Archive for ‘Florida’

March 17, 2018

The dream world of Disneyland Paris!

So on a rainy cloudy, cool Saturday and just a short trip out with Rex, I have stay home and work on my blog. I still need to go out again with son and his moto accessories needs, he pays !

However, why not come back to my old post on Disneyland Paris. My sons went there and we stayed at the old H0liday Inn Disneyland, then the Vienna Magic hotel and now the Vienna Dream Hotel. And I had several meetings held there when working with the hotel chain IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group).

I have been to the Walt Disney park in Orlando FLorida so many times lost counts , with me on concerts, with my boys, and then taken friends/family there. We never visited Disneyland Paris from the USA as not needed we thought. However, once in France , the itch became too great not to try and see it. Well ,there is no contest in my opinion to the one in Orlando ,but at least folks in Europe have a more affordable Mickey place to see and enyoy.

My previous blog post on Disneyland Paris is here: Previous Blog post Disneyland

Let me tell you a bit about the parks and the history in France.

Disneyland Paris, previously called Euro Disney Resort and before that Disneyland Resort Paris is a tourist entertainment park of 22,3 km located in the town of Chessy in the department 77 of Seine et Marne. It includes two parks,; the Disneyland and the Walt Disney studios as well as 27 hotels and a golf course and covers into the shopping and aquarium area of Val d’Europe. All link from Paris by the train line RER A as well as by car on the expressway or autoroute A4 direction Metz, as well as a TGV train line.

This huge complex in addition to the above mention items mainly the two entertainment parks , hotels and golf of 27 holes ; it also, has Disney Village with stores, restaurants and shows. 7 hotels on Disney property such as Disneyland hotel, New York, Sequoia Lodge, Newport Bay Club, Cheyenne, Santa Fe, Ranch Davy Crockett; and 10 partner hotels such as Villages Nature Paris, Elysée Val d’Europe, Algonquin Explorer , Kyriad, Adagio city Aparthotel, Marriott Village ile de France, Vienna international Dream Castle, Radisson Blu, and B&B hotel disneyland.

Disneyland Park

indoor heated pool HOliday Inn disneyland today Vienna Dream

The 3 train stations, RER A, regular trains line Serris-Montévrain Val d’Europe, and the TGV Marne la Vallée-Chessy. Two shopping centers or malls such as Val d’Europe (includes Sea Life aquarium) and the La Vallée Village outlet shopping.. In all, a business park Goodman, and several residential communities. Coming by car as we have , you take off the Paris boulevard périphérique the A4 direction Metz and get out at sortie or exit 14 follow road D344P all well posted; around the parks there is the big boulevard du Grand Fossé easy link to hotels and Val d’Europe shopping.. Bear in mind, there is a cost last was 20€/day for parking in the park. The RER A from Paris proper you can take it at Nation, Gare de Lyon, Châtelet-Les-Halles, Auber (Great department stores and gare St Lazare) and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (Arc de Triomphe). You have local bus service such as from the bus terminal at Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy from the stations of Serris-Montévrain-Val d’Europe, Meaux, Château Thierry, Lagny, Thorigny, Crécy-la-Chapelle, Coulommiers, Provins and Esbly The network Pepy’s on lines 6, 23, 24, 34, 43, 50 and 54 is the most extensive from Marne la Vallée-Chessy to Bussy-Saint-Georges, Lagny-sur-Marne, Chessy, Serris and the Val d’Europe urban and shopping center. SEME or Seine-et-Marne Express on bus lines 17 and 50 ; Tramy network on line 38, marne –et Morin on lines 12, 19, 57, 59, 59E, and 62 , Procars network on line 13 ,and Noctilien N130 and N141. The airport CDG is easy to come here by navettes Magical Shuttle and on the TGV train from CDG to Marne la Vallée Chessy.

Marne la Vallee Chessy

Marne la Vallee Chessy TGV train station

The official webpage info on Disneyland Paris is here:  Disneyland Paris

By 2002, the park is enlarge with the opening of Walt Disney Studios located on the south side of Disneyland and along the line of the RER A. Opening with 10 attractions with the cinema and cartoons as principal attractions. Recently reported in the news and my blog, there was the announcement of a new investment by Disneyland of about 2 Billion Euros so doubling the park Walt Disney Studios into 3 zones between 2021 and 2025 on the themes of Frozen, Star Wars, and Marvel. The Parc Walt Disney Studios is by Val d’Europe in Marne la Vallée . Once entering to the left you have the huge store boutique and on the right the information desk, and visitor services. At the center, there is a fountain with a statue of Mickey. Studio 1 is a building facing the entrance to the park serving as the shopping street but is covered showing a Hollywood as it was in the golden age of the 1930’s. On it you see the boutiques of the Hollywood legends in three consecutive spaces; the second space show the luxury boutique of Rodeo Drive , and the last space show the Crossroads of the World change into a service station selling DVD’s. The Toy Story Playland at the Place de Rémy is a section of Toon Studio representing the Paris of the film Ratatouille. In the section Production Courtyard you have on the left of the exit of Studio 1, and includes the attractions located on the main square decorated with a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse . The highlight is the Tower of Terror showing the mysteries of Hollywood Tower Hotel where the riders in an elevator/lift disappeared in a night of lightning scary. Hollywood boulevard installations include a replica of the Hollywood Boulevard of Los Angeles on the right and the Backlog on the back left of the park showing the scenaries of what it looks like the studios today.

The official Walt Disney Studios webpage is here:  Walt Disney Studios

I like to give some webpages that will help plan your trip here:

For those seeking to work here :  employment at Disneyland

To find Disney stores in France :  Disney store locator

Navette Express bus to from Disneyland :  navette bus Express

Magical Shuttle transport :  Magical Shuttle from airports

RER A train schedule just type Paris where you are and Disneyland:  RER A train schedule

Val d’Europe shopping, our favorite here:  Val d’Europe shopping Center

Disney village shopping in the park  : Disney Village shoppint/restos

Disney Village Natures :  Disney Village Natures

Other places to see around Disneyland Paris (obviously I like the City of Meaux and the Museum of the Great War or WWI :  Other things to see around Disneyland

Well coming on business meetings and part of the group of hotels on Disneyland property had many perks at greatly reduce or nothing at all; but that is another story. I like to tell you when I took my family there.

We drove over of course, as we have family not far and combine the trip with a visit north of Meaux. Even thought the official site tells you to get off on exit 14 of the A4 , we got in by exit 12.1 going into the D345 road and into the D344 and boulevard du Grand Fossé and our hotel(see above). The parking was reduce pricing for me at 5€ (it is 20€), the hotel was half price and the food well eventually did not pay anything. But that was the business discount. My boys were small in the early teens so the trip was memorable for them; now it is not so much an interest as they are in their 20’s.

Disneyland Paris

game room Holiday INn Disneyland today Vienna Dream

We remember the hotel was all deco in a clown theme or dream world with a large wonderful restaurant, and an even better indoor heated pool! The current hotel webpage is here:  Vienna Magic Dream Hotel

The boys really like the indoor pool and the ice creams on the restaurant; we just relax…as one can with 3 young boys. And we hit the attractions of Disneyland starting by Disney Village and eating at the old favorite from Florida, the Rainforest Cafe! The food and the attractions ::) were memorable the same; site here in English:  http://rainforestcafe.fr/en/

Disneyland Paris

Rainforest Cafe Disneyland village

And ok, we finally went into the park lol!!We got into the park early by opening time, a must , much more today. The favorite still is Space Mountain ride, the Star Wars galaxy ride, the IMAX movie cinema, for French eating the Auberge de Cendrillon at Fantasyland. The pirates of the Caribbean, and Adventureland. The park really needs two days to see it all at leisure; and now another day for Walt Disney Studios and the movies stars.

Like I said, for teens this is a must to visit in France now, and the most visited park in Europe! I believe they will do as in Orlando; an old marshy swamp area totally change by men into a sparkling metropolis with all kinds of entertainment. By the time they finish all the investment money here it will be the same. Already they are American style home communities shopping centers and a housing and business boom in all the towns around it.

The new town of Marne-La Vallée was created in the 1960’s. It includes for about 20 km wide the towns from Bry-sur-Marne to Bailly-Romainvilliers, and divided into four districts or sectors. These are sector I or Porte de Paris with the towns of Noisy-le-Grand, as well as Bry-sur-Marne ,and Villiers-sur-Marne. Sector II or gate of Val Maubuée including the towns of Champs-sur-Marne, Croissy-Beaubourg, Émerainville, Lognes, Noisiel, and Torcy. Sector III or gate of Val de Bussy including the towns of Bussy-Saint-Georges, Bussy-Saint-Martin, Chanteloup-en-Brie, Collégien, Conches-sur-Gondoire, Ferrières-en-Brie, Gouvernes, Guermantes, Jossigny, Lagny-sur-Marne, Montévrain, and Saint-Thibault-des-Vignes . Finally , sector IV with the towns of Bailly-Romainvilliers, Chessy, Coupvray, Magny-le-Hongre, Serris ,and Villeneuve-le-Comte. This new town is cross by the RER A on the line along the expressway A4 including nine stations such as Bry-sur-Marne,Noisy-le-Grand – Mont d’Est,Noisy-Champs,Noisiel,Lognes,Torcy,Bussy-Saint-Georges,Serris-Montévrain – Val d’Europe, and Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy.

Other things to see around Disneyland that are worth seeing in my opinion are the historical town of Meaux only 20 minutes from the park in the region of Brie (cheese) and mustard Pommery. Visit the gothic Cathedral (one of the last ones done in France), its episcopal palace and garden done by Le Nôtre and the museum Bossuet, the Eagle of Meaux and confessor of king Louis XIV. Follow the road of the Impressionists painters in Moret-sur-Loing with the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Sisley that walked on this town. See Barbizon, the town of painters and amateurs of Art on a pretty town following the footsteps of Corot, Millet, and Rousseau. The painters leaders of the 19C that did their most important work here; see the School of Barbizon,the museum of painters or the workshops of Rousseau and Millet.

Hope you enjoy the ride into magical Disneyland Paris. It is worth a detour with family, and shopping is great too. Have a great weekend to all. Cheers!!

March 12, 2018

The big beautiful and samba country, Brazil!

Well ,it’s about time I recap my previous trip to this huge beautiful country. Of course ,a few post won’t do justice to everything in it, but I will try . I have been coming here since 1994-5 , first from the USA and then continue from France until just last year. Of course, I am talking about Brazil.

As usual on these nostalgic posts, I will give you the link to my previous blog posts on the country.

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/780

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/5457

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/9884

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/11635

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/12721

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/16366

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/16421

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/16450

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/16472

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/16483

Well , do not know where to start, just to tell you that in addition to regular visits for several years from a week to three weeks for which I learned the language-Portuguese, I did eventually went there for a job of 3 months with an apart hotel valet parking and all expenses paid! So always living is different than visiting, you learned more and get more from the experience. Nice memories and nicer friendships that endure even over 30 years!

A bit on the history I like:

Brasil /Brazil/ Brésil is officially the Federal Republic of Brazil, the biggest country in the Latin America covering almost half the surface of South America. It shares borders with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana (also France), and Surinam; only Chile and Ecuador do not have borders. The country is ,also, the 5th biggest in the World and the only heritage of Portugal in the Americas. It is, also, the second Christian country in the world and the first Catholic (per population).

The Brazilian flag has a yellow triangle as a background in green meaning the imperial union upon the birth of Brazilian Royal house . The green represent the Royal house of Braganza  of which belonged the first emperor of Brazil , Pedro I .  The yellow represent the Austrian Royal house of Habsbourg  because Maria-Leopoldine of Austria, was the wife of Pedro I and was an Austrian princess. As far as language ,the Portuguese is the official language but also has Indian heritage in languages such as the tupi-guarani, macro-jê  ,and Arawak (the same later went to the Caribbean islands).The main tribes are the  Tupiniquims,  Guaranís, and  Tupinambas. The tribe of Tupis was the first one to be in contact with the arriving Portuguese, therefore the cultural attachment is more important today.

In 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered the Brazilian coasts coming from Portugal and declare the new lands as part of Portugal. Brazil is the country that have received the largest number of black African slaves, mostly from West Africa in the 16C to the 1850’s. By 1807, to avoid the attack of emperor Napoléon to Portugal, the Royal family of king John VI escapes to Brazil. In 1815, Portugal raise Brazil as a Vice kingdom and the Capital of its empire. Brazil becomes the Vice-monarchy of Brazil and the Algarves. In 1821, king John VI returns to Portugal but Dom Pedro became the regent prince of Brazil and starts the war of independence facing the Portuguese army against the colonial army . By 1822, Pedro takes side with the locals and declare the independence finishing in 1824 with the victory of the Brazilian troops and the signing of the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro of 1825. The first constitution was done in March 1824. Pedro II continues and make the most prosperous period of the history of Brazil.

During early in the 1860’s Brazil face two critical periods.  A war beginning with a civil war in Uruguay (at the time a province of Brazil) and the Army is sent to put down the rebellion  with final victory in 1865. The, real danger comes when the Paraguayan army taking advantage of the situation in Uruguay invade the Brazilian province of Mato Grosso, and four months later invades the Argentina as well.  This campaign was also pacified in favor of Brazil. By 1889, the emperor is dethroned and a Republic is proclaimed but not a democracy but led by an oligarchy of rich landowners, local electors, and Coronels until the crises of the 1930’s. By 1930, on a coup d’Etat the country goes into dictatorships. Brazil entered WWII in 1942 on the side of the Allies and by 1945 the dictator Vargas leave. From 1964 there were many military juntas and stays for over 20 years. Democracy comes in an economic and financial difficult time and a new constitution is erected in 1988.  All difficult moments afterward , due to corruption in democratic elected government to our days still in critical cycle.

The Brazil has known three Capitals, which are Salvador from 1549-1763, Rio de Janeiro from 1763-1960, and Brasilia, since 1960 and current Capital. The country is divided into States and they are in no particular order Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina , Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambouro, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte ,Sergipe, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás ,Brasilia,Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima ,and Tocantins.

It is a vast country so transport is best by air as much as possible. this is the way I have done it. Took a bus once in Curitiba, rode the Serra Verde Express train to Paranagua, which I would highly recommend, the site in Portuguese is here: https://serraverdeexpress.com.br/

Curitiba

Botanical gardens Curitiba

And drove myself a car in the Paranà State area around Curitiba. The rest was done by airplane.  For brief information: Cities with metro/Subway/tube that I have tried are Belo Horizonte ,Fortaleza ,Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and  São Paulo. The tramway is ok in Rio de Janeiro. The airports were the  São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport. Belo Horizonte is the main international airport outside Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Natal, and  Fortaleza has accepted international flights. Some city buses can get extremely crowded during rush hours (7h – 10h and  17h – 20h, You should also refrain from riding buses after dark.

Rio de Janeiro

view from my hotel Othon palace Copacabana beach

The bus network are (only rode in Curitiba)

Sao Paulo: http://www.sptrans.com.br/

Rio de Janeiro: http://www.rioonibus.com/servicos/terminais/

Belo Horizonte: http://www.bhtrans.pbh.gov.br/portal/page/portal/portalpublico/Temas/Onibus/novo-terminal-rodoviario-2013

Curitiba : http://www.urbs.curitiba.pr.gov.br/horario-de-onibus

Bus terminal Curitiba: http://www.urbs.curitiba.pr.gov.br/comunidade/rodoferroviaria

The main city metro sites which not taken any are:

Sao Paulo:  http://www.metro.sp.gov.br

Rio de Janeiro:  http://www.metrorio.com.br

Belo Horizonte: www.metrobh.gov.br

And the airports of my trips are here:

Airport Curitiba

http://www.aeroportocuritiba.net/en/

Sao Paulo

https://www.gru.com.br/en

Rio de Janeiro

http://www.aeroportosantosdumont.net/en/

Porto Alegre

http://www.aeroportoportoalegre.net/en/

Natal

http://www.natal.aero/en/

Fortaleza

http://www.aeroportofortaleza.net/en/

Fortaleza

arriving airport Fortaleza

Manaus

http://www4.infraero.gov.br/aeroportos/aeroporto-internacional-de-manaus-eduardo-gomes/

Belo Horizonte

http://www.bh-airport.com.br/en/p/1/home.aspx

And I leave for last some of the things to see in Brazil , of course I have a few good ones in my blog posts above, these are the ones everyone has on their agenda when they think of Brazil.

Pao do açuçar, Christ the Redeemer statue, Carnaval of Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls,  Copacabana beach, Amazon Rain Forests ,  Salvador’s Pelourinho ,Ouro Preto MG, Pernambuco Beaches ; Belo Horizonte; Art Museums of Sao Paulo;  Ipanema Beach; Maracanã stadium, Villa Morretes; in  Petrópolis  the  Cervejaria Bohemia;  Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago of 21 islands that sit 330 miles off the northeast coast. Some of the beaches here are considered to be among the very best in the world, like Baia do Sancho.

Morretes

My restaurant off the river at Morretes

Brazil has many choices for all, and they are all wonderful experiences. Hope it helps plan your trip to the country of carnival,samba, and Churrascarias!!  Have a great week everybody. Cheers!

 

 

March 11, 2018

The land of the Aztecs and Mayas, Mexico-Belize!

Hard to come up with a title for a country with so much to offer and many still untapped for other reasons. I have been coming here since 1994 and for a time ,every month to DF; later moving to France had the opportunity to continue visiting and even going to other areas. Of course ,the country is Mexico. Of course so vast and rich one blog post won’t do justice to it, but its my small contribution to a country from where now have family ties, twice! As well as many friends.

I have some blog posts on the country especially Mexico city or CDMX, and other areas. They are here to help your future trip there. I have included the country of Belize as I went from Mexico by car!

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/4023
https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/6242
https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/7056
https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/9156
https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/10511

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/19181

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/21129

On Belize
https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/9134

A bit of history I like.

Mexico is officially the United Mexican States and is a federal Republic in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.

Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely,the Valley of Mexico, and its people, the Mexica, and surrounding territories. This became the future State of Mexico as a division of New Spain prior to independence. After New Spain won independence from Spain, representatives decided to name the new country after its capital, Mexico City. This was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. The declaration of independence signed on November 6, 1813 by the deputies of the Congress of Anáhuac called the territory América Septentrional (Northern America). On two occasions (1821–1823 and 1863–1867), the country was known as Imperio Mexicano (Mexican Empire). All three federal constitutions (1824, 1857 and 1917, the current constitution) used the name Estados Unidos Mexicanos ,all of which have been translated as United Mexican States.

Ciudad de México or CDMX (Mexico City) is the capital of Mexico. Founded early on the 14C by the Mexicas (Aztecs) on the island lake of Texcoco, the pre-Columbian town of Tenochtitlan was replaced by the conquering Spanish when the Aztec empire perished in 1521, becoming the first big city of European origin in the Americas in 1522,when Hernán Cortés took the decision to built on the same spot the capital of New Spain, called Mexico.

Mexico has traditionally been among the most visited countries in the world according to the World Tourism Organization and it is the most visited country in the Americas after the United States. As of 2016, Mexico was the 8th most visited country in the world and had the 14th highest income from tourism in the world which is also the highest in Latin America. The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada followed by Europe and Asia. A smaller number also come from other Latin American countries. In the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Mexico was ranked 22nd in the world, which was 3rd in the Americas.

Tepatitlan de Morelos

Church San Francisco in Jalisco, Tepatitlan de Morelos

Bacalar

Fortress San Felipe in Bacalar, Quintana Roo

It has an elaborate excellent cuisine base on the Spanish colonization and the indigenous population ,this meeting of millennia old two culinary traditions, were born the pozole, mole sauce, Mexican barbecue and tamale , the chocolate, a large range of breads, tacos, and the broad repertoire of Mexican street foods. Beverages such as atole, champurrado, milk chocolate and aguas frescas were born; desserts such as acitrón and the full range of crystallized sweets, rompope, cajeta, jericaya and the wide repertoire of delights created in the convents of nuns in all parts of the country. There are many beverages typical of Mexican cuisine such as mezcal, tequila, wine, tepache, charanda, and tejuino.

Some of the areas to see the best of Mexico city are here:

The Basilica Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, with its feast day on December 12; The old colony of Santa Maria la Ribera in the district or Delegation  of Cuauhtémoc; The Alameda, a Moorish building used for the universal exposition of New Orleans as the Mexico pavilion in 1884-1885.  The historic center with wonderful old squares such as Plaza de la Constitución, as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico ; Palacio Nacional, Templo Mayor, gardens of the Alameda Central,this near the Palacio de Bellas Artes (fine arts) and the Plaza Garibaldi; The wide wonderful Paseo de la Reforma, and my IN area every time no matter what you read (been coming here since 1994 and as late as 2017) the Zona Rosa district.  You head over to some upscale areas such as Polanco ,and the great dept store there Liverpool; The Soumaya museum with a collection of Latin American art and one of the most important collection outside of France of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin ; modern shopping galore center district of Santa Fe, and the district of Tacuba with it’s tree of the sad night or Arbol de la Noche Triste,and the modern mansions found here. The bicentanial park or  Le Parque Bicentenario, second biggest green space in Mexico DF. The wonderful green area, biggest and so much arts with museums galore ,Chapultepec. The district of San Angel where you find the house of Diego Rivera. Xochimilco, the water source of  DF built by the old lake of Texcoco. Coyohuacán district has the huge architecturally good Autonomous University of Mexico or UNAM .

Mexico

Palacio de Bellas Artes DF

Mexico

Angel de la Independencia at Paseo Reforma

Some webpages to help in your trip planning are :

Tourism Mexico city:  http://turismo.cdmx.gob.mx/

Tourism of Mexico:  https://www.visitmexico.com/en/

Tourism of Jalisco State :  http://visita.jalisco.gob.mx/

Tourism of Quintana Roo State:  http://caribemexicano.qroo.gob.mx/

Tourism of Belize:  https://www.travelbelize.org/

Belize City

craftmarket in Belize city

Hope you enjoy this small wrap up on Mexico and a bit of Belize. The choices are unlimited and the welcome always warm. Enjoy Mexico as I have over the years. Have a great Sunday , Cheers!

February 25, 2018

Some distant cities in the USA!

Ok on a Sunday evening, I 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.

However, I did 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 ,Nebraska, also 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 4000 of them from about 79 countries. Once, began to like photos ,stop collecting postcards. In the switch something go lost…

Maybe the kind readers of my blog can help me remember some of these places. Just let it all out !!!

I will start with Boston, 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 lol!!) 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 bookend the Brighton/Allston neighborhood. Found out here: https://www.bostonusa.com/about-boston/boston-neighborhoods/brighton-allston/

Then, it was Pittsburgh, I remember staying in the Hilton by the water point across from Three rivers stadium 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, do not recall been a Garden, just a plain Hilton back then in and around 1984 ::) I believe this was the hotel:  http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/hilton-garden-inn-pittsburgh-downtown-PITFAGI/index.html

 Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Hilton postcard

 Pittsburgh

Three Rivers Stadium Pittsburgh postcard

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 trying to become an insurance salesperson right out of college, and the company well still there ,as of 2017, Mutual of Omaha holds the 367th rank on Fortune 500’s top companies !! 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 lol!  Ok got one picture of the training class, hope somebody remembers me not sorry.

Omaha

Class training MO Omaha I am on left

Chicago, 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. WE were just in the hotel for about 3 days with all day testings. But again , I was there ::)  The class picture here:

Chicago

MO training class in Chicago

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 were here ! https://www.si.edu/museums

Going from high school in NJ to university in FL did 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, this was a couple years ago. I need to get back at him. 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 !!!

Back in around 1980, while in university got a tour of the Delta airlines facilities at Atlanta international airport and stayed at a Days Inn. 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 were 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

Atlanta

Me ready to take off Delta L 1011 jet

Atlanta

people mover transport at Atlanta Hartsfield Inter Airport and me

Atlanta

bus trip rest stop and me indulging to Atlanta HIA

Atlanta

bus trip Atlanta HIA break down panic and me taking pictures

atlanta

breakfast at the Days Innn airport Atlanta with buddies me on right bottom maybe

Atlanta

Days Inn atlanta airport party room me in front

Atlanta

hangar Delta L 1011 Atlanta HIA

Atlanta

Postcard shot Atlanta downtown believe Peachtree

I went several times with my father to Philadelphia 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.

Then, it was New York, 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 World Trade Center to see the Yankees again (of course unfortunately the old World Trade Center, it was destroyed by terrorists attacks). 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 14st and the Bronx Terminal Market for groceries for our store in NJ. This was tough wakeup at 4am 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 in the mountains 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!! here is the webpage:  http://www.rockinghorseranch.com/

New York

the Brooklyn bridge over to New York postcard

New York

Rockefeller Center NY postcard

New York

Rocky Horse Ranch graduating class HS77 me on right cheap camera!

New York

NY Yankees Bronx stadium postcard

New york

statue of liberty New York postcard

Of course, if I drove to college 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, W 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 but no photos. 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 Bastille Cafe, and John’s Grill where the Maltese Falcon movie was filmed part of it.  Here is the post I did on early in my blog: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/05/09/san-francisco-golden-and-more/

San Francisco

multiview sights San Francisco postcard

San Francisco

believe union sq postcard

I search for photos but not too many, too old on paper copies ,and had to resort to some postcards for the post. So sad, no wonder nowadays we keep things better with better technology, back them paper photos were shuffle in moves, and I do average one every 5 years ! so thinks 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 ::) Enjoy your week, mine is tomorrow yikes! Cheers!!!!

February 11, 2018

Simply E R A U ,Eagles Soar!

As my blog says travel and anecdotes well it’s time to come back to a bit of a story on my past. We write about beautiful interesting places we visit and or live/d and I recount my every day living on my series Some news from …. but I have souvenirs never to be forgotten either ,such as my university days. Do you have university days stories to tell? I have plenty but let’s keep it clean lol! I will tell you a bit more on my university ERAU, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

I was living in New Jersey where I grew up, and college time came in , my dream at those tender ages was to go into aviation and from a friend heard about ERAU= Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One application form and I was accepted right away ,this was back in Augusut 1977 ::)

I have written a post early in 2011 on this episode here:
https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/01/12/my-college-days-in-florida-usa-erau/

Now I want to tell you a bit more on the University per se. Briefly, here it is the story.

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university system offering associate, bachelor, master’s, and PhD degree programs in arts and sciences, aviation, business, engineering, computer programming, cyber security and security and intelligence. It is the largest, fully accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, and other 22 locations around the world mostly in US military bases.

On December 17, 1925 ,Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Opa-Locka airport near Miami, Florida. It is still there as a general aviation/business airport, webpage here: http://www.miami-airport.com/opalocka.asp

John Paul Riddle I had the pleasure of meeting him. He had admission to both the US Naval Academy and West Point and finally chose the first one. He met later on one of his former flying student now with some wealth Talon Higbee Embry and with a contract from Waco Aircraft both founded the Embry-Riddle Company in 1925! The only had two Jenny airplanes and a dream.

They won several air mail routes and eventually Cincinnati got air mail service By now the service was flawless and by 1927 was the only of two companies that could fly passengers, the other was the Boeing Air Transport Company. On a led by Gen Doolittle the flying school got to be one of the first instrument flight instruction in the USA. The Aeronautic Board of the Dept of Commerce gave the school the endorsement as a safe flight company, only five in the USA in 1929. As the business grew financing was found by W Averell Harriman and Co and Lehman Brothers to create a financial aviation company, Aviation Corporation of Delaware in March 1929. They purchase several smaller companies and this company later became the famous AVCO. By 1930, a new holding company was founded called American Airways (today still goes on as American Airlines)

In Florida, he came to continue his dreams by purchasing other companies in the aviation industry. In 1939, he founded in association with John G Mckay the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation, leaving the name of the original founder on the name of the school. the school flew even seaplanes on the McArthur Causeway in Miami. The school provided help to Great Britain in WWII, they were exposed directly as Europe had surrender to Nazi Germany and needed pilots to defend the island. they were shipped to Jacksonville (now major naval base at Mayport here: https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/nas_jacksonville/about/history.html

From there ,they were transported by bus to the now famous fields of Carlstrom, Clewiston (no 5 British flying training school) , Dorr field, and the seaplane base in Miami. ERAU trainers did all the work on them, and later trained American pilots too! they have lease the Old Fritz hotel in Miami as headquarters located at NW 27 avenue or SR9. They trained pilots up to August 6 1945. By the time of the peace treaty more than 26K men and women had graduated their wings by the school.

In 1944 however, they have created the first flight training school in Brazil under the Escola Tecnica de Aviaçao in Sao Paulo, training 3500 Brazilians on how to flight before turning it over to the government. The School was now called the Embry-Riddle International School of Aviation. It signed contracts for training for advance flight to the Free French Republic pilots. By October 1947, the school finally moved to Opa-Locka.

The school contracted with the US Air Force to trained pilots there with more than 1500 graduating. Later, it continue training USAF pilots in the ROTC program ( Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). The school grew internationally training pilots from many countries including Cuba, China, Turkey, Belgium, England, Canada, etc. etc. By 1958 the 1000 students came from 21 countries and 44 US States. By 1963, the facilities at Opa Locka were too small for this growth. While the operations in South Florida the school trained over 40K students!

The new president (with John Paul Riddle on the board) became Jack Reed Hunt, he was famous as been the one piloting the first non stop round trip flight across the Atlantic in a US Navy blimp ZPG-2 in March 1957. The route was Massachusetts to Portugal, Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, to Florida. He received his presidential medals.

President Hunt (my school president during my time) did immediately the decision to move to bigger place a location needed to be found, candidates were Sebring, Fort Pierce, Plant City, outside Miami in Dade County ,and Daytona Beach. The city of Daytona Beach got going and did all it could to win the prize, and I am so glad they did!! Operation Bootstrap started moving the school ,setting up new campus there and all help from shoestrings by donations and help from the business community there. All was moved by ourselves and on trucks. Ormond Beach (where I later lived) decided against the move so the decision was to set up by the Daytona Beach Regional Airport (now name international) ,and also next to the Daytona Beach Speedway (NASCAR auto racing) on 185 acres of land. The school arrived at Daytona Beach operational on May 19 1965. Only 239 students including the 168 relocated from Miami.

By 1968, we had Cessna 150s, Piper Cherokee, single engine Aero Commanders, twin engine Beech B-18 and some biplane stearmen; by 1968 the school was accredited to the SACS or Southern Association of Schools and Colleges! By 1968 the first dormitory was built to housed 386 students, this was known as Doolittle Dorm 1 (my first dorm)!! three stories high. By 1970, the school was known as the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute earning approval by the FAA =Federal Aviation Administration. The info on the Dorm 1 Doolittle now see it here: http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/campus-life/housing/residence-halls/doolittle/index.html

Daytona Beach

By 1972, the school is known as we know it today , Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the one I came in on August 23 1977 to start classes! I visited many times President Hunt residence on the beach at Ormond by the Sea (now sold and gone a while back). This house we call it the Battleship as it look one from the distance, and we had the University Center where the cafeteria was at ,to eat and mingle you know. By my first year 1977, the school already counted with 2 725 students! me included lol!

Daytona Beach

By 1979, Times Magazine called us the “Harvard of the sky” And before that in 1978, we purchase Prescott college in Prescott Arizona to serve as our western campus. The International Campus was started ,now call the Extended Campus with over 100 locations many online. Now the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses have both about 5000 students. President Jack Hunt passed away of cancer in January 7 1984 RIP. He said, ” it may be easy to get in to Embry-Riddle, but it is not easy to get out” amen.

As the new team took over the school continues to grow and influence the world of aviation. In 1986 , the school was awarded the management training of the FAA and a specific center was opened in Palm Coast.

Ok not all is goody goody, the Administration announced in July 2014 that Embry-Riddle has been accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II membership. Embry-Riddle began intercollegiate athletics competition on its Daytona Beach Campus in 1988. Well not really, from the photos you will see that I participated in the NCAA Div 2 soccer program already in 1978-1980 playing against much bigger schools like FIU, Univ of Florida, Univ Central Florida, South Florida Tampa, etc with good results, winning records. However, the school decided to leave sports in 1981 and even with petitions by students the decision remained until starting again in 1988. The unfortunate thingy here is that those who participated before are not been recognized in school records!!! We had , also, baseball, tennis, and golf teams.  And of course, we had intramural sports and I did volleyball and softball, photo. The special site for athletics is here: http://erauathletics.com/index.aspx

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

The school has won several prizes in aviation flight competition; these are call NIFA/SAFECON , and remain the provider of about 50% of US Air Force pilots the best flyboys in the world! Following a short illness, on April 6 1989, John Paul Riddle passed away at his home in Coral Gables, near Miami he was 87 yrs. old. RIP sir. His last airplane ride took place on April 10th when following funeral services and a memorial service at the University, his ashes were sprinkled over Biscayne Bay and in the Oak Ridge cemetery at Arcadia, Florida.

Information gathered from memories, yearbook Phoenix from graduation 1982,(and my yearbook photo!)  and the book “The Sky is Home”, and the Alumni directory of 1998 all jealousy guarded by yours truly.

 

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

There is an ERAU alumni network, that has tattled with lack of support for a long time. I was on the first meeting to do an alumni network at Harley Hotel in Atlanta, GA back in 1984; then another try from Florida at the city hall of Hollywood Fl back in 1994, and finally as the Director of Alumni relations in France where we have over 60 French students graduated from my university now working French aviation/Aerospace industry, some of them quite well designing the wings for the A 380 to test pilot on maiden mission Toulouse-Hamburg, to working on the Arianne rocket etc. I helped organized the Paris Air Show of several years back believe it was 2013 with a dinner organized by me at the prestigious Aviation club de France ; but nothing of support so I decided to leave the organizing back in early 2017, and the position still vacant. More on the alumni ERAU here: https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/index.aspx

Another organization that does not exist no more and I was very active was the Management Club; I was the Treasurer 1981-82 and helped created the club as a non profit organization with the help of Accounting professor Mr Campbell and created the first scholarship fund to helped students pay for their book with the help of my Finance professor Mr De la Rosa back in 1980.  Both with the help of our councilor professor Mr Knabe.  These pictures are some of the souvenirs of this period;

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

I, even kept some photos from class trips this one visiting the Hartfield Atlanta International Airport on a thrill bus ride and fun antics in the Days Inn hotel we stayed, location forgotten but the actions did not ::) The planes are Lockheed 1011 from Delta!

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

Some more facts: Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked by  U.S. News & World Report magazine in several categories for 2017:

Regional Universities South – Tie – 12th;  Best Colleges for Veterans – 8th; Best Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 84th;   Best Graduate Engineering Schools – Tie – 104th;   Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 16th;  Best Online Bachelor’s Programs – 1st;   Best Online MBA Programs – Tie – 100th;
Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) – Tie – 55th

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is also ranked by Forbes’ List of America’s Top Colleges for 2016:

Top Colleges: 480;  Private Colleges: 319;  Grateful Grads: 381;  Forbes Financial Grade: B
America’s Best Value Colleges: 280

See the link info by the US News magazine here: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/embry-riddle-1479

And Forbes’s both campuses here: https://www.forbes.com/colleges/embry-riddle-aeronautical-university-daytona-beach/

https://www.forbes.com/colleges/embry-riddle-aeronautical-university-prescott/

The main webpage for ERAU here: https://erau.edu/

The ERAU bookstore online: https://www.bkstr.com/embryriddleaeronauticalstore/home

The ERAU lift magazine publication here: https://lift.erau.edu/

Still call the Avion campus newspaper here:  http://theavion.com/

And last but not least the story of the school via youtube video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gB4Ke5FrHU

Back in August, 2009, I visited Florida with the family and did pay a visit to ERAU as to show my boys the thrill of college non existent in France. We got a nice ride from the Alumni office to all of us, memories of young at heart.

Daytona Beach

Enjoy it the memories you have, they will follow you all over and the friendships made will stay with you forever. Happy Sunday, Cheers!

 

 

December 31, 2017

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo 2018!!!

 

One photo from AP Thibault Camus to celebrate the New Year on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris!!!

Paris

A very special brief post on wishing you all a very very Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018. May all your hopes and dreams come true in good health. We stay home as in the last few years, with the kids grown and far from family we do not want to go out into the crowds of end of year.

We decided to cook a nice roast duck  breast in Madeira sauce all home made by the expert French cook in the family, my wife. Then, we added dauphiné potatoes, and dish of cheeses like goat, brie, awe milk ,and comtal , and ice cream log or buché glacé of various flavors. All wash down with Champagne Tsarine Brut for the apéro, and Chateau Patache d’Aux  Médoc 2012, and Chateau Saint Martin red Listrac-Médoc 2012 , both wines from the Bordeaux region.

We started with various amuse buche biscuits, coated peanuts in fruit flavors, potato chips chorizo and cheese, olives in garlic without seeds, and the Wolfberger Gewurztraminer Alsacien white 2016.  A grand total of 6 persons, including my immediate family and my father. We had some wonderful jelly of passion fruit from Guadaloupe as well as the chocolate ice cream log.

All the while we switch TV from the celebration in the Champs-Elysées news flash, as well as the TVE celebration in the Puerta del Sol at Madrid . It was wonderful, I had a cam camera of it and was great indeed! Just for a bit of ambiance as best we can. We constantly stay in touch with family and close friends by Facebook and Skype and this year Whatsapp.

The town was quiet and with police training on avoiding firecrackers in my area. The temps is a bit rough as we are having the storm Carmen passing by temps are at 9C or about 48F but high winds heavey rains at times ,and expecting the high tide to go by coefficient of 100 that can create flooding in coastal towns.

Another year goes by, and I to begin work tomorrow January 2nd after two weeks vacation; it’s going to be tough. Then, by mid month will fly out to Asia for a week as last year! The year will be critical as we will know our retirement options by end year and then can really prepare for it. So far, we think we will remain here in lovely Morbihan Breton.  Too far to figure where we will be going on trips, but me on India and China and maybe Tenerife, Spain looms possibles. Anyway , we are not long range planners but last minute ::)

Will have some personal photos here ,not a fan but for the special day it is worth it, me think. Again happy travels and best wishes for all followers and readers of my blog in 2018. Cheers!!!

PluvignerPluvignerPluvignerPluvigner

December 12, 2017

For me it all began here a looong time ago, Cuba

Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba Cuba CubaIn continuing my saga of remembrance of my life’s corners and meandering places I now take you back to where it all began for me a looong time ago, Cuba. As a holder of four passports, the first one was Cuban.

I was born there in the town of Punta Brava, a once historical town of Cuba,where the war of Independence from Spain saw one of our greatest hero fall in combat. Now with the new revolution, all that history is gone and hardly ever mentioned. Cuba has change a lot ,it is not the same and for me it will never be the same.

Now, only memories lingered, and some places of share family values and love. Far far away, it seems difficult to even write that upon my latest visit in 2012, the area where I grew up seems different;;;well unrecognizable;;; well poorer. It seems to me like I was not from there. It required some days of adjustment for things to come back again.

This post is to all and especially to me as  a reminder of what it was, a lingering space in time of a once upon a time place call Punta Brava, city of Havana metropolitan area, Republic of Cuba.

Enjoy the stories, I read them myself once in a while just to keep my feet on the ground. Glance the photos some are new some are very old, all meaningful as a source of my DNA. Enjoy the pictures, and feel the people when visiting , they are the main things, the regular guy on the street. Cheers

My previous entries on Cuba in my blog are here:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/04/20/my-trip-to-the-roots-where-all-begun-cuba/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/01/22/san-cristobal-de-la-habana-havanacuba/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/09/09/the-torreons-of-havana-los-torreons-de-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/02/25/havana-la-habana-a-beautiful-postcard-of-vintage-beauty/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/23/cathedral-of-havana-or-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/message-to-havana-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/havana-nights-and-more-of-la-habana/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/04/22/habana-hilton-or-libre-and-yara-or-radiocentro/

  

 

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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