro, the suburban rail, buses to Piraeus port, Athens’ City Center/downtown, Liosion and Kifisos Intercity bus stations and Elliniko metro’s line 2 southern terminal, and also taxis. I came in by Nantes, Roissy CDG and this airport and then took taxi to hotels from which I did my walks except taxi to the restaurant below.

The Athens Metropolitan Area in particular is served by some of the most modern and efficient transport infrastructure in Europe, such as the Athens International Airport, the privately run A6 (Attiki Odos) highway network and the expanded Athens Metro system.

The Athens tourist office

A useful private Athens tourist webpage:

As for the memories of my visit in about 2006 to Athens.

I stayed at the Athenateum IHG hotel with a wonderful experience of pampering and good company. Located within 3 km from the Acropolis and close to Metro stations and the business district of Athens, the Athenaeum Intercontinental features award-winning restaurants, a spa centre and a 24-hour gym. The spacious, elegant rooms include marble bathrooms and a seating area. Featuring wooden furnishings, soft colours and carpets. The restaurant located on the 10th floor, offering spectacular views of the Parthenon and the city of Athens.   The scenic Old Town of Athens, Plaka, is just 1.5 km away. Ermou shopping area is within 2 km. Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is at 23 km.

The IHG on the Athenaeum hotel:

The official Athenaeum hotel webpage:

Other than the hotel facilities ,and some quick snacks on the streets around the hotel, I remember went to a fancy resto recommended by taxi from the hotel. You’ll find Strofi in an old mid-war mansion at the foothills of the Acropolis, in the surrounding and elegant suburb of Thissio. The restois at 25 Rovertou Galli. This is the restaurant I had dinner and with view of the Acropolis with a Greek dance show and on which I received the paperweight of Alexander the Great as souvenir of the visit. I am sure many years ago but believe it was this one. Webpage:

Athens greece medallion paperweight alexander great c2008

There you go folks, I had to have it in my blog for the old times’s sake of my travels and Athens ,Greece was one of them. Hope you enjoy it and do feel free to tell me your stories on Athens and if know the restaurant!

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

July 24, 2021

Giardino Degli Aranci and Parco Savello of Rome!

This was a nice find walking up and up streets we came to this beautiful park garden and love it, we rested here! I am updating this older post of our family visit to Rome. Hope you enjoy the post on the Giardino Degli Aranci  and Parco Savello of Rome!

Ok so this was a dandy I need to tell you more about it. As I told you, we go to a city by plane, car or train and then we walk all over , staying above ground. In my opinion, the best way to see a city and its monuments. No different in Italy and especially Rome. As we walk we came to a high point with great views of the city and a nice story. So with different names but in English, Orange Garden or Giardino Degli Aranci  and Savelo Park or Parco Savello.


The Orange Garden is the name used in Rome to describe the Savello Park. It has a surface area of 7,800 square meters and is located on the Aventin Hill. The Park is famous for offering an excellent view of the city. The garden, as it is today, was designed in 1932. It has been designed to offer the public access to the view on the other side of the Hill, creating a new viewpoint, to be added to the viewpoints already existing in Rome, such as the Pincio and the Janiculum. We were actually in Trastevere and decided to walk towards the Tiber river crossed it a the ponte sublicio going along the river and saw these huge building above us which was actually the Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino (see post) or the Saint Sabine basilica, and right next to it is the parco Savello!


A bit of history I like

The Orange Garden, whose name comes from the many orange trees that grow there, stretches over the area of the ancient fortress built near the Basilica of Santa Sabina by the Savelli family between 1285 and 1287. It was built on an ancient castle built by the Crescentii family in the 10C. The garden is bordered by a wall that surrounds the Castle Savelli and other remains of the castle are still visible. The castle was later given to the order of the Dominicans of Santa Sabina, which transformed it into a monastery, and the small park, in vegetable garden. According to legend, St. Dominic gave the garden his first orange tree, after transporting a graphe from Spain. The legend also tells that Catherine of Siena picked the oranges from this tree, and made candied fruits, which she gave to Pope Urbain VI.  The garden is very symmetrical, with a central avenue aligned with perspective, later named in honor of actor Nino Manfredi. The central square is named after another Roman actor, Fiorenzo Fiorentini, who for several years had led the summer theatrical season in the Savello Park.

The fountain at the entrance is composed of two separate rooms: an antique Roman bath basin, and a monumental marble mask. This mask was originally backed by a fountain built in 1593 for a cattle market (Campo Vaccino) in the center of Rome. The mask has a long history. After the dismantling, in 1816, the fountain of Campo Vaccino, it was recovered and then in 1827 used to decorate a fountain erected on the right bank of the Tiber river. This fountain was demolished in 1890, and the sculpture was kept in a municipal depot before being moved to its current location.

The Rome tourist office on the savello park/garden

Indeed the views of Rome are splendid and worth the detour in your travel plans . Enjoy the oranges and the park (do not eat the oranges lol!) One of the nicest walk you can do in Rome with plenty of architecture, garden and history all around you. Ciao Roma!

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

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July 24, 2021

Church of the Trinity of the Mounts of Rome!

I like again taking advantage of these times of ours to update this older post of a wonderful family visit to Rome. This church is important for the French as well… Let me tell you a bit more on the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts of Rome! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

And now I take you back to the eternal Rome! There are so many old stone to see there with lots of history and architecture features as well. However, I like the open spaces and some special monuments such as the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts. This France in Rome! There are several but I like this one better for its location and feats of faith inside. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok, hope you enjoy it as I do.


The Church of the Trinity of the Mounts or Trinità dei Monti (Ita) or église de la Trinité des Monts (Fr)  is one of the French national churches of Rome. It is located on the Pincio, at the top of the staircase of the trinity of the mount dominating the Spanish Steps and has a world famous façade with its two symmetrical steeples dating back to 1495. In front of this elevation stands an Egyptian obelisk.  In fact, this obelisk originates from the gardens of Sallust and contains pseudo-hieroglyphs carved by the Roman artisans, imitating the obelisk of Augustus of the Circus Maximus; it seems however that the stone block is of Egyptian origin.


A bit of history I like

This convent ensemble was founded by king Charles VIII in 1495 for the benefit of the Minimes, in recognition of the assistance of Saint Francis of Paula who came to Plessis-Lez-Tours to try to heal his father Louis XI. He bought four hectares to build a royal convent and a Gothic-style church from 1502 to 1595.  The order of the Minimes settled there until 1828, with an interruption during the French revolution and the First Empire, before being replaced by the Nuns of the Sacred Heart. The Institute of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart in the Trinity of the Monts was one of the most prestigious girls ‘ establishments in Europe for most of the 20C, where the teaching was entirely in French, and the instruction Christian. They closed the convent, which became mixed in 2006 and were replaced by the Brotherhoods of Jerusalem until 2016.

The Church of the Trinity of the Mounts, long abandoned as a result of the collapse of part of the vault, had been reinstated and restored in 1816 thanks to Count de Blacas, the French ambassador to Italy, by artists from France. This church, like that of the ensemble dedicated to Saint Louis of the French, belongs to the pious establishments of France and Lorette. As such, the management and maintenance of this building are the responsibility of the French State.  In the old gardens of Lucullus, a reception house opened in 1975 to welcome Francophone tourists and pilgrims.  On 25 July 2016, agreements were signed in Rome between the Holy See and the French Republic in order to entrust to the Emmanuel community the management of the domain of the Trinity of the Mounts.

It is in this church, that in 1544, Felipe Neri experienced a mystical experience, that he named his “personal Pentecost” experience that led him to the priesthood and the foundation of the Congregation of the Oratory.

A bit on the interior description.

Since its construction began during the Gothic period, the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts consists of a single nave with seven chapels on each side. Visitors can only visit part of the church because at two-thirds of the nave, a grid rises to limit access to the altar and to several chapels that are reserved for worship.  The chapels are of different styles and are composed of various ornaments. We can observe frescoes and paintings made, for the majority of them, in the 16C. Some, however, are more recent and date from the 19C. Among them, we can underline the frescoes of Naldini on Saint Jean the Baptist, the famous assumption of 1541 by Daniele da Volterra, disciple of Michelangelo, in one of the first chapels, frescoes of the Florentine Perino del Vaga or The monuments Burial of the Orsini Chapel, an important Italian family. I especially recommend you to walk through the chapels and enjoy the art that abound in this church.



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Church of the Trinity of the Mounts webpage:

Welcome center for pilgrims to the Church:

A webpage for French churches in Rome including this Church:

There you go folks, hope again you enjoy it is on a beautiful area of Rome with not only the Piazza di Spagna but the Villa Medici and great views over Rome. A place to visit and a bit of France in Italy!, which was unique for us to see.

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

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July 23, 2021

The Colosseum of Rome !

And why not staying in Rome, well this is awesome. I like to update this older post of our family visit to eternal Rome. We enjoyed the walks all over and when facing the grand Colosseum it was tops. Let me tell you a bit more on it ,and hope you enjoy as I.


Ok so I am moving back to old pretty Italy again and of course to my favorite city there Roma , Rome where all started for many ::) I have written several posts over the years on it and as always touch base on a general nature. I like to bring you a bit more on one of the emblematic monuments of Rome and maybe even Italy; the Colosseum or Colosseo in italian! Much has been written on it elsewhere and everywhere so will give you the basis and the hope you do visit it.  Of course, the history and architecture is the most for me.


The Colosseum originally the Flavian amphitheater, is a huge ovoid amphitheater located in the center of the city of Rome, between the Esquiline and the Caelian, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Its construction, just east of the Roman Forum, began between 70 and 72, under Emperor Vespasian, and ended in 80  under Titus. Further changes were then made during the reign of Domitian 81-96. The name of the amphitheater Flavian derives from the surname of Flavii of Emperor Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian.


It was more likely to accommodate 50 000 spectators , the Colosseum was used for venations (fights of wild animals), the Munera (fights of gladiators) and other public performances, such as executions of condemned to death, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas based on Roman mythology. It remained in service for nearly 500 years, the last games extending to the 6C.   The Colosseum continues to give the measure of the ancient power of imperial Rome. Today it is one of the symbols of modern Rome, one of its most popular tourist attractions.


After the Great fire of Rome in 64, Nero built a sumptuous palace. Having seized land at the bottom of a low valley at the bottom of which ran a channeled stream, between the Caelian, the Esquiline and the Palatine, he built the magnificent Domus Aurea. In front of pavilions, gardens, and porticoes, he created an artificial lake and placed Nero’s colossus palace not far from the entrance to the estate. The pre-existing aqueduct of the Aqua Claudia was extended for the water supply of this area. The lake was filled and the land reused for the construction of the new Flavian Amphitheater which was destined to replace the amphitheater of Statilius Taurus totally ravaged during the great fire of Rome.


In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV decided that the official policy of the Church would be to make the Colosseum the sacred place where the first Christians were martyred. He forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry, and consecrated the edifice to the Passion of Christ and set up a Way of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who perished there. Today, still has close ties with the Roman Catholic Church as on every Good Friday, the Pope leads a procession to the torches on a way of the cross culminating in the amphitheater. In 2001, a museum dedicated to Eros is located on the upper floor of the building. A part of the floor of the arena is reconstituted in the same year.

Inside the Colosseum there is the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà al Colosseo which is a place of Catholic worship. Small in size, it is inserted in one of the arcades of the Flavian Amphitheater and was probably built between the 6C and the 7C, although the first certain information about its existence dates back to the 14C. This church has always been a place of worship in memory of the Christian martyrs who lost their lives inside the Colosseum; it was frequented by many Saints, notably Ignatius of Loyola, Felipe Neri and Camille de Lellis.


Under the French first empire, the façade was reinforced by bricks in 1807 and 1827, with Napoleon I having employed the army in the restoration and excavation of the main monuments of Rome from 1811 to 1814. Following the occupation of Rome, in the second empire Napoleon III continued the restoration and excavation work.  In 1995, the Colosseum started a restoration site, the most important since 1836, whose objective was to reduce the number of fragments of the monument detaching and to open 85% of the monument to the public against 15% in 1995.  Work finally started in 2013, and after a 33-month facelift, during which the travertine façade was hosed with a fine water spray, the symbol of Rome ,if not of Italy gleams creamy white by day and even flushes pink as the sun sets.

Some webpages to help plan your trip here are:

The Rome tourist ofice on the Colosseum

The Lazio region tourist office on the Colosseum

The official webpage of the Colosseum

There you go folks,now you have a bit more on this wonderful monument , and I feel better for the credit to this wonderful monument of Rome, the Colosseum. Hope you have enjoyed it and do visit if not done so by now.

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

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July 23, 2021

Some news from Spain CVII

And why not my other love in my dear Spain. Well things there are a bit strained due to the covid19 with worries in Barcelona and Burgos as per govt figures here: The weather hotter in Madrid high of 34C today sunny with some clouds, along the coast will be hotter! Now let me tell you some news from Spain in my 107th post, thanks for reading it!

This summer the pilgrims return to the oldest and most trodden route in Europe. After a few months in silence, the Camino de Santiago is in celebration for being the Holy Year, also extended until the end of 2022 due to the pandemic. But the Compostela experience has been digitized and the pilgrim will find many novelties. These are some of them.

Pilgrims who cannot live without their cellular/mobile already have an app that allows them to certify their pilgrimage and obtain the credential in digital version. They will only have to scan the QR codes that they find on their way at the different points of the itinerary. La Compostela is granted only to those who make the pilgrimage to the Apostle’s tomb, making at least the last 100 kilometers on foot or on horseback, the last 200 kilometers by bicycle or 100 nautical miles, ending the rest of the Way from the port on foot. Disembarkation.

An escape room to test the pilgrim’s ingenuity. The famous escapism games help walkers and their neighbors to learn about the history, heritage and towns of the route, through tests, clues and riddles. Baptized as The Escape Way, the initiative also has elements of traditional yincanas and geocaching. After opening in Astorga (León), urban escape rooms will be available in a handful of towns on the Camino Francés (French Way): Arrés (Huesca), Los Arcos (Navarra), Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja), Belorado (Burgos) and Palas de Rei (Lugo). Webpage:

Based on this premise, a credential has been created that can be downloaded on the Camino Lebaniego website and that offers pilgrims to add stamps in the affiliated establishments to win products and stays based on indigenous gastronomy and foods, historically linked to the pilgrim tradition. . Webpage:

Due to the current difficulties created by the covid19, the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago updates the open shelters on its website every week. In addition, another novelty this year is Albergue LoT, a tool that reflects in real time the available places in these accommodations. amcsantiago webpage:

And Albergue LoT webpage:

On the occasion of the celebration of the Jacobean Year (Holy year) and within the framework of the commemoration acts of the VIII Centenary of the Cathedral, this year a special edition of The Ages of Man is being held. Under the title of LUX, which refers to the light inherent in Gothic cathedrals, the exhibition takes place in the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León and has five exhibition venues: the Burgos Cathedral, the Churches of Santiago and Santa María del Camino, in Carrión de los Condes and the sanctuary of La Peregrina and the Church of San Tirso, in Sahagún. The exhibition addresses the origin and meaning of cathedrals and has as its common thread the figure of the Virgin Mary, a constant presence in so many cathedrals, churches, hermitages and monasteries that mark the Way. Webpage:

This Jacobean has invested more time and imagination than ever in climbing the path to the 21st century. The Xunta’s Safe Passage program also includes measures such as capacity limitations and Covid insurance to cover the expenses derived from a possible contagion during the visit to Galicia.

Let me tell show you the way to Avilés, the city where the founder of St Augustine in Florida USA (oldest city in USA 1565) was from Pedro Menéndez de Avilés!

Avilés is the third city in Asturias in terms of inhabitants after Gijón and Oviedo and has one of the best preserved old quarters in the Principality, declared in part a Historic-Artistic Site, as well as an interesting commercial past with still visible examples such as its medieval market of Mondays, which continues to be celebrated in the Plaza de los Hermanos Orbón since the Catholic Monarchs themselves allowed it in 1479. The Brazilian architect Óscar Niemeyer, responsible for the center that bears his name (Centro Niemeyer), which was inaugurated on the edge of the estuary just one year before his death in 2012 at the age of 104. It is also the only building of his in Spain and “his best work of him in all Europe”, as he himself said. The follower of Le Corbusier gave the project to the city on the 25th anniversary of the Príncipes de Asturias Awards after he himself received it in the field of the arts in 1989.

Both Woody Allen and Brad Pitt stayed in the best suite at the NH Collection Palacio de Avilés, a 17C building owned by the Marquis of Ferrera. That was what it was called until it was transformed in 2003 into a five-star hotel with 78 rooms, a monumental spiral staircase made of marble and mahogany and original furniture from the 16C. We must mention its French garden, in which Woody Allen shot several scenes of Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona in 2008. In the culinary section, the Sunday brunch at La Capilla restaurant stands out, with northern specialties.

The Calle Galeana street, famous for its arcades, and in the heart of Plaza de España, an area known as El Parche since the 19C. With the hotel starts the route of palaces through the center such as those of Valdecarzana, Camposagrado or Balsera, current headquarters respectively of the Municipal Archive, the School of Art or the Conservatory of Music.  The Valdés Theater, one of the buildings with the best acoustics in Spain. Its inauguration at the beginning of the 20C confirmed the cultural interest of the town, for which it is known as the Athens of the North. You can see in Avilés  the workshop of the luthier Roberto Jardón Rico ( Calle Domingo Álvarez Acebal, 4), one of the most prominent in Spain. There he makes violins for clients like artist Ara Malikian with a two-and-a-half-year waiting list. “We work with highly selected wood and own-made varnishes using natural resins, like centuries ago, so we can only make four or five a year, “he says surrounded by jewels like that Klingenthal cello from 1760 or that 1860 Mattias Neuner viola. The tour of Avilés ends in the medieval fishing district of Sabugo and the marina, once separated from the walled area by the estuary through a wooden bridge. This was where the burly whaling sailors lived, of which the local Avilesinos were also an institution.

It is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Spain, and also one of the most famous among those who visit our country. We are talking about tapas, which has become an everyday thing, a way of life, of socializing and enjoying gastronomy. This art, proposed to be Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, is mandatory especially in some cities, which have entire streets and neighborhoods full of establishments in which the pincho is king. Holidu, the vacation rental search engine, has just published a study to establish which ones are the best to go for tapas. Of course most in Andalucia from where the idea originated. The cities of Sevilla, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Cadiz, Malaga, Salamanca, Toledo, Almeria, La Coruña , and Pontevedra are tops as big cities goes.

In this return to the origins, Cruzcampo returns to rescue his roots in the same place where, in 1904, it brewed its beers for the first time. A venue full of history where Factoría Cruzcampo is now located, a renovated cultural space in Sevilla in which innovation and experimentation are the mantra of its young brewers Juan and Irene. In addition to tasting the seven craft beers that are made here, those who come to Factoría Cruzcampo can carry out a series of beer experiences, which include guided tours with blind tastings or tasting of pairings. Some words that implies Spanish way of life are arrejuntarse or getting together is synonymous with spending time in the company of family or friends, but it also implies joy and gratitude for being with those we love. It goes with the word fetén ,  pronounced when a meal is good or when we have a memorable moment. Not to mention duende or elf, that power that is born from within us in an almost magical way, that turns our emotions into forms of expression and that makes our creations come alive. Arrejuntarse, fetén and duende are three words with roots, character and, above all, a lot of accent, because they are closely linked to our way of being. Along with arte or art, fiera or beast, jaleo or fuss, flama,or flame, coraje or courage, pellizco or pinch, poderío or power, ojalá or hopefully and reliarse or reliance .Six young Andalusian artists have illustrated these words and used Cruzcampo’s most powerful beer bottles and cans as canvas: Cruzcampo Especial.

The Ribera de Curtidores is always a brilliant idea, but it might be best to avoid the late hours of the morning so you don’t die trying to find a nice heirloom at a good price. But they are right. Madrid in summer is transformed. For good. The festivities of San Cayetano, San Lorenzo and the Virgen de la Paloma in August are a summer gift, although the health situation does not allow the crowds characteristic of such celebrations. Even so, in the middle of the walks through the streets of La Latina reaching Plaza del Alamillo, going up Calle de la Morería until reaching Calle Bailén, crossing Caños Viejos , you can see the Almudena Cathedral. In search of a better view of the Cathedral, descending the stairs of the Segovia Viaduct and crossing the street of the same name, the heated passerby comes face-to-face with what will be his best discovery to date. The Emir Mohamed I park where, camouflaged among the infinite cultural offer of Madrid, the Arab Wall of the city has stood for centuries. There it is. An escape with more than 1,100 years of history. To this wall, from which new finds have been discovered over the years – as following the excavations of the 50s in the Cuesta de la Vega –, the legend of the nickname of ‘cat’ is also attributed to the people of Madrid . Already in the 11C, with the troops of King Alfonso VI waiting on the outskirts of Mayrit to conquer said Arab territory, a Castilian soldier scaled the wall – with the agility of a cat – raising the Christian flag over it. From its initial feat, the city became part of the Kingdom of Castile. It is said that since then the citizens of Madrid adopted this peculiar term. In the enclosure the fortress and the almudayna stood out, built between 850 and 886. The walled Madrid, although later a large part of the population settled in the suburbs. Today, it is the neoclassical Royal Palace that rests on the foundations of Arab origins. The same happens with the main mosque of which there are no vestiges as such, but there are remains of the Church of Santa María, built a posteriori on the Muslim temple and located between Calle Mayor and Calle Bailén. Although there are other stone footprints that reveal the Muslim passage through the city – such as the Watchtower in the parking of the Plaza de Oriente , the fortified wall is the greatest cultural expression of the Andalusian period in Madrid. And the heat is carried in another way: because it is already eight in the afternoon and because if a wall has withstood the pains and glories of the city that does not sleep for more than 10 centuries, it will be bad to endure a hot summer in Madrid. Perhaps the opinion that the capital in summer is a jewel is not unfortunate and the problem lies in not knowing where to look. As the designer Óscar Mariné used to say in times of the Movida, Madrid Me Mata. Or Madrid kills me, yes Summer are great we have tested several times!!

And Picasso finally hangs in the Prado, the museum of which he was appointed director on September 19, 1936. Although he accepted the appointment, he would never take formal possession of the position. He is in room 9B of the Villanueva building, where he shows’ Bust of a woman 43 ‘(painted in a single day, on October 7, 1943, in his studio on rue des Grands-Augustins in Paris, where he painted the’ Guernica ‘).This is a five-year loan, made by the American Friends of the Prado Museum, to which the Aramont Art Collection of the Arango Montull family has donated. After five years, it is expected that, as with Velázquez’s ‘Portrait of Felipe III’, it will end up being donated to the Prado. Bust of a woman 43 is a sample of Picasso’s response to the violence of World War II. In many of the female images painted in this period, the artist deformed the features of the figures in a radical way.

Picasso couldn’t be in better company. On one side, Velázquez and his ‘Bufón Calabacillas’. It was one of the two paintings that Picasso copied, at age 14, in his notebook during his first visit to the Prado in 1895 (the other was ‘Francisco Lezcano, the boy from Vallecas’). The drawings, made in lead pencil, are in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. On the other side, a group of portraits by El Greco: ‘The gentleman with his hand on his chest’, ‘Jerónimo de Cevallos’, ‘Portrait of a young gentleman’, ‘Old gentleman’ … In the room, in addition to the splendid paintings by El Greco for the altarpiece of Doña María de Aragón, there is a nod to the donors of Picasso, ‘El Calvario’ by Luis Tristán is exhibited, which he donated to the Plácido Arango museum, who he was president of the Board of Trustees of the art gallery. In 1897 Picasso registered in the Prado copyists’ book to study the work of Velázquez. That year he also copied ‘The Annunciation’ by Murillo and a Venus by Titian. Picasso used to say that Velázquez “is first class” and El Greco “has magnificent heads.” Prado webpage:

There you go folks, some news of my dear Spain. Hope you enjoy the readings, and serve for ideas for a future visit as I do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 23, 2021

Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Buen Retiro of Madrid!!!

And this one is a dandy to update for you and me me me! It reminds me of so much of good memories from a boy to a men and marriage ,and fatherhood. It is impossible for me to visit Madrid without stopping here, and it is very difficult for me to visit Spain ,and not Madrid! Madrid to heaven and a hole on the sky to look down on it everyday!!! Let me tell you a bit more on the Crystal Palace of Madrid or the Palacio de Cristal de Madrid en el Parque del Buen Retiro!!!

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal arriving may16

So why not tell of the other palace in the Retiro park of my beloved Madrid! There is so much on this park alone to make a couple days in my Madrid! We love it, family love it ,and I am in love since teen years living there; a must for me to visit and of course will be yours too if see it.  I have written a lot of posts on my Madrid in my blog, but seldom a single post on this Crystal Palace ,done similar to the one in London. It deserves a single entry on its owns merits. Therefore, here is my contribution to the Palacio de Cristal of Madrid!

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal front may16

The Palacio de Cristal  is a metal and crystal structure located in the Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) of Madrid. It was built in 1887 on the occasion of the exhibition of the Philippine Islands, held that same year. The majestic structure of 22 meters high opened its doors!. It was the first non industrial building of its genre that saw the day in Spain. Nowdays, contemporary art exhibitions are currently held.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal inside main hall may16

It was built inspired by the Crystal Palace, erected in London in 1851.  The structure is metal, and is completely covered by glass plates, hence its name. The ceramic decoration used in small friezes and finials highlight the figures of grotesques with heads of mallards. The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 meters high.

At its feet is an artificial lake and there is a staircase that is immersed inside it, where you can find several specimens of Cypress marsh trees, whose main characteristic is that part of its trunk and its roots are under water. The building is surrounded by  chestnuts trees. The Lake contains ducks. geese, black swans and terrapins, who will swim close to the steps, or you can hire boats on the lake for a closer view. It has a surface area of 2,900 m2 and a water volume of 3,480 m3. The spout reaches a height of 17 meters.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal lake frt may16

On May 10, 1936, the Palacio de Cristal in the Retiro park was the scene in which Manuel Azaña was elected as President of the Republic. The courts had remained small to host the mixed assembly of Deputies and Commissioners and the Crystal Palace was chosen for voting and inauguration of  Azaña, the only candidate! Nowadays, it is part of the Reina Sofía Museum, and in its interior there are exhibitions of contemporary art.

madrid retiro park palacio de cristal boat may16

Located at the Paseo Républica de Cuba ,inside the Retiro park. Go there by Metro lines 1 Atocha, Line 9 Ibiza, and line 2 Retiro. Also , Renfe-Atocha trains and bus lines 2, 20, 26 , 61. Check for schedules as after the pandemic things might have change.

The Madrid tourist office on the Palacio de Cristal

The Reina Sofia Museum on outbuildings such as the Palacio de Cristal:

There you go folks, the enormous beautiful Retiro park of my beloved Madrid.  And the gorgeous Palacio de Cristal, can’t beat this combination ! Enjoy it as we always do!

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

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