July 28, 2021

Cathedral St Alain of Lavaur!

Again, another memorable older post very happy to update for you and me. Enjoying doing these updates and they bring lots of memories such as this one.  I have other newer post on the Cathedral fyi. The Cathedral St Alain of Lavaur is beautiful and the native town of my boys maternal grandfather Pierre RIP. Let me tell you a bit more about it.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-jardin-de-l-eveche

Well in my rounds thru a very dear region of my belle France for my family, I though I had told you all but it seems in my vault there are plenty more to tell you. I am glad to show you the Cathedral of Saint Alain in Lavaur, the native town of my dear late wife Martine, late father Pierre (which unfortunately never met died when she was 10 in auto accident snowy roads same day my twin boys were born later!). We have visited the town several times over the years.  The Cathedral of St. Alain is located in Lavaur in the Tarn department 81 , in the new region of Occitanie ,and was built between 1255 and 1300.  It is 73 meters long by 14 meters wide. A Jacquemart rings the hours at the top of the tower. At the front is the garden of the bishopric.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-bell-tower-jacquemart

The origin of honoring Saint Alain at Lavaur remains unknown. The foundation of the Priory of Saint-Alain is attested by a charter of 1098 where the bishop of Toulouse Izarn of Lavaur makes a donation to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, dependent for them to rebuild the Church of St. Elan of Lavaur, then in ruins, proving that the cult of Saint Alain in Lavaur is clearly prior to this date.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-entrance

A bit of history I like

A Romanesque church was built between 1099 and 1211 by the Benedictines of Saint-Pons for their priory at Lavaur, which was destroyed during the Albigeois (cathars)  crusade during the siege of 1211. The present church was rebuilt in the middle of the 13C, begun around 1255, preserving the Romanesque footprint of the small bell tower south of the Jacquemart. It is of pure southern Gothic style with a large nave unique to slender proportions, the 13C church had only five bays closed at both ends by a straight wall. The erection of the priory in the bishopric of Lavaur in 1317 transformed the church into a cathedral, prelude to the expansion of the church, which would continue until the beginning of the 16C at the initiative of the bishops.

In the 14C, the chapels were built and by the middle of the 15C, the chapel currently serving as the sacristy, under the term of Saint Martial and in 1480 adjoining the canons established a chapter hall dedicated to Saint Gauthier. Fresco paintings performed in 1730 adorn its walls, narrating in episodes the story of Lavaur. They are erased on quite a large part by the humidity. It was especially in the last quarter of the 15C, on the initiative of Bishop Jean Vigier, that major works were undertaken giving the cathedral its present physiognomy. It is still the end of the 15C that a chapel was added adjacent to the south of the old Romanesque porch, well preserved, to the rich capitals evocative of the childhood of Christ. A new side entrance, adorned with pinnacles, surmounted by the Bishop’s shield, is then carried out on the southern flank of the connecting span.

A bit on the description and architecture

The Altar table, late 11C. Since 1967, the altar of the Choir of Saint-Alain has a table whose exact provenance we do not know. It was found in 1876 in the Chapel of the hospital of Lavaur, but this is not its place of origin. It is possible that it came from the Cathedral and may have been part of the donation of Bishop Izarn to the Benedictines, but another hypothesis would make it come from the Church of Sainte-Foy de la Salvetat founded in Lavaur in 1065 by the monks of the abbey Sainte-Foy de Conques, which then took the name of Sainte-Croix and served as chapel for the Brotherhood of the Blue Penitents. This Romanesque table, in white marble probably of Saint-Beat, is part of the continuation of the production of altar tables of the Ecclesiastical province of Narbonne. The main theme of the anterior face is a Christ blessing in a circular mandorla, is the same on both tables. A series of angels, complete this face. On the right side are represented two angels supporting the altar table itself, a motif found on the stone of one of the capitals of Saint-Sernin (Toulouse). The sculpture on the left side would represent two angels worshipping the bread of heaven. The fourth face was destined to be engaged in masonry and is not decorated.

lavaur cat-st-alain-chapel-of-angels

At the beginning of the 15C, a magnificent portal was adorned in flamboyant Gothic with thomas; at the porch steeple the delicately chiseled ensemble will later be added the two chapels on the south side with very ornate vaults , one of which presents a very decorated niche, currently framing a beautiful pietà of painted and gilded wood of the 17C.  A very nice organ completes the whole feature with a richly Renaissance buffet. At the same time the enfeu to the right of the sanctuary of Renaissance decor, tomb of a bishop of Lavaur. Finally, the first mechanism and the bell of the famous Jacquemart date from 1523. But it appears that the automation (currently 3rd generation) will only take place in 1604.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-angels-pedestal-bishops-seat

There you go folks, a bit more on it in addition to my other general posts on the region and department of the Tarn! Hope you enjoy, it is another wonderful example of Cathedrals in France. Worth a detour to see the Saint Alain Cathedral at Lavaur!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and is a must me think are:

The city of Lavaur on the cathedralhttps://www.ville-lavaur.fr/la-cathedrale-saint-alain/

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on the cathedralhttps://www.tourisme-tarn.com/patrimoine-culturel/cathedrale-saint-alain

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on the cathedral’s Jacquemarthttps://www.tourisme-tarn.com/patrimoine-culturel/le-jacquemart-cathedrale-saint-alain

The Catholic churches in the Tarn dept 81 on the Cathédrale Saint Alain in Frenchhttps://albi.catholique.fr/tarn-tourisme-catholique/eglises-du-tarn/lavaur-cathedrale-saint-alain/

There you go folks, fully enjoy it as we do. The Cathédrale Saint Alain is unique in France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 27, 2021

Orléans, a lot more than Jeanne!

And continuing in my saga of updating older posts to relieve wonderful family moments of our travels; it has been a blast and thank you for reading me since November  2010!! I bring us back to the magical Orléans loaded with the history of France and Europe but also beautiful architecture. Indeed, Orléans is a lot more than Jeanne!

So needless to say have other posts on Orléans in my blog and speaking of Jeanne oh yes Joan of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc (Fr) it is a nice city to visit and even thus we use the car, it has direct train service from Paris for an easy day outing. It is worth it. Let me tell you a bit more on Orléans. The very essence of mentioning Orléans brings back my history coming to France. It was on my trip to know my dear late wife Martine, that I passed by here on our way to Spain, right down the center of town back in 1990, still going strong, and many visits afterward.

This is the epicenter of the history of modern France, when Jeanne d’Arc gave back the city to the French king Charles VII from the English invaders. This is the epic story of a young lady rise to military genius and more importantly to be later the Patron Saint of France, doctor of the Catholic Church.  It is a city in the department of the Loiret No 45 in the region Centre-Val-de-Loire.  It is easily reachable on the autoroute A10 direction Bordeaux from Paris. Near it passes the A71 towards the mediterranean becoming later the A75 . The A19 linked the city with the A10 and A6 north of the city. By the way I have visited the city only by car. However, it is well linked by train from Paris Austerlitz station , the SNCF train station is at avenue de Paris near shopping center place d’Arc; the bus station is also next to the train station. Just to add this was the route to go to Paris at Gare d’Orsay, today its the museum. There is a local bus/tramway service Tao, but again never use it.

The city goes back several thousands years but the most important event was that took place with Jeanne d’Arc and its liberation. Liberated on May 8 1429. Later after much destruction in WWII it was liberated again by Gen Patton of the US 3rd Army in 1945. The history associated with it its huge not enough space for this post .  The feast of Jeanne d’Arc is held every year on the 29 of April to May 8 celebrations, there is a video reproduction and more in French at the metro Orléans tourist office webpage, keep an eye for it: https://www.orleans-metropole.fr/fetes-de-jeanne-d-arc/

However, as an introductory post to Orléans there is plenty others things to see and have some on separate posts in my blog. Below a sentimental picture of my boys and dear Martine front of Hôtel de Ville or city hall of Orléans!

orleans-hotel-de-ville

One must come here to see the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix (see post ) at 10 rue Gobelets,where Jeanne d’Arc came to celebrate Mass in 1429. There is a church here since 330 destroyed ,fires, and always rebuilt from kings of France to 1829 when finally all restored. its great inside and statue of Jeanne d’Arc is superb.  The Hôtel Groslot,(see post ) built between 1550-1555 by Jacques Groslot bailif of Orleans. kings Charles IX, Henri III,and Henri IV stayed here ! It now houses the mayors office of the city since 1790, it is splendidly richly decorated. The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc (see post) is where she lodged from april 24 to May 9 1429, rebuilt to identical after its destruction with the bombings of WWII.   The place du Martroi, symbolic heart of the city has a huge equestrian statue of Jeanne d’Arc where she is bigger than the horse, at WWII this sculpture was partially destroyed and it was rebuilt by sculptor Paul Belmondo ,father of the famous actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.  The Hôtel Hatte, 15C, where it now houses the Center Charles Péguy, a native writer/poet who felled in WWI in the battle of the Marne in Villeroy (Seine-et-Marne).  The Church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance built between 1513-1519 has a choir altar from Second Empire in renaissance style. For walks do it by rue de Bourgogne and rue de l’Empereur for wonderful medieval ambiance as well as Rue Royale. The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Place Ste Croix, is very nice with works from Velazquez, Van Dyck, Jan Brueghel, Tintoret,  and works of Rodin,Maillol, Picasso etc, really nice. Walk too the pont George V the oldest bridge in the city, built in 1751-1760 and runs for about 1,2 km.

orleans-from-pont-george-v-to-cathedral

orleans-pl-du-martroi

orleans-pl-de-l-etape-near-hotel-de-ville

orleans-rue-royale-at-place-du-martroi-statue-jeanne-d-arc

On this particular trip we stayed gloriously at the Mercure Centre Hotel at 44-46 quai Barentin overlooking the Loire river and near pont George V. As usual great service by the chain,pool and good resto. walking distance to the best and easy in and out of the city by car. However,there is plenty of accommodation in the city to choose for all budgets.  The Mercure hotel resto Le Chaland (now call Le M)  was good too and cheaper at menus from 13,50€.  the picture on happier times for me and my dearl late wife Martine (picture caught me eating! ). The Mercure Accor webpage: https://all.accor.com/hotel/0581/index.fr.shtml

Orleans mercure centre hotel le chaland resto PF et MF aug07

The Metro Orléans city tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.orleans-metropole.fr/histoire-patrimoine/lieux-celebres

The Metro Orléans tourist office on the walks of Joan of Archttps://en.tourisme-orleansmetropole.com/walking-joan-arcs-footsteps

The local Loire Valley tourist office on Orléanshttps://www.loirevalley-france.co.uk/outings/city-visits/orleans-town-authentic-tourism

There you go folks, enjoy the city of Orléans . We did too!!! The city really needs more attention. Hope you have enjoy the post as I!  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 27, 2021

Savigny-les-Beaune , castle and museum!

And updating this older post it brings back many memories of old with good family times on our road warrior mode in Bourgogne/Burgundy where we stayed many times renting gîtes or rental houses. We took it as a base around Buxy and then rode all over the region. One of the highlight of this particular trip was a visit to Savigny-les-Beaune. It is with great pleasure that I bring back the visit to the Château de Savigny and its museum! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I do have traveled a lot and love it; thankful to be able to do it. Lucky to be in the world’s No 1 most visited country by international official counts (UN-WTO) ,France, and it shows so much to see. As said will need a lifetime and then may not be able to see everything. But I am trying hard! The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a region of my belle France with a lot of wealth when it comes to monuments and vineyards, however, I like to combine my love for aviation with wines and one of the best if not the best place to do this is at Savigny-les-Beaune a town close to another famous ,Beaune.(see posts).  When my travels takes me away with the family I try to combine all that is of interest to all of us. Its the best way to enjoy your vacation,especially if you have kids. Since I have 3 boys, our interests are pretty much the same, we all like women, wines, autos ,and airplanes. Therefore what better way to enjoy our vacation then to go to Savigny-les-Beaune in Burgundy.

savigny les beaune chateau-savigny-les-beaune-entr-aug95

Its one of my secret get away, the family rents a gîte or a house rental in the area, this time was in near Buxy in the Côte Chalonnaise of southern Burgundy. From there with a car we expand to all horizons but deeply submerge in the wine country. In fact the house was surrounded by vineyards, and we purchase the wine right from the owner at 5€ the bottle of red. Yummy!!  One of the highlights of the long summer vacation trip was to see the vineyard of Chateau Savigny les Beaune  with 20 hectares (49,4 acres) which includes the appellations of Auxey-Duresses, Beaune, Monthelie, Pommard, Volnay and Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Where Michel Pont has not only added a magnificent bottle but also a diehard fanatics of cars and planes, he has established a museum indoors and outdoors of these marvels. He is especially in love with FIAT 500 Abarth ,and all the previous models going back to 1956. He keeps 149 cars in his car museum plus 36 he has competed. Inside there is a minituare displays of cars from all over the world. There are,also, 250 motocycles from 1903 to 1960.  In the park of the castle spread around like ants he has kept 80 fighter airplanes of French, American, and Russian manufactured.  You are ,also, to see engines, and airplanes parts from many models . Inside, you will see 2400 small sides models of airplanes of the world. The view of these aerodrome of vintage war planes is awesome, and should not be missed when in the area, especially with kids.

DCF 1.0

savigny les beaune musee-savigny-les-beaune-engine-goblin-of-vampire-plane-aug95

I like to give some history of the castle as I like it,

The Château de Savigny-lès-Beaune is a 14C castle on a wine estate of 20 hectares of the Côte de Beaune vineyard, in Savigny-lès-Beaune in the Côte-d’Or dept 21 of the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. This castle was built around 1340 for the Duke Eudes IV of Burgundy. It was destroyed in 1478 by order of king Louis XI, in retaliation for what his owner had taken the part of the Duchess Marie of Burgundy and her husband the future Emperor Maximilian I against him during the War of the succession of Burgundy. Only the crows of the machicolations still visible on two towers are preserved. At the beginning of the 17C, the castle was restored by the family of Lords Bouhier with the addition of the little castle after 1671.

savigny les beaune chateau-savigny-les-beaune-dining-room-aug95

In 1689, the castle started changing hands by several families .In 1979, the castle was purchased by Michel Pont, a winegrower operating an important wine estate of 20 hectares of the Côte de Beaune vineyards, which undertook major restoration work. Former racing driver Abarth of the 1960’s, and important collector of mechanics, he founded several museums with important mechanical collections and housing, in 2018, the most important private collection in the world of fighter planes, approved by the Guinness Book of Records !

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Château de Savigny on the museums info webpage: https://www.chateau-savigny.com/musees/

The Beaune tourist office on the Château de Savignyhttps://www.beaune-tourism.com/discover/chateaux-abbeys-burgundy/chateau-de-savigny-les-beaune

The Côte d’Or dept 21 on Savigny-les-Beaunehttps://www.cotedor-tourisme.com/sit/chateau-de-savigny-les-beaune

Hope you enjoy the visit with the entire family to this pretty castle and its awesome museums. Savigny-les-Beaune is worth the detour, and a must if an aviation/automobile amateur! And again thanks for reading me since November 2010!!

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

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July 27, 2021

Simply E R A U ,Eagles Soar! My alma mater!

A thrill and lots of good memories to update this older post to you and me. Relieving wonderful moments of youth! There you go folks!  I have said my blog is about travel and anecdotes, well it’s time to come back to a bit of a story on my past. We write about beautiful interesting places we visit and or live/d and I recount my every day living on my series Some news from …. ,but I have souvenirs never to be forgotten either ,such as my university days. Do you have university days stories to tell? I have plenty but let’s keep it clean lol! I will tell you a bit more on my university ERAU, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. I was living in New Jersey where I grew up, and college time came in, my dream at those tender ages was to go into aviation and from a friend heard about ERAU= Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One application form and I was accepted right away,this was back in August 1977 !!! And fully graduated honor roll and dean’s listed on April 24, 1982!! Ceremonies at the Peabody Auditorium of Daytona Beach!

Daytona Beach

Now I want to tell you a bit more on the University per se. As brief as possible, here is my story.

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university offering associate, bachelor, master’s, and PhD degree programs in arts and sciences, aviation, business, engineering, computer programming, cyber security and security and intelligence,etc. It is the largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, and about other 22 locations around the world mostly in US military bases.  On December 17, 1925,Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Opa-Locka airport near Miami, Florida. The airport is still there as a general aviation/business airport, webpage: http://www.miami-airport.com/opalocka.asp

John Paul Riddle, I had the pleasure of meeting him! He had admission to both the US Naval Academy and West Point and finally chose the first one. He met later on one of his former flying student now with some wealth Talon Higbee Embry and with a contract from Waco Aircraft both founded the Embry-Riddle Company in 1925! They only had two Jenny airplanes and a dream. They won several air mail routes and eventually Cincinnati got air mail service. By now the service was flawless and by 1927 was the only of two companies that could fly passengers, the other was the Boeing Air Transport Company. On a led by Gen Doolittle the flying school got to be one of the first instrument flight instruction in the USA. The Aeronautic Board of the Dept of Commerce gave the school the endorsement as a safe flight company, only five in the USA in 1929. As the business grew financing was found by W Averell Harriman and Co and Lehman Brothers to create a financial aviation company, Aviation Corporation of Delaware in March 1929. They purchase several smaller companies and this company later became the famous AVCO. By 1930, a new holding company was founded called American Airways (today still goes on as American Airlines)!

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

From there ,they were transported by bus to the now famous fields of Carlstrom, Clewiston (no 5 British flying training school) , Dorr field, and the seaplane base in Miami. ERAU trainers did all the work on them, and later trained American pilots too! they have lease the Old Fritz hotel in Miami as headquarters located at 3240 NW 27 avenue or SR9 (now a courthouse). They trained pilots up to August 6 1945. By the time of the peace treaty more than 26K men and women had graduated their wings by the school.

In 1944 however, they have created the first flight training school in Brazil under the Escola Tecnica de Aviaçao in the neighborhood of Mooca in Sao Paulo, training 3500 Brazilians on how to flight before turning it over to the government. The School was now called the Embry-Riddle International School of Aviation. It signed contracts for training for advance flight to the Free French Republic pilots. By October 1947, the school finally moved to Opa-Locka. The school contracted with the US Air Force to trained pilots there with more than 1500 graduating. Later, it continue training USAF pilots in the ROTC program ( Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). The school grew internationally training pilots from many countries including Cuba, China, Turkey, Belgium, England, Canada, etc. etc. By 1958 the 1000 students came from 21 countries and 44 US States. By 1963, the facilities at Opa Locka were too small for this growth. While the operations in South Florida the school trained over 40K students!

The new president (with John Paul Riddle on the board) became Jack Reed Hunt, he was famous as been the one piloting the first non stop round trip flight across the Atlantic in a US Navy blimp ZPG-2 in March 1957. The route was Massachusetts to Portugal, Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, to Florida. He received his presidential medals.  President Hunt (my school president during my time) did immediately the decision to move to bigger place a location needed to be found, candidates were Sebring, Fort Pierce, Plant City, outside Miami in Dade County ,and Daytona Beach. The city of Daytona Beach got going and did all it could to win the prize, and I am so glad they did!! Operation Bootstrap started moving the school ,setting up new campus there and all help from shoestrings by donations and help from the business community there. All was moved by themselves and on trucks. Ormond Beach (where I later lived!) decided against the move so the decision was to set up by the Daytona Beach Regional Airport (now international airport) ,and also next to the Daytona Beach Speedway (NASCAR auto racing) on 185 acres of land. This indeed proved to be a top notch location! The school arrived at Daytona Beach operational on May 19 1965. Only 239 students including the 168 relocated from Opa Locka.

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

Daytona Beach ERAU dorm bridge 1977-1978 year

By 1972, the school is known as we know it today , Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the one I came in on August 23 1977 to start classes! I visited many times President Hunt residence on the beach at Ormond by the Sea (now sold and gone a while back). This house we call it the Battleship (was sold now gone) as it look one from the distance, and we had the University Center where the cafeteria was at ,to eat and mingle you know. By my first year 1977, the school already counted with 2 725 students! me included lol!  By 1979, Times Magazine called us the “Harvard of the sky” And before that in 1978, we purchase Prescott college in Prescott Arizona to serve as our western campus. The International Campus was started ,now call the Extended Campus with over 100 locations many online. Now the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses have both about 5000 students. President Jack Hunt passed away of cancer in January 7 1984 RIP. He said, ” it may be easy to get in to Embry-Riddle, but it is not easy to get out” Amen.

ob pres home erau battleship

As the new team took over the school continues to grow and influence the world of aviation. In 1986 , the school was awarded the management training of the FAA and a specific center was opened in Palm Coast, Florida.  The school has won several prizes in aviation flight competition; these are call NIFA/SAFECON, and remain the provider of about 50% of US Air Force pilots the best flyboys in the world!!!Following a short illness, on April 6 1989, John Paul Riddle passed away at his home in Coral Gables, near Miami he was 87 yrs. old. RIP Sir. His last airplane ride took place on April 10th when following funeral services and a memorial service at the University, his ashes were sprinkled over Biscayne Bay and in the Oak Ridge cemetery at Arcadia, Florida.

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

db ERAU management club softball team pedro in green in front seated 1981

de pedro ERAU soccer unif daytona beach 1980

There is an ERAU alumni network, that has tattled with lack of support for a long time. I was on the first meeting to do an alumni network at the Harley Hotel in Atlanta, GA back in 1984; then another try from Florida at the city hall of Hollywood Fl back in 1994, and finally was the Director of Alumni relations in France until 2017, where we have over 60 French students graduated from my university now working in French aviation/Aerospace industry, some of them quite well designing the wings for the A 380 to test pilot on maiden mission Toulouse-Hamburg, to working on the Arianne rocket etc. I helped organized the Paris Air Show of several years back believe it was 2009 with a dinner organized by me at the prestigious  Aero Club de France ; 6 rue Galilée, Paris 16éme ,but nothing of support so I decided to leave the organizing back in early 2017. The position still vacant!! More on the alumni ERAU : https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/bp20/home.aspx

Atlanta Hartfield airport people mover ERAU visit 1981

Another organization that does not exist no more and I was very active was the Management Club; I was the Treasurer 1981-82 and helped created the club as a non profit organization with the help of Accounting professor Mr Campbell and created the first scholarship fund to helped students pay for their book with the help of my Finance professor Mr De la Rosa back in 1980.  Both with the help of my/club councilor professor Mr Knabe. Memories forever, and thank you profs!

db pedro speaking mgmt club ERAU daytona inn 1981

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

Atlanta apt pedro at control Delta L1011 plane atlanta airport 1980 ERAU

Some more facts on Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University :

Embry-Riddle’s aerospace engineering program is the largest in the nation. Embry-Riddle’s engineering physics program is one of the largest of all such ABET-accredited programs in the nation. Aeronautical science (professional pilot) program is the largest in the nation. Student flight teams have won numerous national championships in NIFA SAFECON competitions, more than any other institution in the last decade, and are top performers in the women’s Air Race Classic. The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, and others rank Embry-Riddle highly in the categories of best undergraduate aerospace engineering programs, best undergraduate engineering programs, best bachelor’s degrees in engineering, best colleges in Arizona and Florida, best regional universities (South), and best college astronomy observatories. U.S. News & World Report, Military Times, Military Advanced Education, U.S. Veterans, and G.I. Jobs publications consistently name Embry-Riddle in the categories of best for veterans, top military-friendly school, top veteran-friendly school, best online bachelor’s programs for veterans, best regional universities (South) for military and veterans, best online MBA programs for veterans, and best online non-MBA graduate business programs for veterans. U.S. News & World Report and College Choice list Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus in the categories of best online bachelor’s programs, best online graduate MBA programs, best online graduate non-MBA programs, and best online engineering degree programs.  Embry-Riddle is ranked highly among private colleges for best value, best starting salary, and best return on investment by Forbes, Best Value Colleges, PayScale, SmartAsset, College Choice, and Affordable Colleges Online.   Embry-Riddle’s two Air Force ROTC detachments form the largest university-based Air Force commissioning source in the nation. Embry-Riddle’s Air Force ROTC detachments also produce more commissioned officers and more pilots and other rated officers for the Air Force than any other institution in the nation except the Air Force Academy. Embry-Riddle is the nation’s largest supplier of air traffic controllers with bachelor degrees to the FAA. Seven Embry-Riddle alumni are current or former astronauts. Embry-Riddle was named by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 provider of online bachelor’s degrees programs and undergraduate programs for veterans in 2021. ERAU has provided so far 7 astronauts to the Space program over the years.

Some of the reading I did while attending or as an alumni were: The LIFT magazine webpage: https://lift.erau.edu/

And the still call Avion campus newspaper webpage: http://theavion.com/

The text above the information was gathered from memories, yearbook Phoenix from graduation 1982,  and the book “The Sky is Home”, (by former prof John McCollister) and the Alumni directory of 1998 all jealousy guarded by yours truly.

My last visit to ERAU campus in Daytona Beach Fl was back in August, 2009, I visited Florida with the family and did pay a visit to ERAU as to show my boys the thrill of college non existent in France. We got a nice ride from the Alumni office to all of us, memories of young at heart. Memories forever, thanks Chris.

Daytona beach Chris cart tour ERAU 20aug09

There you go folks, an adventure recommended to all, college life is awesome. Those that tried should tell you, a thrill and an experience never to be forgotten. And more when you are an Eagle, of ERAU Daytona Beach FL Campus, Eagles forever!! Hope you enjoy the post as I and if an Eagle do stop by anytime.

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

July 26, 2021

A bit of nostalgia of Florida!!!

Well in these days of pandemic and little travel, I have been looking back updating some older posts. This has brought lots of memories and thrills to relook these family trips that by then were buried in my blog. To my surprise, there were some new opportunities for posts with pictures that I had overlook posting, and this is the time as good as any to do so. Therefore, here are some of my nostalgic moments of our time in Florida, several years, college graduation, marriage, sons to show for it. Hope you enjoy the post as I, and thanks again for reading me since November 2010!!

Let me tell you about some dear towns that were buried in my blog or not mentioned at all on my bit of nostalgia of Florida!!!

Let’s start with Davie in my Broward County,of my nostalgic Florida, situated approximately 24 miles north of Miami.

A bit of history tell us  that prior to European colonization, the Tequesta indians were the native people of what is now Davie. A few campsites and graves have been found in Davie, the oldest dating back 5,000 to 7,000 years in Pine Island Ridge. After Spanish colonization, many of the Tequesta died and the remaining few escaped to Havana with the Spanish when Florida became a British colony (1763 for a few months) or they assimilated into the newly arrived Seminoles indians in the late 18C.

Davie had always a reputation as a “Western” town, with many earlier buildings having “Wild West” architecture. It boasts a significant horse-owning population and once was home to many herds of cattle. One of the nice attractions here is Flamingo Gardens  a 60-acre (24 ha), Tropical Botanic Garden and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary, aviary and zoo, located at 3750 South Flamingo Road.

The city of Davie on activitieshttps://www.davie-fl.gov/235/Parks-Recreation-Cultural-Arts

However, the main thing my family came here was the Egyptian deco cinema which was and is awesome. I love this Cinemark. It was close to our last home in Miramar Silver Lakes and even visited and saw film while visiting from France in 2009. The popcorn and the frosty coke is awesome. Love it. Also you can hide here in case of a hurricane. This place is very secure. The seats are big and very comfortable. awesome theater… definitely worth coming here over other places. Indeed. Their webpage: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/45730

davie cinemark paradiso front feb02

Davie inside cinemark for HP movie 22aug09

Next , I take you to Sunrise, an interesting town we were here a lot. Sunrise is of course, also, in Broward County, A bit of history tell us that in 1960, Iowa-born developer Norman Johnson paid $9 million USD for 2,650 acres of land in southwestern Broward County. By 1961, this community of 1.75 square miles ,which Johnson named Sunrise Golf Village . In 1971, the City, by referendum, changed its name to the City of Sunrise. The City is situated approximately six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, and is adjoined by the towns of Weston, Davie, Tamarac, Lauderhill, and Plantation.

The National Car Rental Center ,now the BB&T Center opened its doors in 1998. The arena is the home of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, and hosts top entertainers and events.

The city of Sunrise on things to do/seehttps://www.sunrisefl.gov/visitors

However, the one we came almost every weekend while living in Miramar Silver Lakes was Sawgrass Mills shopping center. This huge  2.7-million-square-foot shopping mecca welcomes approximately 25 million visitors each year, making it the state’s second-biggest tourist attraction after Walt Disney World!! Its 400+ name brand retail stores include Off 5th/Saks Fifth Avenue, Last Call! Neiman Marcus, Kenneth Cole and Nordstrom Rack, etc. This is a huge shopping/eating/entertainment city in a mall! One of our favorite store was Books A Million ,well they were several and some have closed but this one have a picture! The Sawgrass Mills webpage: https://www.simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills

sunrise books a million sawgrass mills mall my boys Aug09

Our favorite eating place was the family restaurant my dear late wife Martine love was TGIFridays in Sunrise, many memories here,and sadly it has closed.

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And last but not least, will tell you of the closest town to my last in Florida. Pembroke Pines is of course in Broward County, and only 22 miles north of Miami. The surrounding towns to Pembroke Pines are Southwest Ranches, Davie, Cooper City, Hollywood ,Miramar, and the Everglades natural reserve.

Pembroke Pines was officially incorporated on January 16, 1960. The city’s name, Pembroke Pines, is traced back to Sir Edward J. Reed, a member of Britain’s Parliament for the County of Pembroke from 1874 to 1880, who in 1882 formed the Florida Land and Mortgage Company (still the basis of land plots in this part of FL) to purchase from Hamilton Disston a total of 2 million acres of mostly swampland located throughout the southern half of Florida. A road put through one of the tracts came to be known as Pembroke Road. When incorporating the city, Walter Smith Kipnis, who became the city’s first mayor, suggested the name Pembroke Pines because of the pine trees growing near Pembroke Road. (and this road was the diving line in my house between Pembroke Pines and Miramar !).

In 1980, property from Flamingo Road to U.S. 27 was incorporated into Pembroke Pines, doubling the size of the city. This expansion included the property that is currently C.B. Smith Park as well as what was once the Hollywood Sportatorium and the Miami-Hollywood Motorsports Park. Also in 1980, construction began to extend Interstate 75 from U.S. 27 towards Miami, passing through the new western part of the city. By 1984 the expressway reached Pines Boulevard, the main east-west arterial road in the city.

Right at the junction of Pembroke Pines and Miramar my twin boys left the USA to France from Silver Lakes Elementary School , and my oldest left from Silver Trail Middle School.

The roads were by car the king here and we took a lot the Interstate 75 or simply I75 highway as well as the US 27 (along the Everglades) ,Pines Blvd (SR 820) ,Pembroke Rd (SR 824) , and Flamingo Road (SR 823).

The city of Pembroke Pines on activitieshttps://www.ppines.com/279/Arts-Culture

The shopping other than some specific stores were done in Pembroke Pines Mall with some familiar stores such as Dillard’s (my parents favorite and gave me all their gifts from there!) Webpage: https://www.pembrokelakesmall.com/en.html

pembroke pines lakes mall halls aug09

I am sad to see some of our favorite places have closed, so pictures are just for the memories. These were Quiznos sandwiches , Toys R Us, and Blockbuster Videos! However, glad to see WalMart Supercenter still there.

pemborke pines pf quizno aug09

pembroke pines toys r us the boys c2000

pembroke pines blockbuster videos aug09

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There you go folks, a dandy on memory lane. Wonderful times never to be forgotten, Florida is big for us! We must move on and found places just as good or better as now in my belle France; however, the memories of these places will remain in our hearts forever. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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July 26, 2021

A bit of nostalgia of New Jersey!!

This is one of the positive effects of the pandemic, not been able to travel much, I am able to relive wonderful moments of my travels. Also, and just as awesome, to find in my vaults pictures of places dear to me that should be in my blog. After all, my blog is a recompilation of my travel, and family history to keep for the future of children and grand childrens to come. Hope you enjoy the posts as I, and thanks for following my rants since November 2010

Now let me turn to my first encounter with the USA at my first American home in New Jersey. I have several posts of the town I lived ,(see posts ) but need to tell you more of the other towns that were like home to me back then , way back now. Very nostalgic post for me indeed.

The first one of these is Woodbridge Township, where we ate, shop, and play for many years.

Woodbridge Township is located in Middlesex County.  The township borders the towns of Carteret, Edison, Perth Amboy (mine) and Sayreville ;also,  Clark, Linden and Rahway in Union County. Its border with the borough of Staten Island in New York City in the Arthur Kill. (kill is bay in old Dutch so they tell me)

There are distinct towns that for the whole of me always figure them as separate towns , and played sports against them separately! ,but are part of  Woodbridge Township. Several of these towns have their own ZIP (postal) codes,, but they are all unincorporated towns and neighborhoods within the Township that, together, make up Woodbridge Township. These are Avenel , Colonia , Fords , Iselin , Port Reading , Sewaren , Woodbridge (the town proper) are unincorporated towns located within Woodbridge Township. Other unincorporated towns and place names located partially or completely within the township include Boynton Beach, Demarest Hill Top, Edgars, Fairfield, Hazelton, Hopelawn, Keasbey, Lynn Woodoaks, Menlo Park Terrace, Ostrander, Saint Stephens, Sand Hills, Shore View, Union and Woodbridge Oaks.

The roads are king here and no experience with public transport other than the airports. The wonderful Garden State Parkway extends 7.5 miles ( about km) through Woodbridge Township, including exits 127 to 131. In addition, the fast and furious, New Jersey Turnpike ( part of Interstate 95 or I95) passes through Woodbridge Township for about 5+ miles ( about 8 km), and is accessible at Exit 11 (which features a 24-lane toll gate). The sublime  U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 9 serve the township and merge heading north of the township as the U.S. Route 1/9 together into the Jersey shore ! Other roadways passing through the township are Route 27, Route 35, Route 184, and Route 440. The first cloverleaf interchange in the world, the Woodbridge Cloverleaf, opened in 1929 at the intersection of Route 25 (now U.S. Route 1/9) and Route 4 (now Route 35)!

The Township of Woodbridge is the oldest original township in New Jersey and was granted a royal charter on June 1, 1669, by King Charles II of England. Woodbridge Township was incorporated by the Township Act of 1798 of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, as one of the initial 104 townships incorporated in the state under the Township Act. Yes part of old USA!

The Woodbridge Township on things to do/see webpage: https://www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us/31/Discover-Woodbridge

Woodbridge Center is a major two-level shopping mall located at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 9.  This was our home turf when shopping and many memories of going here with my dear late mom Gladys. Memories forever!

woodbridge wood center mall feb11

It features 200 retail establishments and 3 anchor stores been our favories JC Penney and Macys. The eating establishments are spread throughout the mall with their own individual seating areas and restrooms. The mall’s location near Staten Island and the benefit of no sales tax on clothes in New Jersey makes this mall,a popular choice for New York shoppers. It is now the third largest of all shopping malls in New Jersey, (when lived they were No 1), and now the 34th largest in the United States.  The mall opened in 1971 with Abraham & Straus, Ohrbach’s, and Stern’s. oh yes Abraham & Strauss was later purchase by Burdines and in turn by Macys. It was my favorite shopping store then.

woodbridge wood center mall applebees feb11

The Woodbridge Center mall webpage: https://www.woodbridgecenter.com/en.html

Moving south into that wonderful Route 1/9 or even closer coastal Route 35 you come into our fav city to go fishing , something I did a lot when young even still at college. I went down with my parents into Point Pleasant Beach and there rented the boat Dauntless. Wonderful family memories, was lucky glad to bring my paternal grandfather Manolo on these trips too back in the early 80’s.

The city has a wonderful beach , one of the best me think, and plenty of family activities. The city page on activities on the boardwalk is run by Jenkinsons; webpage: https://jenkinsons.com/

The city of Point Pleasant Beach things to do/see: https://www.pointpleasantbeachchamber.com/

Other than beach time, we came even in winter to go fishing from here, love it many nice memories of always with my parents and later my paternal grandfather!! Amazing looking for info on the internet the Dauntless boat is still going on by the same family!! The town of Point Pleasant Beach is in Ocean county!

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This is from their webpage: They will clean your catch for a nominal fee. Drinks and snacks available. Music on board for your enjoyment. The cabin is centrally heated and heated handrails for your year round comfort. Clean Ladies and Men’s accommodations. Ample Free Parking at the dock. Bring your Family fishing on the 85′ DAUNTLESS for one of the most enjoyable and memorable trips of your vacation. Sailing Daily All Year 7h30  to 15h30 (7:30am – 3:30pm) Summer Season Only from  7h30 to 01h00 (7:30pm – 1:00am). Their webpage: https://www.dauntlessfishing.com/

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And last but not least on this memorable tour of mine, and hopefully you will get to see these places, wonderful indeed. I arrive at the world famous Atlantic City! We came here as adults for the casinos, there since they opened!

Atlantic City is located in Atlantic County, on the Atlantic coast at about 50 miles or 80 km from Philadelphia, PA. It is built on the island of Absecon and surrounded by lagoons, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. City famous for its casinos and marina. Well it has a beach and a nice boardwalk but our interests for it were the casinos...

Atlantic city casino pipo c1980

In 1870, a first wooden promenade was built along part of the beach. The idea was popular and the promenade was lengthened and modified several times. It is now the longest in the world. The New Jersey voters accepted the opening of casinos in 1976, and Resorts International became the first legal casino in the eastern United States on May 26, 1978. Other casinos were built shortly thereafter along from the promenade and later in the marina area; they are nine today.

From my time there and was a visiting founder are still the Tropicana, Resorts, Harrah’s, and Ceasar as my favorites hangouts when I was a proud member of Telly Savalas (Kojak tv series), casino Players Club International membership card and spent lots of money there lol !!! Too bad could had use it to travel….

The Atlantic City International Airport but never used it as always came by car . The airport webpage: https://www.sjta.com/acairport/

I came down the Garden State Parkway to exit 38 and then the Atlantic City Expressway toll road as well to the city center North Arkansas Avenue ,and right into the casino parking.   On street parking is not easy and not advise so look for a parking garage if not staying at a casino.

Some of the things happening here other than play and fun in the Casinos were: The streets of Atlantic City were used in the original American version of Monopoly. The city is the setting for Bob Rafelson’s 1972 film The King of Marvin Gardens, starring Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern. The city is the setting for Louis Malle’s film Atlantic City in 1980. The song Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen released in 1982 on the album Nebraska is about the city. The episode of season 5 of The Simpsons The Last Temptation of Homer , released in 1993 contains a part set in Atlantic City. Brian De Palma’s film Snakes Eyes, released in 1998, is set in Atlantic City. At the heart of the Boardwalk Empire series is the prohibition era in Atlantic City. The film American Bluff (2013), based on real events, describes the arrival of casinos in the city. Its night time party time!

The city of Atlantic city  :https://www.acnj.gov/page/about-atlantic-city

The Atlantic City tourist office on Casinoshttps://www.atlanticcitynj.com/explore/casinos/

The New Jersey tourist board on Atlantic cityhttps://visitnj.org/city/atlantic-city

There you go folks, a bit of nostalgia of my New Jersey! The efforts of a new country, language, customs and all fruitfully triumph in glory for my parents and I. Memories forever for me now glad told in my blog, my history. Again, thanks for coming along and hope you enjoy it as I. Thanks for reading me since November 2010!!

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

July 26, 2021

The passages de Paris!!

Ah here I am in a cloudy fresh day after the heat of the last days in my belle France. I thought about a nice thing to do in Paris full of history and especially architecture. I had written on some passages or covered lanes of Paris before, but let me give you and me an overall view of them, all of them in Paris.

As the pictures are on the previous post I just will do this one in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy this wonderful thing to do in Paris, shop and eat in a covered corridor or passage de Paris!

The ancestor of today’s shopping centers, the unique charm of Parisian covered passages will immediately transport you back to the 19C.  So what is a passage? It is a private lane open to the public, a shortcut between several lanes, whether it is covered or not. A pedestrian space, the passage can house both commerce and housing. Only the abundant decoration and the luxury of the shops differentiate a gallery from a passage.

Typically, the covered passages of Paris form galleries pierced through buildings or built at the same time as them. These galleries are covered by a glass roof offering overhead lighting which gives them a special light.  Almost all of the covered passages are on the right bank of the Seine, within the limits of Paris before its extension in 1860, mainly near the Grands Boulevards, that is to say in areas draining customers. easy at the time of their construction

Most of the covered passages were built in the first half of the 19C, in order to shelter a wealthy clientele from inclement weather and usually offer a variety of shops. Haussmann’s work, which opened up neighborhoods by piercing large avenues, and competition from department stores led to the disappearance of most of the passages.

I have posts on the passages which will post here as references and minimize repetition.

The Passage du Havre: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/12/22/passage-du-havre-paris/

The Passage du Grand Cerf and Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé  : https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2018/07/26/simply-other-passages-of-paris/

These are the other passages of Paris:

Passage des Panoramas (2éme) , Galerie Vivienne (2éme) , Passage Brady (10éme) , Passage Choiseul (2éme) , Passage Verdeau (9éme) , Passage Jouffroy (9éme) , Passage Vendôme (3éme) , Passage Molière (3éme) , Galerie Véro-Dodat (1éme) , Passage du Caire (2éme) , Passage des Princes (2éme) , Galerie Colbert (2éme) , and  Galerie de la Madeleine (8éme).

The list of covered passages still accessable to the public continues with the passage du Prado (10éme),  passage Puteaux (8éme), passage Sainte-Anne ( 2éme),  passage du Ponceau ( 2éme), passage Ben Aïad ( 2éme) ,and the passage des Deux-Pavillons (1éme).

I am sure you can find full description on them, I just leave you with the names and the thoughts of getting to see them in person in better times.

The Association of passages et galeries of Paris : http://passagesetgaleries.fr/passages-parisiens/

The city of Paris on the passages: https://www.sortiraparis.com/arts-culture/histoire-patrimoine/articles/172520-les-plus-beaux-passages-couverts-de-paris

The Paris tourist office on the passages: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/museums-monuments-heritage-paris/the-unique-charm-of-parisian-covered-passages

There you go folks, a wonderful way to see Paris at its best, with great shopping and foodies galore, simply sublime! The passages are seldom seen or mention sort of an off the beaten paths of Paris; however, they are worth the detour!

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

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July 25, 2021

Château de Versailles , Salon d’Apollon/Salle du Trône !!!

And this is again a wonderful update of my fav palace museum in my dear Versailles. I love to tell you all about this great city of my belle France, and this is one of the intriguing rooms of the palace still with a throne room! Therefore , let me tell you a bit more on the Salon d’Apollon and its Salle du Trône of the Château de Versailles!

So I am coming back again to my beloved old home of Versailles. What can I say when you are lucky enough to lived there for about 9 glorious years and worked in Paris.… Well I have come back several times and have many posts on it in my blog. However, there are areas missing a bit more of it me think. This is the case with a nice living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or more commonly call by us locals as the Throne room or Salle du Trône.

It is inside the wonderful beautiful palace/museum of  Versailles, holding its name from the ceiling representing Apollo on its chariot. The living room of Apollo is located on the first floor of the Château de Versailles, in the King’s large apartments. It is adjacent to the mercury and war rooms (Salon de Mercure et Salon de la Guerre).  Serving as the King’s room from 1673 to 1682 and then as the Throne room as soon as the king and the court settled in Versailles, the king granted his ordinary hearings here. The room was also reserved for dancing during the evenings of apartments.

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The living room of Apollo is dedicated to the Greek god, god of the Sun, to whom the Sun King identified himself. Commissioned by king Louis XIV, the ceiling is a painting by Charles de la Fosse which represents Apollo on his chariot dragged by four couriers, accompanied by the figures of France, the Magnanimity and Magnificence and the procession of the seasons figured by Flora, Ceres, Bacchus and Saturn in the center. The covings represent Porus led in front of Alexander, Coriolanus raising the Siege of Rome at the request of his mother, Vespasian raising the Colosseum in Rome, and   Augustus building the port of Miseno . The four continents are represented in the four angles of the ceiling.

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The chimney was surmounted by the portrait standing of king Louis XIV in a royal suit, wearing the insignia given to the Kings on the day of their coronation. Painted in 1701 by Hyacinthe Rigaud to illustrate the power of the king and his natural majesty. This portrait is now preserved at the Louvre museum, a copy replaces the original in the living room of Apollo. In front of the painting is a portrait of king Louis XVI.

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The living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or Salle du Trône  was restored last in 2014.

The official Palace/museum of Versailles on the rooms including the Apollon: https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/palace/king-state-apartment#the-mars-room

The whole palace/museum of Versailles is magical and to think it was once practically my backyard literally used to play and jog with my boys in the gardens! magical sublime nostalgia setting in and vacation time is coming again!  Versailles it is! Enjoy the post and thanks for stopping by.

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

July 25, 2021

The Villeroy & Boch ceramics of Mettlach!

We have been fan of this brand for years and we love it. Little did we know it was close to where we were staying in Germany, exactly Trier. Therefore ,we took a road warrior trip to the nice town of Mettlach and found this beauty of ours, the Villeroy & Boch ceramics. Let me update this older post and show you a bit more on it. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I had other posts on wonderful Mettlach, Germany on my road warrior trips with the family in that neighboring country. The city center is very nice quant old pretty, and the monuments are nicely put historically and architecturally as I like. However, there is one store we like.  Again, I am not the heavy shopper but on somethings I rather go along with the wife, she is no longer with me due to the dreadful cancer, but all the memories still are intact forever. She love it here and did some heavy duty shopping my dear late wife Martine. This is my bit of story on the Villeroy & Boch ceramics store in Mettlach, Germany!

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Initially a manufacturer and distributor of pottery, the Villeroy & Boch company, created in 1748 in Audun-le-Tiche in Lorraine(still French), has evolved into multiple ceramic products for the private sector and major construction sites.  An outlet specializing in the arts of the table that leaves also fashionable. In the south of the country, close to the French and Luxembourg borders, Mettlach houses 9 factory shops and first of all the seat of the Villeroy & Boch company, whose origin dates back to 1748, specialist in the art of the table, porcelain, crystal and cutlery. At Villeroy & Boch Mettlach, prices are between 30 and 50% cheaper than in a classic store and you find a shop dedicated to Christmas open all year round.

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Behind the facade of the ancient Benedictine abbey of Mettlach, today’s headquarters of the specialist of the Art of Living Villeroy & Boch, 260 years of history of ceramics and business relive.  The Keravision, the Museum of Ceramics and the Museum Café dating from 1892 traces the course and the success of a family dynasty.

The Villeroy & Boch Discovery Center presents centuries of tradition of ceramics and future-oriented ideas on the theme of live and living. The Keravision in the Discovery Center showcase an exhibition of the current palette of products. In the neighboring Ceramics museum , you will discover the evolution of the art of ceramics and culture through time. In front of the table, the Arts Information Center invites you to an innovative exhibition of tables staged with different dishes services. Among the many exhibits in the Ceramics museum, you can admire the dishes of Pope Benedict XVI. The Information center bathrooms, kitchens, tiles and well-being will give you ideas for your interiors decoration.  Close to the Discovery Center, take a break at the museum cafe, decorated in the style of the Dresden Dairy. More than 15,000 tiles, decorated by hand from original pieces of the 19C, were made for its decoration. Not far from the Villeroy & Boch Discovery Center, the city center of Mettlach invites you to do good shopping in these different factory stores as well such as Land End, Trigema, and many more.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its all worth it me think ,are:

The official Villeroy & Boch in German but can be translated bottom of page: https://www.villeroy-boch.de/

The Mettlach outlet center store on the  Villeroy & Boch in English: http://www.mettlachoutletcenter.de/en/brands/villeroyboch.html

Hope you like the shopping tour and again it is worth it ,the old abbey building is gorgeous from a historical/architecture point of view and facing the Sarre river! A tributary of the Moselle river . Enjoy Villeroy & Boch at Mettlach!

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

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July 25, 2021

Torre del Homenaje and Iglésia de San Andrés in Villarejo de Salvanés!

This is again the wonderful opportunity due to the times to spend time updating my older posts in my blog. It has been a wonderful rollercoaster ride with lots of memories and thrills! One of this was our road warrior trips in the Comunidad de Madrid of my beloved Spain. This time let me tell you about the Homage tower, and the Saint Andrews Church of Villarejo de Salvanés! Hope you enjoy it as I.  So let’s go to my beloved Spain and gorgeous Madrid community region that is just wonderful me think. Again, these I have written before a while back on a general passing sense, and I feel they need a bit more exposure in my blog. 

A bit of orientation first just to tell you ok. Villarejo de Salvanés is located at the km 48 of the expressway A3 Madrid-Valencia.  Some anecdote on the town I like on my history was that here in 1866, General Prim rose up against the government of O’Donnell and the Isabeline regime, failed coup.  Ahh for those in public transport you can easily go from Atocha in Madrid to the town on bus lines 351: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid)  Estremera – Barajas de Melo, bus line 352: Ronda de Atocha (Madrid) Fuentidueña – Tarancón,  and bus line 353: Atocha (Madrid) Villamanrique – Santa Cruz de la Zarza.

The Torre del Homenaje or tower of homage or castle of Villarejo of Salvanés, constitutes a unique architectural site in Spain. It belongs to the city/town hall of Villarejo de Salvanes. The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was part of the defensive system that protected the passage by the old way of Toledo, as well as by the so-called Senda Galiana (Roman road that linked the Galia (France) and Hispania (Spain), in use during the Middle Ages). The castle of Villarejo of Salvanes was the seat of the special court of the military orders and, in the 19C, was accommodated as a refugee to Gen. Juan Martín Díez ,the subborn one ( Empecinado). Hero of the Spanish War of Independence, El Empecinado participated in several episodes, which became legendary, where he routed the Napoleonic army.

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This is where we parked and walked around and my dear late wife Martine found a lady who told her where to buy groceries just around the corner in a Mercadona. She could speak Spanish/English too. My memories of always ok ;thanks. Another anecdote not told in original post is that on subsequent trips to the area we had thought of buying a house in this town on what would have been our next trip August 2018 . Unfortunately, she could not make it due to pancreatic cancer, ideas cut but not forgotten. RIP

The parish Church of San Andrés Apostol or St Andrew the apostle. Built in the 14C has high towers and on the front the shield of the order of St James (Santiago) as well as on the lateral door. The Church is on the Plaza del Castillo square. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War it lost its artistic heritage. After an earthquake in 1969, the roof and vaults were demolished and completely restored in the 1980’s. The Church of San Andrés Apostol, consists of a polygonal apse with high buttresses, which make it similar to the castle. It is a single nave and has two side chapels, sacristy and tower, recently topped by a slate spire. In its main façade we see a pediment with a shield of the order of Santiago in the center as in the side door. It is presided by San Andrés, patron Saint of Villarejo de Salvanés, the image is framed in a plaster altarpiece inaugurated in 2000. The images of the Blessed Nicanor Ascanio and José de San Jacinto, both illustrious sons of the locality, complete the ensemble, which is crowned by a carving of Christ in its color. In the ample presbytery stands out the neo-Romanesque tabernacle, the altar, the seat and the pulpit in white stone.

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The interior of the Church of San Andrés, also has two side chapels. The one on the right or the Aponte chapel is closed by a Renaissance gate and contains two altarpieces with the images of the Immaculate Conception and Jesús Nazareno. In it you can contemplate the founding headstone in addition to the images of the Virgin of Health (Salud), the Resurrected, San José de la Montaña, San Juan Bautista and the Naked Cross, which is called here  “La Sabanilla “. In the chapel on the left we find the baptismal font of 1959 and the altarpieces of Nuestra Senora  Del Carmen, wood carving, and Nuestra Senora De la Soledad with the recumbent Christ. In the nave of the church are the images of Jesus attached to the column and the Holy Christ of the Faith, as well as a Holy Supper. The sacristy, which was one of the old side chapels, is the one that preserves the ribbed vault and there is a size of San Andrés from the beginning of the 17C.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here as an off the beaten path of my Spain are:

The Villarejo de Salvanés tourist office: https://turismovillarejodesalvanes.com/

The local villas of Madrid on Villarejo de Salvanés: http://www.villasdemadrid.es/villasdemadrid/plan/143

The Madrid city tourist office on Villarejo de Salvanés: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/villarejo-salvanes

Lovely town we love to pass by and come in for a relaxing afternoon and walks on our road warrior ways in old Castile!  Villarejo de Salvanés is a nice clean town with friendly folks! and nice monuments. Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

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

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