Archive for ‘Florida’

December 18, 2021

The Capitol of Havana !!

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early childhood years ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country. Again the pictures are from 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I.

One of the most recognisable buildings in Havana and a childhood past time. This is a wonderful building and a must to see while in Havana.  I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana.  The building was destined to host the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba, before its unfortunate revolution. After the Cuban communist revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

havana entero

El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft). It is located between the  calle Pardo, calle Dragones, calle Industria, and calle San Jose, streets. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. The materials  needed to built it were about five million bricks, 38000 cubic meters of sand and 40000 of stones, 150,000 bags of cement, three 1500 tons of structural steel and two thousand of dowels, quantities truly impressive at the times.  It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls in this section were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

havana capitolio-middle-diamond-all-dist-in-cuba-measure

The details of the work made the Capitol building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

havana capitolio front

To continue the description of this wonderful Capitol building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the communist revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne or Giraldilla under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof. Among the treasures of the installation is the statue that symbolizes the Republic (Giraldilla), Legend of love, history, art, symbol….. everything enclosed in this little statue, made by the Cuban sculptor Jeronimo Martin Pinzon in the 3rd decade of the 17C , and which today is the third largest sculpture under the roof in the world.

havana capitolio-la-giraldilla-simbolo-de-la-habana

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidosthe hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance. The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by a Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba (so they said).  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio de La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.

havana capitolio-pas-perdu

The Capitol of Havana constitutes one of the most notable symbols of the city, comparable to the Morro Castle,  Cathedral and the image of the architectural profile of the Malecón . It is named by some experts as one of the six most important palaces in the world.  It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it as I flashing memories in my mind.

The trip Cuba travel site reg in Cuba on the Capitol of Havanahttps://www.tripcuba.org/el-capitolio-havana

The La Habana private travel site on the Capitol of Havana: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/capitolio/

The Havana tourist office on its heritage: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

There you go folks,another dandy memory lane monument in my precious Havana. The Capitol building is it, read could be under renovations, needed for sure but worth the wait to see it anytime. Me always dreaming someday to see all of this again with a better government. Hope you enjoy the post as I recalling these memorable monuments of my Cuba.

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

December 18, 2021

The Cathedral of Havana!

I will go back to tell you about a beautiful building in a distance land, you know its me. I am nostalgic on a cloudy, cold day in my now belle France. I like to tell you about a wonderful building so dear to me when a kid taken there by my dear mother ; this is the Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana or the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Cathedral of Havana.  The Cathedral is link directly with the history of Havana and Cuba. My pictures are from last trip in 2012. Hope you enjoy it as I recalling it.

The Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana  is in the old casco historico or historic center of the city name to UNESCO world heritage sites as a whole. First it was a prayer by old huts and bird dropping use as a house of prayer since 1528 ,then,  it was a prayer site for the disciples of  Saint Ignacio of the order of the Jesuistes in 1727, then construction began by 1748 and by 1767 the collegiale was built but the church not yet completed. It was declared a Cathedral on June 22,  1790. The Cathedral was not finished until 1832.

havana catedral plaza de la catedral

At first , in 1748, the church would be the Oratory of the Children of St. Ignatius of the Order of the Jesuits, then it would become a cathedral. By royal decree in 1714, the Jesuits obtained the long-awaited permission and by 1727 they were notified of the exact place where they could build the church and the convent. In the year 1767, the school was finished, but not the church, at that moment the expulsion of the Jesuits of the New World takes place. In 1772 due to the deplorable state of the major parish, the Spanish authorities decided to move it to the Oratory of San Felipe Neri and in 1777, moved to the church half-built of the Jesuits. In 1778 by order of Bishop Felipe José de Trespalacios began the process of transformation of the old Oratory of St. Ignatius in the Cathedral of Havana, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, whose image is visible on the main altar. The central nave was occupied until the independence of the island by a funerary monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus, then, at the end of the colonial period , the ashes of the admiral  were kept for 100 years ,later were transferred to the Cathedral of Seville. The wooden frame on the funeral square inside the Cathedral of Seville is original wood from Cuba.

havana catedral altar feb12

The Cathedral is of Baroque style, and considered more similar to those done in Tuscany, Italy by its two side bell towers, its temple forms a rectangle of 34×36 meters,with  three naves and eight lateral chapels, divided by thick pillars. The floor is in black and white marble. The sculptures and goldsmith works of the altars as well as of the main shrine were done by the Italian Bianchini, they were executed in Rome in 1820 under the direction of the famous Spanish sculptor Antonio Solá. Behind this altar are three original frescoes by the Italian painter Perovani. The interior paintings were made by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Vermay. Among the various chapels that houses is the one of Notre Dame of Loreto, 1755, before the transformation in cathedral of the former Jesuit parish, it has an independent entrance. There is  a  fine sculpture of  San Cristobal or Saint Christopher, patron saint of Havana, (for Christopher Columbus name as Havana official name is San Cristobal de La Habana) dates from 1632 and was made by Martín Andújar in Sevilla. Its dome that is below the side towers is visible from the surrounding buildings with an intense orange color.

havana catedral inside feb12

It is surrounded by the square that bears its name, Plaza de la Catedral, that houses the mansions of the colonial nobility, among these are the Palace of the Marquis of Arcos, the House of the Counts of Casa Bayona, 1720, which is currently the Museum of Colonial Art and the mansion of the Marques de Aguas Claras. Also, the Palacio del Conde Lombillo or palace of count of LombilloThe Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral in 1998 to try to bring peace and respect of human life to the island rule by a so call communist dictatorship.

The Havana tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Cuba tourist office on Havana: https://infotur.cu/es/destinos/habana

 The Archdioceses of Havanahttps://arquidiocesisdelahabana.org/nueva/historia/

The Catholic Church in Cuba, with parisheshttps://iglesiacubana.org/cocc/pages/directory/132

There you go folks, a dandy on a beautiful experience in diehard Havana, Cuba. Hope it helps your understanding and see the wonders of the Paris of the Americas (Havana) even in its still sad situation. The Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada de La Habana is beautiful, simply call it the Catédral!

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

December 17, 2021

The historical castles of Havana !!

We like castles, actually I love them. Just one reason for me to visit a city is if it has a castle,. Any shape really a castle on a hill or by a river is just wonderful. My old Havana has plenty and still in good shape as i recall. I like to tell you a bit about them. Hope you enjoy it as I recalling these memorable castles from pictures taken in my last trip of 2012.

In the first place the Castle of the Royal Forces or Castillo de la Real Fuerza was built, the oldest of all. After it was built at the same time the Castle of the Morro and the Castle of the Punta, to finally add the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. Not to leave out the more inland Castle of  Atares, and the more sinister Castle of the Prince.

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

Havana castillo-de-la-cabana-overlooking-havana-harbor

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

Havana

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

Havana Castillo de la Fuerza side apr12

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

havana fortaleza-de-san-salvador-de-la-punta

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

Havana castillo-de-atares

The Castle of the Prince or Castillo del Príncipe is a military fort located in the Loma de Aróstegui of Havana. The fort was built during the surge of military construction in Cuba, after the end of the capture of Havana by the British that lasted almost a year, when the Spanish government realized that the city was unprotected and transformed the Key of the New World in the most fortified city in the Americas. The castle is named after Charles of Bourbon, Prince of Asturias, son and future successor of King Charles III of Spain. Construction began in 1767, not being completely finished until after 1779, The fortification resembles an irregular pentagon with two bastions, two semi-bastions and a rediente. It has large pits, mine galleries, warehouses, offices, a well and accommodation for a garrison of about 900 men. Its artillery was equipped with 60 pieces of various calibers. The heavy iron and bronze gate that closed the intramural passage in El Templete was moved to this castle. The Castillo del Príncipe, which since 1926 was used as a Prison, (and many firing squads under the Cuban revolution) was officially deactivated on June 28, 1974 In the Castillo del Príncipe in 1888, the Cuban Grand Master and World Chess Champion José Raúl Capablanca was born, the son of a Spanish army officer who lived in the Castillo del Príncipe. Still today is not open to the public.

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

The Havana tourist office on Havanahttps://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Cuba tourist office infotur on Havanahttps://infotur.cu/en/destinos/havana

There you go folks, a dandy set of castles in still beautiful Havana, Cuba. Hope it helps you one day visit or me one day revisit them.  And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

December 17, 2021

Former Basilica convent of Saint Francis of Asisi, Havana!!

Well looking back at older posts realised only briefly mentioned in previous posts, and think it deserves better in my blog. This is old nostalgia lane so old maybe some will know more updated info on it. I am one of those displaced by political reasons long ago, but my Havana always stayed with me in my heart. Let me tell you and me a bit more on the former Basilica Convent of San Francisco de Asisi in La Habana!!

The Church and Convent of San Francisco de Asís are located on the Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, in Old Havana. The church was built between 1548 and 1591, although after several structural reforms and remodeling it was completed almost two hundred years later, in 1538. Currently, the Minor Basilica of the Convent has been converted into a famous concert hall thanks to its excellent acoustics; and both the church and the convent house the Museum of Religious Art that displays various paintings, silver objects, carvings, and pieces of religious ceramics and archaeological pieces. Some of the pieces date from the end of the 17C.

church-st-francis-de-assis-havana-cuba-1607

The Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi is a former convent of the Friars Minor , its conventual church, called the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, had the status of a minor basilica, but is now desecrated and serves in particular as a concert hall.

havana-church-st-francisco-de-asis-apr12

The construction of the first conventual buildings began in 1574-1575, to be completed in 1591. But violent storms in 1680 and 1692 damaged the church, and a hurricane caused the church tower to collapse in 1694. It was decided to raze and rebuild. The new church was built in a very sober Baroque style, between 1719 and 1738. It was consecrated the following year with the rank of minor basilica, in connection with Saint-John of Latran in Rome, In 1762, in the midst of the Seven Years’ War in Europe, the city was taken by the British, and the church was used for Anglican worship. The Treaty of Paris signed the following year returned the island to the Spaniards, but the city’s bishop considered the church to have been desecrated, and opposed its being used again to serve Catholic worship

In 1841, the Spanish colonial government confiscated the property of the community and employed the convent as a warehouse and customs office in Havana. In 1846, the nave and the choir of the basilica were damaged by a violent tornado; they were destroyed in 1850 and replaced by a trompe-l’oeil painting. In 1907, after Cuban independence, the buildings housed the Post and Telegraph Directorate, then, in 1915-1916, the town’s telephone and telegraph exchanges and the General Directorate of Communications (which later became the Ministry of Communications). At the Cuban revolution, the convent was transformed into a museum of colonial history including an important collection of sacred art. In 1982 the church was restored but on October 4, 1994, it was inaugurated as a concert hall (chamber music and sacred music), then in 1995 a museum of sacred art opened its doors.  Transitory works by Cuban and foreign artists are displayed in the rooms and galleries of the convent, while serving as the stage for conferences, presentations and other national and international events. Among the collection of objects that the museum houses, archaeological pieces, goldsmiths and paintings from different parts of Latin America stand out. Sacred art is also strongly linked to this architectural work. Especially religious worship, the Museum of Sacred Art that houses the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, shows archaeological pieces, crafts, furniture, textiles and a precious collection of tableware with religious motifs, found in excavations from the Historic Center of the city of Havana. The church has a beautiful garden in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta where sculptures by contemporary artists are displayed.

havana plaza san francisco de asisi and church feb12

The basilica has a nave with three aisles supported by twelve massive columns representing the Twelve Apostles. Without a choir since the tornado of 1846, it ends with an oblique wall decorated with a trompe-l’oeil fresco. The basilica is flanked by a 42-meter-high three-tiered tower that has long been the tallest in the city. Its facade, which overlooks Calle Oficios, bears three statues representing the Immaculate Conception, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Guzmán. The convent complex includes two successive cloisters. The first, adjoining the basilica, has two floors and provides access to the tower by crossing the basilica’s gallery and a terrace. The second has three flights of arcades and a central fountain.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana in English: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Habana.com webpage on the Basilica Convent San Francisco de Asisi in English: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/basilica-menor-y-convento-de-san-francisco-de-asis/

There you go folks, a dandy building to see if ever changes, but for many possible. This is part of the old beautiful history of my Havana showing its splendor of its best. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

December 17, 2021

The Lonja del Comercio of Havana!

Sometimes surprises in life do happenned, and lucky me from work  I needed to go to Havana, Cuba. A whimsical place of many years and family memories, I was born there but left too young as a boy, came back once to see my grandparents who raised me, and now back again. What a change, what a shock full of wonderful memories and honest, too good people, humble ,nice, friendly, like been back into the family again. This is La Habana  or Havana or the complete real name San Cristobal de la Habana; St Christopher the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(the best baseball team on the island,and my family’s team).

I did my walks and drove an American car around for a while, passing by many memorable buildings of faded memories. One that I was able to distinguished was the Lonja del Comercio now an office building located on Calle Lamparilla No.2, in Plaza de San Francisco de Asisi, in the center of Old Havana. Its construction began in 1907 and ended in 1909, on land that belonged to the wealthy Arosteguti and Armona families.

havana la Longia de comercio Feb12

Eminently Renaissance in style and eclectic in character. Its facade shows a very varied decoration. On the dome was placed a bronze statue of Mercury 4 meters high, the Greek god of commerce, which is visible from a distance.In the original design it had only five floors for the stock exchange, warehouse, offices and other activities of the Lonja, over the years it was expanded and some transformations were made that did not involve major changes in its fundamental characteristics.  It was the first building in the city to use elevators and it was the tallest building in the colonial city; For which the first skyscraper in Cuba was known for decades. The unique dome with its skylights that are located in the upper part guarantee lighting and ventilation. Its core is a central patio that is surrounded by the floors. On the façade, the large amount of ornamentation with motifs dedicated to trade stands out. This wonderful building also highlights the Moorish influence in its interior decoration and the large central patio that acts as a hall and distributor.

At first it was destined to the offices of the Lonja de Víveres de La Habana, which later became the Lonja del Comercio, that is, the Stock Exchange and the contracting house of the city, work that it carried out until the triumph of the Cuban revolution, in 1959. In the 10,000 square meters that this building has, it has automated systems to locate intruders, detect and prevent fires, central air conditioning control, computerized communications equipment that make it an intelligent building; national and foreign companies are based.

The Cuba tourist office on Havana in English: https://www.cubatravel.cu/en/Destinations/HAVANA/What-to-Do-/City

The Habana.com webpage on the Lonja del Comercio in English: https://www.lahabana.com/guide/lonja-del-comercio/

It was indeed a flashback and nice to see again even if sad on its conditions.  There you go folks, a dandy building to see if ever changes, but for many possible. This is part of the old beautiful history of my Havana showing its splendor of its best. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

October 7, 2021

My old stumping grounds in the USA!

I am kind of becoming nostalgic and try to remember places I have been in the USA but not lived. Well , if read my blog ,you know I lived in New Jersey and Florida for a total of 31 years…. Yes. Now let me update this old post with links especially as it brings a lot of memories of a time never forgotten, Sit back and enjoy my old stumping ground in the USA !

I was able to went out to other areas and can’t believe very little pictures or memories that can be recall now. These areas were Boston, Washington DC ,Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Richmond/Midlothian, New York, and Omaha ,Lancaster,and Chicago. Then, from France, I did visit San Francisco for a week and again little pictures. These were older times before blogging and love of pictures. I used to collect post cards and have still over 1000 of them (from a high of 4K) from a high of 79 countries. Once, began to like photos ,and getting in online travel forums, stop collecting postcards. In the switch something got lost… Maybe the kind readers of my blog can help me remember some of these places. Just let it all out !!! I still kept some pictures…

I will start with Boston,MA ; I remember going to Brighton. It must have been many many years back, as one of my cousins was going to marry someone from there, (which eventually did not ,,,) We met the family,stayed in their home, and got a car tour of the city center, even to Harvard and MIT campuses. It is said that it was later had the area change to become Cambridge and the part of old Brighton became part of the city of Boston in 1874 as a neighborhood. Brighton/Allston (aka Brighton, MA and Allston, MA, 2 subdivisions of Boston proper) are known for their large population of students. Boston University and Boston College booked the Brighton/Allston neighborhood. Found out more about Brighton/Allstonhttps://www.bostonusa.com/plan/boston-neighborhoods/brighton-allston/

Then, it was Pittsburgh,PA; I remember staying in the Hilton by the water point across from Three Rivers stadium (now gone) as 3 rivers do meet at the point (Allegheny,Monongahela,and Ohio). We went up in a group of friends up to Liberty avenue and had a good time indeed…The hotel was tops first time staying in a fancy hotel it was an experience. There was the Three Rivers Park and then the Point Park with lush looks over the rivers. I believe the hotel name has been change from 1984, now is the Distrikt collection by Curio a Hilton brand: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/pitktqq-distrikt-hotel-pittsburgh/

I like to tell you about Omaha ,Nebraska. This was way back to around 1984/85 and believe me the city was pretty serious not much to do then watch an American football game, and of course go Cornhuskers! I remember was there on a sales seminar by  Mutual of Omaha insurance company !! but did not stayed with them lol! We stayed in a nice hotel ,can’t remember the name, and ate in fancy restaurant taken a taxi with a group of us but do not remember the restaurant name ,only was Italian cuisine lol!  Ok got one picture of the training class, hope somebody remembers me sorry. I should have taken the info for later use but in those days life was crazy lol !  I am front row 3rd from right!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Chicago,IL, went part of the same training class as Omaha, it was the first test and we were put in an hotel by the waterfront can’t even remember the name; I believe it was the Hilton magnificent mile but not sure. We were just in the hotel for about 3 days with all day work, but again I can say I was there ! The Hilton webpage: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/ordmdhf-hilton-chicago-magnificent-mile-suites/

Washington DC was even older, it was a high school trip to see the Smithsonian Institute complex of museums, very nice air museum there is all I can remember. It was a bus tour for a day, and all I know we had a great time on the bus !!! I came back later with my mother to do some paperwork but also a roundtrip in one day. just can say, I was here !  The Smithsonian museum webpage : https://www.si.edu/visit

Going from high school in NJ to university in FL did it by bar cheapest and awesome ride along the I-95. Well my car a Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1977 had break problem from the factory, and I was left without breaks near Richmond VA. The tow truck from the highway took me to Martin Chevrolet in downtown Richmond and there was taken care by Sales Manager Ray Palmer. The part needed to be ordered from Petersburg down south a bit so needed an overnight stay. The gracious Mr Palmer took me to his house!! his older son was hunting in the VA mountain and slept in his room! played Atari games with the younger son , got dinner and breakfast with the family, got my car fix at no cost, not even for the tow truck; and went on my way. Amazing good Samaritan gesture, and I kept in touch with uncle Ray for many years. Even from France, he was 81 and retired, now handling his farm of 100 cows near Midlothian west of Richmond. I lost touch so sadly no news but he must be almost 95 if alive. Anyway I did not see much of Richmond other than the dealer. It was at Cowardin ave US301, and now I read is the Richmond Christian Center lol !!!

Back in around 1980, while in university got a tour of the Delta airlines facilities at Atlanta  Hartfield international airport and stayed at a Days Inn in Atlanta GA. The fun part was the bus and me waking up everybody at 6h when we needed to get out at 8h, I just fake the school guide voice over the phone and got everyone up earlier ,terrible feeling lol!! The Delta L-1011 airplane tour was cool. indeed. The hotel is shown with Wyndham webpage but I believe it was this one: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn/college-park-georgia/days-inn-and-suite-college-park-atlanta-airport-west/overview

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I went several times with my father to Philadelphia, PA by 1975-76 as he had business there and I accompany him. We were on the road selling to grocery stores, discount,convenience stores and went in the city along Broad and Market Street that I can remember. I was still a teenager and later took my first car ride getting lost into the city, a State trooper police help me out get out lol! terrible times I know !!! We never stayed in hotels ,these were just in and out same day trips for a couple of years.

Then, it was New York, NY well this was across the street I mean the Hudson river, and my first going trip just fresh from my driver’s license was to see Yankee Stadium in the Bronx! well on the way back read above the end in Philadelphia along the Garden State Parkway!! Here went also by bus to Shea Stadium in the Queens borough and had a train ride on the old World Trade Center to see the Yankees again (there is a new one after the old one was destroyed by terrorists 9-11). Then, went several time for dance clubs and just plain ride even by car on those crazy young days always lots of fun . Went to Madison Square Garden to see the NY Knicks basketball and NY Rangers ice hockey lol! great times. And waited New Year’s in Time Square and skated in Rockefeller center , and did my walks in Central Park. I again help my father go into the meat market area around 14 street, and the Bronx Terminal Market for groceries for our store in NJ. This was tough wakeup at 4h (4 am) all day work…but it help my future face to reality in the real world.

Also, spent my high school senior class trip at the Rocky Horse Ranch Highland, NY in the mountains of New York State, with horse rides and wild pool activities which cannot mention here lol! Which I see now is an all inclusive resort of world renown wow!! Totally different from the country ambiance I remember back then, Picture I am the first from the right. The webpage: https://www.rockinghorseranch.com/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, if I drove to college (University) along I -95 I passed by many states, and several times stop for a night sleep at South Carolina or Georgia or Virginia. I passed from New Jersey to Delaware, Maryland, Washingon, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The trip took from 17-20 hrs depending on the driving ::) did that twice in the summer and twice at Christmas every year for 4 years! In Virginia I stopped around Emporia, South Carolina around Santee, and Georgia around Savannah or Brunswick.

While coming and going from college, I did rode with a college buddy to drop him off at Lancaster, PA on the I-83 to York and then the US30 to Lancaster. I continue on the D30 to Downingtown to connect with the I-95 home north of Philadelphia. Those were the roaring days on the road. Or put your pedal to the metal and rock !!!

I even did a post here in my blog on the trip to San Francisco , from France, but no photos as well yikes !. I spent a week there at the Hotel Nikko and got around to Pier 39, the Golden Gate bridge, and Union square area, several places;road the tramway trolley cars, and ate at Café Bastille, and John’s Grill where the Maltese Falcon movie was filmed part of it. My hotel Nikko: https://www.hotelnikkosf.com/

So sad,could not kept pictures of those days, when my taste was more to postcards, Nowadays we keep things better with better technology, back them paper photos were shuffle in moves, and I do average one every 5.7 years ! so things gets lost or trip where a camera was not necessary as was thinking more postcards. Well you get the picture, any heads up on the places is appreciated for my memories of the good old days.

Hope you enjoy this recap of my stumping grounds in the USA ! I had a great time writing it again for you and me, Thanks for reading me since November 2010 in my blog ! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

October 6, 2021

My memorable restaurants of Florida !!

I believe have written on them on general posts of places to see, however, feel obligated to keep them firmly in my blog with a post of their own, This time will take you to a cherish place of mine where I lived for 18 years, that is Florida to remember my favorite restaurants! Of course these are not all, but the best with pictures that I have, Hope you enjoy the memorable moments and can come and visit them one day. Thanks for reading me since November 2010 !!!

Miami’s original Cuban kitchen , La Carreta (the wagon) was born out of the growing demand for an authentic cultural Cuban hub.  A Cuban family-owned establishment, it continues to be a staple of  old Cuba’s family dining traditions of “grandmother style” food and famous Cuban espresso. To characterize Cuban food in terms of other cuisines, it’s basically a fusion of Spanish, French, African and Caribbean cuisines, drawing many distinctive flavors from each of these, with heavy influences of garlic, citrus, and sugar cane. As a restaurant, you don’t stick around for more than 40 years and expand into a local chain if you’re not doing something right. And for La Carreta, that something is food. Lots of it. Though you’ll find some Spanish-inspired dishes, you can’t go wrong by sticking to Cuban classics like ropa vieja (shredded beef cooked with onions and Cuban mojo sauce (coming from Tenerife, and the word use later to describe the mojito drink or little mojo !) , served with rice and sweet plantains) and boliche (pot roast stuffed with chorizo). Even when the restaurant is packed, the waiters are great at making you feel like you have all the time in the world to figure out what it is you want to eat. They’ll help you figure that out, too, if you want, they’re full of suggestions, and recommendations. But mainly they’re super-friendly and fast. Each day, the restaurant offers a selection of three or four specials, and weekday lunch deals ! Expect large portions on the plates and a backroom café for strong Cuban coffee, sweet pastries and sugarcane juice. Though most of the ordering happens at the walk-up coffee window, serving up flaky pastelitos and espressos until the wee hours. We came to them many times and our favorite family location were at the International Mall parking lot outside the mall right next to the Dolphin Expressway (State road 836) coming from Miami Beach at NW 107 ave. you see it from the Expressway. Another location we went is the original restaurant at SW 8th street Miami. And by now, they even have branches closer to my old home in Miramar, Pembroke Pines!!!

La Carreta webpage: http://lacarreta.com/locations/

miami-front-la-carreta PF-aug09

Another dandy is TGI Fridays reputation as the best corner bar in town started in Manhattan in 1965 and my fav location was near Sawgrass Mill Mall in SunriseBroward County,  just north of my old home.  Located near W Sunrise Blvd & Yellow Toucan Rd, proudly bringing you the best local mix of food, fun, and handcrafted cocktails. Many times here with the family! Sawgrass Mills shopping center is huge, I mean huge  ,one of the biggest if not the biggest mall in the USA, and Florida’s largest.  Also, tried them while visiting the USA at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport near Gate B19.  They were in Paris, France at 8, Rue Du Faubourg Montmartre 9éme,  but departed by 2013 and not back yet. Also, tried them near one of my old homes in Ormond Beach, FL!  However, they are in Spain and have tried their Madrid branch (calle Virgen de los Peligros)  as well as Prague,(Nádražní 110) Czech Republic!! The TGIF Florida locations webpage: https://locations.tgifridays.com/fl.html

sunrise-tgifridays-aug09

sunrise-tgif-front-pf

atlanta-ga-tgif-resto-at-airport-waittress-24aug09

Another twist on the above is Applebees!  They are  your go-to restaurant for burgers, chicken, steaks, and the infamous riblets all served in a relaxed family-friendly environment. And don’t forget to checkout  their Neighborhood Drink of the Month special. Applebee was Established in 1980 originally base at Kansas City Missouri, later in 2015 relocated to Glendale, California. The first restaurant opened in November 1980 in Decatur, Georgia. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar offers a lively casual dining experience combining simple, craveable American fare, classic drinks and local drafts. Now that’s Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood. a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Doral by Miami (both now closed here for the memories). I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers.  They now have a new location closer to my old last home there in Pembroke Pines! 

The Applebees’ restaurant webpage on locations in Flhttps://restaurants.applebees.com/en-us/fl/

Miami Applebee by doral aug09

miami-applebee-4198-aug09

Another family souvenir is the  Latin American Bayside Cuban Café at 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, in the Bayside Marketplace right at the entrance to the Port of Miami.  Awesome food and the Cuban sandwich & coffee are to die for. Great service n friendly staff. Made us go back again everyday while we were there.  For the big eaters this cantine type restaurant is a go and the possibility of choosing from a large selection of salads, meat grills all you can eat. There is a wine cellar and drinks but small selection. However, the location is superb in downtown/city center Miami. The Latin American Bayside Cuban Café  has a nice location, with a small indoor seating area and bar, and a much larger outdoor patio, so you can overlooki Bayside’s harbor a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor by the port of Miami and passing by the home of the famous.  This restaurant has closed due to covid they say, unfortunately; here for the memories! They still have a webpage on here: https://latin-american-bayside-cafe.business.site/

miami-latin-american-cafeteria-bayside-aug09

Another hugely favorite of ours is the Columbia Restaurant; we have been to the original in Tampa and also, St Augustine.  Founded in 1905 by Cuban-Spanish immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the Columbia Restaurant is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. It began in Tampa’s Ybor City, (from city area founder Vicente Ybor of tobacco fame) as a small 60-seat corner cafe known for its Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches, frequented by the local cigar workers. To this day, more than 116 years since it first openedthe Columbia remains in the same family. Over the years, Columbia Restaurant has attracted some of the most well known athletes and entertainers from yesteryear to today. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, Lou Piniella, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin, from Liberace to Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Brian Johnson of ACDC, from Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano to Evander Holyfield, from Marilyn Monroe and Liza Minelli to Bo Derek, everyone enjoys the Columbia.  Other recent visitors include George Clooney, Stephen King, Bryant Gumbel, Brooke Shields, and Lauren Hutton. The restaurant’s wine list contains more than 1,056 wines with an inventory exceeding 50,000 bottles, and Columbia has won several awards for their Spanish wines. The restaurant features performances of flamenco, one of Spain’s traditional dances. another wonderful Florida combination of shopping, food, and games for the whole family! The other exquisite Columbia Restaurant we have been sits in the heart of St. Augustine in the historic district of the nation’s oldest city, which was founded in 1565. Located in the heart of the historic district at the corner of Hypolita and St. George Streets. We used to lived 45 min from it and visited often!!  Ybor City is a district comprised of cobblestone streets and brick buildings that are an architectural fusion with strong Cuban/Spanish influences. The area reeks with history, for example President Teddy Roosevelt stayed there during the Spanish American War as did Sr. Winston Churchill who was reporting on the war for the London Daily Graphic.

The Columbia restaurant webpage on locations bottom page: https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

The Ybor City webpage on the Columbiahttps://yborcityonline.com/columbia-restaurant/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

tampa-columbia-resto-outside-mf-et-nf

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And now two of my favorite French hangouts while living in Florida USA.

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, now closed ,but post for the memories.  We had our Büche de Nôel always done here as was not sold to the public for lack of knowledge of it;  ordered by my dear late wife Martine. The Royal French Bakery was South Miami’s go-to boulangerie/patisserie, with all that you’d expect from a French bakery (tarts, macarons, croissants galore), plus salads, sammies and cafe au laits. You can score the flaky, buttery treats in flavors like guava, ham & cheese and almond, to name a few of the goodies we got here over the years. The location was at  7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143.Just off Sunset Ave or NW 72 St. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Pleasant to verify the Croissan’Time Bakery at 1201 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL is still there! This bistro, bakery, and grocery store opened in 1986 by Bernard Casse, from  Port-Sainte-Marie in the region of Lot & Garonne France and very nice guy!! We came here for everything French even paying more for import taxes. He had started as a bakery in the southwest of France in the 1960’s and arrived in the USA in 1978. He began working in several establishments such as the prestigious La Grenouille, New York, before starting his own business.  In his team there was also Matthieu Cartron, that had worked in France, Saint-Martin, and New York, that came to lent a hand as well as the baker Garry Petigny. All the breads of Croissan’Time  are done on site from scratch à la Française bien sûr!!! 

The official Croissan’Time Bakery webpage: http://www.croissantime.com/

fll-croissantime

And to show how the French community of Florida mingles and get to know each other as we had for many years there from 1990 to 2003; Miami Accueil is managed by the Consulat de France de Miami (very helpful understanding group who helped us immensily the transition from USA to France! merci!) and put together all the French residents in its jurisdiction. The group was done to share activities with French families of all sorts. Here for information for those French there and those thinking of coming to live in France, very helpful.

The Miami Accueil webpage: https://www.miami-accueil.org/lassociation/

There you go folks,  try to be as brief as possible for all these souvenirs of my life ,never to be forgotten and thanks WordPress for allowing me to share it here for my memories and the enjoyment of others. Hope it helps.

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

October 6, 2021

Wonderful Key Biscayne!!!

And again, this is a find from my vault! After trying to update several posts realised not written fully about this memorable spot in my previous life in Florida USA. It’s a must to visit while in the Miami area. Let me tell you a bit about the wonderful Key Biscayne!!!

Key Biscayne is located on an island in Miamli-Dade County, and the State of Florida, near Miami. The village of Key Biscayne incorporated in 1991. The northern part of Key Biscayne is home to Crandon Park, a county park. The central section of the island is home to the village of Key Biscayne. The southern part of the island is the Cape Florida.  The island is connected to Miami by the Rickenbacker Causeway (glorious ride !!) which was built in 1947. Alongside the old bridge, now used as a fishing pier, stands a taller and newer arched structure built to serve the population growing area of ​​the island and the many boaters who sail in Biscayne Bay. It cost you $1.50 for entry to Key Biscayne island (provide change !), and $ 5 for entry to the park beaches.

key-biscayne entrance to the key 2009

Key Biscayne is approximately 8 km or about 5 miles long and 1,5 to 3 km or 1 to 2 miles wide. The northern end of the island is separated from another barrier island, Virginia Key, and Bear Passage. The southern end of the island is Cape Florida. The Cape Florida Channel separates the Island from Safety Valve, an expanse of shallow channels cut by tidal channels that run south about 14,5 km or 9 miles to Keys Ragged at the north end of the Florida Key.

key biscayne over to beach bill boggs mia skyline aug09

The wonderful Crandon Park is two-mile stretch of wide sandy beach and calm waters draws locals and visitors from around the world , and yes is very nice I went there as my favorite spot, You also, have the Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, a championship 18-hole golf course and the former site of the Senior PGA Tour and one of America’s top 75 upscale courses by Golf Digest. The park offers a world class 26 court tennis facility ; The Tennis Center, which was also the former host site of the PGA Open from 1987-2018.

The highlight to eat here and one of my favorite , this brings me lots of memories was the Rusty Pelican restaurant, An iconic restaurant. With its elegant waterfront setting and floor-to-ceiling windows perched above a marina, a meal here is accompanied with dazzling views of Biscayne Bay and Downtown Miami’s skyline. And still going strong!!!  Webpage : http://www.therustypelican.com/

As you continue along the causeway toward the village of Key Biscayne, you’ll cross through Virginia Key , also home to one of the destination’s classic attractions, the Miami Seaquarium (see post) .

And finally ,you reach the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park a natural paradise at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. The beach here was our favorite and I came even as a boy with my parents and local family aunt and cousins, You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for fantastic views, walk along tree-lined trails and soak up the sun on the beach , Built in 1825, Cape Florida Lighthouse offers one-of-a-kind views from its wraparound balcony. Climb the 109 spiral steps and emerge to bird’s-eye views of the Atlantic Ocean, the floating homes of Stiltsville, Cape Florida, Key Biscayne and world-famous Miami Beach. Bill Baggs’ beach has been ranked as one of the country’s top ten beaches and is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. Over a mile of the beach is open for swimming, but note that there are no lifeguards on duty. No problems at all safe for the whole family ! The park is also part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom heritage preservation program, commemorating the journey of escaped slaves to the British Bahamas.

key biscayne

key biscayne cape boggs lighthouse beach the boys aug2009

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and is a must are

The Village of Key Biscayne parkshttps://keybiscayne.fl.gov/parks___recreation/parks___beaches/index.php

The Village of Key Biscayne on the history of the village and the islandhttps://keybiscayne.fl.gov/uniquely_kb/about_key_biscayne/index.php

The Miami and beaches tourist office on Key Biscaynehttps://www.miamiandbeaches.com/neighborhoods/key-biscayne

The State of Florida tourist board on Key Biscaynehttps://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/southeast/key-biscayne/

There you go folks, now I feel better to have this wonderful piece of my life in my blog. Key Biscayne brings a lot of memories we were there last in 2009. Hope it helps you come and enjoy it as we did.

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

October 6, 2021

West Florida!!!

Ok here trying my creative mind or lack of lol!! hard to come up with titles but just glance at some old pictures and gave me the idea to do this post on three cities of West Florida dear to me. I have several posts on last stronghold in the United States, but not enough on the cities of Tampa, Cape Coral,and Fort Myers. I will try to bring them to life in my blog for memories’s sake. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Let me introduce to you the city of Tampa in the county seat of Hillsborough on the west coast of the State of Florida. It is located about 300 km from Miami, on Tampa Bay. It was discovered in the early 16C by the Spaniards, the town was founded around Fort Brooke.

The conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez was the first European to discover the Tampa region in April 1528. The following year, another Spaniard, Hernando de Soto, rescued the members of the Narvaez expedition. In the 18C, the region of Tampa saw the installation of Cuban fishermen, in the current district of Hyde Park. When Great Britain acquired Florida in 1763, in the treaty of Paris (Spain, GB, Cuba) ,the bay was baptized Hillsborough Bay (which is the name of the river). After a second period of Spanish domination, the Territory of Florida integrated the United States in 1821,finally becoming the 27th State in March 3,1845.

Tampa was a major center of cigar production, when Vicente Martinez Ybor relocated his tobacco factories from Key West to Tampa in 1886 (after coming from Cuba to Key West). Tobacco was imported from Cuba and processed by Cuban and Spanish workers. At its peak, Ybor City had nearly 12,000 tabaqueros (cigar workers) in 200 factories ! There are still a couple left in Ybor City (name after Vicente) , The Ybor City district has many historic buildings, including two former cigar factories, the El Pasaje Hotel, the Ritz Theater and the Ferlita Bakery, which now houses the Ybor City State Museum. It was the center of Cuban revolutionary actions for independence from Spain.

In 1891, Henry B. Plant had the Tampa Bay Hotel built in the then fashionable Moorish style. 400 meters long and with more than 500 rooms, it was equipped with electric lighting and the city’s first elevator. The building is a testament to the tourist boom in Florida in the last years of the 19C. Three years after its closure in 1930, its premises were taken over by the University of Tampa (which I played soccer against them) In 1956 the University of South Florida was created (which I played soccer against them and had my girlfriend from PA,,,).

The city of Tampa on thing to do/see : https://www.tampa.gov/info/things-to-do

The Tampa Bay tourist office : https://www.visittampabay.com/

I have several cousins living here now, and been visited this city since 1985 to 2009 my last coming for a visit from France, The wonderful road I4 reach the Tampa area from Orlando and Daytona Beach areas, I remember fondly visiting Busch Gardens (a zoo and beer park owned by Budweiser), Ybor City , where you will find the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA ,est, 1905. Columbia our home away from home wherever they were in Florida, several location now.  Also Shells restaurant home of show business,  and shopping at Channelside, Hyde Park Village, Westshore Plaza,and Ybor City own stores. Also, the Florida AquariumLowry Park Zoo, etc ; nice memories here. I ,when not with family stayed in nice hotels like the Grand Hyatt, Marriotts, Intercontinental,Embassy Suites, and Holiday Inn Busch Gardens locations.

tampa busch gardens MF et boys c1998

tampa shells resto MF et PF c1998

The memories of going to Tampa Stadium at 4201 North Dale Mabry Highway are huge this stadium was called Houlihan’s Stadium from 1996-1998 known also as the Big Sombrero (hat), then demolished to built the  Raymond James Stadium. The new Raymond James stadium webpage : https://raymondjamesstadium.com/

And for the historical incline like me info on the old Tampa Stadium where I cam to see the Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) football/soccer team with leyends like Rodney Marsh,  etc!! : http://football.ballparks.com/NFL/TampaBayBucs/oldindex.htm

I have an old picture from the later name Steinbreinner stadium for the spring training of the New York Yankees baseball team, my team since birth, their webpage : https://www.gmsfield.com/directions-and-parking

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The city of Fort Myers is the seat of Lee County. The city is named in honor of military officer Abraham Myers. On May 10, 1904, access to Fort Myers was improved with the arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad from Punta Gorda, Fort Myers stretched along the winding banks of the Caloosahatchee River. While the urban expansion of recent decades has pushed the city limits beyond Interstate 75 or I-75 and into the neighboring towns of North Fort Myers and Cape Coral across the river, the city center, now renovated, with its restaurants and old houses, attracts tourists. The city of Ft Myers on things to do/see : https://cityftmyers.com/1744/Venues-Attractions

As we had and still have cousins nearby we came by here a lot for a long period, One thing that took us in with the boys was the Seminole Gulf Railway trains, This is a short line freight and passenger excursion train base in Fort Myers, The run we took ran from Arcadia south to North Naples via Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, Estero and Bonita Springs ! Memories of parenthood in my dear Florida, They did operated a more adult ride still doing call the Murder Mystery Dinner train running weekday nights year around at the stop in Colonial Boulevard.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The official Seminole Gulf Railway webpage : https://semgulf.com/

The Florida State tourist board on the train ridehttps://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/seminole-gulf-railway-train-rides-from-fort-myers/

The city of Cape Coral is in Lee County. The town contains one of the largest canal networks in the world (640 km) on the edge of which many houses are built which have direct access to these canals via a pontoon, Most of these canals are navigable and allow access to the Gulf of Mexico. Cape Coral is a large peninsula and is bordered by the Caloosahatchee River. The town of Fort Myers sits on the south shore of the river.  The town’s origins can be traced back to 1957 when developers Leonard and Jack Rosen purchased 270 square kilometers of land in Lee County for $ 678,000. The development of the city began in 1958: canals were dug, streets cobbled, houses and businesses built. The first homes were completed in May 1958 on Riverside Drive and Flamingo Drive. My parents also had two lots to build here but sold them as they left with us to France, we did spent many trips here to see them and check out the development then, cousins still there they follow us for the purchase and built their homes.

The city of Cape Coral on things to do /seehttps://www.capecoral.gov/department/parks_and_recreationhome/beaches.php

You can reach it from the I4 to the I75 south or the Tamiami Trail I75 all the way to Cape Coral  , When visiting we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express  at the entrance to the city nice property, as well as the Casa Loma Motel (now management and new name here for the memories).  Shopping best is by the Coralwood Shopping Center or the Miromar Outlet mall other land side of the I-75.

cape coral casa loma hotel MF boys c1997

I am doing the post as found couple pictures from the bridge crossing into the Cape Coral Gulf side, The Cape Coral Bridge spans the Caloosahatchee River connecting McGregor and Cape Coral. It is made up of two parallel fixed spans, each 3,400 feet (1,000 m) long. The original span opened for traffic on March 14, 1964, with one lane in each direction , The Cape Coral Bridge was the only link between Fort Myers and Cape Coral until 1997, when the Midpoint Memorial Bridge opened just north of the Cape Coral Bridge on the Caloosahatchee River now allows Colonial Boulevard to extend, connecting to Veterans Parkway on the other side of the river. The Lee County webpage on the bridges :https://www.leegov.com/dot/tolls/lw_facilities/cc

cape coral intracoastal bridge jun2002

cape coral intracoastal bridge crossing jun2002

For reference, the Florida State tourist board on the Central West and Southwest areas: https://www.visitflorida.com/places-to-go/

There you go folks, a short but very memorable post to have on West Florida in my blog for us. Hopefully, it will help your planning too visiting a wonderful part of my dear Florida. I lived first 13 yrs in Central NJ and the last there 18 yrs in Central and South Florida before coming for good to France already 18 yrs here!!! (8 Yvelines 78 and 10 Morbihan 56)!!!  A lovely life only cut short for losses to dear mom and wife. Enjoy the post as I doing it for you and me.

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

August 25, 2021

Memories of Chile and Colombia!!

Ok so feeling nostalgic again and so sorry could not find any pictures! These were the times I traveled from Florida USA to the Americas, and pictures are very few if any as in those times I was into post cards collection (4K+ 76 countries). Once I stop the collection, pictures took over on popular travel forums and then explosion over to my blog.

Therefore, just for memories’s sake on my black and white series,no pictures let me tell you a bit about Bogotà, Colombia, and Santiago, Chile Hope you enjoy it as I did bringing back these memorable moments of my early travels in our world.

Bogotà is the capital of Colombia and also that of the department of Cundinamarca. It was founded on August 6, 1538 by the Spaniard Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada , The city is composed of 20 districts, Bogota became the capital of Greater (Gran) Colombia until 1830, when the dissolution of that state gave birth to what are today Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, as well later Panama proclaimed independence in 1903.

The presence of numerous museums, theaters and libraries contributes to offering the city a situation of great cultural interest. The city is nicknamed “South American Athens” , Bogotà is located at an altitude of 2,640 meters above sea level, in the Cordillera Oriental of the northern Andes mountains. Guadalupe and Monserrate cerros or hills border the Bogotà savannah to the east. On the Cerro de Guadalupe is erected a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and a statue 15 meters high. On the Cerro de Monserrate is built a basilica, the Basílica del Señor de Monserrate.

Thanks for fellow blogger comments it remind me did went to the Catedral de Sal or salt cathedral in Zipaquirà just outside Bogotà; I was taken there taking a train from Bogotà and then taxi if I recall.  Now there is a bus I am told that takes you here. Memories fading but great ones to share and add to this memorable post. official webpage in Spanish: https://www.catedraldesal.gov.co/ParquedelaSal/Paginas/Mapa.aspx

Ah there you go I went by train de la Sabana at the time and still running!! more in their official webpage: https://www.turistren.com.co/?page_id=147

I always came here by air landing/and out at the El Dorado International Airport, located in Fontibón, webpage: https://eldorado.aero/

I stayed always at the Travelers Suite Obelisco (it was called Gold then) located at Calle 115 ,no 11 A-27 , and always there by car pickup by the attorney for the orphanage financed by singer Shakira ! Webpage : https://www.travelers.com.co/es/obelisco

I of course, ate out a lot but unfortunately do not recall the names as this was from the 90’s until 2001. This is the sad part of not keeping pictures in those days, memories are fading. Hopefully, this post will keep the remainder for me one day to be back and seek them out. Bogotà is one pin in my world map. I ,also, took side business trips to Cali and Medellin, staying in same hotel chain as above.

The Colombia tourist board on Bogotàhttps://colombia.travel/en/blog/tourism-bogota-city-experiencing-culture

The city of Bogotà on its historyhttps://bogota.gov.co/mi-ciudad/historia-de-bogota

And now let me tell you about a lointime country I used to visit regularly almost every month as well as above sometimes in combination trips. This is Santiago de Chile, let me tell you a bit on my memories there.

Santiago de Chile is the capital of Chile, It is located in the Central Valley, It has been the Chilean capital since colonial times. The city boasts of a city center with neoclassical architecture and winding streets, notably dotted with Art Deco and Neo-Gothic styles. Santiago’s urban landscape is formed by independent hills and the city is crossed by the Mapocho River, dotted by elegant parks such as Parque Forestal. The imposing Andes mountain range is visible from many places in the city. Urban activity has caused the development of pollution clouds, especially during the winter months. The city is surrounded by vineyards , such as the Concha y Toro winery that I visited with local friends and nice tastings and a shirt on Sunrise brand which I kept for several years! and Santiago remains a few hours from the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The city of Santiago encompasses its agglomeration which forms the Gran Santiago and which is made up of 34 towns such as the 32 towns of the province of Santiago, plus the towns of Puente Alto and San Bernardo, belonging respectively to the provinces of Cordillera and Maipo. The city is dominated by the Andes cordillera and is located at the foot of Aconcagua , nice thermal baths here that was taken to, I remember! (highest peak of the Andes marking the border with Argentina) and to the west, it gradually approaches the cordillera de la Costa which separates Santiago from the Pacific Ocean and the region of Valparaíso. Santiago is located 102 km from Valparaiso, the transport system is called Transantiago, I always came by air and pickup at the airport Arturo Merino Benitez,webpage: https://www.nuevopudahuel.cl/

A bit of history I like tells us that Santiago was founded on February 12, 1541 by the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia, who gave it the name of Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura in memory of the Spanish apostle Saint James and Extremadura. The founding ceremony of Santiago was held on Huelén Hill (later renamed Santa Lucia de Santiago Hill). One item I like and visit is that Santiago is the birthplace of Chile’s greatest football/soccer teams. And my favorite there was founded on April 19, 1925, the Club Social y Deportivo Colo-Colo has a long tradition and has played regularly among the elite since the creation of the Primera División (first division) in 1933.

On the other hand, only a few historic buildings from the Spanish colonial period remain, because in Santiago, as in the rest of the country, earthquakes regularly strike the country. The existing buildings include the Colorada House (1769), the San Francisco Church (1586), the Santo Domingo Church (1747-1771) and the Posada del Corregidor in (1750). The cathedral in Plaza de Armas has a view to the Palacio de La Moneda, the presidential palace. Also, the colonial Colorada house (1769), which houses the Santiago Museum. There is also the Municipal Theater , built in 1857, Not far from the theater are the manor of Subercaseaux and the National Library of Chile, one of the largest libraries in South America. the National Museum of Fine Arts of Santiago ;and National Museum of Natural History of Chile are fine places to visit.

My favorite hangouts that I can remember were at the Plaza de Armas It is located in the quadrant surrounded by the Catedral and Calle Monjitas , Calle 21 de Mayo and Calle Estado, Calle Compañía and Calle Merced, as well as Paseo Ahumada and Paseo Puente . Under the square is the metro Plaza de Armas for lines 3 and 5.

Another popular walk that I remember now was the Paseo de Ahumada. The Paseo Ahumada is of pedestrian use located between the Plaza de Armas and Avenida del Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins (Alameda), it is the road with the highest pedestrian flow in Chile! Since the founding of the city of Santiago, the alley that connected the Plaza Mayor with the San Francisco gorge was known as the block of the Ahumada family, because the councilor Juan de Ahumada had his residence there. In this way, it is the only street that has kept the name of one of the Spanish conquerors since its origin. A pleasant moving spot in Santiago to this day.

My apartment was at Avenida Providencia corner with Avenida Ricardo Lyon no 100, below was /is the Paris dept Store branch, at Ave Providencia 2221, right by metro Los Leones line 6, and my office was at Calle San Diego, which I took the metro couple times but mostly went there by car; this is closed long time ago almost after my last visit in 2001.

I remember visiting the shopping mall of Alto Las Condes in Avenida Presidente Kennedy and shop in the Falabella dept store (our client!) ,webpage featuring the store : https://www.altolascondes.cl/tiendas/falabella-0

I have great long distance memories of the Mercado Central visiting and eating in it, This is a wonderful place even if now I am told has become very touristic, still for the ambiance is worth a visit me think, The market is a large metal structure in galvanized iron, the elements of which were melted in England. Completed in 1868, the building was inaugurated on the occasion of the National Exhibition of 1872. Today, the ensemble includes a large number of small premises where you can taste Chilean specialties, or buy handicrafts. See the Chile tourist office video on the Mercado Central : https://santiagochile.com/mercado-central/

Also, the restaurant Ocean Pacific Calle Ricardo Cummings 97 with a glass floor and great seafood, glad remembered it and still there! Watch the video and see what I mean! webpage : https://www.oceanpacifics.cl/

From Santiago I took bus rides into Viña del Mar (passing by the building of the music festival!) and Valparaiso as well as a friend took to eat at his restaurant in the hill by Artilleria o museo naval of Valparaiso by car ! The view to the port was awesome, I was able to visit on brief business trips to Puerto Montt, Arica, Iquique, and Temuco.

The Santiago de Chile tourist office : http://www.santiagocapital.cl/categorias/home/lugares-tipicos/

The city of Santiago de Chile on its history/heritage; https://www.munistgo.cl/historia-2/

The Chile tourist board on Santiago de Chile : https://chile.travel/en/where-to-go/central-area-santiago-and-valparaiso/santiago

There you go folks, nice memories for me and maybe for you. Share your stories on these two countries and be glad you remember. Maybe help me remember more of them. Bogotà and Santiago de Chile are two spot in our world dear to me, part of my travel history, which now glad firmly in my blog.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: