Archive for ‘France’

November 27, 2020

Miramar, FL and beach volleyball !!!

Those were the days of youth and glory! Memories flashing as I look at this old post in my last home in USA! Miramar, Broward county, Florida! And the wonderful corporate sports ambiance that I was part of.

One of the best moments were on the beach volleyball team of my company in the corporate league! This was fun times ,getting together with collegues and going out after work to play some beach volleyball and sometimes practices for the big game! Memories forever!!

Well just cruising on my older posts and came up with this one I like to revise update with the only photo I got as souvenir to remind me of my beach bum days in my dear Florida and playing that sport call Beach Volleyball.

By now establish as an Olympic sport in its two tandem teams we used to play it also, as a regular 6×6 only on sand.  The FIVB organisation for it is here: https://www.fivb.com/en/beachvolleyball

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

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

The team need to change side every 7 points and each team can touch up to 3 times the ball. As the service is done to the opposite team , and it is touch/block in any way it remains two touches to the receiving team to get the ball on the other side of the net.  The player who block or touch the ball first can do the second touch. The ball needs to be spiked and not handle with the hand or fingers.  Another thing we played it Co-Ed or mixing boys and girls/men and women on the team in a corporate league.

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

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

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

The huge choices of parks are in the Broward county page on parks here: https://www.broward.org/parks/thingstodo/pages/sports.aspx

Great to remind myself of these times, and thanks for following along with me on this memory lane journey. Miramar was a nice experience and always remembered

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

November 26, 2020

Quick Champagne is coming!!!

hehehe well, this is the time of Champagne or about 70% of their sales is in the period now running to the New Year. I admit, to me it has become a special occasion drink maybe couple times a year like now. The rest is wine/beer! and porto!

I have written several posts on Champagne over the years. And talking about years, WordPress has just remind me with the best wishes of “Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!  You registered on WordPress.com 10 years ago.” Indeed time flies when having fun, thank you to all my readers past present and future! Going over my many updates I realised many of you are no longer posting but I know who you are, and I thank you too!

Now , let me give some of the latest tastebugs in France on Champagne with the personal favorites in black. Happy Holidays to all!!

From some of these who grow their own grapes and do wonderful bubblies I bring you!

De SAINT-GALL Cuvée Orpale 2008, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru. Golden reflections to the eye as well as an effervescence of extreme finesse precede the intense nose of citrus fruits and candied lemon. The palate is dense, rich, the finish fresh and very saline, lemony with delicacy. Cuvée sold in an environmentally friendly box.

CANARD-DUCHENE 2012 vintage. From the golden dress escape scents of white flowers, lemon, toasted. Round and rich on the palate, with candied apple flavors, on the attack and mid-palate, the champagne then becomes more energetic, fresh and tense. This is certainly the most successful vintage from this house.

CHARLES HEIDSIECK Cuvée Blanc des Millénaires 2006. Made from 100% Chardonnay, this magnificent wine expresses remarkable aromatic complexity. Notes of violet, acacia and citrus intermingle with more intense ones of exotic fruits (fig, date, pineapple). The palate is creamy, full, full, intense. A little wonder.

AYALA Cuvée N ° 7, Brut 2007. It results from the association of seven grands crus (2/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir) all from 2007. The color is golden, luminous, underlined by a fine effervescence. The nose releases aromas of mirabelle plum, honey and apricot. The palate is fleshy, spicy, generous, with some notes of candied lemon, stewed fruits, a nice freshness.

RUINART R de Ruinart 2011. Clear golden color with green reflections, extra-fine bubbles that run straight, a bead of persistent, creamy foam, all heralding signs of the quality of this great wine not denied by the lightness, the beautiful balance, the incredible freshness due to the minty notes, of antesite, anise that we smell on the nose, savor in the mouth and in the finish, mineral.

PIERRE GIMONNET & SON ; Cuvée Brut Nature “Œnophile” Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs 2010 An enveloping champagne, elegant, even sophisticated, chalky on the finish. Despite the total lack of dosage, a practice dating back to 1985 at Gimonnet, the complex wine shows good maturity.

And what about these wonderful bottles of always!!

JACQUESSON 743 Extra-Brut. The palate is perfectly balanced, with obvious repercussions on the flavor of this very great wine made in casks, complex, sapid, mineral and infinite, embellished with a fine and creamy bubble. As with each 7xx cuvée, the blend exacerbates the character of the base year, here the 2015 harvest

CHRISTIAN GOSSET Blanc de Pinot noir Loiselu Aÿ Grand Cru 2016 .After working in the family vines, Christian Gosset markets his first plot vintages. Golden color, persistent string of foam, nose of cereals, floral, iodine… The wine made from 100% Pinot Noir unfolds in the mouth with suppleness then with breadth, intensity, generosity. On tangy red berries, the finish stretches in length, chalky and saline.

TARLANT La Lutétienne 2005, Brut Nature. The cuvée takes its name from the Lutecian limestone subsoil and wants to be Parisian if we refer to the old Lutèce (Paris) built of Lutetian limestones … Made from chardonnay (80%) and pinot noir (20%), it is full-bodied, round and plump. The finish goes on forever, mineral, of course! Limited edition of 2,800 bottles.

LARMANDIER-BERNIER Les Chemins d´Avize Grand Cru Blanc de blancs Extra-Brut 2013 Straightforward, rich, crystalline, biodynamic wine reveals itself in a flight of extra-fine bubbles but it should not be drunk too cold to appreciate its complex flavor, its long and lively finish, its finesse and freshness.

And of course, for la vie en rose folks need to show some of the gems of Champagne!

LAURENT-PERRIER  Grand Siècle Iteration N ° 24. Blending the best with the best to obtain the best, such is the motto of this cuvée resulting from three beautiful complementary years (2007, 2006, 2004) and 100% grands crus. We come close to perfection with this immense champagne of great purity, mineral, distinguished, melted. Lace

DOM PÉRIGNON  Vintage 2010. We no longer present this mythical cuvée which, in the 2010 vintage, is of rare elegance. A divine wine, intensely aromatic, which imposes itself with superb on the palate thanks to a silky mouth feel. Ample, full, all in finesse until a crystalline, peppery, saline, chiseled, slender finish.

LOUIS ROEDERER  Crystal 2012.  A brilliant and luminous cuvée in every way. From the color to the finish, everything is elegance, complexity, balance. Added to this are power, concentration, vinosity and tension embellished with an incredible chalky freshness and infinite length with notes of candied lemon.

POL ROGER  Sir Winston Churchill 2009.  Each vintage of this prestigious champagne is a new tribute to the British statesman and is meant to be in his image: robust, ripe and structured. With the 2009, everyone can add flesh, gluttony and generosity, which would not displease Winston. Dried fruits, vanilla, citrus fruits intermingle in a remarkable and tasty harmony.

TAITTINGER  Comtes de Champagne Grands Crus Blanc de blancs 2008. An exceptional cuvée and a vintage to seize since the next one will not leave the cellar until the 2011. Aromas of orange blossom, peach, liquorice … Very straight and pure on the palate, crystalline, grandiose. A full, round, open wine, which forms a splendid accord with a crushed potato and Sologne caviar.

POMMERY  Cuvée Louise 2004.  A divine champagne with a silky touch of superb freshness, mineral, complex and salivating. The next day, always so distinguished, he left aside some of his effervescence to make way for a very great wine, of tremendous flavor. This year, it slips into a box called “Introspection” in a limited edition.

VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN’S  The Great Lady 2012. The effervescence of extreme delicacy announces the distinction of this great lady with a white gold dress and crystalline reflections. The nose is intense (jasmine, frangipane, mirabelle plum), the mouth refined, chiseled, all of finesse and complexity. A wonder. Endless and mineral finish.

PERRIER JOUET Cuvée Belle Époque 2012.  In its iconic bottle, adorned with Japanese anemones imagined in 1902 by Émile Gallé, it does not go unnoticed. It also stands out for its roundness, its flexibility, its brioche, pear and floral aromas, which join the flavors on the palate, fresh, elegant, tender, harmonious and long.

And how about those that are from one grape variety only!

DE VENOGE  Cuvée Princes Blanc de Noirs.  The magnificent carafe reminds us that the great European aristocracy at the beginning of the 20C decanted champagne in a crystal bottle. Created in 1864 in homage to the Princes of Orange, this cuvée now blooms on the palate with vinosity and richness, complex, intense until the finish is long, fine, delicately tense, on red fruits.

EGLY-OURIET  Brut 1er Cru “ The Vines of Vrigny ”.A cuvée composed exclusively of old Pinot Meunier vines. At 1 g / l, it offers the eye an old gold color tinged with amber reflections streaked with ultra-fine bubbles. The aromas of pear and brioche precede the vinous palate enhanced with notes of persistent red fruits in an infinite length.

BOLLINGER  Cuvée PN VZ 15.  A brand new special cuvée: PN for Pinot Noir, VZ for Verzenay (dominant village), 15 as of 2015, the base vintage that makes up the wine imagined as the little sister of the priceless and miraculous cuvée Vieilles Vignes Françaises. Opulent, vinous, rich, elegant palate with a strong personality, an interminable finish. It will hold its own against a sweetbread.

LANSON  Blanc de Blancs.  A 100% pleasurable Chardonnay, very aromatic on the nose (pastry notes, frangipane) as well as on the palate that is initially soft. The smoothness is then offset by a nice acidity and notes of citrus zest for firmness, the candied lemon prevailing on the finish, pleasantly persistent.

BESSERAT DE BELLEFON  Cuvée des Moines Blanc de blancs.  An exquisite champagne whose signature is now BB and with which we enjoy from the beginning to the end of the tasting. Intense, iodized, floral (acacia) and fruity (citrus) on the nose, it opens up with width, full, round, petulant, with flavors of lemon candy, chalky and chiseled.

And I leave you with the extre brut, those wonderful bubblies with no sugar added. Straight we call it!!

BILLECART-SALMON  Les Rendez-vous N ° 1, Meunier Extra-Brut.  Very fresh, this sensual, airy, floral, fruity, tense and salivating wine has been aged on lees for five years. Ephemeral and confidential, the first cuvée of the new range already gives an appointment next year to discover N ° 2, another experiment carried out in the cellars of the house.

DRAPPIER  Brut Nature, No Added Sulfur.  This 100% Pinot Noir cuvée shines with its freshness and elegant flavor. A wine as close as possible to nature, pure, precise, unfiltered, without sulfur or added sugars and therefore without makeup. A vibrant and energetic experience in the mouth, harmonious, mineral, very long and salivating. We never tire.

LECLERC BRIANT  Premier Cru Extra-Brut. Dominated by red grape varieties (70% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier), we are no longer surprised by the intensity of the wine on the nose as well as on the frank, long palate, on freshness without untimely acidity. Notes of citrus, salinity, good persistence. Low dosage (2 g / l) and grapes from the 2014 harvest.

Well, finally, the classics Champagne

GOSSET Brut 12 years in the cellar at least.  Cellar master Odilon de Varine has allowed this cuvée to age for twelve years on lees in the freshness and depth of the cellars in order to deliver a full and complex wine. An unprecedented cuvée blessed with a fine, abundant bubble, an astonishing freshness, a sacred tension and whose saline finish calls for iodized dishes

DEUTZ  Brut Classic.  A great elegant wine with undoubted charm, a sure bet in Champagne. It envelops and caresses the palate with its silky texture and its open, seductive aromas (brioche, ripe white fruits, almond paste). Expressive, it is also complex and smooth.

G.H. MUMM  Brut Cordon Rouge.  You have to rely on the blend of around 120 vintages to successfully develop this emblematic cuvée of the house. It will appeal to the greatest number, both lovers of Brut champagne without year and those of Brut Nature, because it is precisely balanced between fruity roundness, power and freshness.

DE TELMONT  Cuvée without added sulfur.  The grapes (90% chardonnay and 10% meunier) were vinified without sulfur, in oenodynamics (same principles as biodynamics applied to oenology). A myriad of bubbles sparkle delicately in the mouth, suave, elegant, fleshy and deliciously tight for this brut dosed at 5 g / liter!

PHILIPPE GONET  Brut Reserve.  The 7th generation at the head of this house presents its brand new Brut Réserve. On the power, the nose exudes pastry notes. A wine of character, supple, crunchy, easy to access, very long in the mouth. The chalky and spicy finish goes well with a carpaccio of sea bream or scallops.

And there you go folks, have yours, take a pick, go quickly this is Champagne time all over the world! And toast a bubbly , the real one of Champagne for your best moments. Wish I could be there but in consolation I bid you rememberance with these.

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”  Winston Churchill

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” Coco Chanel

“Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.”Madame de Pompadour

“I’ll drink your champagne. I’ll drink every drop of it, I don’t care if it kills me.”F. Scott Fitzgerald

And I leave you with another of this great men quote: “Champagne is the wine of civilization and the oil of government. Winston Churchill!

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

November 22, 2020

Just arriving in Spain by the Col du Portalet mountains!!!

This is probably one of my shortest post but the most exciting in my road warrior trails. This, this is going over the Port de Portalet mountain from France to Spain! And we love it!!!!

Updating my text of August 2016; hope you enjoy it as I do! Brings back many family memories going over these mountains over the years first with wife , then boys and then parents and family!

We got up earlier from hotel in Bordeaux , (see post) and by about 7h or 7am we were on the road past the beltway of Bordeaux A630 into the expressway A62 towards Pau/Toulouse.  We continue connecting with the A64 road to Pau and then the A65 , connecting on the N134 by Jurançon and Gan, where we got on the D934  all the way past Laruns and to the Col du Portalet passage to Spain.

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As we got up earlier we had breakfast on the road on the  mountains by Bielle on the D934 at boulangerie Laloubère , a small outlet they have right on the road and the back on the mountains; very nice and great breads, sweets, coffee and orange juice for 2,30 euros! per person. Their main store is at Bielle. And we have made it our must stop over the years afterward, by now a routine trip at Laloubére!!

You see beautiful mountain passages like the dam of Artouste  done with a lake at 1997 meters and the spa thermes of Eaux Bonnes, the quant nice town of Laruns, and the final destination in France at the Col du Portalet and the town at 1984 meters high. This is just before taking the tunnel under it to reach Spain at the other side , going up through some twisting and each time higher élévations and breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys not to mention a great challenge for the driver!! Love it!!!!

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A great final ride in France before reaching my beloved Spain, always nice to be back, and glad can do this often in the last few years. Again hope you enjoy this brief road warrior trip up the Pyrénées!!

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The lake of Artouste feeding the dam info here: https://www.lacsdespyrenees.com/lac-23-Lac%20d%E2%80%99Artouste.html

The the Spa at Eaux Bonnes, will love to be back!  https://www.valleedossau-tourisme.com/en/ossau-valley/presentation-of-villages/eaux-bonnes/

How to get to these peaks and valleys : https://www.valleedossau-tourisme.com/en/access/

There you go short and sassy! Go ahead make the run, get the thrill of high mountain driving in pure air with breath taking views, sublime. Hope you enjoy and try it

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

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November 22, 2020

Vacation time arrived, onwards to Spain!!!

I finally was able to convince the wife to come to Spain for vacation. And it was worth it ,and she love it; later many repeats. After going thru Europe or western Europe I finally came with the family to my beloved Spain. Of course, I have been here before read my blog…

We spent two weeks going by car with some metro/subway and bus on major cities. This update is from August 2016. Visited Bordeaux, Cuenca, Las Majadas, Madrid, Toledo, Huerte, Belmonte, Segovia, La Granja de San IIdelfonso, Alcalà de Henares, Aranjuez, Valencia, Ségobriga ,Alarcon, Chinchon, Calatayud, and many smaller towns passing by.

We rented a house in Las Majadas ,Cuenca at 1400 meters high (about 6600 feet) that was absolutively  superb with all the trimmings and fantastic host owners. We passed by goats , sheeps, horses, deers, wild pigs and right on the eyes of cows on the road; all in good expériences. The beginning of a wonderful friendship with the owners and us over the years!

We found the house thru TopRural which is now Vrbohttps://www.vrbo.com/?preferlocale=true

The property is Casa Pituhttp://www.casapitu.es/

We left by car by 8h or 8am from home along the path of avoiding as much as possible toll roads. Taken the N165 towards Nantes N249 and then the D763 and D137 towards La Rochelle, and continue connecting with the A10 for a while before at Bordeaux get on the A62,A65 and A64 towards the Col du Portalet passage to Spain. On the A roads we did pay a toll of 25,70€ but we quickly move back into the D934 on passage routes at 1390 meters high with great views. I wanted to show both sides but something not repeated afterward no more tolls!

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This is the mountain passes we saw and went thru heavens on earth! and great cheese ossau iraty!  http://travel-ossau-pyrenees.com/benou.html

To start we did a quick one night rest stop by Bordeaux .The trip took about 17 hours stopping several times for a break, gas , and eat. It took about 1265 kms or about 784 miles for the whole trip and about 417 kms or 259 miles to Bordeaux in 7 hours.  For those who have traveled by car will note these are longer times but it was done because the only driver was me and taking breaks is a wise thing to do. I do not know why people talk about traffic as with well planned the trip went smooth with only a slow moving traffic along the rocade of Bordeaux arriving there to our road hotel, the inexpensive F1 La Bastide today call the Aréna. Part of the great chain Accor webpage: https://all.accor.com/hotel/2419/index.en.shtml

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We listen to radio 107.7 FM for traffic and weather conditions as well as good music. And the best is yet to come. A memorable vacation indeed! Good for the soul and family times. Hope you enjoy it and look up the sites in the blog

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

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November 22, 2020

Cayo la Rosa, Bauta, Cuba!!!

Ok so one of the biggest enjoyment of looking back at old posts and revising them is finding out that some spots are little mentioned or left out! As my blog is part of my life’s history as well, I like to bring you to a little corner of Cuba not on the tourist trail. Well not even in off the beaten paths! This is personal and for the memories.

Cayo La Rosa, off Bauta, was a huge textile plant (Ariguanabo) of 5000 workers done by Americans now in ruins. The village have not change much, and took a ride with my cousin in an electric moto on the town, crazy but a great and cheap means of transportation there now.  And proud of myself was able to take my local driver from Havana there as he did not know how,and I did it with so many years out just on good memory lol! He was impressed!

Cayo calle 11 apr12

The Textilera Ariguanabo or textile plant Ariguanabo was created and owned by the American Burke Osborne Hedges. My dear late Mom Gladys worked there for a while. In the hands of the Hedges, the Textilera de Ariguanabo was an integrative civil and cultural project. It included an advanced social security program, a campaign for the prestige of employment, the construction of a baseball stadium, a first-aid house, an airport, a fire station, daycare centers, and the financing of various publications to cover local and national events. They introduced rotating six-hour shifts and an excellent system of credits, vacations and withdrawals. All of this was eliminated by the 1959 Cuban revolution.

Cayo La Rosa , part of the town of Bauta and of the new Artemisa province created in 2010 before it was Havana province. It is really part of the bigger town of Bauta. Bauta is a town located about 40 km (25 mi) from Havana. The territory to the south reaches up to the old Laguna de Ariguanabo (lake), now almost dried up. However, it was big and surrounded the town which is why the name is Cayo or Key La Rosa or the Rose or Key Rose! I still have an aunt and cousin living there!

The town of Bauta was found on January 14, 1879. Bauta was best known internationally as the location of a Soviet listening base intended to spy on the United States. In 2000, the service known as the Lourdes base was closed by the Russian government. Thet town is crossed by the highways linking Cuba west to east such as the autopista de Pinar del Río, the autopista Panamericana (norte) ,and the Carretera Central or central highway which we always took.

My last school in Cuba was based at Bauta, where I needed to come by bus, car, hitchhike whatever means. I did not do much school as most of the time I sneak out to go to the baseball stadium not far from there. The school was named after Nguyễn Văn Trỗi a Vietnamese electrician and fighter for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (Viet Cong). He was sentenced to death by the government of the Republic of Vietnam (south Vietnam), and was executed by firing squad. He was considered a national hero by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). And of course ,now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I believe now they have change the name,not sure.

Bauta escula nyen van throi ultima escuela en Cuba de Pedro

As you can imagine, there are no webpages for this. Just my small recollection and memories of always. These towns Bauta, Cayo la Rosa, look so distant now but never forgotten. Hope you enjoy the post anyway and maybe one day we can get to drive by them again!

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

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November 22, 2020

Another dandy in the East,Manila!!!

And need to revise this older post on the nice city of Manila, capital of the Philippines. It was my first trip ever to the Philippines and Manila! Thereafter, many more trips and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to be back when possible.

Another surprise visit to a far away land, business many times provides unexpected visits to some exotic far away lands, and I am lucky to be part of the business travel loop. I came here and repeat several times and the experiences have been gratifying indeed. I am talking now of the capital, Manila ,in the Philippines.

The city of Manila is one of the 16 cities of the metropolitan area of Manila, one of the most populous in the world. The latter, located on the west coast of Luzon Island, is the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), and is not part of any province in the country. It is located on the east bank of Manila Bay.  The city is divided into six legislative districts and sixteen geographic districts: Binondo , Ermita, Intramuros, Malate , Paco, Pandacan , Manila Port, Quiapo , Sampaloc , San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas , Santa Ana, Santa Cruz , Santa Mesa , and Mowo.

Some of the key dates in history I like are

1571, founding of the city by Miguel López de Legazpi. The Spaniards settled there, and occupied the premises until 1898. 1762-1764: British occupation of Manila and Cavite during the war of seven years. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, American troops destroyed Spain’s fleet (Battle of Manila Bay), and took over the Philippines.

On December 26, 1941, following the bombardment of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into  WWII, the Americans abandoned the city and withdrew all their military facilities. The Japanese Air force bombarded Manila, before the Imperial Army entered the city on January 2, 1942. In February 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy refused to evacuate the perimeter, the Allies continue the advance to the city, at the cost of intense fighting that destroyed the town and resulted in the death of many civilians. Manila was one of the most devastated cities during  WWII. In 1948, Quezon City became the new capital of the Republic of the Philippines. Manila becomes the capital of the country on May 29th, 1976.

Some of the interesting areas to visit are on the south bank of the Pasig River where the ancient colonial district of Intramuros, founded in 1571 by the Spaniards, which in a peaceful atmosphere has preserved surprising examples of 17C architecture, and Rizal Park, Manila’s Central Park . Further south, the districts of Ermita and Malate, around its Baroque church, host many bars and restaurants. This is also where you can watch the sunset over Manila Bay.  On the North of the Pasig River, the district of Quiapo is famous for its steel church, the Basilica of San Sebastian, its market and its Basilica of the Black Nazarene, where the procession of the Black Nazarene is held every 9th January and brings together millions of devotees. A little further away the Binondo district is home to the city’s very authentic Chinatown. A fascinating Chinese cemetery is located in the north of the city.

Other popular sites include the Spanish colonial buildings in Intramuros, the World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church, and a few Art Deco and Revival style buildings like Manila Metropolitan Theater and the National Museum of Fine Arts. There are also modern attractions such as the Manila Ocean Park, the integrated resort complex of resorts World Manila, and the City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila in Entertainment City.

Tourist attractions located inside the Intramuros old town include Fort Santiago, a Spanish citadel located at the mouth of the Pasig River, Manila Cathedral, a 19C ecclesiastical Cathedral which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, San Agustin Church. At the Rizal park the Rizal Monument, located in the center of the park, is the memorial to the Philippine national hero, José Rizal. Museums within Manila include the National Museum of Fine Arts, formerly the National Art Gallery, the National Museum of Anthropology, an anthropology and archaeology museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, a premier museum of modern and contemporary visual arts.

The Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium with a marine-themed mall and hotel, it is located behind Quirino Grandstand, which fronts Rizal Park. Malate, the tourism center of Manila, is famous for the Baywalk and the Remedios nightlife district. Manila Zoo, the oldest zoo and botanical garden in the Philippines, is also located in that district. Binondo, an old district of Manila that is home to Manila’s Chinatown, is established since 1521. Its main attractions are Binondo Church, Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, Seng Guan Buddhist temple and Chinese restaurants. Quiapo is the location of Plaza Miranda and Quiapo Church, which is home to the Black Nazarene. The San Sebastian Church, which is also located in Quiapo, is the only all-steel Gothic basilica in Asia.

I was briefly on a ride of the above places but was base in the business district of Makati CBD, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest financial hubs, and noted for its cosmopolitan cultural and entertainment ambiance around the huge complex of the Ayala Center, and  the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

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Moving about I was with a local driver because the streets of Manila suffers from a lot of chronic traffic jams. The jeepneys are the main public transport. These are old American army jeeps, left behind after WWII, which were turned into very colorful but also very polluting mini buses, and was told can be dangerous for visitors. Manila has an aerial light rail network, the LRT, which often follows the main axes of the city. It is one of the first urban railway collective transport systems in Southeast Asia. About 29 km Long it has 29 stations, on two lines: the LRT-1 (Yellow Line), and the LRT-2 (Violet line). The city also has a predominantly aerial metro line, the MRT-3 (Blue Line), and a ferry service on the Pasig River, which has 17 stations. The city comprises 10 bridges over the Pasig river of whirch, 2 railway bridges and 8 road bridges (The bridges of Roxas, Jones, McArthur, Quezon, Ayala, Mabini, Padre Zamora and Lambingan).  I always arrived by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport located 8 km southeast of the city center. Official Manila airport authority on the airport: https://www.miaa.gov.ph/miaa/

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Manila airport gates check in nov18

The Philippines tourist board on Manilahttp://www.experiencephilippines.org/tourism/destinations-tourism/manila-environs-department-of-tourism/

A private webpage Yatra good info on Manilahttps://www.yatra.com/international-tourism/manila-travel-guide

The guide to the Philippines private webpage on Makati district: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/ultimate-guides/makati-travel-guide

Hope it helps your planning for a nice visit to Manila and you can enjoy the exotic East and the islands of Philippines. Thereafter, my travels there took me to other islands and less of Manila. It will remain always a memorable visit. Hope you enjoy this brief introduction to the city

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

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November 21, 2020

Roundtrip Vannes to Cebu, Philippines!!!

Ok so this is one of those posts I like to update and revise the text just for my memories and hopefully others gone thru these airport changes. It was a souvenir of my travels alright, later on I begin to be more picky on the connections so if job require many I would refuse, gladly had that opportunity. Hope you enjoy the post. And Thanks for reading me! Merci beaucoup!!

I just came back from my third trip to the Philippines and been a rush business trip of only four days gave me no time to see much.  The other two times, I did some out traveling but could not be possible this time. So will tell you mostly of my travel ordeals on a long voyage.

I started from home on Saturday January 13 2018 going to the train station in Vannes with free parking behind it, and getting a train to Redon, changing train to Nantes train station. There took the express airport bus to the Nantes Atlantique Airport. From arrival headed to my one night hotel the Escale Oceania Hotel across from the airport. This is the usual hotel I stayed when coming and going thru my closest decent flights airport. Hotel webpage: https://www.oceaniahotels.com/en/hotel/hotel-escale-oceania-nantes-airport

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Once out to the airport the next morning Sunday January 14, took my regular flight with Air France to Roissy CDG airport arriving in Terminal F and changing for my connection to Terminal A.

Once at my departure gate in Terminal A I flew with Cathay Pacific for the first time; and it was a nice ride indeed. This is the airline of Hong Kong , and I was going to the airport there for connection to final destination.

The Hong Kong airport was my first time too, but as connections were made tight, really had no time to see much of it.

The flight arrive late into the day and still needed a connection on the same Cathay Pacific airlines from Hong Kong to Cebu in the Philippines. I finally arrived in Cebu by 19h or 7 pm Monday January 15, and taking the hotel shuttle headed straight to my usual hotel the Best Western Plus Lex, Cebu. This was the rest I needed to begin work the next day.

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The hotel is very nice and central to all. I spent four nights here at BW Plus Lex Cebu a repeat visit to the hotel. webpage: http://best-western-plus-lex-cebu.hotels-cebu-ph.com/en/

On my way back left on Friday January 19 2018 by 20h or 8 pm on Cathay Pacific same routing back after been deposited at the airport by a company driver. From Cebu airport going back to Hong Kong, needing a bit of running to catch the flight until to find out it was been delayed 20 minutes! This is a smallist nice airport full of shops and restos nice to come early and enjoy the shopping.

Again at Hong Kong taking Cathay Pacific again by 23h35 local time or 11:35 pm to reach Roissy CDG Terminal A Paris.  Finally on Saturday January 20 from CDG T2A transfer to TF2 using the same blue bus line again. Here I departed by 10h10 on Air France back to Nantes Atlantique airport. Again taking the Airport Express bus to the Nantes train station.

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Here I had my lunch on my popular Café des Plantes just out of the Nantes Nord train station section and next to the jardin des plantes. Great friendly service always, and fast. The menu of the day is always good and great quality/price value. I had  my veal pipettes with fries in a mustard sauce, leffe Belgian beers, and expresso coffee all for 15€. It became my rest spot and eating out place in and out of the of the train station. The webpage is not working but with this virus thing who knows if it has closed, it was/is an institution in Nantes! They have a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/cafedesplantes

From the Nantes train station took a TER train to Rennes train station, and here change to another TER to Vannes. Finally picking up my car to drive home arriving on Saturday by 19h! And I told you I do take public transports lol!!!

There you go another exhausting trip not to brag about it, just another opportunity to see by now friends and a nice welcome by the locals as usual.  It will stay as one of my memorable moments in Cebu Philippines! Hope you enjoy the ride or see the constraints of public transport.

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

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November 21, 2020

Cebu, Philippines again!

Well I did said that my updates would be over but but really some of these old posts deserves more viewing. I guess they were done when had not many followers and I feel these were wonderful travel memories. So therefore, a lot more picky but will showcase some of these older travels again in my blog. Hope you enjoy them as I do!

This time will tell you about Cebu city and surrounding Lapu Lapu, and Mandaue towns. The trip was very busy with work so little time to see anything, anyway ,it was a great opportunity to revisit Cebu, especially.

The Central Visayas region VII, consisting of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. The Capital city is Cebu City, the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines. Cebu city forms part of the metropolitan area with Danao city, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay cities. Mactan Cebu international airport is in Mactan island the second busiest in the Philippines!

And as usual on these trips to Asia , it was another long flight. I left home by car at 4h or 4 am on my way to Nantes airport to catch AF to Paris CDG, there took the Emirates airline to Dubai International airport,and then hop again on Emirates to Cebu airport!!! And of course the return was even slower as leaving Cebu the plane waited an hour at Clark Manila before taken off again for Dubai. I do not think will do this again, this route and airlines  Emirates read they were good but boy did they screw up not knowing the allow luggage weight the slowness of it all and the poor meals on the plane. I thing try them once more and that is it, Air France is mine!

For references passing places Dubai international airport: https://www.dubaiairports.ae/home-page

And Clark International airport: https://clarkinternationalairport.com/

Once landed the rest was easy and friendly with the locals, some I knew already in addition to new found friends. The ride to my hotel was nice and not too much traffic as normally the case.  I did not needed any visas but did pay 750 PHP pesos leaving the airport as an airport tax. I believe this has been eliminated for stays shorter than 21 days. More info here: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/immigration_custom.aspx#

My hotel for the entire stayed was the wonderful Best Western Lex Cebu right in town. Centrally located for shopping and eating in town. The KAI restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner is nice, friendly and well done with glass walls to see the hustle of the city main artery before you. Lex Cebu webpage: http://best-western-plus-lex-cebu.hotels-cebu-ph.com/en/

And a bit more on the KAI restohttps://www.zomato.com/it/cebu/kai-restaurant-capitol-site-cebu-city

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I had fun crossing the bridges from the airport site to the main island and back, sometimes easy traffic but the worse was coming home going to the airport so not much determining factor. The rains were announced but only one day was a bit heavy at times the rest was easy nothing to bothered me, and the temps well from 24 to 30 C is just what the doctor ordered knowing that my family was telling me home was -7C lol!!!

Shopping galore on good prices compare to home and malls that reminds me of those in the USA big ,huge even,and plenty of choices for shopping and eating nice and safe.

One of them was the Ayala Terraces Mall with the great Huskad Philippines cuisine overlooking the great seaside port. webpage: https://www.ayalamalls.com/explore/ayala-center-cebu/view-all/dine

Another one was briefly in was the Parkmall, one of the newest ones there; right in town. webpage: https://parkmallcebu.com/

And even more was the J Centre ,also in town great malls too easy town shopping and eating. The newest mall there and tried by yours truly ::) webpage: http://jcentrecebu.com/

And one more at SM city mall just in Cebu city, great shopping and food here too; I had a great pizza pepperoni with San Miguel beer call Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante! nice!  Somehow problems with their webpage but have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/smcitycebuofficial/

And the resto is showing in Zomato reviews site very good: https://www.zomato.com/it/cebu/a-veneto-pizzeria-north-reclamation-area-cebu-city

However, the best action in town and one I made my home central on many nights was the Howlings Dogs , superbe. One can stay there forever!! webapge: https://howlingdogssportsbar.com/

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The tourist office of the Philippines on Cebu: https://itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk/cebu-bohol/

The province of Cebu on tourism: https://discover.cebu.gov.ph/tours/

There you go a wonderful spot and I just touch the surface, there is a lot more along the coast. Something to think about and come back, one day time permitting and the travel lines open again. For now hope you enjoy the post on Cebu.

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

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November 21, 2020

Tripping to Indonesia, and new places visited!!!

Again updating my international travels over the last few years ,and it has been a fun drive reviving nice memories. Rememberance of good friends and beautiful spots, this is the case of visiting Indonesia!

I did a long trip, first I rented a car to get to Nantes from Auray  on Avis, drop off was easy and quick. Got on the plane HOP to Amsterdam Schiphol airport to get the connection to Jakarta on Garuda airline of Indonesia.

The return two weeks later was on KLM from Jakarta making an in and out stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,continue on to Amsterdam Schiphol , there changing to HOP low cost to Nantes. At the airport took the express bus for 8,50€ to the train station in Nantes where a TER regional train will take me to Auray where my father pick me up to get home. Long way but made it home !!!

Interesting first time there the airport of Kuala Lumpur: http://www.klia.com.my/

The Jakarta airport many times there: https://soekarnohatta-airport.co.id/

And the Amsterdam airport , many times by there: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/

Both in and out enjoy the lounge 52 at Schiphol Amsterdam airport,  nice food and facilities for frequent flyers members; more here: https://www.klm.com/travel/fr_en/prepare_for_travel/at_the_airport/lounges/worldwide_locations.htm

While in Indonesia I needed to fly as usual visits there from Jakarta to Surabaya and back, so this is from Juanda airport on Garuda airlines. Surabaya Juanda airport many times there: https://www.juanda-airport.com/id

While in the country , I need to visit the town of Yogyakarta my first visit here and again the airport call Adisutjipto is here: https://adisutjipto-airport.co.id/en

Well it seems last few years the airports have been my third home away from home and hopefully will continue in 2021 after the virus!

All very nice and some exotic foods along the way. While going to Yogyakarta , I had lunch at the restaurant Pringsewu in a magnificent setting with all exotic local foods some are even hard to remember or spell ! The grill fish is to kill for it thus. A wonderful coconut and orange drink as well. More here: https://www.pringsewuresto.co.id/

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We did some walking in Yogyakarta around the airport as it is right in town; and we did drove to Sidoarjo where I went by  city center passing by.  The city has important temples to visit if time allowed, I did not have, the site can be translate here: https://www.jogjakota.go.id/

To Yogyakarta I flew on Wings airline going, part of the Lion Air Group. and came back on Sriwijaya airline. Both first time taken, nice ride.

Back in the big cities of Jakarta and Surabaya as well as the trip to Yogyakarta I use alocal driver. So fun driving as was driven but nice feeling to see the wonderful traffic jams lol!!

And I came back to Surabaya and Ngoro areas even going to Sidorarjo I had my first soaking wet trip under heavy rain that can get flooding very quickly here all very nice and quick and some exotic foods along the way.

Finally at Surabaya I stayed in my old reliable Somerset Hotel and Residences (now Verwood) . Very centrally located and restaurant lane just a few blocks on foot from it. It is well located off the main highway for in and out quick which helps in traffic flooded Indonesia. The other towns were in and out deal so no hotels needed. webpage: http://www.verwoodhotel.com/

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Therefore, here is the end of this wild trip with several airports and changing quickly to meet business needs. Of course, would not do this run on a personal trip. I really enjoy seeing new places, even if mostly were airports and town roads I can always said , I was there!

The tourist board of Indonesiahttps://www.indonesia.travel/gb/en/home

Enjoy the post as I did reminicense of these memorable moments; anyway this is part of travel, memories forever and good friends still in touch thanks to the magic of technology! Hopefully, one day I will be back to Indonesia!

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

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November 20, 2020

Dublin is a lot more than just green!!

And here I go again this time crossing the channel to go to green Ireland but of course it is a lot more than green! I was lucky to be able to visit Dublin! and I like to update revise this post with a note not to repeat pictures or text already elsewhere on my other Dublin ,Ireland posts in my blog!

Well for many  years heard of Dublin  ,in fact used to lived near a neighborhood that was call Dublin for the many Irish immigrants there. This was back in Perth Amboy, New Jersey USA. see posts.

And here I was visiting Dublin for real! And took off from an unusual airport for me which remains to this day the only time I left from there, this is at Rennes! I came flying this time from Rennes St Jacques airport to Paris CDG T2E ,change to T2G for the flight from CDG to Dublin terminal 1. Easy nice connections and good parking at Rennes; if only I arrived very early by 5h15 (5:15am) to open the airport lol! The Rennes airport site is here: https://www.rennes.aeroport.fr/en

And I landed at the Dublin airport here: https://www.dublinairport.com/

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And again I tried the public transport as like to try everything at least once. Once in Dublin, took the airlink express bus to city center. Easy and convenient as it drops you off in the main areas of Dublin central.  The bus was no. 747 webpage: https://www.dublinbus.ie/

And, I headed straight to my hotel for check in, this was the historically wonderful Gresham Hotel at O ‘Connell street; third floor and very nice service indeed. Now under the Riu chain, the webpage : https://www.gresham-hotels-dublin.com/

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Once in the room, took a right turn out the door to see the city the best way walking both ends of O’Connell St. I went passed the wonderful Ambassador Theatre at Upper O’Connell Street; this is a like a roman amphitheater shape really nice. see post

I came across a nice building that is the Gate Theatre, founded in 1928; another wonderful architecturally done place of fun right on by the city center and O’Connell Street and Parnell Square. see post

Right pass it you see a wonderful church, Abbey Presbyterian Church at Parnell Square, beautiful architecture indeed and worth a look inside which no time this trip. see post

I continue my walks , across the hotel almost, you see the General Post Office ; done in 1818, also, the building where the free Irish Republic took HQ here in 1916. It is now a museum post office, more here:  https://www.anpost.com/About/History-Heritage

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Up the O’Connell street by the abbey church you have the Garden of Remembrance Irish Freedom park; a lovely place full of history and nice architecture statues. More here: https://www.visitdublin.com/see-do/details/garden-of-remembrance#53.353936|-6.264127|16

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You can see the wonderful Epic Ireland showing the heritage of Ireland for more than 70 million people; a glowing show, and a must to see:  more here: https://epicchq.com/

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See the wonderful Samuel Beckett bridge that can be moved ! or the O’Connell bridge my passing bridge. More on the bridges here: http://www.bridgesofdublin.ie/browse

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Continue into my walks you see the Spire of Dublin a needle type tower 121 meters high just be ready to bend your head this is high indeed right on O’Connell Street; more on it here: https://www.visitdublin.com/see-do/details/the-spire#53.350921|-6.260294|16

You see around here the Charles Stewart Parnell statue; he was the leader founder of the Irish Parlamentary party.  A nice place to stop from a historical point of view. More on him and the statue here: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-1.593341

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You can see the O’Connell Monument, the memorial to Daniel O’Connell, a 19C nationalist leader of which the main artery street is name after.  see post.

I did passed by the Dublin Writers museum showcasing the history of Irish great storytellers, a quaint old building that is the perfect place to go in and read books and plays; more here: https://www.visitdublin.com/see-do/details/dublin-writers-museum#53.354366|-6.263985|16

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Of course, I did stop to eat and drink a must in Dublin ::) Went for lunch at this friendly bar the Parnell Heritage Pub off the ambassador theatre, and the service and food was great, the best fish and chips I ever had with the Clonmel 1650 Irish lager beer just wonderful for 21€. Unfortunately believe it has closed as their webpage is gone. There still a Facebook page and just for the memories will show here: https://www.facebook.com/theparnellheritage/

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However, for dinner headed to the Winding Stair resto by the temple bar district. It is, also, kept the tradition of the bookstore it was. Now the restaurant is a lot of fun, great friendly service and good food.  My food here was the McLoughlin’s pressed corned brisket terrine with pickled shallots, capers, dalkey mustard and sourdough toast €12.95 as entrée and the Char-grilled 28 day dry-age Irish beef strip-loin steak with sticky onions, roasted garlic truffle butter and homemade chips €28.00 as main dish. Plenty of Languedoc of France red wine had a bottle of the Domaine de la Provenquiére 2014 Merlot Languedoc 26€: ; with coffee to end it all. Classy place see more of it here: https://winding-stair.com/

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The tourist office of Dublinhttp://www.visitdublin.com

And of course, more on my other posts on Dublin in my blog. This was a memorable trip and just when were preparing to go back we got hit with this virus. It will have to be done in 2021. For now enjoy Dublin and thanks for reading.

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

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