Archive for ‘New Jersey’

November 10, 2019

My early life in my blog!

So on the Armistice weekend (celebrated Monday November 11) in Europe (the end of the Great War or WWI)  and Veteran’s Day in the USA (for all combine) ,I come to end my nice weekend with the family in my Pluvigner, Morbihan , Bretagne and head back to the CDG Paris area to continue my job mission. These will be many weekends back and forth until May 2020 at the latest.

Just the re start of my finance consultant life into retirement and thereafter. Life on the road is nice but sometimes missed the boys back home even if we also celebrated early this weekend my twin boys 26 yrs old birthday. We went to eat out at favorite family restaurant Tablapizza , then shopping in the Armand Thiery store and others , doing the groceries at Carrefour with them and next day like today went to the cinema Cineville to see the Maléfique : Le Pouvoir du Mal or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil   movie and then more gifts to them and eat out at the old Burger King lol! they love it.

Now reminicent in a sentimental way of my life travels and efforts starting with my dear late mother Gladys and continue with my dear late wife Martine , still going strong out of faith with my 3 boys and Dad. I have to tell you a bit of my early post when I started this blog out of inspiration of many in the famous travel forums and friend in Madrid. Most if not all these early posts have no pictures as used elsewhere but they tell my early steps in life in a chronological manner. Hope you enjoy reading it as I did/do.

So these were my entry into my first blog posts ever!!! It all started back in November 2010!!! wow already 9 years time flies when having fun. Thank you all!!

Well I am finally into a blog after many years posting elsewhere. Hopefully this will allow me to share with my friends and family my travels and favorites pastimes over the years,and to hear back from folks similar stories. It will grow with us,looking forward to it. Posted: November 26 2010

Havana/La Habana it was once the Paris of the Americas, the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything;streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there.  Posted: November 28 2010

Madrid .I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1971 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I end up in another one Lol! Posted: November 28 2010

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1974. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in. Posted: November 28 2010

Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach /North Miami/ Hialeah/ Miramar. My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1973 when I went from New Jersey to visit my Aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey. Then in August of 1977 I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Posted:  November 29 2010

Versailles. Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents. The decision was made to come to live in France permanently in August 2003. Posted: November 30 2010

Auray/Brech . Well here I am back and with new photos to share the wonderful world of  France. Today, I will talk a bit about my new area the Pays ‘Auray. Its a agglomaration of several towns into a metropolitan system of cities. The capital and main city is Auray or An Alre in Breton language.  I arrived here in May 30 2011. Posted: June 26 2011

Pluvigner. The town we are now is call Pluvigner, same department of Morbihan 56, in fact only about 11 kms from where we were, but a much bigger home. 255 sq meters of home and 1000 m2 of land!!! The house is great, we will do some adjustment to our convenience but no major works needed. I arrived here on July 2013. Posted: September 8 2013.

Now you know a bit more of me for those new to my blog in a nutshell!!! Again thank you very much for keeping with me these last few years (9) and hopefully many more to come on our roads of our world.

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

 

 

 

October 25, 2019

My trip to the roots where all begun ,Cuba!

Well this was a business trip with my company but took advantage with my assigned driver to see the family still there and nostalgic moments in my life. It all began here for me many many years ago. I left it in 1971. The comments are updated , but the photos are from 2012.

I took a long flight it seems endless from home in Brittany, went by car to Nantes airport;following the road N165 all the way to exit D201 Nantes Atlantique signs about 1h30 minutes. Then took a regional Air France flight to Amsterdam, Schiphol airport, change there to KLM for the flight to La Habana about 10 hours !!! lol!!! and finally arrive in Havana.

I stayed at a Casa Particular as was assigned this by the company in district of Playa, no fancy hotels for me!!! Stories about Cuba abound from all periods; blaming each other but no doubt the previous regime was better for the mayority. Proof over 2 millions have left already and several millions waiting for the opportunity while been politically correct.

havana

We went to eat at EL Palenque, the resto of the Convention palace nearby, great Cuban food, why bother with all those international places if in Cuba eat like a Cuban. Calle 17 y 190, Playa.. Ciudad de La Habana tel  (53 7) 203-8222 .

havana

We had not much time so I took a ride on the Malecon, went over to the old Church of San Francisco de Asisi, the Morro ,Fuerza ,and Cabanas castles.

Havana

havana

havana

havana

havana

We had business lunch at Restaurant 1830 at Calle Calzada esq. a 20, Vedado. Ciudad de La Habana tel(53 7) 55-3090-92 . There was a special treat at a casa paladar on a fifth floor of a house but could not remember the name as it was at night and friends rode me there, we had lobsters supreme with a view of the city.

The next day I ask my assigned driver to talke me to my native town of Punta Brava, just in the borders of the city of La Habana, visiting family aunt and cousins (which by now left Cuba too) , I ate at a typical Cuban casa paladar in pesos nacionales, a dish of roast pork,moros black beans,yucca,tostones in garlic sauce, salad of tomatos and lettuce, plus coffee and four beers for two persons at 10 CUC or about 260 Cuban Pesos Nacionales. Just in Calzada (main street Avenida 51) before turning left to Guatao, the old Carretera Central.

havana

I went further inland to visit another aunt and cousins at Cayo La Rosa, (these still there) off Bauta, this 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 there as he did not know how,and I did it with so many years out just on good memory lol!

Of course in each visit i ate with the family and reminiscent of the old days, telling me what a nice guy I was !!!  Finally, it was time to come back again, and took my flight from La Habana Jose Marti International airport, very easily, this time in route to Paris CDG on Air France. The plane was full and cheapy company had me on economy class! but was bump up to Business Class , by asking and it shows the difference, very nice flight of 9 hours to Paris CDG. There change again on AF to Nantes, and took my car from the airport parking for the trip home after paying 54 euros of parking fees. Cheaper than renting a car lol!

havana

havana

I was hoping not to be the last trip like this, but this is October 2019 and not back yet; time is ticking and less family there. Even in the difficulties of that system was the same warm welcome by the family and the faces of the buildings even if change were still recognisable, and I look forward to the future when all can have a pleasant place to visit with family and no government mistreatments and inconveniences.

No webpages just for the memories update in my blog. Hoping you can enjoy a visit there under better circumstances and then tell me about it ok. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

October 25, 2019

A Church at Arroyo Arenas, Cuba!

And coming back to the roots, a bit of my old neighborhood, its been almost 50 years but the memories lingered. I like to tell you briefly as not much info on the internet on one of my sights when my dear late Mom Gladys passed by here taking a friend’s car or the bus line 99! We always made the cross sign passing by the Church of Arroyo Arenas. The blog is also a way to keep my history for eternity I hope and future generations can see it all.

The town of Arroyo Arenas is in the municipality La Lisa, city of La Habana, Cuba. It is located on the banks of the Camino Real (Royal route), today Avenida 51 (avenue 51). It limits to the north with the municipality of Playa, to the south the Cano – Valle Grande – Bello 26 and Morado, to the east with Punta Brava (my native town!) and to the west with San Agustín

Arroyo Arenas was granted in 1672 status of village by the Spanish colonial governor. By 1778 they still subordinated its existence to the city/hall of Havana. In 1780 the local city hall were constituted, corresponding from Arroyo Arenas to Santiago de las Vegas. TheCaptaincy were subordinated to El Cano and Bauta. The first was subordinated the town of: Arroyo Arenas.

Towards the last decade of the 18C, this seat made possible the foundation of the town of Arroyo Arenas, a fact that was recorded in 1790 when a chapel was constituted that apparently was attached to a house or room, separated from common uses. Likewise, in 1794 the first tile house was built in this town and in 1795 the hermitage of Arroyo Arenas was officially erected under the invocation of Jesús Nazareno del Rescate or Jesus Nazarene of the Rescue.

The location of this site on the side of the Camino Real to Vueltabajo was enriched by the migration of Canary island peasant population initially settled in Vueltabajo (the best cigars in the world and my ancestors the Guanches of Tenerife and Grand Canaria) . Its growth as a town is evidenced by the fact that in 1843 the Spanish Army Weapons Command was established there and already in 1846 it had 12 masonry houses, 7 of wood and tiles, 36 of mud and guano, a clothing store, 3 mixed, 2 shoe stores, 2 tobacco shops, 1 carpentry, 1 blacksmith shop and 298 settlers, of which 44 were slaves.

From 1878, according to the new political-administrative division established by the colonial government on that date, the city hall of the towns of El Cano, Marianao and Santiago de las Vegas were created.. To each of them the districts were subordinated to El Cano corresponded Arroyo Arenas, Barandilla, Falcón, Jaimanitas and El Cano proper; Marianao was subordinate to La Lisa, and to Santiago de las Vegas, the districts Bauta, Punta Brava ;and Guatao were subordinated. In the judicial order, all these municipalities were subordinated to Bejucal until 1880.

In the first months of 1955, the construction of a highway that would connect Columbia (army and airport barracks) to the central highway at the exit of Arroyo Arenas was announced. In April 1956 it was finished. The Hermitage and Country Club, were projected to link with the with the Biltmore Riviera, Boulevar del Biltmore and Montecarlo, which would extend to Novia del Mediodia ( roundabout call the noon girlfriend) . These projects were interrupted with the triumph of the Cuban revolution.

The Hermitage is now a National Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno del Rescate , located at the Central Highway (that goes from one point to the other of the island country) and here it is call Avenida 51 building no. 26455. The same route that passes by my native town. The Church was erected in 1795, under the invocation of Jesus of Nazareno del Rescate. But the church instead of one, has two stairs, the one on the right where the ladies went up distributing alms, and the one on the left that has more steps, 29 in total. In general, here, women and humble men, the true devotees, those that Jesus did not expel from his temple were climbing. Have one photos souvenir of our passing by it.

Arroyo Arenas

No webpage but the memories lingered. Hope you can appreciated and maybe one you can pass by it and make the sign of the Cross too , for me at Arroyo Arenas!

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

 

 

August 23, 2019

Soccer/Football/Balompie!!!

Ok so let me go into something more personal , that is my playing career in soccer/football/balompie covering my time in New Jersey and Florida. I skip my time in Madrid as been a poor boy have no photos or news clips from that time while learning the sport in the Real Madrid organisation.

pluvigner

Hala Madrid!!!!

I am sure this will bring some memories to those that play or played the game, as to me it is just a way to keep my history in my blog for future generations. Hope you enjoy as much as I to write about it now.

I have posted in my blog my earlier history but let me shorten here for the sport’s sake. I came from Madrid Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA in May 1972. I then, became an American ,learned English, got my driving license and graduated from high school.

While at Perth Amboy High School, i hook up with the latin american community there as well as the Portuguese. I played varsity soccer for Perth Amboy with ranking as high as No 1 in Middlesex County as per the News Tribune newspaper of New Brunswick, and No 6 in New Jersey as per the newspaper Star-Ledger of Newark. My position was central or libero defender at the varsity level, having been put there by the coach after playing mid midfielder in the Junior Varsity team for one year.

Perth Amboy

That was our Perth Amboy high school stadium main entrance

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy

The Perth Amboy soccer program has been on a downhill ever since and today they lose more than win. The current team is feature here: Perth Amboy Public Schools on the soccer team

Perth Amboy

Yearbook picture soccer Varsity team I am in there ::)

I did read up that the amateur team of Perth Amboy Portuguese club of which I played way back has re started the team as mention in the local Portuguese American newspaper El Lusoamericano. More in Portuguese here: Perth Amboy Portuguese soccer

I , then, went on to college/university in Daytona Beach, Florida with ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (founder in 1934 of American Airlines and in WWII train American and British pilots becoming a leading aviation university in the world). 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 ::)

While hanging around a field that look like a soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and ask me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower kids divisions (alevin) , played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately sign me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

Daytona beach

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran,Portugal, Venezuela, Spain,etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played NCAA div 1 and 2 teams on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools.  The soccer/football continues at the club level in 1981  playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in FLorida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.

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 ;Univ of 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!!!

Playing with the Daytona Beach Eagles team in the amateur league in Central Florida as well. I became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed  (unisex men and women) indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986. I had girls playing for the University of Central Florida which in those years went to be rank no 10 in the NCAA division 1.

Daytona Beach

The current soccer program at ERAU has excellent modern facilities and great support.  The intercollegiate soccer stadium, located behind the ICI Center, is a meticulously maintained soccer facility that has hosted nationally televised playing events. The official webpage is here: ERAU Eagles on soccer

Hope it brings back memories to some, it does enormously for me and now feel good about leaving the legacy here in my blog for my sons and onwards. The football season has started in Europe and I will be soon in Madrid to get first hand news of my Real Madrid!

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

July 26, 2019

Restaurant: Perth Amboy, NJ!

So let met take you way back in time to a period of renew hopes and challenges facing a new family arriving from Madrid in English speaking New Jersey USA!  Adaptation period, language, customs and then enjoyment! All positive experiences that enrich my intetelect and keep fond memories of the place.

I like to go back way back in time and take you to a place rich in US history as still keeps a copy of Liberty Bell and the bust of Gen George T Washington as well as the oldest in activity city hall in the USA! Yes many more monuments I have spoken before in my blog. However, today let me bring back my souvenirs of this entry city into the United States for me and my parents. Of course, the food is mistakingly think that is bad but America is a world melting pot and we have the very best from everywhere, this is the case of my beloved Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey USA!

Let me tell you about my fav restaurants of my parents who took me there first and then me, of course so far back pictures are so much missed. Bear with me.

One old reliable that I even went after football./soccer matches was the Portuguese Manor,. This at the time was an almost daily routine; and keep coming back as late as 2007.  You will be in Portugal or Europe here ,great food. Lately the reviews have not been that great so check it out it is at 310 Elm St, halfway between Fayette st and Smith st, and walking distance from the train station direct to NYC.

Open since 1989, the Portuguese Manor  has a pleasantly old-fashioned atmosphere. The menu at this family-owned restaurant has changed little since it opened. Fortunately, the same goes for the budget-friendly prices. The menu offers a fine select of traditional Portuguese meat and seafood dishes, along with appetizers. Live bands and DJs are often featured on weekends. The webpage was not working lately so here is the Yelp reviews page.

Yelp reviews on the Portuguese Manor

The Armory is another jewel of historic significance as class reunions and graduation parties are held here, as well as a restaurant. We had held the 30th Class reunion in 2007 here but last minute cancellation took me elsewhere when I visit from France.

Official Armory restaurant

Located on Perth Amboy’s historic waterfront, at 200 Front St, the Seabra’s Armory specializes in Portuguese cuisine, as well as seafood and steaks. The restaurant is set in a renovated naval ammunition building dating back to WWI. Its elegant interior offers lovely views of Raritan Bay and Staten Island, NYC.

Yelp reviews on the Armory restaurant

Another old favorite is the The Barge, by the waterfront, just wonderful seafood while overlooking the Arthur Kill bay to New York City, its an institution in the city where my father took his business partners and us and eventually I came alone to meet his ours friends.  THE meeting point in the town.

Official The Barge restaurant

perth amboy

The Barge has been family-owned and operated since 1925. The restaurant overlooks the city’s historic waterfront, offering an intimate bar and dining area, as well as an upper floor dining room that can be rented for private parties. Live music performances often take place on the scenic outdoor patio during the warmer months. The restaurant offers a wide selection of meat and seafood entrées for dinner. There is also lighter fare such as sandwiches and wraps for lunch. Try one of the charcoal-grilled steaks or the broiled lobster, which is delivered fresh daily from Maine. The ultimate dining experience in Perth Amboy.

Yelp reviews on The Barge restaurant

One of our favorite things to do in Perth Amboy that has caught up with us wherever we are now, good and drinks is all part of a great visit anywhere. Hope you enjoy it and do come over when visiting the area, easy transport from New York City. 

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

September 17, 2018

El Corte Inglés!

Today , I will take a nostalgic ride to one icon of my beloved Madrid. Needless to repeat what I have written in these last few years in my blog and my love and predilection of Madrid since early teens years living there to now. I like to pick on particular memory that goes back to my family traditions and still carry on by me after 80 years , all together.

I like to tell you about the El Corte Inglés department stores of Spain, base in Madrid. When i was living there the competition with Galerias Preciados was fierce and both employees group still see this period with nostalgia even having memorial groups in FB. Calle Carretas starts it all near Puerta del Sol.

Now , today in Spain this is it becoming the conglomerate El Corte Inglés.  I have visited all their stores in Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon, and Valencia. However, again, all comes back to Calle Preciados. The department store in Madrid is very nice at Calle Goya 76 , (nearer exit metro Goya) ,Calle Serrano 47 (corner with calle Marqués de Villamagna) , and Calle Princesa 41, (near metro Argûelles across Calle Buen Suceso )and my quick getaway even coming from the airport at Paseo de la Castellana as line 8 arriving at Nuevos Ministerios metro station turn left out in street and the store is right in next corner on your left!! Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde!  However, I have to come back to Calle Preciados………

Madrid

Madrid

 

Madrid

Madrid

The complex of El Corte Inglés here is huge. The stores covered the entire block square starting at Calle Preciados, 1,2,3 and Calle Abadia 5,and Plaza de Callao 2. The Calle Preciados goes back to Plaza de Callao the store on your left coming towards Puerta del Sol. There is a store by the Plaza de Descalzas Reales (near the monastery) and another nearer Puerta del Sol, just out from metro Sol.

madrid

Here at the Preciados fortress! you have all available services you can imagine ,even a nice cafeteria in Calle Preciados, 3 building in the 7th floor and great views.There is also a cafeteria at Plaza de Callao,2 in the 9th floor.

The Calle Preciados 3 is for fashion and sports with underground parking, basement is a supermarket, and street level you have fashion accessories and up; we love the 3rd men’s fashion, 4th women’s Fashion, here. At Plaza de Callao, you have underground parking, ,basement supermarket, street level you have cosmetics jewerly and then up, house decoration and hi tech, we like the 4th and 5th kitchen and house decorations as well the 8th is toys. At the Calle Preciados 1, building you have electronics, music, dvd films etc with cd’s in basement, and street level we like as well in First floor video games and films. At Calle Preciados 2, here is the library with books of course, the street level is the best with new and best sellers, at Calle Preciados 9 you have a complete sports store and the first floor is for football/soccer; at Calle Abadia 5, you have the sales, discounted items for children, men , women, house deco shoes, work uniforms, etc. Enjoy it!!! we love it!

Madrid

Now let me give you a bit of history and company description that is very near to me! I have their card and shop there always even from France ::)

El Corte Inglés is the most important Spanish and European chain of department stores. It is present in Spain and Portugal. El Corte Inglés has stores in the majority of large and medium-sized Spanish cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Murcia, Elche, Granada, Cartagena, Malaga, Marbella, Pamplona, Valladolid, A Coruña, Badajoz, Burgos, Alicante, Salamanca, Cordoba, Leon, Santander, Albacete, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, etc. In Portugal, El Corte Inglés is present in Lisbon and Porto. The stores are located in the city center and occupy large buildings that include underground car parks. Its commercial offer is supplemented by other services such as hairdressing salons, travel agencies, insurance or real estate services.

The El Corte Inglés was a small shop on the Calle Preciados (near Puerta del Sol), with corner to the Calle Carmen and Calle Rompelanzas, dedicated to the tailoring and confection of children clothing that had been founded in 1890. The expansion of the business that had opened in 1934, with the union of employees of Nuevas Pañerias (draperies) and the contribution of capital that was baptized as Sederias Carretas,by Calle Carretas, 6. The idea was to buy all the properties of the square around it to create a new plant building that housed its establishment, which later became reality with the definitive name of Galerias Preciados. (My first store in Madrid with my mother).

At the time by 1935, the current owners had asked to hire a nephew of the owner name Ramón Areces, who had just returned to Spain and, in view of his refusal to hire him, to take him to developed the store of El Corte Inglés, located in the lower pf the plot he planned to acquire, as he finished the purchase of the rest of the square and proceeded to the demolition and construction of the new center he had in mind. The at the time the President Pepín Fernandez, who like Ramon Areces had formed with César Rodríguez in the El Encanto dept store in Havana, ( itself copied after the Galeries Lafayette of Paris and the store of my family ;clients for life, now gone of course) accepted this last request of his cousin and thus, on December 23, 1935 , proceeded to transfer the store in the name of César Rodríguez and, later, on January 25, 1936, to buy the complete property for the headquarters of Sederias Carretas. Transposed by César Rodríguez the tailoring is put in charge of Ramón Areces who will be in charge of his management from that moment until his death, maintaining the business throughout 1936 and the three years of Spanish Civil War later.

The El Corte Inglés is transferred in June of 1940 to Calle Preciados, 3 corner with the calle Tetuan, where the stores of El Aguila (eagle) were located. Between 1945 and 1946, after acquiring a greater part of the building and carrying out the corresponding reform, the sales surface reaches 2,000 m² in five plants and starts up a sales structure by departments emulating the existing one in Galerias Preciados founded in 1943. It is the competition between the El Corte Inglés and   Galerias Preciados, from the 50’s and 60’s, which will produce a revolution in the Spanish distribution market, introducing the seasonal sales , advertising campaigns , the air conditioning in the store, the massive use of advertising, the introduction of large-scale window dressing, the shopping cards, the computerization of the point of sale, etc.

The expansion of El Corte Inglés begins in 1962 with the opening of its second sales center, located in Barcelona, and continues until today with the opening of new centers, although already diversified in different formats of which the second type was Hipercor, whose Introduction is carried out in Sevilla in 1980.  In the model of large distribution surfaces the third and last expansion is made with the creation in 2006 of Bricor for sale of decoration material and DIY. The El Corte Inglés creates convenience stores ,first in the service stations, naming them at first Repsol-Supercor and later, in 2008, Repsol-Opencor to identify them with the chain of convenience stores that are not in a service station created in 2000 with the name of Opencor. In 2000, it also creates the proximity supermarket format, Supercor. Finally in 2001 appears Sfera dedicated to the distribution of retail fashion of great consumption.

By 1969, it starts the expansion towards other sectors beyond the distribution with the creation of Viajes El Corte Inglés (travel agency)   and continues this type of expansion in 1980 with the creation of Investrónica ,and in 1988 with the creation of computer science El Corte Inglés IECISA.  From the middle of the 90’s the national expansion is intensified by the acquisition in 1995 of its eternal rival Galerias Preciados which was in financial difficulties. In 2001, the El Corte Inglés also acquired five hypermarkets of which Carrefour had to sell due to competition regulations. This same year the El Corte Inglés bought all the centers that the British chain of department stores Marks & Spencer had in the peninsula (nine centers in total) on the occasion of its abandonment of the Spanish market.

The companies that make up the group today are:

El Corte Ingles S.A., parent company. Hipercor.,large area dedicated to the distribution of food and bazaar. Bricor., large area dedicated to the distribution of decoration and DIY items. Supercor ,medium-sized area in the proximity supermarket format. SuperCor Express, supermarkets of closeness and of small space. Sfera, young fashion stores and accessories in medium and small size towns, located in Spain and the 3 located in Portugal and franchisees located in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Kuwait and Mexico. Óptica2000, which are small surfaces of distribution of optical and auditory components. Computer Science The El Corte Ingles (IECISA), dedicated to consulting, software development and value-added computing services. Investrónica, computer and telephony wholesaler. Telecor, commercialization of telecommunications services for the consumer and the company.

Viajes El Corte Inglés , group matrix of a group of companies dedicated to tourism both from a wholesale and retail standpoint. El Corte Ingles Insurance Group (CESS), dedicated on the one hand to the brokerage of insurance and financial and real estate through the center of Insurance and services with offices open to the public in the centers of the El Corte Inglés, and, on the other, with Seguros El Corte Ingles S.A. , life and accidents insurance and managing entity of plans and pension funds with activity in Spain and Portugal. Financera El Corte Ingles S.A. as a company of financing of purchases to the clients and distributor of the bank card of purchases of El Corte Ingles.

As instrumental or ancillary companies of the main business involved 100% unless otherwise stated are Industrias y confecciones S.A. (INDUYCO) integrated in the group in 2010, Ason Inmobiliaria de Arrendos (rents) S. L., Construcciones, Promociones y Instalaciones S.A. Editorial Centro de Estudios Ramón Areces S.A.; Tourmundial Operadores S.A., and Parinver S.A. (75.83%). As minority stakes in other businesses: they are 50% in Gestion de Puntos de Ventas S.A. (GESPEVESA) that manages the Opencor stores in the Repsol service stations;   50% in Sephora cosmeticos España S. L.;   6.15% in Euroforum Escorial S.A.;   4.36% in Parque Temàtico de Madrid S.A.; and 1.7% in IAG.

Some webpages to help you come and understand this department store par excellence are

Official El Corte Inglés for Spain

Official El Corte Inglés English

And I give you one blog post of mine that speaks briefly of this store here: Madrid sights and smells

You will do good if shopping in Madrid or Spain for that matter to come here, check them out. Just saying….

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

July 30, 2018

My New Jersey!

Well, here I am sitting in my desk and thinking. Looking at my blog, I realized not done much writing on my first encounter with freedom, a pity. I will make that up rather quickly by writing in this post about New Jersey. Yes, you got it that State in the United States of America.

I spent my teenagers years there, (total of 13 years) going thru middle school,high school, driving license, and US Citizen as well as my first steps in working life. All many memories to really forget ,never have, a Panther forever!

Let me give you my old previous blog post on the New Jersey experience to follow

New Jersey, an American life

My Perth Amboy

I will give some history I like, especially, and of course the stories above are from the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. ok

Looking afar and long, now nostalgia sets in. I cannot believe not written more on this dear place of my world’s travel.  This was my introduction to the American way of life, the American dream, and my first touch of Democracy. After running away from left and right wing dictatorships I finally made it with my parents arriving in wonderful New Jersey, USA, the Garden State! As a teenager boy. I think I owe it, Jersey, at least one more blog post here.

As briefly as I can make it ok.  New Jersey  State borders on the west by  Pennsylvania and Delaware, on the north by New York State, and on the south east by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s capital city is the historic Trenton and its biggest city is metropolitan Newark. It is one of the smallest State but one of the most densely populated one as well. Sitting in what we call, the Tri-State area of NJ, NY, and CT(Connecticut) was my area or Central NJ. And I have been all over the State, from playing football/soccer to helping out in my parents small businesses.

The name for the State was given in reference to the Isle of Jersey given in honor of Sir George Carteret, a native of the island and on which these land was given in the 17C. He, is also, name for the city of Carteret near my old home in Middlesex County.  New Jersey is divided into three geographical regions, such as North Jersey, under the influence of New York city ; Central Jersey, my area and we can call it neutral. Then, South Jersey in the valley of the Delaware and near the city of Philadelphia as influences. The State is divided into 21 Counties and 566 towns, last count.

A bit of history I like. In  1630, the territory of New Jersey was populated by the Amerindians Lenape or Delawares. The Dutch settled on the site of present-day city of Jersey City (on the west coast of the Hudson, opposite the tip of the island of Manhattan). These establishments were an integral part of the colony of New Netherland, which also included New Amsterdam, which would become New York after the region was controlled by the British from 1664.

King Charles II of England gave part of the region to his brother (the future James II. The latter distributed the lands between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to two friends who had remained loyal to him during the Civil War: Sir George de Carteret and Lord John Berkeley of Stratton.  In 1673, Berkeley sold half of New Jersey to the Quakers who made their colony. The province of New jersey was itself divided into two provinces: West Jersey and East jersey (see below on the city of Perth Amboy) , between 1674 and 1702.
In December 1776, the Continental Army led by George Washington crossed the Delaware River and engaged in the Battle of Trenton. On January 3, 1777, the Battle of Princeton was an American victory over the troops of  Lord Charles Cornwallis. During the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress met at Princeton University, which became the country’s capital for four months. It was in this place that the news of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, in 1783 (at Versailles), came to the political leaders. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights. Finally, slavery was abolished on 15 February 1804.

The State of New Jersey has Indians even if not recognized as such upon my last readings on it; these are the Nanticoke Lenni of Lenape  and the  Nanticokes and Ramapough of Mount Ramapo.   The National Park Service managed 12 parks in New Jersey, of course the Washington-Rochambeau historic trail is dear to me; the Pinelands, Ellis Island,and Crossroads of the American Revolution are good ones too. This webpage tells you: National Parks in New Jersey

More on the history of the State of New Jersey here: Official State of New Jersey on history

And further brief, I lived in Middlesex County, yeah right there. Part of Central Jersey but stuck up near North Jersey and across from New York City.  The capital of the county is New Brunswick, on which, the municipal courthouse I became US Citizen in 1980!. The surrounding counties are Union on the north, Monmouth, on the southeast, Mercer on the southwest, and Somerset on the northwest.

New Brunswick

Municipal courthouse of New Brunswick ,after US Citizen swearing in

More on the history of the county of Middlesex here: Official Middlesex County on history

And now on the city I lived the first 13 years of my life in the USA.  Perth Amboy  on the mouth of the Raritan river  and goes into the Raritan Bay later joining the Arthur Kill (kill=bay ,old Dutch as first settlers of the area), strait separating  Staten Island NY from the coast of New jersey.  Perth Amboy is known as the “City by the Bay,” referring to Raritan Bay.

Perth Amboy

our home in Perth Amboy circa 1979

A bit of history I like.  Perth Amboy was settled in 1683 by Scottish colonists. It was called “New Perth” after James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth, and the Lenape Native Americans called the point on which the city lies “Ompoge”; the native name was eventually corrupted and the two names were merged. Perth Amboy was formed by Royal charter in 1718, and the New Jersey Legislature reaffirmed its status in 1784, after independence. The city was a capital of the Province of New Jersey from 1686 to 1776 (see breakdown below).

Perth Amboy borders the Arthur Kill, (and my house was by there looking at NYC Staten Island), and features a historic waterfront. The Perth Amboy Ferry Slip was once an important ferry slip in the area, The Raritan Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in the United States, is located in the city.  Perth Amboy is connected to the Staten Island borough of New York City via the Outerbridge Crossing (and I played football/soccer underneath at Rudyk park!!).

Perth Amboy

HS Soccer at main stadium, me sliding tackle !

In 1684, Perth Amboy became the capital of East Jersey and remained the capital until the union of East and West Jersey in 1702, and became an alternate colonial capital with Burlington until 1776. A few of the buildings from this early period can still be seen today. Most notably, the Proprietary House, the home of William Franklin, the last Royal Governor of New Jersey and estranged son (and traitor of US independence) of Benjamin Franklin (him a patriot of US independence), still stands in the waterfront area of the city. St. Peter’s Church was founded in 1718 by the first Episcopal congregation in the state. Its current building, dating from 1875, is surrounded by a graveyard of early inhabitants and displays a collection of stained-glass windows with religious scenes as well as early depictions of New Jersey receiving her charter and a meeting between William Franklin and his father, Benjamin.  Perth Amboy City Hall, first built as a courthouse in 1714, survived major fires in 1731 and 1764 and is the oldest city hall in continuous use in the United States (yes since 1789). The Kearny Cottage, moved from its original location, is a remaining example of 18C vernacular architecture. Perth Amboy was an important train station for travelers between New York City and Philadelphia, as it was the site of a ferry that crossed the Arthur Kill to Tottenville, Staten Island. Regular service began in 1709. This ferry became less important when the Outerbridge Crossing opened in 1928, but continued to operate until 1963. In 1998, the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip was restored to its 1904 appearance. A replica of the ticket office has been constructed and is used as a small museum.

Perth Amboy

PErth Amboy

Local attractions include the Perth Amboy Ferry Slip, two small museums, an art gallery, a yacht club, and a marina. Near the marina lies a park with a small bandshell. On Sunday afternoons in the summertime, Perth Amboy hosts the Concerts by the Bay in the park’s bandshell.

The Outerbridge Crossing, which opened to traffic in 1928, is a cantilever bridge over the Arthur Kill that connects Perth Amboy with Staten Island, NYC. Known locally as the “Outerbridge”, it is part of a popular route on NY-440 / NJ-440 from the south and west to New York City and Long Island. Despite the assumption that the name is derived from its location as the southernmost bridge in New York State and Staten Island, the Outerbridge Crossing was named in honor of Eugenius H. Outerbridge, first Chairman of the Port Authority. The bridge clears the channel by 143 ft (44 m), providing passage for some of the largest ships entering the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The Victory Bridge carries Route 35 over the Raritan River, connecting Perth Amboy on the north with the borough of Sayreville to the south, and onwards to the Jersey Shore beaches.  Now renovated twin bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic, an outside shoulder and a bike lane. The city has NJ Transit train service at Perth Amboy station. The station provides service on the North Jersey Coast Line to Newark Penn Station, Hoboken Terminal, Secaucus Junction, New York Penn Station and the Jersey Shore.  NJ Transit buses serve the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the 116 route, Elizabeth on the 48 line, with local service available on the 813, 815, and 817 bus routes on last reading.

Perth Amboy High School (or PAHS)( the Panthers!!!)  is a four-year comprehensive community public high school which serves students in ninth through twelfth grades.  The current Perth Amboy High School was built in 1971, to replace an earlier building that opened in 1881.  And this older building that opened in 1881 was my Middle School name William C McGinnis before going into the High School! The PAHS webpage: Perth Amboy Public Schools on the High School

Perth Amboy

New PA high school

Perth Amboy

William C McGinnes Middle School old HS

More on the history of Perth Amboy here: Official city of Perth Amboy on history

Now, there you go, a brief to the point talk about a wonderful State of New Jersey, Middlesex County, and city of Perth Amboy. Humble beginnings from scratch, the best immigrant way, and proud of it. More proud of my parents who show me the way, the good way. Theses places will always remain in my heart and soul no matter the years gone by,and wherever in the hole of the Earth I will be living. Now living in France as French by the way ::)

And , as always I tell you, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

July 25, 2018

Captain General Residence and Museum of Havana!

And I am coming back to my Havana of childhood, never to be the same again. Well I have written pieces on it in my blog just do search; however, never a post alone and so deservingly. I am coming right at you on La Habana, Cuba. Oh yes I meant , the Captain General Residence of the governor of Cuba under colonial period of Spain.

This one was done way way back when a boy of around 10, so memories are loose. I have decided to use the pictures that I kept from the text tranlation of Ecured Cuba from Spanish to English.

To begin with,the visit Cuba tourist site has some info on the wonderful building here in English. Museum of Havana, Captain General

The place is very nice, historical and architecturally and a must to visit while in Cuba. In addition, the museum of which is, give you an overall look of Cuban history from zero. Again, if one building to visit in Cuba, this is it, in my opinion.

Ahh yes I am talking about the residence of the Captain General of Cuba (this was the governor of Spain in Cuba), over the years use for many things and now a wonderful museum of Havana, Cuba.

Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former parish church, as the imposing Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. It served as Spanish colonial government headquarters until 1898 and housed 65 Capitanes Generales (governors), after which it served as the center of U.S. military administration (1898-1902), then as the Cuban President’s resident, and finally (1920-67) as the City Hall.  The two-story limestone building was not completed in its final form until 1835; the façade is adorned with the shield of the city and features a deep loggia supported on thick columns. Peacocks roam the tree-filled courtyard, where a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbis presides.  It is today the Museo de la Ciudad—the fabulous City Museum telling the tale of the city’s history. The Captain General’s apartments are furnished in the sumptuous style of their epoch, as is the Salón del Trono (Throne Room) with its throne prepared for a visit (which never happened individually) by the King of Spain but it did finally when King Juan Carlos I visited in 1999 during the Ibero American conference.  The his and hers Carrara marble nautilus shell baths are particularly wonderful.

My pictures still with me should be from 1998 last family trip to follow:

Havana

Havana

Havana

Now let me give you the translation because in Cuba they have more information than anywhere else on the building and museum. Here it goes, excuse me if the lenght of it is long and my typing sloppy.

The building/museum is in front of the Plaza de Armas, occupying part of the space of the Parish Mayor’s demolition, the palace was erected between 1776 and 1791 . From its beginnings, it also sheltered, in the West Wing, the public prison until 1834.  This provoked subsequent remodeling to achieve the harmony that is enjoyed today. The city hall of Havana met uninterruptedly 176 years in the palace halls.  Since 1938, the Office of the city historian was based in the building, under the direction of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring . In 1967 the municipal government moved to a new headquarters, so that the building began to be restored in order to allocate it to the Museum of the City of Havana, whose first showrooms were inaugurated from 1968.  The city Museum has 40 permanent exhibition halls, dedicated to preserving the memory of Cuban independence and the need of the search for national identity, until the definitive revolutionary victory in January 1959.

The different halls or rooms:

Sala Parriocal or Parish Hall: The passage through this room proposes the remembrance of the Parish Mayor or Parroquia Mayor, a primitive Church that opened its doors to the Catholic cult in the Villa San Cristóbal de la Habana in 1577, and that in 1741 was devastated as a result of the explosion of the invincible ship. Archaeological remains of its existence, jewels of the oldest churches of Havana, of the first religious orders that were established in this city between those that appear of Santo Domingo and San Francisco, as well as pieces of convents and portraits of the first Bishops, are memories of the Catholic Church in Cuba exhibited in this space.

Sala Giraldilla  (lady symbol of Havana like Sevilla) symbol of Havana has become the first molten sculpture in the city, Wind vane, done for  the tower of homage of the Castle of the royal force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)  between 1630 and 1634.

Heraldic room  (or Sala Héraldica) small room designed for exhibiting objects and documents that testify to the importance that the Cuban nobility attributed to heraldic symbology.  Certifications of weapons, cleanings of blood, facsimiles of nobility titles, military orders, as well as banners or confectioners that displaying especially in the balconies on the day of Kings, allow us to catalogue the heraldic imprint of the Cuban family, on All of the 19C.
Room set B (or Sala Ambientada B) (19C) in the mid 19C, after the great sugar boom of the Creole Sacarocracy,  luxury is gala with its presence in the great palaces, and grows the importation of furniture and objects of art from the most diverse styles. Coupled with this, it increases the national productions in which beauty and good taste almost always prevail. From then on, the so-called eclecticism appears in the interior environments, as shown in the room, which also occupies the space of the first room in the museum.

Carriages room (Sala Cochera)  in the area occupied by the garage and Palace stables are exposed various models of cars: The Quitrin, introduced in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C; The well-known Break of English origin, from the late 19C, with capacity for a greater number of people; Finally, the Phaeton, convertible carriage and quite light. In the showcases are shown costumes calesero, objects related to daily life and caricatures in customs of the Basque painter Víctor Patricio Landaluze. Another of the relevant pieces is the locomotive, a remembrance of the first that circulated on November 19, 1837 by the station of Villanueva. This Cagney 15-type piece, manufactured in 1905 in the United States, is a jewel of Cuban railway heritage.

Sala Emilio Roig:  retains pieces belonging to the personal collection of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, whose arduous work bequeathed fruit as the founding of the Office of the historian of the City of Havana in 1938 and the Museum of the city of Havana in 1942, located in the Lombillo Palace, in the Cathedral Square(Plaza de la Catedral). Promoter and founder of these institutions, Roig played the position of the historian of the city until his death. The room exhibits around the important work table pieces of the collection of Emilio Roig, among them an excellent caricature made by Conrad Walter Massaguer which recreates the members of the retail group, composed of transcendental figures of the Cuban culture that represented the most progressive wing of intellectuality in the first half of the 20C.

Pinacoteca : shows a series of important works of key artists within the Cuban plastic, covering different periods within the history of this artistic manifestation. In it, is possible to admire creations of figures of the 19C art, governed by canons of the academy, like Leopoldo Romañach and Armando Menocal; of representatives of the avant-garde of modernism in the Cuban plastic, among them its initiator, Víctor Manuel, and other prominent artists such as Amelia Peláez, Mariano Rodríguez, René Portocarrero and Wifredo Lam, who were interested in recreating the  Cuban reality, its cities, traditions and symbols, and a sample of the most recent work of our contemporary creators, who are launching to renew the universe of expressive resources, each one with its language and its way of seeing and reflecting the world.

Cuban copper room (Sala de los Cobres Cubanos) within the vital offices of the old City is the blacksmith, which, by its application in construction works, in shipyards, agricultural, industrial and defensive work, occupied a significant place in the development of the city; However, in the 16C there was an insufficient number of artisans to practise it, and it is not until the last decade of that century when by Royal Order the foundation of blacksmiths in the city began. In the room dedicated to the exponents of this noble trade, a great diversity of objects of domestic and military use can be appreciated, result of the tenacity and mastery of the craftsmen of the metal.

Sword Cemetery (Cementerio de Espadas) Bishop Juan José Díaz de Espada and Fernández de Landa distinguished himself during the first three decades of the 19C for his progressive and enlightened work. Among his many works is the creation of the first Necropolis, which took its name and was inaugurated in 1806. Sculptors and Quarriers performed beautiful marble works for niches and tombstones of this cemetery, where the homage is perpetuated in crowns with capricious shapes, biscuit flowers, metal sheets and glass beads, while the desire for preservation forged coffins of Iron. These works of funerary art, a reflection of the customs of an epoch and of the economic power of its high classes, were transferred, as the old cemetery closed, to the new Christopher Columbus Necropolis (cementerio Cristobal Colon), of which by donation of the families arrived at this museum.

Statuary and stoning room ( Sala Estatuaria y Lapidaria) the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19C enabled the abundant entrance of marble and the visit of Italian artists of more or less relief. In the main cities, elegant Marbre were introduced, which were given by private individuals and the town hall for Courtyards, avenues and public places. Many of the sculptures that are shown today in this room witnessed the life of Havana along with the stone tombstones of Jaimanitas or quarry that in former times beautified streets and precincts.

Spanish uniforms Room (Sala de Uniformes). The costumes used by the different bodies of the Spanish army and their attributes, including decorations, canes, sabres and others, are exhibited. Among the uniforms is the one of Ramón Herrera Sancibrián, colonel of the Corps of Volunteers who encouraged his troops to request the death penalty for the 8 medical students who would be shot in 1871.

Public office (Despacho publico) .This room shows one of the two offices with which was used by the captain Generals of the island of Cuba, where were attended the matters related to the political and military situation of the country, fundamentally. Among the personalities received in this office was the German sage Alexander  Humboldt, in 1800. Likewise, in 1890, the general of the Libertador Army, Antonio Maceo Grajales, was sent by this space, received by the general Captain Camilo Polavieja y del Castillo. In its showcases stands the first telegraph equipement that entered Cuba in 1865. In addition, several documents issued by the Crown and the general captains of the island of Cuba, including the concentration camp dictated by Captain General Valeriano Weyler and Nicolau, on October 21, 1896.

Spanish banners, flags and pennants room (Sala de Estandartes, Banderas y Banderines Españoles) flags, pennants and banners of different bodies of the Spanish colonial army are exposed. In the showcase are retained flag spears used to prevent the passage of Cubans on the enemy formations and thus avoid the machete, the main weapon of the independence fighters aka Mambises. Outside the showcase appears a shield representing the Bourbon dynasty and three Spanish flags used in combat.

Spanish armaments Room (Sala de Armamento Español) It gathers a small but varied sample of the weapons and allied equipment used by the Spanish forces in Cuba. They appear here from the primitive flint-key rifles to the modern mauzers, employed in many countries until well into the 20C. There are also regulatory white weapons, a valuable piece of artillery occupied by colonial forces, bugles of orders, and a handkerchief of military instruction.

Anteroom and Hall of the Cabildo (Antesala o sala del Cabildo) .The Cabildo was one of the forms of local government existing in Spain later applied in its Hispanic colonies. Once the palace of the general captains has been built, the Capitulars are moved to this room, which prioritized each step to promote the socio-economic and cultural development of the city. As representatives of the Creole class that held economic power, they introduced fundamental advances such as the application of the steam engine in the sugar mills and the construction of the first section of the Havana-Bejucal railway, in addition to creating Important institutions such as the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the country, the Royal Consulate of Agriculture and commerce and the first public library. In this room, Leonor Pérez, mother of José Martí, was veiled in ardent Chapel in May 1907.

Room of thought (Sala del Pensamiento)  It addresses the ideological currents that were manifested in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C, which constituted a sample of the discontent of the slave bourgeoisie with the regime imposed by Spain on the Antillean island, characterized by the iron control over its Products. The movement known as Reformism had among its most representative figures Francisco Arango and Parreño and José Antonio Saco. The Anexionismo,(Annexionists)  a trend that enlisted in its ranks to those Creoles who saw the United States as the only country able to procure the island the necessary economic support, had Narciso Lopez among its main representatives. To these tendencies was counterbalanced by the independentists,  initially supported by a group of students and members of the illustrated sectors, among which was highlighted the priest Félix Varela and Morales; But these ideas did not take force until the second half of the 19C, and their maximum expression was the first  cry of independence of October 10, 1868. The portraits made by the painter Santiaguero Federico Martínez, located on the wall , allow to visualize some of the most outstanding figures of 19C Cuban thought.

Heroic Cuba (Cuba Heroica) , After the failure of all the actions of the Cubans, either by the reformist way or by the annexationist, it will be shown that the contradictions metropolis-colony were insurmountable and the impossible annexation. And this is demonstrated by the independent outbreak of October 10, 1868, in front of which was located the radical and patriotic wing of the Cuban landowners, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.  In a short time the war spread to Las Villas and Camagüey, but because of regionalism, caudillismo, divisions within the liberating army and lack of logistical support from outside, the belligerent did not reach the west, region of greater economic potential of the island and which supported the Spanish army. Therefore, after two decades of heroic battle for the independence of Cuba and the abolition of slavery, Yara’s revolution ended with the signing of the Pact of the Zanjón, which meant the maintenance of the Spanish dominion.

Hall of the flags (Sala de las Banderas) The halls of the flags are the most relevant of the City museum due to the national treasures they expose: The original flag that flew for the first time in 1850 and that, once the war of the ten years began , became national insignia; It teaches that it began this emancipatory feat, and others that put the ideals of the liberation very high. It also shows personal objects of the highest leaders of the wars of independence, among them belongings of Jose Martí, political chief of the Epic of 1895 and unifier of its forces in the Cuban Revolutionary Party.  Portrait on the fall in combat of major General Antonio Maceo (outside my native town of Punta Brava) , reflects a crucial stage of the last battle against Spanish colonialism, when it materialized one of the most important aspirations of the leaders of the Cuban wars of the 19C: the Invasion of east to west, to put to the island of Cuba on war footing for the fight for the independence.

American Intervention Room  (Sala Intervencion Americana) On February 15, 1898, the explosion of the American-flagged battleship cruiser Maine  was produced in Havana Bay, in which 266 members of its crew, including 2 officers, were killed. The funerals were held in the Hall of the Palace Council. The event was the pretext used by the United States to intervene in the conflict between Cuba and Spain. This war, called Hispano-Cuban-American, (but only Spanish-American in the USA still today)  concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, on December 10, 1898.  In compliance with this Treaty, in which no Cuban representation was involved, the Spanish authorities handed over power to John Brooke, the American military Governor designated for Cuba, on 10 January 1899. In 1901 the Constituent Assembly was convened to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, a document establishing the constraints (Platt Amendement) that defined the future Cuban dependence.

Wicker Salon (Salon del Mimbre) .The wicker boudoir reflects the atmosphere that dominated the palace during the last two decades of the 19C. It highlights the art Nouveau furniture, artistic style that erupted in the late 19C and became fashionable in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.  It also has pieces made by the jeweler and French modernist glassmaker René Lalique, as well as Émile Galle, Master in all the techniques that existed in the production of Glass with the company Daum Frères, founded in 1889 in France.  It also shows exponents of Art deco, French Gobelins, toys and a work by Cuban painter Guillermo Collazo.

Dining Room  (Salon del Comedor) Set in the style of the colonial palaces of the 19C, it is located in the same space that occupied during the colonial period and the first decades of the 20C, and where they offered great banquets to commemorate or to celebrate political events or Simply for celebrations sponsored by the Captain General himself.
The silver-plated copper trays that belonged to the General captain of the island of Cuba are integrated as original pieces. In the walls there are interesting Flemish tapestries from the 17C and 18C, hunting trophies and a collection of special attractive tableware that belonged to more than a hundred Cuban families.

Trinchante, Small hall that exhibits luxurious tableware and pieces destined for the service of table, between portraits that the American painter Elias Metcalf made for the wealthy family Ximeno.

Coffee Room (Sala del Cafe) It denotes one of those spaces destined to the receipt of the General captain. It highlights a set of room of knob of the 19C. A collection of pieces from the Millenary Oriental Art integrates the permanent exhibition with fans that use Cuban ladies during the colonial era. Works by foreign painters of the 19C such as Landaluze, Mejasky, Valentin Sanz Carta and Henry Cleenewerck, among others, can be appreciated there.

Infanta’s Room( Habitacion de la Infanta) ; In 1893 the Infanta Eulalia of Bourbon visited Havana, and during her seven-day stay she occupied this room that served as a bedroom for Captain General. The Habanera aristocracy hosted with parties and gifts, some exhibited in this room. Among the most important pieces are two portraits, one of the Spanish painter José María Romero and another of Esteban Chartrand, the main exponent of Cuban romanticism. Also significant is a set of furniture designed by John Henry Belter and two vases made with the technique of cloisonné.

Bath room (Sala del Baño) .Despite the fact that the Cuban tropical climate imposes a daily need for the bath, it is not until the middle of the 19C that the act begins to be integrated into the life of the inhabitants of the city of Havana. Until then, most of the hotels and private houses did not have a bath room, although the establishments of public baths, especially those destined for the male sex, were very crowded, and some became very comfortable. At that time the medicinal water spas were also very visited.
However, the most usual was the weekly washing with the Aguamanil and jofaina basin, with the complement of a touch of perfumes and flavourings. Many objects were brought by the aristocracy of Europe or the Orient.. The room displays French glassware, Czech crystal decorated by Mary Gregory, Chinese porcelain of exquisite firing, as well as pieces of Cuban silversmiths , and Italian marble baths in the form of snails or gondolas that constitute real treasures.

Room set A (19C) (Sala Ambientada A. The splendid way of life reached by the Cuban aristocracy in the mid-19C reveledan elitist interior environments characterized by the mixture of various foreign influences. Elizabethan period medallion furniture, French porcelains, English and Italian pottery contributed to distinguish these spaces. This piece that was available in the private part of the palace was used as a dormitory by the wife of the Captain General. In the room two portraits of landscapes were done by Esteban Chartrand.

White Room (Salon Blanco) . The Spanish and Creole elites selected recreational places among the halls of their elegant residences. The anteroom of the main hall of the palace was used as a complement to receive guests on holidays and space for musical auditions.
Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, oil portraits and European porcelains, it preserves among its most valuable pieces two beautiful 18C Meissen porcelain vases.

Hall of Mirrors (Salon de los Espejos). It was the space of greatest political and social importance of the Palace of the Captain General. Photographs and documents of the archives reveal some important events that took place in this Hall: transfer of powers of the Spanish colonial administration to the American government, on January 10, 1899; Birth of the Republic on May 20, 1902; Funerals of Máximo Gómez and Salvador Cisneros, in the first two decades of the 20C, among others. Illustrious personages who visited the island in the 19C received in this enclosure, also known as Hall of the Besamanos (hands kissing), the homage of the Havana high society.

The webpage in Spanish on the above was Ecured, a Cuban site. Ecured on Museo de la Habana

Hope you enjoy, a bit long, but worth it me think. A must visiting Cuba and for sure if Havana is your destination, cannot missed it.

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

 

 

July 24, 2018

Presidential palace of Havana!

Let’s get back to the deep roots and come up with something written before briefly in my blog, it deserve a single post. Therefore, I have decided to tell you a bit more on the Presidential Palace of Havana, Cuba.

My previous blog post on Havana , spoked a bit of it ,and for reference here is that post. San Cristobal de La Habana

There are so many buildings in Havana, once the Unesco did a report that I lost track of it but mentioned 144 buildings of the 14C, 15C, 16C, and 17C in Havana ;more than on any other city in the Americas. The multitude of beauty is enormous even if the history is sad. Hemingway once call it the Paris of the Americas, and he should know some.

Havana

In 1909 the governor of Havana decided to build a new headquarters to host the Provincial government. The project was carried out by the architects Rodolfo Maruri (Cuban) and Paul Belau (Belgian), while the construction phase was assumed by the General Contracting Company.  Meanwhile the interior decoration was under the responsibility of Tiffany Studios of New York.  The Salon de Espejos or Hall of Mirrors, which was conceived in the image and likeness of the homonymous Galerie des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of  Versailles, France. Its floors and staircases are made from the famous Carrara marble of Italy. The building, built on the basis of the canons of eclecticism.

In 1917 the history of the building had a transcendent turn that marked its subsequent destiny. At the end of that year, the first Lady of the Republic visited the works, and was captivated by the magnificence of the building and the privileged of its location. No more needed to be said, she turns to her husband , Mario Garcia Menocal, President of the Republic, and took over the necessary legal quibbles and dispossessed the Provincial government of the property of the palace. In the beginning of 1918 everything was arranged so that the building located in Calle Refugio No. 1 between Monserrate and Zulueta became the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Cuba.

The construction work followed its course and on January 31, 1920 the official inauguration of the Executive Mansion took place. The work, in all its details, was not completed until the 12th of March of 1920.

Havana

The palace building  has four floors: the ground floor served to accommodate the dependencies that secured the main functions; Telephone exchange, auxiliary offices, power plant and even the stable for police horses. The first floor welcomed the most important spaces of the palace: presidential office, Gallery of Mirrors, Chapel, Golden Hall and the place where the Council of Ministers made decisions. On the second floor was installed the Presidential residence and in the last of the floor was placed the garrison responsible with the custody of the Presidential mansion. The building is crowned by a dome clad in the exterior of glazed ceramic pieces that, at the time, was one of the highest in the city. In all, there are 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics of Cuba.

Havana

In the building are present paintings and sculptures of representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the moment: Leopoldo Romañach, Emilio Hernández Giro, Enrique Cabrera, Esteban Valderrama, Esteban Betancourt and Armando Menocal.

At the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959 ,not much was decided on what to do with it and came some periods of neglect.  The first revolutionary Provisional Government was established in the former presidential palace. From there the commander in chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the position of Prime Minister and carried out the great process of nationalization of all the private companies that existed in Cuba until that moment; including the American companies that gave rise later to the US Embargo due to non payment.  Later, the former Presidential palace houses since 1976 the Museum of the Cuban revolution with  holes  in the wall of historical shots as if they were the bones of a saint, as well as weapons, tanks or boats (the mythical Granma that brought the revolutionaries from Mexico) that led to the eventual drastic changes in the country for the worse.

Among the most visited areas of the museum is the Granma Memorial, founded on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the landing of the Granma yacht. It occupies the grounds of the old Parque Zayas, which President Alfredo Zayas had commanded to build during the last years of his term, in honor of himself, in front of the South Gate that divides the Memorial from the Palace.

You read up more about in English here: Visit Cuba on the Presidential Palace, Revolution museum

And see some of the beauty of it on the inside on this youtube video.

 

Hope you have enjoy this brief description of an icon of Havana for different points of views and reasons, divided as Cuba has been for the last 60 years.  A must visit to understand the tumultous history of Cuba.

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

July 24, 2018

Well Havana does have other Churches!

Sitting back and looking over my photos, I realised that I as many like to write about the big ones, the Cathedrals etc, and famous Churches. Well , there are many wonderful temples that are not yet discovered or not enough and are just as beautiful and full of history and architecture that I like. This is especially the case with La Habana, or Havana, Cuba. The island nation has plenty of wonderful Churches and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.

I have decided to write about them even if long post, I just took the ones that I remember from childhood and got some old books at home out and even pictures;hope you like it. These are my favorites Churches of Havana.

As you can see from the list below, there are differences between the terms of Cathedral, Parish, Church and Chapel.  Religious temples in the Catholic Church differ by their territorial hierarchy.  The archdiocese is an area with several temples under the jurisdiction of an archbishop and the main church that is its headquarters is named Cathedral.  The parish is still in importance and has under its authority one or several nearby churches and chapels, the latter of a simpler structure. The hermitages are small temples usually far away from the towns.  The sanctuaries are temples to which many faithful pilgrims, where an image or relic is venerated or where a miracle took place.

For addresses and contact this unofficial site has plenty of info on Cuba and in this case the Churches: http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/help-churches-comunities-havana.htm

The official archidiocèse of Havana site is here: Havana Archdiocese webpage

Official Catholic Church in Cuba: Catholic Church in Cuba

And here we go!

Church San Francisco de Assisi located at Calle Cuba, Old Havana (Habana Vieja). Its construction began in the year 1548 and lasted until 1591, although it was inaugurated in 1575, it was completely finished almost 200 years later, with a series of structural reforms occurring from 1731 to 1738. The facade is located on the Calle Oficios where you can see three stone statues representing the Immaculate Conception, San Francisco de Assisi and Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It is composed of three large naves, which are held by twelve columns representing the Twelve Apostles, of the Catholic Church. It has a tower of 48 meters of height, which in the colonial era was the highest structure of the city for several centuries. The tower was crowned by an image of Saint Francis of Assisi, in stone, whose head was torn by the wind during the hurricane of 1846. A garden in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has recently been built in the back.  The Franciscans monks used it as a high school for centuries; they taught grammar, philosophy, theology and mathematics. The Spanish colonial government takes in 1841 the property of the religious communities and the friars moved to the Church of St. Augustine, relatively close to the convent.  After this the convent is destined as warehouse and office of the General Archive and the Customs of Havana. After independence, in 1907, it is destined to the General Directorate of Post and Telegraph. In 1916 it was transformed again to host the General Directorate of Communications, which would later become a ministry. In 1941 and in 1944 it had restorations done.  In 1957 it moved the Ministry of Communications , and the Cuban revolution, it is given the category of Museum of Colonial History and one that  incorporates many historical objects of religious character to its collection. It was located in the lower basilica of the convent, after restorations, a room of sacred music and chamber.

Havana

Havana

Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes. You will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome. It consists of three naves separated by monumental arches of half a point. They call attention to the abundant and beautiful decorations of shades of gold and gleaming yellow, which contrast with the chestnut of the benches and the magnificent frescoes of the ceilings. The luxurious murals, the images of the vaults and the rest of the works of plastic arts, make up a collection of paintings from the last quarter of the 19C thanks to renowned Cuban artists of the time, including Manuel Lorenzo, responsible for the lofty main section, and Juan Crossa, who decorated the dome and the upper edges of the vaults of the greater Altar. The mural of the lower part of the Chapel, which refers to a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Lourdes, is the work of Didier Petit, while the landscaper Esteban Chartrand painted the background of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, located at the end of one of the two side aisles of the temple. They complete the constructive space the beautiful altars and the convent  annex, which maintains its original functions and is defined by a beautiful cloister patio. Father Geronimo Viladás asked that his remains be buried in La Merced after his death. Thirty years after he died, his desires were finally fulfilled and from 1913 he rests in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes within the aforementioned church.

The construction of the temple began in the year 1630 at the hands of the faithful of the Lady of Mercy. The process, however, required more time and effort than expected. More than a century later, in 1742, the section between the facade and the pulpits had barely been completed, as well as a poor adjacent convent house. For 1834, the government employed the building as a warehouse, housing customs goods, until in 1863 it was handed over to the Vincentian fathers. The occasion was celebrated with a big popular festival and with the revival of the construction by Geronimo Viladás, Superior of the Missionary Friars now responsible for the enclosure. In the new task the established community poor and rich again intervened. Finally, on January 31, 1867, the renovated temple was inaugurated.

Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day. It has the fundamental elements of this neo gothic style with pointed arch, high pointed vaults, reduced walls, large windows and luminous stained glass windows.  The altarpiece was made in Madrid, made of alabaster, wood and bronze, was brought in pieces and mounted on site. From the Calle Reina, you can see the great image of the Sacred Heart, carved in wood, whose base is the central capital that represents the parable of the Prodigal Son and the two saints who make guard; San Ignacio de Loyola and San Francisco Javier . Within the Temple, there are beautiful windows with stained glass, representing the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, passages of the Life of Ignatius of Loyola and some Jesuit saints. The Church has a central nave, supported by six lateral columns topped by ornate capitals, those that end at the main altar, which highlights a gigantic image of the Sacred Heart in an attitude to bless the faithful. To the right and left they are accompanied by two lively groups of Jesuit saints, as well as other saints and church doctors. A set of five angels, formed with their wings deployed a docility there is a bronze plaque on the altar of the Mass, where Jesus Christ is depicted as the slaughtered lamb and standing, symbol of his death and his subsequent resurrection, accompanied by a multitude that He sings praises to. The parish count also, with one of the most elegant organs of Cuba. The floor of the central nave is made by elaborate mosaics of stone and Crystal tesserae, it has in its entry the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, which signify Christ, and Ji and Ro, C and R initials of the Son of God in Greek.  In the end, there is an ancient anagram of Jesus in Latin: JHS Jesus Homo Salvator (Jesus Man Savior).  The two aisles form a Latin cross, one is dedicated to San José (St Joseph), where there is also an image of the Virgin of Charity of Copper (Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), patron of Cuba, along with the Cuban flag. The altar of the other nave is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and is where the tabernacle that holds the consecrated hosts is located. At the bottom of the temple is carved an image of the Virgin of Fatima.

 Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty.  The gigantic altar still looks like its gold-covered spiral columns. It also presents four beautiful pendentives painted by the first Cuban painter of which it is mentioned, José Nicolás de Escalera. The first Cuban scientist graduated in medicine, Dr. Tomás Romay y Chacón, was baptized in the parish Church of Santa Maria del Rosario in 1764. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 something. José María Chacón y Calvo, a prominent  Hispanic historian and sixth Earl of Casa Bayona, was baptized in this Church. In addition, the Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999.

Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world. The church murals, representing the 14 stations of the Via Crucis, were painted between 1952 and 1959 by the Spanish artist Cesareo Marciano Hombrados y de Onativia. The Roman soldier who stripped Jesus of his garments is a self-portrait of the artist himself.  The artist, also used as models for the murals by his wife Sara Margarita Fernandez and to all the people who contributed to the construction of the temple. The garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France).

Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Again not much on it just for the memories.

Punta Brava

The first church built in Havana was on the grounds where the Plaza de Armas of Old Havana is today, its construction cost only 32 pesos and was destroyed by the French pirates in 1538. Some of the old ones are here:

Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Originally built as a hermitage and converted in 1693 in auxiliary of the major parish, it elevated to the category of parish in 1703. In the year 1899, after the American occupation, it was handed over to the American Augustinian Fathers. In the possession of these, the residence of the friars, a parochial school and the private School of St. Augustine were built in the surroundings.

Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, very little remains of it due to the successive works of repair, reconstruction and remodeling that are carried out until the 19C. The tower was built in 1707, the vault of the presbytery towards 1720 and around 1760 an almost total reconstruction was executed that included the erection of new walls and the addition of a lateral nave. Other elements of interest in this temple are the funerary crypts discovered inside in 1953; The tomb of Bishop Gerónimo Valdés, found in 1936; And the fact that it was declared in 1773 as the only church in Havana with the right to grant protection to those persecuted by the authorities.

Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela. By Royal Certificate of the King Charles III of Spain, dated in Madrid on March 14, 1700, the foundation of the convent was authorized, which was originally destined to the religious order of the Barefoot Carmelites. On January 28, 1702 was dictated by Bishop Diego Avelino de Compostela, the decree authorizing the founding of the monastery in the building that then occupied the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem (Nuestra Sra de Belén), with the houses and plots that he donated for the foundation of the east. The convent was called for many years monastery of the Barefoot Carmelites of Our Lady of Bethlehem of the Carmelitas Descalzas de Nuestra Senora de Belén). In 1753, the restoration of the Church that needed proper maintenance in the face of the deterioration of its ceilings. A few years later, the old walls of earth were replaced by stone walls. In 1928, the Carmelite mothers leave the residence because they were deprived of the closure that provides the order, as the height of the buildings that were built surrounding the monastery, specifically a building of the famous pharmacy Sarrá that It consisted of seven plants. After the nuns left the building that occupied the church and convent  was very much changed. In what was the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, another Church was founded with the name of María Auxiliadora, which remains its name today. Their gardens were abandoned and gradually lost the charm of other eras until they came to disappear. What once was orchard became a social dining room, in the part that gives to the Calle Compostela and in which it gives to the Calle Aguacate, in a child care center. The curb of the well and the cross that embellished the courtyard of the monastery, disappeared from the place many years ago.

Again ,these are some of my memories that are still there, and a beacon of hope for many of Havana. Plenty of history and architecture too, and if you are by there feel free to stop by, there are looking great after all these years.

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

 

 

%d bloggers like this: