Archive for ‘New Jersey’

July 4, 2020

My early US history, Perth Amboy NJ!

It is said, that in times of need/worries in this case due to the covid19 virus, the roots come out and make you stronger. I believe it. I have an entertaining blog that keeps my time thanks to all my readers it helps. I sometimes write about glamorous places that I have been lucky to visit or lived! but the roots always comes back to you. And happy 4th of July.

On a cloudy cool day at about 17C or 64F in my new neck of the woods Pluvigner, Morbihan 56, Bretagne in my belle France, let me get back on my feet. I came finally into freedom after avoiding communism and fascism into the United States. I was 13,5 years old arriving in unknown town of Perth Amboy New Jersey USA!

Perth Amboy

I spoked no English, no money and the clothes I was wearing arriving with my Mother (passed away in Versailles 2007) to join my Father there in Amboy as we locally call it. And the good times began!! Date: May 10 1972.

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy

The early life was working very hard ,helping my parents who had branch out into small businesses such as the grocery store , clothing store, restaurant, delivery services,and nightclub activities. As hard working immigrants, it was a period of learning English, and new rules, laws, and way of living ,adjusting to the American work ethics that so much carry on in my life today. Even if by now also enjoying the la vie en rose à la Française!

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy

I became a US citizen in the municipal courthouse of New Brunswick, Middlesex county, New Jersey on December 13, 1980. I learn my ways and language like a native ::) I continue playing my beloved football/soccer (learned in Madrid), and some baseball at high school, and amateur team levels. I played in the Garden State Soccer league known as Schaeffer league for the local beer who sponsored it,and the LISA, or Luso-Iberian Soccer Association with Portuguese and Spanish clubs.

new brunswick

My sports were intercepted around the help needed on my parents businesses,so I was very busy ,sometimes working at nights so to have some daytime free for sports and girls ::). The city that welcome me to America was Perth Amboy ,in Middlesex County, NJ. It was a city of about 50 000 inhabitants, full of immigrants from all over,there were sections call Budapest, Dublin, Little Italy, Holy Cross, etc, I lived by the one call the Waterfront (facing Staten Island, New York City).

Perth Amboy

I graduated a Panther from Perth Amboy High School in June of 1977,and went to university in Florida (later my second and last home in the USA). In Perth Amboy I lived for 13 years, hard working and full of learning a new surroundings and customs/language but full of great memories and many many friends that will eventually stop by here. Forever, Go Panthers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

perth amboy

In the Summers , we played at Rudyk Park complex underneath the Outerbridge to Staten Island, NYC, which was used by many to play summer league soccer/football sometimes with as many as 40 nationalities playing!  The wonderful tennis courts by the waterfront was entertaining, and with great views of the bay of NY all in Bayview Park. It has a vibrant downtown or city center area around the Five Corners as five avenues coincide at this junction. The roads are very easy as it is at the crossroads of the NJ Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Routes 1-9, 35 (to the Jersey shore and The Boss/Bon Jovi days), and 440.

Perth Amboy

These were what I call the learning years, the real adult fun began in Florida, but have several posts on it too in my blog.  And then , of course, my belle France (French citizen since 2000) and have many many posts on that in my blog too!

The Perth Amboy is full of American history from the times of the colonies and later, just browse my other entries on it. It was the right city to be acclimated to the American way of life indeed. I am still attach to the city and high school with groups in FB!

Perth Amboy

The Amboy Guardian local newspaper here! Amboy guardian newspaper

The Perth Amboy schools have it on the High School (lycée): Perth Amboy Publis Schools on the High School

The Middlesex County NJ webpage on Perth AmboyMiddlesex County on Perth Amboy

The city of Perth AmboyCity of Perth Amboy

Just for the memories and if by the area NY/NJ a must stop to get to know about early American history as it was the home of the British colonial governor of NJ and many battles were held there. Hope you enjoy this personal post. And thank you Perth Amboy!

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

June 4, 2020

Going to Punta Brava!!!

And here I am again in nostalgia lane going back to my roots. Indeed I have been lucky enough to travel the world, 81 countries last count. However, it all goes back to one.. Ah well where is Punta Brava, well there is quite a few towns in various countries with the same name even back in my grandparents land of Tenerife, Spain. However, we were later and my Punta Brava sits in Havana, Cuba. 

Let me tell you a bit on my Punta Brava town of about 2K folks where I was born and left 49 + years ago.

Punta Brava is a town part of the agglomeration of La Lisa nowdays under the new administrative arrangement after the Cuban revolution. Before , it was alone just inside the city limits of Havana. It is about 21 km (about 13 mi) of city center/downtown Havana. Nearby settlements include Machurucutu to the north, La Lisa city to the east, Bauta to the southwest, and the University of Information Sciences to the southeast.

Punta Brava

There is lots of confusion as to its origins as my family claims it was around 1870 when the point coming from the Tabacco plantations and its wealth in Vuelta Abajo Pinar del Rio province passed by here on its way to the port of Havana and onwards to Spain. However, around this point bandits always ransacked the convoy so it became a punta brava or hot point. The other is that the origin of the town baptized as San Vicente de Punta Brava, located on the banks of the Camino Real de Vuelta Abajo (royal road of vuelta abajo or downward road) ,but with no mention of the bandits. In Punta Brava, at the time of its appearance as a town, there was a tile manufacture factory who made bricks. Its producs were famous for its quality, and were considered then, as the best brick tile in Cuba. In this town there were also large pineapple packers ((and as boy it was gone and we played baseball!), destemming, packing and tobacco picking workshops, cart and car workshop, and Maidenform women undergarment (my mother worked) as well as other establishments that show the economic development reached by Punta Brava at the end of the 19C.

A major event that was celebrated nationally until the revolution stopped it took place on December 7, marking the death in combat of Cuba’s greatest general. This was on the San Pedro farm, loma or hill of Cacahual, near Punta Brava, on December 7,1896, General Antonio Maceo y Grajales fell in combat. It has been the scene of different military encounters during Cuba’s fight for independence, and is most notable as the site where Maceo died at the hands of Spanish troops. For the anecdote the revolutionary dictator Castro’s father, Ángel Castro Argiz,was happy of this event as his company was the one involved in the killing of the General Maceo on this day. Angel was born in Lugo, Galicia, Spain. Fidel’s father.

 Nowdays, Punta Brava is currently like an empty, abandoned, lonely space. The splendor of yesteryear has disappeared in 61 years of socialist revolution. Of the old traditions and rituals, little or nothing remains. Without a doubt, its inhabitants are trapped in the middle of nowhere. As if they were lost in time.

Punta Brava

outside Ford 1954 inside ??

During the missile crisis,1962, the Soviets reportedly built a missile site in Guayabal near Punta Brava. By Punta Brava, passed the old Central Highway, which connects with all of Cuba, going to Arroyo Arenas, Lisa, Marianao and Havana and beyond to Pinar del Rio, and the other way going by Bauta and into the Matanzas and the rest of Cuba. It was connected by rail with its own station from at least 1909. There are several airports in relatively close proximity to Punta Brava including Playa Baracoa Airport which has been mostly used by the military and some permitted passenger service. The Havana Jose Marti international airport is at Rancho Boyeros not far at 15 km (about 9 mi).

With my mom and aunt (her sister) we used to go a lot to El Salado beach not far from Baracoa beach and airport. This was a sandy beach and some huts nice family getaway , now they have more stones… but some tourist services there.

Punta Brava

Another favorite beach of my family were Guanabo ,Santa Maria del Mar ,and of course Varadero. Do not have pictures of the first two but did visit Varadero again in 1998.

Varadero

my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad ( Church of Our Lady of Charity,) which is also Cuba’s Patron Saint  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, I grew up at Ave 247 in Punta Brava. Again not much on it just for the memories. When Pope John Paul II visited Cuba shortly after the Virgin of  Charity (Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre) or the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary , patron Saint of Cuba was brought all over and passed by Punta Brava! My family sent me the photo.

Punta Brava

While in my last visit in 2012, , I asked my assigned driver to take me to my native town of Punta Brava, visiting family aunt and cousins (which by now left Cuba too) , I ate at a typical Cuban casa paladar in pesos nacionales (for the locals as tourist have the apartheid convertible pesos), a dish of roast pork,moros black beans,yucca, tostones in garlic sauce (green plantains) , salad of tomatos and lettuce, plus coffee and four beers for two persons at about 260 Cuban Pesos Nacionales. The place was just in Calzada (main street Avenida 51, aka Central Highway) before turning left to Guatao,if coming from Havana. It was nice as was there with my remaining family at the time.

If you want to see my pictures as a boy in Havana/Punta Brava I have a post in my blog with these old photos; here: Paris1972-Versailles2003 blog on Punta Brava Havana child days post

As said , the time passes by and all we have is blurred memories of always. A time, a place, a dot in my world map, that is in another world. Hope you enjoy this personal post on my always Punta Brava, Havana, Cuba!

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

June 3, 2020

A step back in time, my Havana!

So looking at my vault of photos or rather CD-Roms I came up some older photos of a time gone by of memories not to be forgotten and family roots. I have written several posts on this native experience of mine very translucent as the times goes by and memory starts to flicker. Let me tell you a bit about my dear Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de La Habana.

It was the ultimate Caribbean destination, the “Paris of the Americas” (Hemingway ), the “key to the gulf (of mexico) the bulkward of the West Indies (Caribbean_ King Philip II of Spain), to the whole of Cuba. It brings back memories of childhood, and still vibrates the world from no matter what place on the fence you might be. It is a beautiful city, if only can be kept in one piece. It was once 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. I need to say this.

We spent many times by the Malecon and going in by the Paseo del Prado going into the Capitol (see post)/ last trip we were on a Ford 1954 lol!! things indeed change.

havana

All the Malecon area now is half and half some renovated with the help of Unesco and other crumbling. We just saw the inner soul of the buildings like the fabled Riviera hotel, and tried to remember what they were before…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then, we went under the bay of Havana on the old Tunnel that we enjoyed so much riding it.

Havana

And we passed by the University of Havana, where my Mom did studies before transfering to the Catholic Univ ,sister univ of Villanova in Philadelphia , PA USA at the time.

Havana

We passed by another favorite of my family that took me there still very early in my life. This is the Cinema Trianon!  It is at Avenida Linea beween A Street & B Street. It was built in 1920 ,and completely re-modeled in 1955 and became the release theatre for 20th Century Fox films. My picture is from when it was renovated back in 1998.

Havana

And we move on to the Morro Castle (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro) where the remodeled all castle had a nice restaurant call the 12 Apostoles or apostles. My dear late wife Martine enjoy the trip down to my roots.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And this is end of the trip for me with the pictures I found, bear in mind these are paper photos that I took a picture from. The pictures all date from 1998 when we went from France.  

One more post down memory lane, many moments spent with the family now almost all gone from there. I was the first one! 49 years ago…..Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Havana is a city to fall in love for no matter what period of time in history you may choose to visit.  Enjoy the ride into nostalgia land.

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

March 23, 2020

Proprietary House , Perth Amboy!

So as I am doing a tour of the world virtually in my blog, let me bring you back to a memorable moment in my life. I came from Madrid, Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA way back too many years, and was my first contact with the American way of life: a shock! new customs, new language, new money, new laws the works. The best of it is that I was finally in a democratic country and free to learn new things, which I did. As usually back then no photos found so given credit to show the house.

Of course, I have written about Perth Amboy and New Jersey before, but left this out and I should not. This is part of history of the US often overlook for more recent ones; this is where all started for the country. Perth Amboy was colonial capital and the governor lived here at the Proprietary House. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok.

Perth Amboy

credit: facebook photo of the proprietary house

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, who was a royalist. The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independence movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancreas old Church Cemetery. The Proprietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy. Very near where I lived!!! Waterfront (NY) area. See it!

The official webpage is here: The Proprietary House at Perth Amboy

A bit of history I like

The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, is the only proprietary governor’s mansion of the original Thirteen Colonies still standing. It’s construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1764. The Georgian style mansion was first occupied by Chief Justice Frederick Smyth by rent and approval of The Proprietors  from 1766 to 1773. In May 1773, the mansion was repaired and fitted to be the residence of the royal governor of New Jersey, and leased by the proprietors as such.

Perth Amboy

credit: Proprietary-House mycentral nj

The home was occupied temporarily, 1774 to 1776, by the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin (the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin) . In January 1776, he was ordered to be held under house arrest on order of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey and under guard of the Committee of Safety. In June, after the onset of hostilities between Great Britain and the fledgling nation, he was ordered arrested and taken to Princeton for trial and then imprisoned in Litchfield, Connecticut until his release in a prisoner exchange in 1778. He eventually fled for Great Britain in 1782 and died there in 1813.

After the house was ravaged by a mysterious fire in the late 18C ;the new owner restored it. added a large wing and turned the property into The Brighton, a hotel of grand stature in its day. It briefly flourished as an elegant and popular hotel until the War of 1812 brought an end to tourism and the lifeblood of the hotel. The war a conflict between the USA and UK that many claims the precursor of the Napoleonic wars in Europe.

Mathias Bruen, who bought the property at a sheriff’s sale in 1817, became one of the wealthiest men in America while he lived here. His descendants made large contributions to America’s social and political history. In subsequent years, most of the original of its eleven acres were divided into building lots, and Kearny Avenue was cut through. The house experienced a series of owners. Over the years it deteriorated from a comfortable apartment house with a public restaurant to a dilapidated rooming house and suspected flophouse.The former Proprietary House was converted into a Presbyterian retirement home. It was adapted again as a hotel, but with modest accommodations. Now owned by the State of New Jersey, a portion of the building is operated as a museum by the Proprietary House Association. The upper floors of the original building and the 1809 wing are occupied by professional offices. The first floor and basement of the Proprietary House have been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration by the non-profit Proprietary House Association. The New Jersey Historic Trust and the Division of Parks and Forestry of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, along with private contributors, have greatly supported the effort to restore some of the former glory of the building. hroughout these phases, the house/museum was always open for tours, events, and exhibits.

Perth Amboy’s Proprietary House, the Royal Governor’s Mansion at 149 Kearny Ave has been voted as one of the top 8 NJ historic sites in a competition held by NJTV called #NJTVTourismTourney. Again, a must to see especially by all lovers of history and indeed American history.

A nice youtube video on the Proprietary House here

The webpage of the revolutionary war NJ on the Proprietary House: Revolutionary War New Jersey on the Proprietary House Perth Ambohy

And for general reference, the city of Perth Amboy webpage: City of Perth Amboy New Jersey

And there you go , yes my first city in America was lucky enouth to be in a historic city and learn a lot on the American way of life, which i continue even abroad. From our next door neighbor, have you heard? If you can do it in NY City, you can do it anywhere! true! Hope you enjoy the Proprietary House of Perth Amboy, in the Great State of New Jersey!

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

 

 

December 13, 2019

My cars, a love affair!

Well if you read my blog, you know I love cars and considered myself proudly the road warrior especially in USA, France and Spain. The car is my second home and why?

Well it all started back many  years ago when I first took my driver’s license in the good old Garden State of New Jersey USA. I remember taking my Dad’s car an old Ford LTD and driving it into New York City to see a game of the New York Yankees baseball team!

Yes on the way in I got there alright but on the return I end up near Philadelphia on the Garden State Parkway when finally I ask a State Trooper police to tell me I was near the big city and way over pass mine much nearer New York City in Perth Amboy, NJ! That was the thrill of youth that still rings on me.

Too bad do not took the time to take pictures of those old cars darn it!!! Well it turn out amongt so many pictures did have a few so here they are found them!!

From that first Ford LTD wagon, I went if I can recall that far back… to a Chevy Monte Carlo (purchase in NJ taken to FL) ,and the rest were purchase in Central/South Florida. A Chevy Lumina minivan, Fiat 131, Chevy Malibu, Suzuki Vitara, and of course my favorite was the Ford Mustang (pic). The car craze helped by living for several years in Ormond By The Sea near Ormond Beach and just over Daytona Beach ,home of NASCAR!

daytona beach

Found it!! daytona beach chevy monte carlo 1977

ormond beach

Found it, my Fiat 131 at Ormond Beach house garage me and Dad!

miramar

found it my Chevy Malibu in garage at Miramar!

ormond beach

Ormond Beach

Not to mention I did try to drive out a Delta Airlines L-1011(Lockheed)  airplane out of Hartfield Atlanta International Airport in my crazy younger days but forgot to ask the hangar door to open ::)

atlanta

And I went over permanently to France and my European adventures began in earnest in 2003. That year I purchase my first car in France, a Ford Focus Break in Meaux, Seine-et-Marne dept 77.

And took far and beyond into Spain! Then took a liking for Ford, friendly service, good quality automobiles done in Germany (Cologne, and Sarrelouis) and Spain (Almussafes, Valencia), and good deals with friendly salespersons.  So the Ford story continues today. You should see the movie Le Mans 66 !!

I went in and change to a Ford C-Max  ,and later came a Ford Kuga, and then came a plain Ford Focus to quickly change to what is now a Ford Fiesta Titanium model. Pics in order.

pluvigner

Pluvigner

pluvigner

Vannes

The ride on Ford has been great and taking me to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, England, Spain, and France. The road warrior drives on open highways, freeways, toll roads, and even into big cities like Frankfurt, Trier, Koblenz, and several other towns, London, Rome, Geneva, Amsterdam, Milan, Bologna, Luxembourg all over, Brussels, Bruges, Anvers, and other smaller towns, Spain all over, and France all over.

And it is not over yet as there are plenty of roads to tackle by yours truly. Friends ask me about the traffic in Paris especially now with the traffic jams of the strike. Well proudly will tell you I had none of that. I take the smaller inner streets in Paris and come from outside beltways on the west and along the Seine river, just had a small slow down by place de la Nation due to some anti islamophia demonstration right on the street!!!

If you need help getting around there to any place, let me know will gladly gets you out of the huge traffic jams going on still in Paris and probably into the Christmas break.

I need to tell you as well here in my lovely Morbihan in beautiful Bretagne there are no traffic jams lol five car we get upset lol!!! Enjoy the rides and convenience to go into no man’s land to see the off the beaten path sites. Happy motoring!!!

And even thus did not purchase my first car in France here as the old location is now a monop store in city center Meaux, did visit the new dealer Ford Meaux on the outside of town, this is their webpage. Ford Meaux

And i am going thru my fourth car at the Ford Mustiére of Vannes here: Ford Mustiére Vannes part of Groupe DMD

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

December 12, 2019

Colonel Armand, France and USA!

Ok so as I like history, will tell you about one personnage very dear to me and many others… I read about it while living in New Jersey many years ago, and finally while walking the streets of Fougéres in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine of my lovely Bretagne came upon a statue of him very seldom mention but worth a lot for the history of the two dear countries of mine. The story is long even if condensed bear with me and hope you like it.

Armand-Charles Tuffin, Marquis de La Rouërie, born April 13, 1751 in Fougères,dept 35 Ille et Vilaine died January 30, 1793 at the Château de La Guyomarais in Saint-Denoual, dept 22 of Côtes d’Armor all in Bretagne. He was a French soldier, hero of the American Revolutionary War and the organizer of the Breton Association. After a stormy youth, La Rouërie decides to go to America. He participates in the American War of Independence in the Continental Army. Known as Colonel Armand, he distinguished himself at the head of the 1st Legion of Dragons and actively participated in the Battle of Yorktown. Admirator of the American Revolution, friend of George Washington, La Rouërie returned to France with the rank of brigadier-general, decorated with the cross of Saint-Louis and the order of Cincinnatus. Back in Bretagne, La Rouërie defends the Parliament of Brittany against the edicts of Versailles, which is worth to be locked in the Bastille July 14, 1788. Opposed to absolutism, he first saw with joy the signs of the French revolution but the refusal of the Breton nobility to have deputies at Versailles prevents him from playing a role in the States-General. Royalist freemason, La Rouërie rallies the counter-revolution following the suppression of the particular laws and customs of Brittany. He created the Breton Association to raise an army against the revolutionaries. Betrayed, the Rouërie dies before being able to finish his enterprise but the movement organized by the marquis was later to be precursor of the Chouannerie (rebels in Brittany,Maine, Anjou and Normandy regions in favor of Royals and against the French revolution).

Fougeres

A bit of a long history I like

In 1766, his family bought him a certificate of sign in the regiment of French Guards. Aged 15, he left the Château de Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he spent his childhood for Paris. He takes his service at Versailles. The French Guards being an elite body and parade, the leisure takes more time than the service, at the beginning life in Paris and Versailles pleases him, but quickly it is gained by the boredom. During a duel, due to a dispute over the cooking of a chicken!, he badly wounds the comte de Bourbon Busset to the point that one fears for his life. This event provoked the anger of King Louis XVI, whose Bourbon Busset was a childhood friend. The duels being prohibited, the King threatens to hang the marquis. Rouërie resigns from the French Guards and exiles in Geneva. This exile does not last, the King agrees that La Rouërie can return to France on the condition that he withdraws to his land.

It was during this period that the news of the American Revolution finally reaches Brittany. La Rouërie was initiated to Freemasonry, to the lodge of the Royal-Roussillon Cavalry Regiment; the Perfect Union and also frequents the Masonic Lodge of Fougères, the Aimable Concorde as Scottish Master. The Freemasons fougerais, in correspondence with their American counterparts, frequently receive news from the Thirteen Colonies; it is thanks to these steps that La Rouërie keeps abreast of the events. The desire for revenge on the English in the wake of the Seven Years’ War, the taste for adventure, the desire to forget his past, the opportunity to revive his military career abroad with a cause that he is right, are the principal motives which impel La Rouërie to embark for America.

After a first unsuccessful attempt to leave on a French ship, the Amphitrite, belonging to Beaumarchais from Le Havre, La Rouërie managed to embark, with one of his servants named Lefebvre on the Morris, an American ship sailing from Nantes. in the first months of the year 1777. An eventful voyage, which ends at swimming ashore, the English having attacked the ship in Delaware Bay. A boat is put to the sea, Rouërie takes place with his servant after the captain handed him the dispatches. Refusing to leave the cargo to the English, Captain Anderson blows up his ship. The boat is overthrown by a wave caused by a cannonball and all its occupants must swim to the shore. Rouërie and Lefebvre arrive in Philadelphia and get an audience with the Congress to offer their services in the Continental Army. The Marquis was recommended to Congress by Robert Morris. At the hearing, La Rouërie says he is ready to refuse to pay a salary, only wishing to put his sword in the service of the cause. He also declares that, not wishing to be known under his title of marquis or under family name, he wishes to keep only his baptismal name, which is why he had to engage himself under the name of Charles Armand and be known by the nickname Colonel Armand. This spirit of panache and devotion pleases the Congress which gives Armand, on May 10, a the right to use colonel. Confirmed in his rank of colonel, La Rouërie can not however join the continental army, because at this moment no post is vacant, instead he is allowed to raise a body of partisans and militiamen. There are, however, few Frenchmen in the US Army at this time and La Rouërie is to report to a commander of a free infantry corps, composed mainly of German-speaking Pennsylvanians. Quickly, Rouërie enters into conflict with the commander, reproaching him for his looting habits. Gen Washington gives him reason, he dismisses the commander and La Rouërie takes the head of the infantry corps.

Fougeres

The Battle of Short Hills (New Jersey) is the baptism of fire of La Rouërie which is placed with its troops at the forefront of the attack. The battle ends, however, with a defeat for the Americans against the British better trained and twice as many. Armand’s corps, made up of infantrymen and dragons, officially takes the name of 1st battalion of the legion of partisans. The Patriots, however, resume some hopes when they learn the victory of General Horatio Gates at the Battle of Saratoga. The latter had to convince king Louis XVI to send troops. La Rouërie and La Fayette were then the only two French officers of high rank in the American army, La Fayette arrived in America in July, shortly after La Rouërie, quickly they experience friendship and mutual esteem. In the spring of 1778, La Rouërie obtained the authorization of the Congress to create a legion of “Free and Independent Chasseurs” of 452 men and 14 officers, placed under his orders and supported financially by the Congress. As early as March, he recruited volunteers from prisoners of war. Armand’s corps consisted of horse-drawn dragons and light infantrymen, who rode horsemen as the legion moved long distances.

La Rouërie is in charge of capturing Colonel John Graves Simcoe, commander of a troop, the Queen’s Rangers who had been marked by many ravages. After a long ride Armand Legion seizes Simcoe on the Raritan River near South Amboy, New Jersey, (near where I lived there!!!) as it prepares to sink ships. US troops of the Southern Army have suffered several defeats and are particularly lacking in cavalry. Gen Washington decided to reinforce the Southern army with the Delaware and Maryland regiments, as well as with the Armand legion. General Casimir Pulaski (a Polish American hero and places there name after him today) was killed on October 11, 1779 at the Savannah headquarters. On February 25, 1780, Congress decided to incorporate what remains of the Pulaski Legion into the Armand legion. In May 1780, La Rouërie took the road south, before joining the army he made a stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, where are the soldiers of Pulaski responsible for strengthening his legion.

La Rouërie embarked for France in February 1781, he traveled with Colonel John Laurens to negotiate financial assistance to King Louis XVI. Following a trip without any surprises, the Marquis de La Rouërie arrived in Versailles in April 1781. Wishing to make the King and the Court forget his stormy past in the French Guards, he had asked and obtained from Gen Washington a certificate of service status. But the main goal of La Rouërie is to obtain the necessary equipment to rearm its legion. For this, he must go into debt and pledge his own land. After a visit to Fougères and Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he visited his family, La Rouërie embarked with his cargo at Brest, towards the end of June 1781, aboard one of the two French ships who form a convoy of arms for the Americans, escorted by The Magician, a frigate of the Royal French Navy. During the trip, one of the transport ships dismay during a storm and must go to Spain for repairs. The other ship carrying La Rouërie and her cargo arrives in Boston on August 15th. La Rouërie thus returns to America after six months of absence.   Nevertheless, thanks to the intervention of the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Spain, the outcome of the war seems to turn to the advantage of the Insurgents. In Virginia, English Gen Charles Cornwallis must shut himself up at Yorktown with his army. when the French and American troops, led by Gen Washington, Gen Rochambeau and Marquis de La Fayette, march on Yorktown, La Rouërie is in Philadelphia, where he tries to recruit new troops. Legion veterans still fight in the La Fayette division. But the fact of being removed from the operations becomes unbearable for La Rouërie who decides to join the army. After two weeks of travel, he joined the Franco-American camp near Yorktown, a few days before the siege of that city.

To take Yorktown, the French and Americans must first take the two redoubts that are the main defensive elements of the city. However, both must be taken during the same offensive, otherwise the English will have no trouble in taking the other. It is decided that the French and Americans will each attack a redoubt. On the French side, the attack was led by Antoine Charles of Houx de Viomenil, but the troops that formed the spearhead of the attack were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume de Deux-Pont, seconded by the Baron de l’Estrade . For the second redoubt, on the left, it was the Marquis de La Fayette who led the attack for the Americans, the command of the offensive came to Colonel Alexander Hamilton, assisted by Colonel Gimat, the former aide La Fayette camp, and Colonel John Laurens. The attack is scheduled for 11 pm.   In the afternoon, a few hours before the attack, Colonel La Rouërie will find General Washington and ask permission and honor to participate individually in the assault of redoubts, without exercising command and accompanied of only a few of his officers. Washington agrees. The attack, at night, is successful; the Americans seize their redoubt more quickly than the French. During the fight, La Rouërie is among the first to enter the American redoubt. Three days later, on October 17, 1781, General Charles Cornwallis surrendered.

However, in June 1782 La Rouërie left Virginia after six months in Charlottesville. He is ordered to settle with his troop in York, Pennsylvania. In early 1783, Colonel Armand still serves in the US Army. Arrived among the first in America, Rouërie is one of the last French to leave. The French Expeditionary Force re-embarked for France at the end of 1782 and La Fayette departed shortly after the siege of Yorktown. On March 26, 1783, La Rouërie finally received the reward he had been waiting for a long time. He is promoted by the Congress to the rank of Brigadier-General. One thinks of the constitution of armed forces in peacetime, La Rouërie is invited by the Congress to give its opinion on the composition of the cavalry (known as the father of the US Cavalry!). In his written response to Washington, La Rouërie proposes to continue his service in the US Army, he recommends Lieutenant-Colonel de Ternant to take the lead of his former legion which has grown to 340 soldiers perfectly well disciplined, he also points out in this letter “his attachment to your Excellency (Gen Washington) and to the form of the republican government,” who later became one of the leaders of the counter-revolution in France. On September 3, 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the American war of independence officially ended. On November 25, 1783 Armand ‘s Legion soldiers parade for the last time in Philadelphia in front of General Washington. On December 15, 1783, General George Washington wrote to La Rouërie: (small excerpt of the letter will post here):

“My dear Marquis, Among the last actions of my life as a public man, there is none which gives me more pleasure than that which puts me in a position to recognize the help I have received from those honorable men whom I have I had the honor to command and whose actions and conduct have contributed so much to the safety and freedom of my country ..”

After finishing the dismissal of his Legion, La Rouërie embarked in the spring of the year 1784 for France from Baltimore on the Count of Estaing, battleship and arrived in Nantes on August 29, 1784, accompanied of 6 officers including his friend Major Georges Schaffnerlors and definitively leaves America. Back in Brittany, La Rouërie is welcomed as a hero on his return to Fougères and Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he finds his family. He became engaged then married Louise Caroline Guérin of Saint-Brice, who lived at the Château de La Motte, near Saint-Ouen, and came from a wealthy family. On December 27, 1785, the Marquis de La Rouërie and Louise Caroline Guérin of Saint-Brice married at the chapel of the Château de La Motte in Saint-Brice-en-Coglès.

At the beginning of the year 1786, La Rouërie sought to resume the career of arms, thanks to his services in America where he was appointed General, he hopes to be granted an equivalent position within the French army. General Washington recommended the Marquis to Count Rochambeau in a letter dated May 16, 1784. Meanwhile; Madame de La Rouërie is suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. Dr Chevetel argues that only the air of the mountain could cure the marchioness, so it is decided to send it to Cauterets, in the Pyrenees. La Rouërie and Chevetel quickly became friends, so the marquis went along with his views. Soon Louise de La Rouërie sets out for the Pyrenees. But he soon learned of his wife’s death on July 18, 1786, shortly after her arrival at Cauterets.

On May 8, 1788, King Louis XVI passed the edicts of Brienne and Lamoignon. These edicts nullify the political powers and diminish the judicial competence of the Parliaments. But the Parliament of Brittany refuses to apply these edicts, which it considers contrary to the Treaty of Union of Brittany to France of 1532. The nobility of the States of Brittany en masse signs a petition to the king and decides to send a deputation of twelve Breton nobles at Versailles. The twelve chosen nobles are the Marquis of Tremargat, Bourdonnaye-Montluc, Carné, Bois de la Ferronnière and La Rouërie, and the counts of Nétumières, Becdelièvre, La Fruglaye, Bedée, Cicé and Godet de Chatillon, and finally the Chevalier de Guer. On August 25, 1788, the ministry efforts to obstruct the nobles led by Etienne-Charles Loménie de Brienne falls, which causes the release of the twelve Breton nobles the same day. The return to Brittany, and especially to Fougères for the Marquis La Rouërie, is a triumph. By its action and its loyalty, La Rouërie gains a very big popularity in Brittany

La Rouërie is liberal, having fought for the United States, he really admires the American revolution and he said he was very attached to the US Republican government. But in France, La Rouërie remains fiercely royalist. On March 22, 1791 in Fougères, the Marquis de La Rouërie received the visit of François-René de Chateaubriand who was due to leave for America. La Rouërie writes him a letter of recommendation for Gen Washington, it must be the last letter written by the Marquis to the President of the United States.

La Rouërie therefore decides to address the Comte d’Artois, brother of king Louis XVI, (later king Charles X) then emigrated to Koblenz in the Holy Empire. They arrive in Koblenz on May 20, then go to Ulm where they are received by the Count of Artois. After having received from the Comte d’Artois a signed document confirming his agreement on the creation of the Association Bretonne, the Bretons cross the border and return to France. Seeking a place to spend the night in Paris, La Rouërie goes with his companions to his friend Dr Valentin Chevetel who hosts them. When they had met La Rouërie and Chevetel had quickly become friends, they had discussed politics and at the beginning had immediately shared the same liberal ideas, so Rouërie told him about his projects without any suspicion. He does not know, however, that since then Chevetel’s ideas have been totally different from his. Chevetel lived in the Hotel La Fautrière, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie, near the Cordeliers Club. Becoming a patriot, he became particularly close to Jean-Paul Marat and Danton, the latter was also his neighbor. If he welcomes La Rouërie and his companions at home, he is careful not to share his revolutionary convictions with his guests. Subsequently, the Breton Association also receives the support of the Comte de Provence, (later King Louis XVIII) who since then had also emigrated. La Rouërie now finds support among the Breton population, very disappointed with the French revolution, after having first been favorable, and strongly hostile to the civil constitution of the clergy. Although not particularly pious, La Rouërie was Catholic.

On April 20, 1792, France declared war on the Archduchy of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, which received the same day the support of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Army of the Emigrants, the First Coalition against the French revolutionaries is formed. The Breton Association is ready for the fight, its strength is then 10,000 soldiers!

On the edge of the park of the Château de Launay-Villiers, is the forest of Misedon. This forest was the den of Jean Cottereau, aka Jean Chouan and his men who had taken the name of Chouans. Cottereau and his companions revolt on August 15, 1792 against the revolutionaries in Saint-Ouen-des-Toits. For several weeks, the Breton association await the instructions of the king’s brothers. The wait causes some nervousness among some of the partners. On one side La Rouërie must calm the ardor of some of them who wanted to take up arms on the spot, on the other he firmly calls to order the committee of Saint-Malo who challenges his orders and asks to wait for the capture of Paris by the allies before taking up arms. Finally, towards the end of August, Fontevieux arrives at Launay-Villiers, he is carrying a letter from Calonne dated August 11th. This one announces the next offensive in France of the armies of the coalition. La Rouërie spreads the news to all the committees. He fixed the taking of arms for October 10, 1792 the date of the taking of Châlons-en-Champagne, by the armies of the coalition.

On August 19, 1792, after having repulsed the offensive of the French revolutionaries, the Prussian and Austrian troops entered France. Dr Valentin Chevetel then returned to Paris, and on September 2nd, the very day of his arrival, he appeared at 3 am, to Danton, then Minister of Justice. Chevetel (traitor) informs Danton of the danger represented by the Breton Association, and informs him of all he knows.   But at the end of September, La Rouërie receives news of the victory of the French revolutionaries, on September 20, at Valmy, located only 35 km from Chalons-en-Champagne. The coalition troops retreat, cross the border and leave France. On September 22, 1792 the French monarchy is overthrown and the French Republic is proclaimed.

La Rouërie quickly ranks with their views and the date of the insurrection is postponed for March 10, 1793. Being the principal sought, he must go into hiding. On January 12, 1793, after galloping in the vicinity of the forest of Hunaudaye, La Rouërie and his two companions will find refuge at the Château de La Guyomarais, belonging to the family of the same name, in the parish of Saint-Denoual. It snowed that day and Saint-Pierre is suffering from fevers. Monsieur de La Guyomarais is a member of the Breton Association and has hosted La Rouërie three times in the previous months. They are housed in a castle room. With chills and violent coughing, La Rouërie suffered from pneumonia. The next day, Schaffner and Fontevieux arrive at La Guyomarais, and bring with them a newspaper which has informed them of the execution of king Louis XVI on the 21st of January 1793. However the associates decide not to reveal the death of the king to the marquis, believing that it would aggravate the fever whereas despite the episode of the day before one maintains the hope of its recovery. La Rouërie takes it and learns the death of Louis XVI. La Rouërie then has a crisis of delirium, he jumps out of bed, dresses, declares he wants to leave but collapses, totally weakened. For three days,he alternates between prostration, delirium and unconsciousness. Finally, La Rouërie died on January 30, 1793, by 4am (4h).

On the 31st of January, however, it was necessary to hide the body during the night, Schaffner, Fontevieux, Loaisel, Lemasson, the gardener Perrin, servants and members of the La Guyomarais family, burying the body of La Rouerie secretly in the woods of Vieux Semis (old sowing), which belongs to the castle. But before that, at the end of January, Thérèse de Moëlien, who knows La Rouërie was sick, wrote to Dr Valentin Chevetel. She asks him for help, remembering his profession as a doctor. Chevetel then arrives at La Fosse-Hinguant. He learns from Désilles the death of the Marquis de La Rouërie, as well as the place and circumstances of his death. Later on February 25, the Chevelet, at the head of 15 French Republican soldiers, burst in La Guyomarais. He arrested all his occupants, the family of La Guyomarais, and their servants. The three doctors who had treated the marquis were also arrested and taken to the manor. Lalligand-Morillon then interrogates the prisoners, one by one, for long hours and in the mansion itself. All the defendants deny having sheltered La Rouërie. However Lalligand-Morillon intoxicates the gardener Perrin who ends up talking. This one leads Lalligand-Morillon and some soldiers in front of the tomb. The body of the Marquis de La Rouërie is exhumed,and he had it beheaded. He then returns to La Guyomarais and throws to the ground the head of La Rouërie which rolls at the feet of the accused. Monsieur de La Guyomarais then said: “There is no more to deny. This is the noble head of the man who has made you tremble so long.”

The body of La Rouërie is then put back in the ground. His head, abandoned after the departure of the French Republicans and their prisoners, is recovered by the two girls of La Guyomarais and hidden under a slab of the castle chapel. The skull was discovered in 1877 and handed over to the La Belinaye family (his mother’s side family). On the denunciations of Chevetel, Lalligand arrested several members of the Breton conspiracy. He also discovers the papers buried by Désilles. But most associates escape thanks to Thérèse de Moëlien, who soon after the death of La Rouërie burns the list of members of the Association. In all, Lalligand-Morillon arrested 27 people, who were taken to Paris for trial. After several months of imprisonment, the trial opens on June 4, 1793, and ends on June 18. At the end of the judgment thirteen accused are acquitted, two are sentenced to deportation, the gardener Perrin and the doctor Lemasson, who were sent to Bicêtre, are executed there on June 26, 1794 during the conspiracy of the prisons, and twelve are sentenced to death ; Monsieur and Madame de La Guyomarais, Louis du Pontavice, La Chauvinais, Madame de la Fonchais, Morin de Launay, Locquet de Granville, Jean Vincent, Groult de La Motte, Picot de Limoelan, Georges de Fontevieux and Thérèse de Moelien. They are executed the same day.

The expected date of the uprising of the Breton Association was March 10, 1793, but an insurrection still took place in the month of March 1793. The application of the levy en masse provokes the revolt of peasants in Brittany, Maine , in Vendee. The rebellious peasants then give themselves the name of the first insurgents of Mayenne: the Chouans. They choose soldiers and nobles for chiefs, most of them former members of the Breton Association. In 1794, Joseph de Puisaye presents himself as the successor of La Rouërie, in order to unify the groups of Chouannerie, he tries to resuscitate the Breton Association.

Couple famous excerpts written for La Rouërie:

Monsieur de La Rouerie came here some time before me, and obtained the rank of Colonel with the command of an independent corps. He was everywhere and everywhere he distinguished himself by a truly French bravery, an indefatigable zeal and above all difficulties, a violent love of his profession. He had happy opportunities. Is it not, my dear cousin, officers like you? I am all the more certain that you will like M. le Marquis de la Rouerie that the qualities of his heart and his mind do not yield to his military qualities. ” Marquis de La Fayette

“The rival of La Fayette and Lauzun, the predecessor of La Rochejaquelein, the Marquis de La Rouerie was more intelligent than they; he had fought more often than the first; he had kidnapped actresses at the Opera as the second; he would have become the companion in arms of the third. He foraged the woods in Brittany with an American major, and accompanied by a monkey sitting on the rump of his horse. The law schoolchildren at Rennes loved him because of his boldness of action and his freedom of ideas. He had been one of the twelve Breton gentlemen sent to the Bastille. He was elegant in size and manner, brave and charming, and resembled the portraits of the young lords of the League. ” – François-René de Chateaubriand

This is the Castle or Château de la Rouerie that can be visited. Offiical Chateau de La Rouerie

In the woods of the Château de La Goyomarais (really a manoir house) at Saint Denoual ( a very small town of less than 500 folks) there is a tomb of the Marquis de La Rouërie, it has a stone plaque erected by the Embassy of the USA in France. The village is between St Malo and St Brieuc about 1h30 from me and less than an hour from St Malo. Tel +33 (0) 2 96 31 50 36 . No webpage.

In his native Fougéres behind the Hôtel de La Bélinaye , former home of the Bélinaye family now housing the district courthouse you can see on the back of the square the bronze statue of the Marquis de La Rouërie, born in this mansion. There is a bit on him at the tourist office of Fougéres here: Official tourist office of Fougeres see end page for La Rouerie

I had to give you this long post because I have been to these places,i love the history of the two dear countries USA and France ,and understand the will of the Breton! So there you go a nice round trip that can be done with a car to visit all these places. Enjoy a bit more the friendship in blood of these two nations.

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

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, 1972. 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!!!

 

 

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