Archive for ‘Florida’

December 8, 2017

My Florida , always wonderful memories!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Havana

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June 3, 2017

The State of Sao Paulo, this is a new spot in my map: Vinhedo

And this was the end of my twirling tour of inner inland country Brazil last month. I have been to many small towns some just passing and not mention but worth it of a great tour to know the country first hand. I have been many times to Brazil over the year and lived for 6 months in Curitiba in Paranà State, but each time coming back is a wonderful adventure of great thrills, good food, natural beauty ,and beautiful people in and out.

I rode up to Vinhedo in the State of Sao Paulo  ,and part of the municipality of Campinas ,and just 75 km (about 46 miles)  from Sao Paulo.  I came by the main road or Rodovia Anhanguera SP-330.  The days were rainy but did not stop enjoying the place. The tourist info ,history , and grape festival info on the town is here in Portuguese:

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/pontos-turisticos/

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/historico-da-cidade/

http://www.vinhedo.sp.gov.br/cultura-e-turismo/festas-da-uva-e-do-vinho/

I did not have time to see all in the town but the main points are the Parque Municipal Jayme Ferragut, where the famous Grape Festival is held and the Aquatic park.  The main Church of Saint Ana in city center; The Christ Redemptor statue overlooking the city, the monastery of Sao Bento; and the Adega or Bodega or Wine Estate of Ferragut, where grape juice, season fruits, visit to grape plantation and production of wine and juice is shown with tastings. I believe these are the main ones, and I visited most.

First, I stayed at the wonderful spacious , friendly, good food, and great pool/gym facilities in the Vinhedo Plaza Hotel, centrally located walking to many goodies indeed! The hotel webpage is here: http://vinhedoplazahotel.com.br/en/

I had time to have my breakfasts here and the buffet is very good at the hotel Gala Restaurant.

I ,also, had the time to meet up with a friend and had lunch with his family at a local newer restaurant call Q Maria. The family owners has been here for over 40 yrs offering a fruit and vegetable market and recently decided to open a Japanese/Brazilian restaurant next door, which we visited. The service of course was very friendly as already knew my friend, and the food delicious with a topping of cheese over a fish in a caramel sauce that was to kill for. The wine was from Chile Taparaca and was allowed to bring the bottle in with a cork fee! the whole afternoon was very nice and a chance to speak my Portuguese with local folks in a chatting friendly environment. Memorable indeed. The resto is here in Portuguese. http://www.ciceronevinhedo.com.br/artigo/q-maria-restaurante-e-sushi-e-a-nova-opcao-de-culinaria-japonesa-

Their Facebook page is here too : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quitanda-Da-Maria/694145327275442

I did had time to pass the main Church of Santa Ana in downtown/city center,  a wonderful façade indeed. Parrish webpage in Portuguese here: http://www.paroquiasantanavinhedo.com.br/paroquia/

I went up a wonderful family park where the mirador or lookout Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)  sits with wonderful views of the city below. It has a permanent collection of Msgr Favorino a very dear priest, and has playground, lunch truck, acoustic shell for concerts and parking.

The expo park and where the great Grape Festival is held, and during my visit an expo on Japanese manga was going on with visitors from that country. The name is Parque Municipal Jayme Ferragut, with an area of 92K m2 and has a gym sports center, artificial lake, walkers trails, picnic areas, water fountain Bica do Boi, skate court, municipal aquatic park, and more!

Next we went up to the monastery of Sao Bento or Saint Benedict  . In 1958 the monks chose Vinhedo to stay and built the place in an uniquely modern fashion. It is a place of pilgrimage in a natural environment where the monks do all the upkeep. You can participate in Gregorian mass and obtain the famous medallions of Sao Bento and many other souvenirs. As a retirement house, the monastery offers the house or Casa Siloé with a complete infrastructure for lodgings in a natural environment proper of relaxation and meditation. More on the official site here: http://www.catolicismoromano.com.br/content/view/1678/42/

They ,also ,have a Facebook page for the Friends of Sao Bento monastery here: https://www.facebook.com/MosteiroVinhedo/

The city has great gates to enter similar to those found in some European cities, and it looks great. I was told many Italians immigrants settled here as well; one reason for the blend of the Italian flag with that of Vinhedo area on the gates entrance.

On my own I set foot all over the city wandering on its beautiful houses and clean streets, finally guided by my own instincts settled for lunch on one of the days there in the Taverna do Chef Nico, and what a find it was! This is classic Brazilian/Italian  home ranch restaurant with many local families and great friendly service including my server who is feature in one of the photos. I have my penne four cheeses here with a great Chilean wine, coffee to end divine a must for next time ,and even my local friend told me it was a good try to meet me there but tight up with visiting family members that I later hook up in the Q Maria resto. The place is recommended more here: http://www.pagefree.net/taverna-do-chef-nico-cucina-siciliana

In all a fitting finale for another wonderful trip to Brazil, now looking forward to the next one next year::) in the meantime, savor the pictures with me and the thrills of been able to visit often this wonderful country. Cheers

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June 2, 2017

The State of Sao Paulo, new places: Cravinhos, and Franca !!!

Back on the road in Brazil, and coming to meet new cities and new ambiances in the country of the State of Sao Paulo. See previous posts for the tourist office of the State.

Cravinhos is in the metro area of Ribeirao Preto and in the State of Sao Paulo, inland in the countryside.  The name of the city comes from the flower Cravina, and the road we took was the SP-330.

The red dirt on the land here was a magnet from families from as far as Rio de Janeiro to settled here and cultivate the coffee of wonderful aroma we can see and taste today. More from the Mayor’s city page in Portuguese here: http://www.cravinhos.sp.gov.br/cidade/conteudo/historia-da-cidade

Passing visiting the real countryside and mingling with the locals I stayed at the nice city hotel  Onyx Inn Hotel right off the road or Rodovia Anhaguera -SP-330 exit 295.  The hotel arriving at night was nice spacious friendly and a good restaurant for a bountiful breakfast. More here:  http://www.onixinnhoteis.com.br/destaques/0/4641/cravinhos

From here we continue almost to the Minas Gerais State line and visit the wonderful town of Franca with its great artificial lake.  A town on the gold rush and founded in 1816 by King Joao VI. Now with a large influence of Italian immigrants the city is know for its shoes making.

We came to Franca on the  road SP-334 named Candido Portinari road.  The mayor’s office with the history of the town in Portuguese here: http://www.franca.sp.gov.br/portal/historia-franca.html

In Franca, we went straight for the artificial lake beach rather nice and now empty but in season it is packed. We had lunch at the Restaurante Barraçao right across from the lake beach.  We had the buffet all you can eat churrasqueria with plenty of meats and a nice brahma beer to boot, just lazy living the best, if I can only be retired lol! More on the restaurant at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rest.barracao/

The town also has a nice park with benches and full of shops and restaurants around it .However, the thing here is to head for the beach and just laid low; this is inland Sao Paulo State nothing to do with the city of the same name ::)

We continue onwards to visit another first time city, coming up for the finale; be good and safe travels. Cheers

Cravinhos Cravinhos Cravinhos Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca  Franca

May 30, 2017

The medieval wonderful Krakow Poland or Cracovie Pologne!

I heard about Krakow from a group of travelers once, and almost made it, but decided  elsewhere. Too bad ,but that is the art of travel, never enough time. You never know where you will be next, and after over 40 years of doing so and 79 countries, visiting one more is always an exciting moment indeed. The food was great with a wonderful quality/price ratio to envy.

This was the case of Krakow, Poland or Cracovie, Pologne, this past mid May 2017.  I was there for a short 4 days but enough to make it one destination to dream of come back to it. Krakow is nice, more on the tourist sites here:

http://www.krakow.pl/english/visit_krakow/2601,glowna.html

http://visitkrakow.com/

http://www.krakow-info.com/information.htm

http://www.staypoland.com/about_krakow.htm

My stay consisted of arriving at Krakow airport and taken a taxi to the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/

http://www.sheratongrandkrakow.com/

While there had time off to see the main areas of the city in the old town. Krakow is compact and very nice indeed in the center.

The main thing is not to missed the Wawel castle, which I did as the tour would have taken too long for my time and on a first visit wanted to touch as many places as possible to better understand the city and hopefully be back for in depth look later on with the family. The castle is wonderful bordering the Vistula river or wisla. Again, plan to see it, the major place to see here. More on the castle here: http://www.wawel.krakow.pl/en/

In the Saint Mary Madeleine square where the existence dates from 1257 ; see the imposing façade of the Church of St Peter and Saint Paul as well as the statue of abbot Piotr Skarga the principal representative of the counter reformation in Poland, writer and preacher in the court of king Sigismond III Vasa ; Piotr Skarga is resting in the Church. The Church itself was built between 1597 and 1619 in baroque style, and it has the 12 apostles statues outside dating from the 18C.

There are many wonderful historical Churches and Monasteries  in and around Krakow, the renown town of Pope John Paul II (Saint John Paul II since 2014);such as the Wawel Cathedral, Corpus Christi, St Mary’s Basilica ,and many to name here. It certainly will take you more than 4 days to see them all ::)

The Wawel Cathedral and the museum of John Paul II are another must to see here time permitting. The museum info is here : http://www.museums.krakow.travel/en/muzea/id,243,title,the-cathedral-museum.html

and the Cathedral site is here: http://www.katedra-wawelska.pl/en/

The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is another must see right in the main Grand square or Rynek Glowny. wonderful line up of paintings and gorgeous architecture again for more time on it. More here: http://mnk.pl/branch/gallery-of-the-19th-century-polish-art-the-sukiennice-the-cloth-hall

There are wonderful horse drawn carriages in the city center with beautiful mounts and decorated , a nice ride in the city to make up time for it. Much more info here in English: http://guide-krakow.com/krakow-from-the-horse-drawn-carriage/

the bustle and hustle of Mariacki Square is wonderful with great ambiance, there were demonstrations of all kinds very peaceful and colorful even in the rain when I was there.

The St Mary’s Basilica is another gem to visit while in the city. Goes back to 1222 and many historical moments of the city took place here ; more here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/instcbi/36882,inst,12407,1241,instcbi.html

You can take a look at St Andrew’s Church, from the 11C with Romanesque architecture, Baroque interior of the 17C.  More here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/instcbi/18303,inst,12708,1381,instcbi.html

There is a wonderful Town Hall Tower in the middle of Rynek Glowny or Grand Square. 70 meters high tower leaning 55 cm due to strong winds in a 1703 Storm. Built of stone and brick at end of 13C with the first mechanical clock done in 1524. A wonderful unique site ;more here: http://www.krakow-info.com/tower.htm

The Holy Trinity Church and Monastery is another nice place to visit and it looks good surrounded by quaint streets of great ambiance. More here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/6293,artykul,church_of_the_holy_trinity_and_dominican_monastery_.html

Of course food and drinks are my main points in any city and did have time to try some such as:*

The Biala Roza Restaurant; this is a traditional Polish restaurant of great renown in the city and the food was fantastic. Smoked pork  fatback, Duck breast, and Strawberries macaroons with red wine from the Loire of France! sublime. A must for a nice dinner for two or even the whole family. More here:  http://www.restauracjabialaroza.pl/en/restauracja/

Then, for lunch I went for the classic international of Hard Rock Café in the Grand square corner with Market(Mariacki)  Square ,where the classic rock posters and paintings couple with a great burger and huge jar of beer was the setting for longer walks in the city lol! Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger, and the local Polish beer of  Zywiec. More here: http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/krakow/

I did try the Sheraton hotel Taras terrace top floor city view place and the Olive Restaurant that are good on a rainy day in the hotel as I was; the grilled Polish beef tenderloins are good deal and more great well this time try the Valpolicella Italian red wine ,not bad… More here: http://www.theolive.sheraton.pl/en

the top roof terrace is here: http://www.taras-loungebar.pl/en

This was great at the top and wonderful views . To top it off, another night went to a delightful wonderful friendly place I will be back; this is the Pod Nosem restaurant.  This is at the ground floor of the hotel  Kanonicza 22. It is an old vault cellar with a twisted stair to dine above,and then you can come down to the cellar below ,where there is a glass floor you can see it from your table. At the cellar there are goodies to drink of the best of Poland; again will be back .  Here I had the  Lamb Chump with young cabbage and potato puree, the local dessert Pavlova with Strawberries and Tokaj Szamorodni, and coffee expresso., all wash down with Polish red wine cannot recall the name…. More here: http://www.kanonicza22.com/en/restauracja-3

In all a wonderful introduction to a new city in Europe and one that will be remembered for a long time. Enjoy Krakow or Cracovie in Poland or Pologne. Cheers

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May 30, 2017

The trip: Poland and Brazil, Europe and America

Well I am back ,rather than start telling you about the places visited, let me tell you about the trip itself. To say the least, it has been my worse logistically incredible trip ever. To say, been traveling for over 40 years since very young, and to all kinds of continents and countries, cities etc.  This one tops it all. Ok, I have read of others similar situations and maybe mine is not too bad after all, but for me, individual experience it was horrible.

The going was easier, my father took me to the train station in Auray and took the TER train to Nantes changing trains in Redon (see passing hotel de ville city hall ) for Nantes. At the train station of Nantes took the navette airport bus to the airport of Nantes.  This service I have to say taken it many times and it is wonderful at only 8,50€ the transfer. More here:http://www.nantes.aeroport.fr/acces/navettes

Arriving a day earlier to catch my very early flight to Krakow I stayed in a familiar hotel the Escales Oceania hotel at Nantes airport ,very good deal ;more here: http://www.oceaniahotels.co.uk/promo-special-offer/early-booking/hotel-escale-oceania-nantes-aeroport

At NTE airport (Nantes)  took an Air France flight to Paris CDG. The connection at CDG was done ok,and took my flight on Easyjet to Krakow Poland;all ok. This taking the easy CDGVAL train that goes from T1 to T3 at Paris CDG and parking spaces as Roissypole train/bus  hub. I took a taxi to my hotel the Sheraton Grand Krakow.

airport: http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/

Hotel : http://www.sheratongrandkrakow.com/

As needed to go on towards Brazil, the flight at Krakow on an  Easyjet flight back to Paris CDG ok. Then, took the LATAM airline flight to Sao Paulo airport at Guarulhos in Brazil. All ok

The rides in familiar territory like Sao Paulo State was wonderful and the visit to some old and new places great again in pretty Brazil in country better indeed. The people,the food ,the natural sites are wonderful and even a lake beach; very popular with locals, stay tune for more later. I did venture again into the Minas Gerais State as well and the same wonderful experiences in old territories.

The problem was on the return home from Brazil.

I was to take a flight on LATAM from Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport to Paris CDG at 22h35 or 10:35 pm. This flight for operational reasons not well explained was postponed to leaving from 03h00 or 3am!!! I needed to wait at the Sao Paulo airport for 6 hrs!! too long for my tastes.

As this initial flight was delayed operationally as said, all other flights had to be postponed as well. I arrive at Paris CDG airport at Saturday 19h10 or 7:10pm; here had change of flights from the original leaving of 17H to one leaving at 21h35 or 9:35pm arriving at Nantes on Air France by 22h45 or 10:45pm.

A car rental on Europcar was to be waited for me with the keys at the train station of Nantes Mercure centre gare hotel as the normal hours of Europcar closed at 18h15!! A great service for a train station car rental agency!!!

Once all the paperwork was done with my travel agency.  Still at the Paris CDG airport trying to get the flight to Nantes I received a call from an Europcar agent that they did not received a copy of my driving license for the car , therefore, could not be protected!!! Apparently, my travel agency did not confirm the copy of my driving license was sent or Europcar decided to rent out the car more profitably to someone else!!!

At that time, already almost 11pm, calling the night service of my travel agency FMC, got a hold of an agent who told me all cars were taken as it was the Ascension weekend in France as well as Sunday been Mother’s Day here!!! (Sunday May 28th) lol!  The very same scenario tried to beat out on my taken earlier flights!

I took upon myself to stay the night in Nantes and ask for a train ride back home on Sunday! So I booked myself the Hotel du Grand Monarque in Nantes right across from the Church of Saint Clément. Written several post on Nantes and its monument on my blog.

I took the hotel because saw it quaint and small cozy in a nice good ambiance street of rue Maréchal Joffre. However it has not AC, no elevators/lifts and the room available was in the 4th floor which actually was the attic of the hotel! small don’t ask!!! Not recommended, even if the chain Inter-Hotel is:more on this hotel here: https://en.inter-hotel.com/hotel/western-loire/nantes/du-grand-monarque

I had time in the morning to go for lunch to my fix hub across the train station of Nantes in the Café des Plantes for a nice Andouille steak, café gourmand and nice cold grimbergen blonde beer. This is a busy place at lunch always but never a problem sitting down for lunch ; more here:http://www.cafe-des-plantes.fr/

My return home was finally booked at the next available train Sunday 15h20 or 3:20pm from the train station of Nantes to Auray where again my old reliable father was waiting with my oldest son. I arrive at Auray at 16h44 and home by 17h30 Sunday May 28th!!! Mother’s Day restaurant had to wait for Monday….!

So there you have the adventures of pedmar10 one of a kind for me; as the consolation, there is always a first ::)

Enjoy the trip later pictures and this post, Poland was a first,and wonderful.  Brazil an umpteen times but always great to be back. Tomorrow back to work …………….but then another 3 day weekend forthcoming…..on my belle France!!!

Cheers y’all.

Auray Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Paris Paris Paris Redon

 

 

 

March 26, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan ,XXXI

We had a bit cloudy Sunday here with temps in the 14C or about 65F range; bit windy and cool ,but a great day to find out about an old sport played when teen and now here.

I look at my old sports that is Baseball, and looking at the team I knew in France the Huskies de Rouen went into the French federation and found the ligue de Bretagne ! oh well baseball here in Brittany wow! More about them here: http://www.rouenbaseball76.com/

The French baseball and Softball federation webpage is here: https://ffbs.fr/#softball

Looking further into the Ligue de Bretagne, I was surprise to hear that there are about 15 teams in Brittany , many without fields so they share. More about it here in French: http://bzhbaseball.com/

The page on the teams is here: http://bzhbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87:les-clubs-de-la-ligue&catid=42:slide-show

And surprise there is a team in Grand Champ ,which is only about 11kms from me,and I pass by it everyday to work! So contacted the team , got a hold of one guy, and voilà training was this afternoon at 14h30 and I was there with the entire family. This is the Gregams Griffons. Gregam Breton language in French is Grand Champ or big field or campo grande in Spanish.

The team webpage is here in French : http://www.gregam-baseball.com/

So, we went by the field next to the water tower or chateau d’eau , this is Queneach Guen field.

There was a practice day between the team of Grand Champ and Quimper, that as Quimper has no field they are joining together to hold as one team for now.

There were quite a few enough to make two teams and more, with one referee. They went thru their excersise and warmups and then some batting and fielding session, before getting to play a game on both sides. Quite interesting to see folks here play the sport even in rudimentary fashion.

I was surprise to see Italian and even Cuban here on the team , who ,also serves as coach. Quite an interesting afternoon , and I will check them out again. I have some of my kids old gloves, balls,and bats that will give as they also have an U12 (under 12 yrs old) and U15 (under 15 yrs old) teams and a softball team too.

You never know what you can find in Brittany, and Baseball is certainly one big nice surprise. Something to get involved with in the future.

Enjoy baseball in the Morbihan Breton; cheers and have a great Sunday.

PS. A bit as to why I like baseball, well born in Cuba, our national sport, play in under 15 teams even if was 10, all select all stars of Havana province; left as Spanish to Spain,and there played for the Real Madrid organization in Elipa park on the Madrid junior league with 8 teams; left that for New Jersey USA and played in freshman Perth Amboy High School team and then, Babe Ruth World Series Chicken Delight team reaching finals; also played softball intramural in the University in Florida. The sport stop after high school really, playing it, but following my NY Yankees has continue to this day.

Grand Champ Grand Champ Grand Champ Grand Champ Grand Champ

 

 

 

 

January 30, 2017

An oldie but goodie beach volleyball back in Florida

Well just cruising on my photo albums I gather a photo of my earlier days as a beach bum in Florida’s beaches and playing that sport call Beach Volleyball.

Now an Olympic sport in its two tandem teams we used to play it also, as a regular 6×6 only on sand.  The association for it is here: http://www.fivb.org/EN/beachvolleyball/

Back in Broward county is where I began to play as an organize team event even if had played before in Volusia county.  I am going way back folks maybe 1998-2003.

Some of the rules are still the same today only we not only played 2×2 but also 3×3 and more regularly 6×6. These rules are : the terrain measure 16 by 8 meters, the net is in the middle at a height of 2,43 meters. The ball is play sending the ball on the two ways with the first two match played to 21 points and if a decisive third is needed we go to 15 points; needing two point difference to win the match if it goes beyond 15 points.

The team need to change side every 7 points and each team can touch up to 3 times the ball. As the service is done to the opposite team , and it is touch/block in any way it remains two touches to the receiving team to get the ball on the other side of the net.  The second touch can be done by the player who block or touch the ball first. The ball needs to be spiked and not handle with the hand or fingers.

Another thing we played it Co-Ed or mixing boys and girls/men and women on the team in a corporate league.

And the reason of this post is that I came across the name of my old park where the games were held and the picture. the park was Forzano Park at 2001 Douglas Rd, Miramar, Fl 33025!!! and the info on it from the city of Miramar page is : http://miramarparks.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Forzano-Field-22

Who knows maybe some of the folks on the photo will show up here lol!! Helloooo!

And there, I even found an old article on the corporate league here: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2001-11-16/community/0111150386_1_spirit-airlines-volleyball-sand-courts

I won’t give away the name of my company or names of players for sake of privacy, (well I am in front left ::))  but the bottom line is, go ahead and enjoy some beach volleyball ,it can rewarding and everlasting friendship. And memories to last ,photo from 2001!!!

Cheers! Miramar

 

September 9, 2016

The fortified towers of Havana. Los torreones de la Habana

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

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

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

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

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

Official tourist sites on Cuba

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

http://www.cubatravel.cu/en

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

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

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

Havana Havana Havana

Tags: , ,
November 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://lincolnroadmall.com/

http://www.lincolnroadmall.info/

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

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

Have a great weekend!

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

 

 

 

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