Archive for ‘Spain’

January 21, 2020

Some news from Spain LXXXVIIII

Well I have beena  bit away , a pity , of my beloved Spain. However, always in my mind. Let me catch up and tell you a bit of what is going on in my country down south! Enjoy it and Feliz Año Nuevo 2020!

The 34th Goya Awards (Spanish equivalents of the Oscars). From the headquarters of the Film Academy, applicants to the 28 categories that include the awards. The 146 Spanish films premiered in this country have been presented to the screening, of which 88 are fiction films, 55 are documentaries and 3 are animated. There are also 53 European films, 15 Latin American films and 35 short films. Of the total number of applications, 56 are raw operas. As for the scripts, 112 are original and 29, adapted. The film with the most nominations are Mientras dure la Guerra (While the war lasts), of Alejandro Amenábar,with 17 nominations. Dolor y gloria,(pain and glory) from Pedro Almodóvar, with 16 and La trinchera infinita, (the Infinite Trench ) of Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga with 15 nominations.

The gala, which will be held on January 25, 2020 in Malaga, will be presented by the actors Andreu Buenafuente and Silvia Abril, The 2020 Goya of Honor has fallen to actress Pepa Flores. More info here:

The exhibition Extra Moda! (extra fashion) will be on in Madrid until March 1st 2020 at the Museo del Traje or Costume museum . What is considered the first publication with fashion content Mercure Galant, founded in 1672 in the France of Louis XIV, already speaks of what is carried and what is not.   Harper’s which first appears in November 1867, and Vogue, whose number one dates from December 17, 1892 They are not far from other periodicals such as The New York Times, founded in 1851. A century after the creation of Mercure Galant, The Pensadora Gaditana or Thinker from Cádiz (1763-1764) is published, which was born in Cádiz with fashion content. While in France, the cradle and still today the center and axis of the fashion industry and everything that it drags, the Paris brand was exported from the beginning, in Spain, Cádiz plays an important role that currently sounds strange. It is the moment of the Enlightenment, the diffusion of thoughts and a cosmopolitan city that is the entrance and exit of ideas and merchandise that come from America and the United Kingdom, among other places. With respect to the press, everything changes from 1791, when under the reign of Carlos IV, the Count of Floridablanca prohibits the publication of any type of newspaper in fear of the entry of revolutionary ideas from France!!. More info here:

Something that we love and eat in all its variation is rabbit meat. The conejo in Spanish or lapin in French. Here is some interesting facts about them.

Rabbit meat is, along with chicken and turkey, a healthy white meat alternative. It is soft, pink, easy to digest and good for low-calorie and fat diets. It can come from small game or farm. The meat of the latter is more fat, pink and tender. The younger, the better for stew. The oldest usually end up as pâte or terrines. Those from the bush, also called field or wild rabbits, have a harder, reddish, tasty meat with a lower fat intake. The mountain rabbit can only be tasted during the hunting season, which covers autumn and winter. The farm is available all year.  In the market, rabbits are usually sold without skin, but whole. Before buying, check that the leg joints have some mobility. It is an indication that the meat is fresh. See also the color: the better the pinker. When you get home, keep it in the refrigerator. Frozen whole hold a year. Nine months if you do it in pieces. The more time passes, the quality will fall. To defrost it, it is best to let it take a temperature slowly in the fridge.

Every 100 grams provide 20.7 grams of high quality protein and superior to that of other animals, such as chicken. And that with only 132 cal / 100 grams, a perfect claim if you have declared war on the scale. It is a meat with only 5.3 grams of fat per 100 grams. In addition, it is low in saturated fat and sodium. About 100 g of rabbit meat cover, in a healthy adult, 54% of the RDA of vitamin B3 or niacin (8.6 mg), necessary for the normal functioning of energy metabolism, the nervous system and mucous membranes. They also provide 400% of the recommendations of vitamin B12 (10 mcg), necessary for the creation of normal red blood cells and key to the process of cell division; and 30% of the recommendations of vitamin B6 (0.42 mg), which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune and nervous system. Also its high phosphorus content (220 mg / 100 g), essential for the normal functioning of bones and teeth, potassium (360 mg / 100 g), which contributes to the normal functioning of muscles and selenium (17 mcg / 100 g ), a mineral with antioxidant qualities that protects cells from oxidative damage. There you go we knew it!!!

The “escape room”is a game in which a series of players are locked in a room and have to solve different puzzles   to get out of there before the set time. The plot of «Escape Room», arrives in Madrid with a cast made up of Antonio Molero, Leo Rivera, Kira Miró and Marina San José. The work tells the story of four friends -two couples- who go, with the intention of having a good time, to an «escape room» located in the neighborhood of Lavapies despite the fact that the dismembered corpse of a man has appeared very close . Once they are inside,the room becomes a pressure cooker and to get out of it they will not only have to solve puzzles or tests as in any” escape room “, but they will have to face to some truths that in another situation, if their lives were not at stake, they would not face. See it at the Teatro Figaro, Calle Doctor Cortezo, 5 Madrid, more info here:

A new statue is erected in Madrid at 121 years of the commemorating deed: the one that took place during 337 days in the town of Baler, Philippines. Where a church was erected (and still stands today) in which 60 soldiers resisted against almost a thousand adversaries. The last news they had been able to certify was the defeat of the Spanish army in Cavite against the powerful North American forces of Commodore George Dewey. And, presenting battle, they ended up retreating to a position where they would end up starring in a memorable place. They were the last in the Philippines. Calle Alberto Aguilera at the height of Valle Suchil, in the Jardines del Almirante Cervera, stands on a granite and spectacular pedestal, the representation of that moment in our history, in the figure of Lieutenant Saturnino Martín Cerezo The last officer in command of some soldiers who, after their suffering, were at least recognized and honored by the country, with medals in retirement for the last private soldier. Well worth the recognition. More info on the story and on lt Saturnino Martin Cerezo here in English:

The cheeses of Spain in Protected Designations of Origin. In total there are 26 cheeses with D.O. my favourites are

The milk used for its production is obtained exclusively from the herds of cows, sheep and goats registered in the Cabrales Protected Designation of Origin and controlled by the Regulatory Council. It will be whole and clean milk, without any preservative and with a balanced composition in fat and proteins according to the different seasonal productive characteristics

The milk to make the cheeses with Denomination of Origin Idiazábal comes mainly from the sheep of the Latxa breed, which is a small and rustic animal. It is a sheep that produces a limited amount of milk. About one hundred liters per season, mainly from February to June, but large sheep of the Latxacalidad breed.

The cheese with Protected Designation of Origin Cebreiro is a fresh cheese of white, soft and grainy pasta, made with cow’s milk from the Rubia Gallega, Alpine Parda, Frisona and their crosses. It is made without any additive or preservative, in a completely natural way. It is shaped like a mushroom or chef’s hat, composed of two parts: A cylindrical base, of variable diameter and with a height not exceeding 12 cm. A hat that is between 1 and 2 cm more in diameter than the base and a height not exceeding 3 cm. Weight: between 0.3 and 2 Kg.

The Galician cheese covered by the Denomination of Origin Tetilla Cheese is made with cow’s milk from the Frisona, Alpine Brown and Galician breeds. It is one of the most representative Galician cheeses and the most international. It is necessary to emphasize its typical form of «tetilla» that is formed by the funnels in which the milk is allowed to curdle at the beginning of its elaboration. Another Galician cheese that has the same shape is San Simón Cheese. Shape: conical, concave-convex. Weight: from 0.5 to 1.5 Kg. Dimensions: The height will be greater than the base radius and less than the diameter.

It is called Manchego Cheese made in the natural region of La Mancha , from Manchego Cheese with Designation of Origin of sheep from the Manchego breed, with a minimum maturity period of 70 days. Manchego cheese is made with pasteurized sheep’s milk and artisan Manchego cheese, with unpasteurized sheep’s milk, from livestock registered in the Manchego Cheese Designation of Origin. My tops and lucky to be able to find it in my current living area in the Morbihan Breton of France.

More info on the Spanish cheeses here:

 Something good to save our bookstores/libraries in Madrid. The scene is becoming increasingly common in the streets of Madrid. Lowered blinds, curtains thrown in shop windows and posters that are repeated as a constant: “Closed for cessation of activity”, “closed for retirement” … And always the word “closed” as core. That is the scenario that the bookstores of the capital’s neighborhoods live. The Culture Commission of the City Council of Madrid and the Consistory to deepen a plan of shock against this phenomenon. Two main issues: financing and collaboration with the city’s public library network. That is why the municipal government has opened a call in free competition for bookstores in Madrid that develop activities to promote reading so that they receive direct aid,said sources from the area of Culture.

A line of financing that was 65,000 euros in 2019 and 80,000 euros in 2020 and from which 8 libraries have benefited from Madrid, which are those that have applied for such aid and will begin to receive these subsidies soon, after the period of justification of expenses. The second pillar on which the project will be based will be public libraries. The Culture Area works on a framework agreement for the maintenance and updating of collections and the formation of foundational funds for new libraries To this end, the number of suppliers, which so far stood at seven with only three from Madrid-, up to 25, all of them bookstores in the capital. Bookstores have always been more than a trade, they are part of the cultural fabric of a city, highlighting that these points of sale provide other intangible assets such as the valuable recommendation of booksellers or   experience staff visiting a bookstore.

Some wonderful beaches to have in mind when visiting Spain at the right time !

Located in Galicia, the Playa de las Catedrales has been chosen several times as the best in Spain and has come to sneak among the best in the world. Its bath is not the most pleasant, but the unique views of the natural monument that erosion has created cause this Galician corner to attract tourists all year round. You just have to wait at low tide, take off your shoes and start walking to dazzle with the 30-meter high buttresses and the unusual prospects of arches inside other arches that are born as you move forward. More info on the beach here:

La Concha Beach San Sébastian: The San Sebastián Bay is a symbol in itself. Captured in so many snapshots, the beach of the most aristocratic city in Spain is perfect to enjoy any time of the year. And both from the bay’s own sand and from one of its elevated sides, either from Mount Urgull or Igueldo, which also houses an amusement park of the 20s. A unique postcard that is perfect to capture with the camera in these months, with the winter haze giving it a mysterious touch and fewer umbrellas. In addition, its bar gastronomy is perfect to get warm later. More info here:

At the foot of the Pyrenees of Huesca, in the Sobrarbe region, little Aínsa is one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. It is indeed , we passed by it on our way to Spain from France for many years. The medieval village, belonging to the former Kingdom or County of Sobrarbe, emerged more than a thousand years ago at the confluence of the Cinca and Ara rivers, on a promontory at 589 meters of altitude, from where the surroundings dominate, has all the ingredients to enjoy a complete weekend in which to practice both active and cultural tourism. It houses a huge heritage with medieval flavor, in which the wall, the castle, the old cobbled streets and its main square stand out. On the other hand, its strategic location, between the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido (to the north), the Natural Park of the Sierra and the Canyons of Guara (to the south) and the Natural Park of Posets-Maladeta (to the east), tha it becomes a perfect destination for lovers of nature and mountain sports, both in summer and winter.

The nerve center of the town is its arcaded Plaza Mayor, full of restaurants, small shops and bars that take their terraces outside in good weather; in January 17 there will be bonfires there in honor of San Antón and San Sebastián January 19, and on the first Sunday of February it will host the agricultural and livestock fair that has been held since the Middle Ages. Of enormous dimensions and trapezoidal plant, it is believed that it dates from the 12-13C, the largest in the town. It is surrounded by perfectly preserved original stone buildings, including that of the City/Town Hall or Ayuntamiento, and surrounded by two of its most important monuments: the Romanesque Church of Santa María, 12C, and considered one of the best examples of Romanesque Alto Aragón (upper Aragon) ,the visit is free and includes the crypt and the cloister.

And the Castle, initially built in the 11C and renovated and expanded in the 17C. It has two access gates and a moat, and concerts and festivals, such as the Castillo de Aínsa Music, are held in the Plaza del Castillo in summer.  The castle is linked to the imposing walls that surround the old town of Aínsa, which in some sections reach 14 meters high and still retain five of the seven gates that existed, such as Portal de Abajo, Portal de Afuera, Portal Alto, Portal de Tierra Glera and Portal del Callizo. The wall is passable from the top, so one of the obligatory walks is the one that surrounds the villa walking on the walls enjoying the fantastic views. The facades of houses such as Arnal 16C, Bielsa 16-17C or of Latorre, as well as the Cruz Cubierta or Covered Cross 16C, symbol of the legendary origins of the town, commemorating the victory in 724 of Christian troops on the Muslim army, thanks to the miraculous appearance of a cross of fire next to an oak tree, are some clear examples. Enjoy it , a car is needed of course.

Tourist office in Spanish of AinsaTourist office Valle de Ainsa on Ainsa

Tourist office of region of Aragon on Ainsa: Tourist office of region of Aragon on Ainsa in English

And last but not least on the wine wars between the EU and the USA

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) has released in a statement the main data extracted from the statements submitted by the operators in November through the Market Information System of the Wine Sector (Infovi). The provisional production of wine and must in the 2019/2020 campaign reaches 37.2 million hectoliters, as of November 30, representing a decrease of 26% compared to the last and 14% to the average of the previous four . By autonomous communities, Castilla-La Mancha appears as the largest producer, with 54% of the total, followed by Catalonia (9%), Extremadura (8%), Valencian Community (7%), Castilla y León (5%), La Rioja (5%) and Andalusia (3%).

The European Commission has approved two legislative proposals aimed at easing measures to promote the export of wine, including those of the Spanish Wine Sector Support Program (PASVE). This measure is part of the requests made by Spain to Brussels in a common position with France and will allow EU funding to be extended to wine promotion programs from 50% to 60%, modify their destination and extend the duration of those approved for third countries.

This measure responds to the decision of the United States, on October 18, to start applying additional tariffs as a result of the Airbus case to certain products, including agrifoods worth 764 million euros. With regard to wine, the additional tariffs applied do not affect all Spanish exports. It is proposed for still wines packaged in volumes less than 2 liters and with a graduation not exceeding 14% by volume, so its impact is especially significant for wines that are protected by protected designations of origin (DOP) and protected geographical indications (IGP), of higher quality and added value.

The additional wine tariff applies exclusively to the countries of the Airbus Consortium: Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It does not apply to wines from other European Union countries such as Italy or Greece, among others. The United States market is the third destination of Spanish wine exports in value, with an average of 283 million euros in the 2014-2018 period. With regard to wines affected by retaliatory measures, they represent 62.46% of the volume of wine exported to the US. and 69.26% of its value. In any case, Spain has requested the European Commission to carry out a detailed monitoring of the markets of the products concerned in order that, if necessary, other mechanisms of the Common Organization of the Agricultural Markets are put in place and even resorted to tools outside the PAC, to minimize the impact on the agri-food sector. Trade wars lose at the end and the most affected is the people. Me think.

There you go  ,now can rest at ease, giving you something from my beloved Spain. Hope you enjoy the series of Some News from Spain.

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


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January 2, 2020

My recap of year 2019!

So again on the trail of past year’s time on my blog and as a thank you for all my readers and followers I am doing this short post.

2019 was very special ;my first full year alone with my boys having lost my dear late wife Martine in 2018. Time they tell me soothes the pain, actually is the other way around but we go on with responsabilities and challenges into 2020 probably my last full year as a full time working person.

The blog started in November 26 2010 with the encouragement of many friends from well known travel forums has been a godsend to me for the entertainment and the rich exchanges with folks of many lands over the years. I thank you all. You can see a synopsis of my post in my pages here:

Really, when I started no where could I believe I would reach 775 blog followers and so many nice comments. And I thank you all. So far 2588 posts articles in my blog and more than 40K photos!! Do not know how far can I go as already using 74% of my memory capacity in wordpress blog. …and it becomes expensive afterward.

My blog’s name for those new is a combination of my life’s travels. Paris1972 because when living in Madrid visit Paris for the first time during the coming out of the movie Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brandon and Maria Schneider.It has stuck with me as a classic film. Versailles2003 because that is when I came to live as a French citizen permanently in France at Versailles…and working in Paris. So a fitting name me think

We live now in the region of Bretagne, department 56 Morbihan, town of Pluvigner for the last 6 years already more than my average per domicile in my life!! Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh has been good to us overall and we have a decision to make whether continue here or move on in retirement. I am here since June 2011 and at the house since August 2013.

I will continue to write and already booked trip to Toulouse next week to reminicent of one of the favorite cities of my dear wife and a possible retirement spot for me later on. We are thinking Dublin afterward and come back to Honfleur so far.

There are bits and pieces of my life throughout the blog all the way since birth, it is a living exposure to me now and a heritage souvenir for my sons and family and close friends.

Some numbers wordpress blog give us tells me that in 2019 I had 35 556 views, 17742 visitors, 11959 likes and 1184 comments. My most view posts were Some news from France XCXXXV  192 Notre Dame Cathedral update Aug19 185, and Somport tunnel port and peaks 139, and My best restaurants in Versailles 122. My most visitors by country were USA 10 928 (figure they would follow me), France 4562 (surprise indeed as wrote the blog in English), UK 3751, India 1345, Spain 1258 , Germany 1153.

Again to all, thank you very much to keep me company. I will continue with wonderful spots of my life and count on you to follow me thru.

Happy New Year 2020 and may your best wishes come thru for you and yours. Yours truly, pedmar10

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




December 31, 2019

My year 2019!!! thank you all!!!!!!

So here we are , another year went by today is December 31 2019 in most parts of the world. I like to first tell you thank you for all your likes and comments during this year, it is appreciated. I write about my travels, likes and fun things to keep a history of my life for my future generations and hopefully encourage others to do the same and do travel.

Let me say a few words on the New Year’s Eve and New Year Day.

In the Gregorian calendar , New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day  January 1.

We do have a late night meal with friends after drinking all day (we just began with Porto red lol!) and do see out the fireworks to await the New Year in my current country of France.

New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a National Holiday. In the Gregorian calendar,  the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 as New Year’s Day. This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and of the Roman calendar after 153 BC.

During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year’s Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Beginning in 1582, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar has meant that many national or local dates in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1. During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire years beginning on the date on which each consul first entered the office. This was probably May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC to 154 BC, and January 1 from 153 BC.

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, sometimes in addition to a (Gregorian) civil calendar. Chinese New Year, Islamic New Year, traditional Japanese New Year, and the Jewish New Year are the more well-known examples. India and other countries continue to celebrate New Year on different dates. The official dates in some countries were Holy Roman Empire (Germany) 1544 .Spain, Portugal,   Poland 1556. France (edit of Roussillon) 1564. Great Britain (Ireland, British empire) 1752, Scotland 1600.

In my current adopted country of France, New Year’s Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and Champagne (plenty of it!). The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, (dancing night away)  a much fancier ball. On New Year’s Day friends and family exchange  New Year’s resolutions, kisses, and wishes.  We are all alone out west so will have my Dad and 3 sons and our dog borador Rex. Some people eat ice cream, actually we do eat logs or Bûches of different flavors. The holiday period ends on 6 January with the celebration of Epiphany (the 3 wise kings brings gift to the child Jesus and we get our gifts on this day).  A traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, made of two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste) is eaten; nowdays we have in chocolate, raspberries flavors too . The cake contains a fève, a small china doll (can be of different characters) ; whomever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition starts nowdays practically right after Christmas on December 25 and go on to January 6.

More info on it here by Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s Day to do things

In my other dear country of mine in Europe, also citizen as Spain. New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja  or old night) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid (many years waiting for it here!) . It is traditional to eat  twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock (and we in my family had a 13 the last one we threw away making a wish for the new year) . Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava,Champagne or cider. Earlier in the evening at around 20h, there is a 10k run called the San Silvestre Vallecana, which starts on Paseo de la Castellana next to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid!), and ends at the Vallecas stadius (Rayo Vallecano). Professional runners come to Madrid for this 10k. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties (named for the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, and party hats) at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros). Yes indeed i have to say a more vibrant celebration than in France.

More info from the Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s things to do

Now to follow the groupies, some of the towns I have been in 2019 (and can remember lol!!) have been in no chronological order

Pays de la Loire: Nantes, Clisson, Le Mans, Angers, Guérande, Piriac sur Mer, Brissac-Quincé, Montreuil-Bellay,

Bretagne: Josselin, Guidel, Larmor-Plage, Baden, Gourin, Vannes, Auray, Concarneau, Quimper, Saint Armel, Guidel plage, Quiberon, Carnac, Sainte Anne d’Auray, Saint Nolff, Questembert, Rochefort en Terre, Locronan, Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Sarzeau,

ïle de France: Paris, Versailles, Saint Denis

Hauts de France: Chantilly

Normandie: Alençon

Spain: Madrid

Just doing this count realise, not much foreign visits in 2019 due to a reduce family and lack of envy, will see if 2020 can improve on it. Again thanks for following me in my travels, and always hoping you enjoy it as much as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as Happy New Year 2020, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo and Feliz Ano Novo!!!




December 27, 2019

Serrania de Cuenca, the mountains!

And now I take you and me back into memory lane to our wonderful home for several years traveling in the area. I know I sound nostalgic and I am, always looking forward to be back. The family came here together and we love it! We rented house at 1400 meters in the mountains or Serrania de Cuenca. See my previous posts on the Cuenca province in my blog.

However, this post is about the little towns in the mountains of beautiful natural beauty that even us not trekkers feels is worth the visit. Hope you enjoy the post as we did the visit and take you there one day. We headed back to our base up in the mountain, but having done so early we took an extra ride up the Serrania de Cuenca to as much as 1900 meters ( about 6270 feet) seeking lovely villages of Toba and its Dam and Uña and the lagoon as well as Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted city).

The Embalse de Toba or water reservoir you can fish and swim as long as the waters are not full and with careful précautions. It is beautiful country that I hope the pictures will tell. It is part of the village of Uña a bit further downhill.  From the water organism in Spanish you have info on the embalses (dam) in the region of Castilla la Mancha and of course Toba. Tourist office province of Cuenca on Toba dam



This is a nice youtube video on the Toba embalse or dam:

The Laguna de Uña was created way back by king Alfonso XIII that was done as soon as the embalse de Toba was done early in the last century . Now it has a water current into and out by canalisation from the Salto de  Villalba de la Sierra, to generate electricity in the hydroelectric plant. Our visit was in dry season but its usually full ok. This site in Spanish for a rural house ad tells nicely about the laguna de Uña: Escapada Rural on the Laguna de Uña lagoon



A nice video from youtube show this natural beauty at its best, enjoy it as I do

Finally, one of the most popular tourist sites in the area for those who like mountaineering, walks:trekking, and nature in general. However, best to do this in better weather as the heat of the summer can be high into the 30’sC would make a trip like this not useful me think. Anyway ,Ciudad Encantada or enchanted city is wonderful; and recommended by all locals.  Here you see stone mountains turn into statues, objects, monuments to look at marvelously done by nature. It has guided tours to explain all for five euros admission, and check ahead as weather is important here. More in English here: Official Ciudad Encantada

Ciudad Encantada

And we just came down for a few minutes drive to our house in the mountains near here a wonderful experience high above the clouds and forest woods of old!!

One more webpage in Spanish on things to do in the Natural Park of the Serrania de Cuenca, any questions ask me ok: Castilla La Mancha protected areas on Serrania de Cuenca

And the tourist office of Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of Spain, in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Serrania de Cuenca

This is real country an area of Spain still untouched by tourism in mass, and a wonderful spot to enjoy with the family. I know it brings lots of wonderful souvenirs for ours .

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


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December 27, 2019

Fortified Alarcon!

Driving our way thru Castilla La Mancha was awesome, we spent several summers here and always in our minds to come back. Memories flashing in my mind hard to come up with words but we still remember those gone from our lives but not our minds. Alarcon is one memorable town. Of course, I have written more in my blog.

It is about 87 km from Cuenca the province capital city.

And we move on to the fortified town of Alarcon with its towers and castle. We moved up from Belmonte to Alarcon on the road N420 and then the old N III. You come on a mountaineous area throught the gate of the bridge or Puerta del Puente.


You see immediately the castle like a spiral on a hill as you come around by car up the hilly road into the main square of town. The town takes its name from king  Alarico,a visigoth that conquest the fortress from the Romans; today you can still the ramparts wall of this fortress. By  784AD it took refuge here the Moorish invaders and the siege on it took about nine months , that the Moors call the Spanish conqueror Fernán Martínez de Ceballos in 1184AD the year of Alarcon. The castle today is a small parador or tourist residence you can rent out!. More here in English:  Parador Castillo de Alarcon



The Church of Santa Maria sits here smallist fortified alike but very richly ornate on the tympan doors. Built between 1520 and 1565.  This church currently serves as a parish. It was erected at the beginning of the 16C in Plateresque style with tracery vault in the Gothic way. The cover is from the middle of that same century , the altarpiece with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the sacristy.  More on the Church: City of Alarcon on the Church Santa Maria



You,also, get to see the 13C Church of Santa Trinidad as you entered the town after the castle. It is a rectangular church with two naves, one from the 13C and one from the 16C, although the vault of the oldest nave is from the 15C. They emphasize in her the fajones arcs and pointed formeros, a triumphal arch of entrance to the presbytery, and a Renaissance altar. The cover is typically plateresque; It exhibits the shields of the Marquis de Villena, Diego López Pacheco, and of which he was bishop at the time, Diego Ramírez de Villaescusa. The tower stands on the so-called Arco de la Villa. The current apse is rectangular and replaces another circular Romanesque. More here in Spanish here: City of Alarcon on the Church Santa Trinidad


The center for contemporary Arts on mural paintings sits right in the main plaza or square on a former Church( St John the Baptist). The current construction dates from the 16C and replaced another of Romanesque style. It has a single nave covered with a barrel vault, a cover of Juan de Herrera (Herrera style) and a tower that has endured from the primitive church.The side walls are stiffened by buttresses that, contrary to the usual, are manifested by the interior delimiting spaces that pretend to be small chapels In 1994 the young Spanish painter Jesús Mateo initiated the project to cover the entire old building with a set of wall paintings.This contemporary work has been officially sponsored by UNESCO since 1997 for its high interest World Artistic It is considered one of the high peaks of contemporary world art. More in English : Site in English on the Contemporary Arts Center



There is another interesting church that of Church of Santo Domingo in late Romane style from the 12C which we had no time to see on this trip.

The tourist office  in Spanish from the province of Cuenca on Alarcon is here:,22329/dTabID__1/tabid__9384/Default.aspx

You have the tourist office of the region or autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha here in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on castle of Alarcon

It is one town to visit as it is conveniently in the direction of Valencia and the beaches from Madrid along the A3 expressway worthy of a stop. Enjoy the fortified town of Alarcon.

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


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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!


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 ::)


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.





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!!

November 27, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVIII

Ok so here I am again but this time is my beloved Spain. Never a moment without it even in this destabilizing times. Spain never change always like this but somehow moves along. Spain everything under the Sun!

Some of my favorite latest from Spain are

The city of Salamanca is always ready to trick anyone who approaches the banks of the Tormes river  and is sure to be trapped by the heritage, culture and gastronomy of what is one of the main inland tourist destinations in Spain. Well known its most emblematic buildings, after approaching the charismatic Plaza Mayor, its mythical University or the unique Casa de las Conchas, it is worth enjoying the Charra capital from another perspective, from the top, to decipher its streets to flush its heaven. This is possible from the towers of the Cathedral; the towers of the Clerecía,(Clergy), Scala Coeli; and the viewpoint of the Convent of San Esteban, which open its doors for all those who want to look out at their battlements, caress their pinnacles and ring their bells. a wide range of museums, such as the History of Automotive, Commerce, the Art Nouveau Art Dèco-Casa Lis Museum, the Monterrey Palace or Monumenta Salmanticae.

Tourist office of Salamanca in English :

Clean skies in which to identify the light emitted by other planets or stars that carry there much more than us and that will survive us. One of them is the Sierra de Gredos. one of the corners of Spain recognized with the Starlight destination certificate for its magnificent conditions for astronomical observation and astrophotography: altitude, minimum light pollution and clear days, which allow tourists a unique experience.

The extensive Sierra de Gredos, to facilitate observation there is a network of stellar viewpoints, which is deployed by the towns of San Martín del Pimpollar, Navarredonda de Gredos, Hoyos del Espino, Navalperal de Tormes, Santiago de Tormes, Zapardiel de la Ribera, Navatejares, Puerto Castilla, Umbrías and Nava del Barco. All of them include panels, an observation platform, terrain conditioning, elementary astronomical information designed for a non-specialized family audience, parking area and fenced perimeter for added security. As well able for mobility impair folks.

And although it is the night views that give the singular touch, in the light of day the views in which Unamuno defined the “Castile roof and stone heart of Spain”, declared a regional park in 1996, the Natural Reserve of the Sierra de Gredos is one of the greatest natural and tourist attractions in the province of Ávila, which highlights not only its relief, but also the diversity that is within it.

Tourist office Castilla y Léon on Sierra de Gredos in English :

The paradox nests in the gaze of the artist Andrés Rábago, in his incarnation of El Roto, which admire so many readers. This week, the Prado Museum inaugurated the exhibition «No se puede mirar» (Can’t Look), that shows thirty-six drawings in which El Roto talks with Francisco de Goya, the paradoxical genius caught these days in an impressionist debate about whether he was anti-bullfighting or not.

Prado Museum on El Roto in English :

Such day as today, 27 November,  200 years ago, the most important art gallery in Spain opened its doors. Between the corridors of the Prado Museum, the immortals of El Greco, Velázquez or Rubens continue to exchange glances as a remembrance of a past of patrons on this side of the Atlantic and conquests to the other, but as in every story in history, there is a part that it is left out: specifically, the basements of the Villanueva building guard more than 2,500 works that the general public does not see, except on exceptional occasions. The key to access these 6,000 square meters of warehouses is only in the hands of the ‘brigade’ , a team of just seven people with the delicate work of transporting and escorting centuries of artistic creation, and the museum’s security personnel. Yes many museum have the same including the Louvre kept as far as Chartres, no different here. If only there is more space and money to show them ! I have seen the Louvre collection underground.

Prado Museum on the 200 years in English :

A determined Rafael Campallo, (22 Nov) dressed in a burgundy red suit, pays homage to the mining origin of Flamenco over the starry sky of the Isabel II Ballroom of the Royal Theater. Without hesitation, with a tense face, a collected and sober dance begins. On the floors of the two heels he makes laps on himself and alternates between zapateadas (shoes taps) and flew laps, rather than being a dramatic dance it seems a sentimental dance. Campallo zapateado is accompanied by the singing of Miguel Soto and Jesús Corbacho, while David Vargas and Jesús Rodríguez channel the rhythm with the guitars. The Isabel II Ballroom was initially used for parties and masked balls, in fact between 1841 and 1850 it was the provisional headquarters of the General Courts. But since 2018 it has become a flamenco tablao. This show is passed but here are the next ones at this beautiful salon

Teatro Real or Royal Theater on the show :

Today Tordesillas has about 8,000 inhabitants and, at first sight, nothing invites you to think of a link with America, not least with lands as far away as the Moluccas, the final destination of a mythical journey, of the homeric odyssey of the Renaissance. You are in Castilla la Vieja (old name for what today is mostly Castilla y Léon) , hard and austere land and little entrepreneur in tourism promotion. A small museum without too many pretensions recalls the treaty signed in this noble village on June 7, 1494, by which Spain and Portugal divided the world as was known. Negotiations took place in the oldest of these two noble masonry and brick buildings that now house the museum dedicated to the agreement and that stand next to the imposing Church of San Antolin. If one lets the imagination fly, one can believe to see the entourage of the Catholic Monarchs and of Juan II of Portugal through these streets, crossing the bridge over the Douro river, reaching to negotiate the treaty by which the world that was being disputed would be distributed and that they didn’t even know. The treaty came to calm the tensions between both powers by agreeing the dividing line of the territories to be discovered in the meridian located 370 leagues (2,054 kilometers) from Cape Verde. As seen in the maps and simple explanations of the museum, all the lands to the west of the meridian would belong to Castilla-Aragón, while those located in the east would correspond to Portugal.

The original of the Treaty of Tordesillas (the Portuguese version), in fact, is not found here, but in the Archivo de Indias, in Sevilla, in a safe that only two people have access to. On the occasion of the ephemeris, the valuable document was during three weeks of this past July in the houses where it was signed. Other events related to the V Centenary include the theatrical visits organized by the Tourist Office of Tordesillas.

Tourist office of Tordesillas on the museum :

An anecdote I like

Because of its flavor, its aroma and because it clears us … Coffee has become, behind water, the second most consumed natural drink in the world. In the last 35 years, its intake has increased by 35% reaching almost 10 billion kilos a year. According to Mundo del Café, on average one person consumes 1.3 kilos of coffee in 365 days.  Spain outperforms the US by one position, in terms of its annual intake per person. Specifically, it is ranked 19th in the world ranking, with 4.5 kilos per year. In Spain, more than 22 million people (63% of Spaniards over 15 years old) drink at least one cup of coffee a day, an average that rises to 3.6 daily coffees during the week. In this sense, a Spanish work of CIBEROBN (Network Biomedical Research Center. Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition), attached to the group of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, found a greater longevity associated with coffee consumption after studying a total of 20,000 volunteers, university graduates from all over Spain, for an average of 10 years. The study found that, at the same age and many other relevant factors, consuming coffee was usually significantly associated with lower mortality. He has been the author of this research, Giuseppe Grosso, from the University of Catania (Italy), along with Estefanía Toledo, from the University of Navarra and researcher at CIBEROBN, who have presented the report ‘Coffee and metabolic syndrome: a review of the latest research ‘during the 13th European Nutrition Conference, organized by the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) this week in Dublin, Ireland. Of course, this is coffee done in Spain, you need to be here to have the same effects :😊))

More on the coffee here :

Thanksgiving with class in Madrid well head for the mythical restaurant Horcher, Calle Alfonso XII, 6 it raises a Thanksgiving Day based on some of its best known dishes: those of hunting. And it does it on a very special date, in celebration of the 76th anniversary of the opening of the restaurant. Webpage :

For who prefers something sweet to put in the mouth, what better than to visit The Cookie Lab , Calle Serrano, 149. It is the quintessential American store in Madrid and in which bite by bite it is capable of moving to New York, Chicago, the West Coast and even Minnesota. And they weren’t going to miss the chance to do something special. Therefore, throughout the whole day 28, they will be offering special creations dedicated to this day such as pumpkin cookies, apples with cinnamon or pecans, a delight for the senses. Webpage :

And Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends !

On November 28, CVNE will celebrate its 140th anniversary with a visit to the new facilities of the Haro winery, following its recent expansion. One of my all time favorite wine bodegas of my Spain.

The history of CVNE begins in 1879 with the arrival of the Real de Asúa brothers in Haro and after 100 years of history, the winery is in the hands of the fifth generation of the family, whose focus is on the production of quality wine , handmade and traditional. The group currently has seven wineries and its next major project is the rehabilitation of Davalillo Castle, an icon of La Rioja. Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana  (CVNE) is a family business born in the area called Rioja Alta within the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin classification. Its first and main winery is located in Haro, in its original location, in the Barrio de la Estacion. It also has another winery in Rioja Alavesa, in the town of Laserna, next to Laguardia, under the Vinedos del Contino.  In the summer of 2004 a new winery was opened in Laguardia, under the Vina Real teaching, which will support the company’s growth plans for the coming years. Currently, CVNE cultivates about 600 hectares of vineyards, whose production represents 50% of its needs. The rest is bought in the best areas of La Rioja following a rigorous quality control method.  The winery has acquired in 2019 vineyards in the frameworks of Ribera del Duero, Valdeorras and Cava, within a clear expansion program. Webpage :

And there you go folks, lovely indomidable Spain awaiting for you and yours. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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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 30, 2019

The mountains by St Jean Pied de Port!!!

Ok so gave you some public transports of my belle France in previous posts and even some information on road driving , but I need to show you more of the driving in the high mountains of the Pays Basque or the Basque country of France! (there is another one in Spain…) It was due and here it is folks ; hope you enjoy it as we did/do. And see my other posts on Saint Jean Pied de Port!

Saint Jean Pied de Port is located south of Lower Navarre, second of the three provinces of the French Basque Country, also called Iparralde. You will be literally in the heart of the Basque Country, between the province of Labourd (towards the ocean) and the province of Soule (Mauléon-Licharre).

Saint jean pied de port

The highlands of Iraty, known for their famous sheep cheese (which is the house favorite!), the canyons of Soule and the karst plateau of Pierre Saint-Martin. The name comes from the fact that Saint John (St Jean)  brings back to Saint John the Baptist, patron Saint of the town. That’s the easy part, which you find all at once. The second is more difficult: pied de port or foot at the port,it refers to the geographical location of the town. The town is at the foot of the passes that lead to Spain, and in the Pyrenees the pass is also designated by the word port. Listen carefully as you wander the streets of the town, and you will often hear “Garazi”. Another village? In Basque, Saint Jean Pied de Port is called  “Donibane Garazi”. There you go folks !

The small town was founded in the 12C. This corner, today of France, was at the time part of the illustrious Kingdom of Navarre (split with Spain Navarra). It is with King Sancho the Fort that the town will begin its tremendous development. At all times, Saint Jean Pied de Port has attracted hundreds of pilgrims en route to Saint James of Compostela (Santiago de Compostela) , the two being separated by some 800 km! The St James vocation of the town did not deny it, and since the Middle Ages, the cobblestones of the old city have seen millions of pilgrims.

Donibane Garazi or St Jean Pied de Port is also known for its architectural heritage. As soon as you pass the ramparts that surround it, the old town makes you jump back in time. The street of the citadel and the Rue d’Espagne (street of Spain), both paved, offer curious visitors splendid examples of houses or “etxe” in Basque, of which the oldest, rue de la Citadelle, dates from 1510. above almost all the houses, you can see beautiful carved lintels, surmounting the doors of the houses, some cut in the pink sandstone of Arradoy. These two streets are dominated by the Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont Church, which is the second Gothic building in the French Basque Country after the Bayonne cathedral. Another giant of stones watches over the village since the 17C, it is its citadel. Vauban had it erected on Mendiguren Hill at an altitude of 70 meters in 1685. After having sheltered for centuries military garrisons, which watched over any incursion of the Spanish neighbors, it now welcomes young people’s minds. For generations, since it is the public college of the town!.

At the start, St Jean de Pied de Port and its citadel lined with 17-18C houses, you then pass Caro and its pelota Basque then Estérençuby located in the hollow of a gorge, dominated by the peak of (Col) Iramendy. From Phagalcette to Iraty Pass for this long stage where you climb several passes between forests and meadows to reach the Iraty plateau. flank of ridges up to Ugatzé pass(col) . Along the way, you will discover several cajolers, places of work and life of the shepherds. Variant in bad weather: descent through the Larrau Valley.

Saint jean pied de port

st jean pied de port

Saint jean pied de port

Iraty ski station in summer

Haute Soule is a country famous for its canyons. Your trail runs along the gorges of Holzarte and the canyon of Kakouetta down the valley of Sainte-Engrace (entry fee for Easter to All-Saints’ Day). Finally, enjoy a last stop in the small Church of Sainte-Engrâce to admire amazing sculptures. From Sainte-Engrace to Arette, the Saint Martin stone, dotted with ravines, gorges and parades to take you to the pass of Pierre-Saint-Martin where you enjoy a vast panorama on the peak of Anie. Pass by the famous chasm, the Mecca of speleology. From Arette La Pierre-Saint-Martin, you cross Arres de Camplong, a large limestone plateau with shredded soil. On the way, you dive your eyes in the valley of Aspe and its mountains, then the valley of Oloron and its surrounding peaks, Soumcouy, Anie and Coutendé. Admire the chain of peaks of the Orgues de Camplong from Lescun, one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Pyrenees. I believe this trails can be done on foot as well lol!!!

Saint jean pied de port

More of our trip by car was from the foot of the Ports or Col de Cize and along the great path of crossing the Pyrenees by Roncesvalles, Saint Jean Pied de Port embraces a radiant destiny from the point of view of the citadel, you can admire the valleys of the Pays de Cize, the vineyards of the Irouléguy AOC and the mountains that surround this historical mecca of the Basque country. The Porte Saint Jacques, sees more pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela every year and are about to cross the Pyrenees. Come down the citadel street to get there. You can admire the carved facades and lintels of the Basque houses. On the way, visit the so-called Bishops’ prison and discover the enigma of this building. Make a stop at the Church Notre Dame du Bout du Pont, the foundations of the 13C.

Saint jean pied de port


In a nearby smaller town we passed by surrounded by white water and mountains lined with protohistoric remains, Saint-Jean-Le-Vieux occupies a strategic position at the entrance to the plain of Cize. The Romans settled there as early as 15 BC to install a road station designated by an ancient document under the name Imus Pyrenaeus (foot of the Pyrenees). You go zig zagging on various peaks, passes etc such as Haltza Pass ,Haritzcurutche Pass, Burdincurutcheta Pass, Burdinkurutxeta Pass culminates at an altitude of 1,135 meters. The Col Heguichouria, and the  Bagargui Pass. Further peaks and passes are the Bagargui Pass located in the Iraty Forest. It rises to 1,327 meters. It is accessed by Estérençuby  29.5 km, by the Larrau coast (exit of the village, take the direction of Iraty) to 8.8 km or from the Burdincurutcheta pass  between Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port  and the cottages of Iraty (Soule) .Col d’Orgambidesca or Orgambidesca pass is one of the most important sites of observation of the migration of the pigeons, this migratory bird which hunters love and that defends and observes the ornithologists. All gorgeous!!!

Saint jean pied de port


An awesome trip I am planning to do again. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of St Jean Pied de Port on mountain passes on foot

Tourist office St Jean Pied de Port on mountain towns

The best is to get your GPS , Michelin map , a car and go the high mountain road warrior ways. Just to tell you my wife was on her seat belt hanging on the steep climb even with the car in second and first gear is awesome, very steep but the views ohhh the views are heaven looking down on earth. Of course, I only took pictures on the easy part lol!! Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it. The basque country around Saint Jean Pied de Port!

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


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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!!!



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