Posts tagged ‘Africa’

November 11, 2020

WordPress, you and me!!!

So taking a small time to thank you all for your loyal following these last 10 years. It has been a wonderful trip which I have enjoyed very much, hoping you too.

I started on WordPress after advice from an American  friend living in Madrid for about 25 years who told me it was easy to work for the non technical guy in me and it has been so. It was November 26th 2010 so holy cow already 10 years !!!!!

And ,I have decided to look at my numbers with the help of wandering a bit into WordPress. Even with humble numbers compare to some of you, it has been a wonderful ride and fully satisfy. Again thank you so much. Merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, muito obrigado.

After already not counting this one 3 113 posts in my blog, come to realize my best viewing day is Sunday and the best time is 9h or 9am!! The best day viewed was December 10, 2012! with 972 views!!!

My best view pages or posts have been: The Somport Tunnel and Peak !!!, Lagos, Nigeria an Adventure, and A look back at history, the Palais des Tuileries.

The most commented post has been Versailles and it’s historical Churches with 172!!!! wow and we do have a palace there lol!

I have 1061 other blogs following mine an honor! ,thank you all. Never in my wildest dreams would I thought to have these many reading my blog wow! There are about 18 steady commentators and the top 10 are well known you know who you are , and my wish is to have more comments, constructive comments that is.

The countries that have most folks viewing my blog are in order: USA,   France, UK, Germany, UK, India, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain, Finland, and Australia! Thanks!!! In actuality, it covers the world with many many countries even in those where internet is little or controled.

The year of great activity with most views was 2012 with 120 701, and the one with the most visitors was 2013 with 27 140. However, it seems that 2020 even if not over year will break all records. So far I have 40 371 views, 21 294 visitors, 16 816 likes!!! and 668 comments!!!. So it seems I will beat all time records in Likes and Comments for sure. Thank you!!!

There are a total of 7 pages on front page, 15 categories of posts and 15 tags with 11 links in the blogroll bottom of page. There are over 40000 photos already here wow!!!

I am sure WordPress will have better numbers to tell beginning of 2021 for 2020. In the meantime, thanks for reading mine and sharing yours, and happy healthy travels to all. Enjoy your week, and end of year. I will have a short one,due to the virus; and finally Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s.

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

October 9, 2020

Lagos,Nigeria, an adventure!!!

Oh yes, some adventure this was. I have heard of Nigeria before and the region around Lagos which carries the name of the earlier Portuguese explorers as lakes, Lagos there is one in Portugal too you know. Then it has a much richer history. I was here a while back and just wanted to update the text and new photos I found. I would like to tell you a bit more from the few already in my blog. This is Lagos, Nigeria,an adventure!

Well lots of writings on the wall when we speak of Nigeria. I can only said that in my business travels , I have always enjoy the visits and some long for a month! . I was able to visit their country, mostly Lagos but into Port Harcourt as well. It is not your typical tourist attraction yet, but if in town be good and have fun.

You are wise to hire a trusted local driver to get you around, and dont do it yourself. Photos are hard to come by as cameras are not seen in public, credit cards better keep them at home or just for an ultimate emergency, this is a cash country and the currency the Naira is only good in-country .If you must use cash take the ATM machines of Zenith bank, one of the largest in Nigeria and even Africa. The webpage is here: https://www.zenithbank.com/customer-service/find-a-branch-atm/

There are plenty to see during the daytime, such as the Bar beach harbor area (not to swim just for the ambiance), there is a beach further north along the Lekki peninsula,Lekki Beach , most expats come here.  There is a soccer/football stadium, while I was there last for the under 17 World Cup was being played. Saw the Nigeria vs Spain match the locals won. You need to get ticket from a trusted person such as from the company you are in there,and go with the locals friends.

lagos soccer stadium Surelere 2009

I stayed in a very nice compound, Osborne Foreshore Estates, call Somerset Court ,very well protected as it is the home of many armed forces personnel. The place is at Ikoji, one of the nicest districts of Lagos, very nice with all amenities including a pool, billiard room,bar, restaurant, sports TV all over, exercise room, and very friendly staff.

The shopping was done at Palms shopping center, with a big supermarket, call Shop Rite (locals describe the shopping center as shop rite) and Cinema, plus restos, the webpage is here http://www.persianasgroup.com/our-portfolio/persianas-investment/palms-lekki/#menu-investment

Some of the best restos here were the Caffe Vergnano, and News Cafe  ,and now the shopping  have now a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ThePalmsMall/

The other shopping I frequented was the Mega Plaza also has a grocery store, with a courtyard full of restos selling local food ,pizzerias, and Indian foods,Lebanese foods, etc. This was the place for an after work drink and get together almost daily there. The webpage for it is here: https://www.megaplaza.ng/

Another nice shopping center is Silverbird galleria shopping at  267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island , Lagos. It has still a very nice cinema. It was a bit more upscale and nice to go there too. The new webpage is here: https://silverbirdcinemas.com/cinema/galleria/

The properties of the Sofitel Hotel was my lunch venue, and of course the hotel is from the French chain ACCOR so its very nice. Now is part of MGallery brand, we went here lots of times for lunch.  The webpage is here: https://all.accor.com/hotel/2770/index.en.shtml

Other nice hotels I visited for eating were the EKO Hotel and Suites  , as well as theSheraton by the airport . However, my best is the Federal Palace Hotel, great bar sports bar area, and wonderful restaurant buffet downstairs, and later they opened a Casino.

The Eko hotelhttps://www.ekohotels.com/

The Sheraton hotelhttps://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lossi-sheraton-lagos-hotel

The Federal Palace Hotelhttps://www.suninternational.com/federal-palace/

lagos Eko hotel ent 2009

A nice place to be if have a local influential friend like me is to go to the old British country club, now the country club and golf complex at Ikoyi , you need to be with a member but the company can arrange maybe. Their webpage is here: https://web.ikoyiclub1938.org/

Another interesting place is the Lekki Conservation area, a wildlife reserve for free and just as natural as you can get to wild animals. I was here once briefly. Their webpage: https://www.ncfnigeria.org/projects/lekki-conservation-centre

Other interesting place that I dit not visit but probably worth going are the National Theater, and the National Museum at Awolowo Rd, Lagos Island, this last has artifacts and sculptures of local origins.

For eating out, my favorites were the Churrasco Brazilian resto located at 1C Ozumba Mbadiwe Ave, Victoria Island, Lagos (could not verify if still open but did went couple times) , Golden Gate China resto located at 25B Glover Road , Ikoyi , (could not verify if still open but was a must while staying there)  , Manuela Italian resto and residence where I had lots of good times and the chef was of Cuban origin! More here: https://www.manuelaresidence.net/

The Bangkok, thai food located at  244A Muri Okunola St, Victoria Island, Lagos (again could not verify if still open but did visit) ; Marco Polo, for seafood located at Marco Polo seafood, 9 Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; (this one change to new development at Lekki, here is the webpage; http://www.marcopolo.ng/

And another favorite spot, the Chocolate Royal, French bakery and resto popular with many expats as I,  located at 267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island, Lagos. Webpage here: http://chocolatroyal.com/

The airport is the International Airport Murtala Muhammed, two terminals ,one for international flights and the other domestic, very easy to navigage.  You need to take precautions for sickness so vaccination is a must, check with your embassy for requirement of your Nationality to get to Nigeria for the French the Air France center in Paris ,webpage: https://www.vaccinations-airfrance.fr/

The French Consulate in Lagos which it is recommended you register as I did, it is at 1, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi Lagos : webpage here: https://ng.ambafrance.org/-Le-Consulat-General-de-France-a-Lagos-

For families with small children there is a French school which many other expats and locals take advantage , the school is at Lycée Français Louis Pasteur, 16 Younis Bashorun street, Victoria Island  , the place was visited in company of French families there and is very nice place: https://www.lflp-lagos.com/fr/

If you need to go to Port Harcourt, more precautions needed here, the best property is the Novotel hotel part of the French ACCOR chain, webpage here: https://all.accor.com/hotel/5465/index.en.shtml#origin=novotel

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here whether business or pleasure are

The Nigeria tourist board for info here: https://tournigeria.gov.ng/

The Federation of travel firms in Nigeria here: https://ftan.org.ng/index.php/ftan-member-associations

A tourism site from UK on Nigeria with plenty of info here: http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/culture-tourism

There you go another wonderful location that I am lucky enough to have visited for a whole month especially around Lagos, Nigeria. Hope you enjoy the exotic visit and thanks for reading me.

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

October 9, 2020

Memories of South Africa!

Again on nostalgia lane, as the current situation is unveiling and the cut in business travel, the chances of visiting some countries of fond memories are fading. This is the reason made me do this post on my memories of South Africa.

Of course, I have been in the country since 2015 visiting every year until 2019. Next, who knows, but the friendship and fondness of the place will continue. Let me tell you a bit more on South Africa.

Another nice trip and was able to touch base with old friends again. These are the quick visits as always but very nice memories. And I am in heavens by the Fourways, Sandton, Gautrain, and East London spots.

sa-fourways-out-pineslopes-bus-park-sep15

This particular trip got out early by car from home with a bit extra time as it was raining on the N165 road, and to my surprise there was an accident and work construction on the road that was creating one lane only. Big slow down almost standstill. I thought would miss my plane at Nantes Atlantique airport. Hopefully, it cleared up but needed to do 150 KPH ::) ( about 93 MPH) , and got there just as the plane was been board! After this event flew well on AF to Paris CDG T2F, and easily went over to T2E for the flight to South Africa on AF .

The flight is long and this time it seems and was longer as usually go to Fourways, J’Burg first, but this time change at OR Tambo airport and there went on a domestic SAA flight to East London. Once at East London I was picked up by car and taken to my hotel, the Riverbend B&B, which locals put me there, it was very nice like been at home and friendly service. This had gorgeous views and would love to be back again, more on them here: http://www.riverbendguesthouse.co.za/

sa East London Riveside BB front sep15

We did have dinner at a pricier property like a spa hotel resto,but only have the front in the photo and can’t remember the name lol!!! just been me I guess!!!

sa-east-london-dinner-resto-sep15

The next day we went to Abbotsford Arms pub , where in addition to some real fine Carling Black Label beers we had this special menu 500g T-Bone smothered in our herb butter sauce, served with freshly cut chips and 2 veggies, more of them at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/abbotsfordarmsel/

sa-east-london-abbotsford-arms-pub-inside-sep15

A bit of driving in town to practice my right side wheel and it was off to the East London airport again this time to J’Burg. I was to land at 21h10 at OR Tambo airport and my shuttle to wait for me. However, I came domestic this time on terminal B and my shuttle was in internationals Terminal A!!!! So with little wifi:internet could not find his phone number, and were some trying moments until finally found his phone number to start a funny exchange. Noo I am at the information desk with a plaque holding your name, noo I do not see anybody in the ID, finally I said I am in terminal B oh oh I am in terminal A thinking you were coming international, noo the folks here knew I was coming domestic. Finally we hook up for the ride to my hotel.

The hotel was the nice City Lodge Fourways near the montecasino complex . This is a nice hotel first time in it and love it. Great restaurant area, with pool overlooking the city road at Witkoppen road. More here: https://clhg.com/hotels/120/city-lodge-hotel-fourways

sa-fourways-city-lodge-hotel-lobby-sep15

Next day locals took me for lunch at the nice le Soufflé  at the Pineslopes Shopping Centre, in Fourways a French style restaurant where I had my duck confit and more of that Black Label beers . The experience was great however, they needed to closed down and was told correct they have teamed up with the folks of  Junipa’s Bistro at Hobart Centre in Bryanston, and again later was updated by locals this place, also closed down.  So the economy has got to them, the chefs owners were at Le Soufflé for 10 years. Anyway, I put it here for the memories that is the them of the post anyway.

sa fourways le souffle bistro inside sep15

In the evening, I met a contact friend Paul from the now defunct VT travel forum  and as he had a car, I rode looking for this place I have heard call the Beer House, and after some trying as the friend was from Pretoria, we finally found the place ::) This is a pub with live music, 99 different beers and great menu in a resto laden road off the Witkoppen road as well but need to come by the Fourways Crossing mall side to get here.  We had a great time until very late; and a wonderful house burger and t bone steak with different beers but I stuck with the new found nice one Carling  Black Label. Just great company, happy lively place, good music and the place is loaded with likes establishements on the same side. However, this place has also closed down! so sad… The owner ran out of his lease and could not renew, heard was looking for a new location but no confirmation yet. For now, another down memory lane forever!!!

sa-fourways-beer-house-outside-sep15

It was time for me to say goodbye to the springboks once again, and another nice visit of many more memories to last. On my way back got the OR Tambo airport early so went for my airport lunch this time at a new place too .The Keg and Aviator pub , they were in the public area of the airport to your end right.  I had another of those big juicy burgers and more of the wonderful Carling Black Label beers. Well I told you this was memory lane, this one is closed too.

sa-tambo-keg-and-aviators-apt-sep15

The flight back was flawless, to Paris CDG T2E and then change easy to T2F for the last leg back to Nantes Atlantique where my car was waiting for the trip back home. It was a very nice trip with nice moments with nice people. There will always be hope for a next time! Hope you enjoy this bit of memories of South Africa.

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

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June 1, 2020

Lake Victoria and the Nile!

So now lets take a complete different course. Lucky me to have been to many places of our world, last count 81 countries, and hopefully still more to come. I have written briefly on my trip to Uganda on things like lodging, restos, seeing and such but the biggest thing there was left untouched. It is time for me to change that by telling you a bit on the Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile river in Uganda.

I came to Uganda. A wonderful place of many friendly people all eager to improve themselves. I landed at Entebbe airport , the unfamous name now much more peaceful in Uganda. The official page from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority is here:CAA on Entebbe airport

uganda

I will tell my story and then a bit of history I like on both Lake Victoria and the Nile river from web sources. Just for the memories and friendship of Uganda. The Nile river which starts here around Lake Victoria. While in Jinja, I did my baptism on the Nile river , a bit late but I was here!!! Well having a jet ski waverunner and driver helps a lot but the views were spectacular and of course on the way back to harbor I fell in the water trying to go from the jet ski to a fishing boat; no big deal it was shallow and had floating jacket on, quickly out, just my clothes were soaked. An experience to remember for life. Wonderful place thought.  The Nile crocodile has almost disappeared from this region of Africa. In Lake Victoria, spawning takes place in late December and in January, in the dry season when the water goes down. The eggs are laid in the sand where they incubate for three months. As my story above goes I was glad in a way ::)

uganda

uganda

Needless to tell you the jet ski ride was impressive going just to the border of Ripon Falls unbelievable!! A souvenir never to be forgotten, do not know when back, but this visit will stay longer than me! Let me tell you about the history from web sources to complete this post about Lake Victoria and the Nile river. Briefly….

uganda

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and (depending on sources) the fourth or second in the world in area with 68,100 km2. it is bordered by Kenya to the northeast, Uganda to the north and northwest and Tanzania to the south, southwest and southeast. Occupying a depression framed by the two branches of the Great Rift Valley, it is the source of the White Nile, the longest tributary of the Nile. Rather shallow (40 m on average, 83 m maximum) and located at 1,133 m above sea level, the lake occupies a depression formed by tectonic movements and framed by the two branches of the Great Rift Valley formed there four million years ago. Roughly rectangular with 320 km in length (from north to south) and 275 km in width (from east to west), the lake has very indented banks forming numerous peninsulas, bays, capes and more than 3,000 isles. Ferries connect the main ports of Lake Victoria, Kisumu, Mwanza, Bukoba, Entebbe, Port Bell and Jinja (Uganda).

uganda

The first source of scriptural information known to us on Lake Victoria comes from Arab merchants crossing the East African plateau from the coast in search of gold, ivory and slaves. Al Idrissi was, around 1160, the first to have drawn up a map clearly representing the lake and representing it as the source of the Nile. Europeans discovered the lake in 1858 when British explorer John Hanning Speke with Richard Francis Burton reached the south shore of Lake Nyanza. He renamed it after Queen Victoria who reigned at that time in the United Kingdom and in her colonies.  The lake was the scene of naval clashes during WWI between the British and the Germans. Faced with the disproportion of forces, the Germans had to withdraw from this area. A great write up must read by all me think is by Jules Verne, Five weeks in a balloon (Chapter XVIII is entirely devoted to Lake Victoria). It was the first title in the Voyages extraordinaires collection in 1863.

uganda

Nice map on Lake Victoria ,me think ,and talk about the ecosystem including fishes here: African Cichilid on Lake Victoria with map

The tourist office of Uganda on Lake Victoria: Visit Uganda tourist office on Lake Victoria

The Nile river with a length of about 6,700 km, it is with the Amazon River, the longest river in the world. It comes from the meeting of the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile rises at Lake Victoria (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania); the Blue Nile comes from Lake Tana (Ethiopia). Its two branches uniting in Khartoum, the capital of present-day Sudan, the Nile flows into the Mediterranean, forming a delta in the north of Egypt. With its two branches, the Nile crosses Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. It also runs along Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (with lakes Victoria and Albert respectively), and its watershed also concerns Eritrea thanks to its tributary of the Tekezé.   The Nile watershed covers 3,254,555 km2, roughly 10% of the area of Africa.

The source of the Nile is considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake is fed by rivers of considerable size. The longest river which flows into Lake Victoria, and which is therefore the most distant source, emerges from the Nyungwe forest in Rwanda, via the Rukarara, which flows into the Mwogo, then Nyabarongo and finally Kagera, before joining Lake Victoria in Tanzania near the city of Bukoba. The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls, near Jinja, Uganda (where I drove a jet ski!). The Nile was at the heart of the civilization of ancient Egypt. The majority of the population and all the cities of Egypt occupied the banks of the Nile north of Aswan; and has been the backbone of Egyptian culture since the Stone Age. The Nile had a spiritual dimension; meaning so much in the lives of the Egyptians, that they created a god consecrated to the well-being brought about by the annual flooding of the Nile. The name of this god was Hâpy and both he and the Pharaoh were supposed to control the flood of the Nile.

Although James Bruce claimed to have been the first European to have seen the source, modern authors consider that the first is rather the Jesuit father Pedro Páez. Europeans had settled in Ethiopia since the end of the 15C, and it is possible that they explored the river as close as possible to its source, but they could not envisage its course beyond Ethiopia. It was ultimately the British explorer Henry Morton Stanley who confirmed the truth of the discovery of Speke, by sailing around Lake Victoria and realizing the existence of the Ripon Falls on the north shore of the lake. It is during this trip that it is said that Stanley would have greeted the British explorer with the famous words “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” By discovering the sick and discouraged Scotsman in his camp at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

The White Nile expedition, led by the South African Hendri Coetzee, was the first to sail the entire length of the Nile. He left the source of the Nile in Uganda on January 17, 2004 and arrived at the Mediterranean Sea in Rosette, four months and two weeks later. National Geographic presented a film on the expedition at the end of 2005: The Longest River.

A fascinating river alright and glad could see its eyes or mouth of the Nile river from Lake Victoria Uganda side. A must to see for all.

A bit more on the Nile river and Uganda part in specific from geosciences here :Geo Sciences on the Nile River

Hope you enjoy the post and my most adventurous trip at the time, all worth it me think. Remember, natures of the best Lake Victoria and the Nile river!

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

April 2, 2020

Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria!

A few years back I had the opportunity to do a consulting job for an important fuel company base in the south of France. The mission was carried out in Lagos ,Nigeria for several months. I lived in Ikoyi a district of Lagos. I have told before the historical part and the restaurants and hotels of the area but and again, missed telling you about my residence. Well now is time to tell you all about it ok. Hope you enjoy the off the beaten path trip at Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.

The best areas are east of city center at Ikoyi (where I lived), and Victoria Island. The district of Lagos Island is the business area with an artificial island named Eko Atlantic City. I must tell you that even thus I was not there as a tourist and not many sites that can be tourist oriented at least at that time, I enjoyed very much the stay  ,travel all over even further away from Lagos and made many friends still in contact as much as this week, the reason to do this post. Friends forever, and they know my blog!

First, a bit about the district of Ikoyi.

Ikoyi is the most affluent neighborhood of Lagos, located in Eti-Osa Local Government Area.It lies to the northeast of Obalende and adjoins Lagos Island to the west, and at the edge of the Lagos Lagoon. Popular with the extreme upper class residents of Nigerian society, Ikoyi is arguably one of the wealthiest communities within Nigeria.

The area that makes up Ikoyi was originally a continuous land mass with Lagos Island, until it was separated from by a narrow waterway that was dug by the British colonial government. This canal has now been built over or filled so that the island is fused with Lagos Island once again.  During the colonial era, the island was developed as a residential cantonment for the expatriate British community and still retains many of the large colonial residences built between 1900 and 1950. Upmarket residential properties continued to be built after the colonial period, and the Island and its Dodan Barracks became the residence of some of Nigeria’s military rulers

One of the main attractions in Ikoyi is Awolowo Road, which is a high street lined with upscale shops and boutiques. Due to its proximity to Victoria Island and Lagos Island, much of Lagos’s business tourism is centred on Ikoyi, which has a mix of excellent 4-star hotels. The area is now home to several large luxury apartments,estates, and upscale office developments. Lagos Preparatory School (13+), regarded as Africa’s most highly accredited British School, is located in Ikoyi . The Lagos Jet Ski Riders Club, an elite club for the wealthiest of Nigerians is located in Ikoyi. Also, the Ikoyi Golf Club.

Bourdillon Road, Alexander Road and Gerrard Road, is a long stretch of road, that is considered to be the most prestigious not only in Lagos, but in Nigeria. Ikoyi includes the newer suburbs of Banana Island, Parkview Estate, Dolphin Estate and other luxurious blocks of flats that are springing up.

lagos

The Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge,wonderful to ride it over and more beautiful spots on that side;  is a 1.36 km cable-stayed bridge in Lagos State. It links the Phase 1 area of Lekki, with Ikoyi district of Lagos. The bridge was commissioned on the 29th of May 2013. The bridge is the first cable-stayed bridge to be built in Nigeria. The bridge has a 9-meters headroom above water level in order to allow for the flow of maritime traffic.   Tourists and other visitors also find this bridge as one of the places to visit and the bridge is the most photographed place in Lagos . The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg went on a morning run on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge on his visit to Lagos.

And now for my accommodations at Somerset Court, Ikoyi!

I stayed in a very nice compound, Osborne Foreshore Estates, call Somerset Court ,very well protected as it is the home of many armed forces personnel. The place is at  Ikoji, one of the nicest districts of Lagos, very nice with all amenities including a pool, billiard room,bar, restaurant, sports TV all over, exercise room, and very friendly staff.

lagos

Somerset Court is a top class luxury hotel situated at No 2, Asejire Close, Osborne Phase 1, Ikoyi, Lagos. It’s a tourist favorite due to its proximity to a lot of business outlet and also Ikoyi Golf Club among other leisure centres.

Somerset Court has rooms with classy and home feel with designs incorporating modern furnishing. Room categories include Executive Room and Suite. Some rooms have a view overlooking the city. Each room features a spacious bathroom, king-sized beds, cable connected LCD TV sets, refrigerators and air conditioners. A number of facilities are available, these include free WiFi, a swimming pool, a body spa, a restaurant and a bar. Guests at this hotel will have more time to enjoy their stay at the hotel. The hotel offers additional services on request such as 24-hour front desk, shuttle service, Concierge service, Luggage storage, Express check-in/check-out, Cleaning services, Room service, Free Parking Space, Ironing service, Car Rental, Dry cleaning/Laundry service and business center. All was wonderful!

lagos

Some assorted webpages to help you plan your trip here and know more about Ikoyi are

The Private Property guide on IkoyiPrivate Property on Ikoyi Lagos

A New York Times magazine article on Ikoyi that i found very informative. New York Time magazine on Ikoyi

And a very good local youtube video on Ikoyi  area of Lagos ,enjoy it

I like to again thanks all the staff at Somerset Court for a memorable stay and many nice souvenirs that won’t be forgotten. In the meantime, hope one day to return as really enjoyed my stay in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

 

 

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March 27, 2020

Amazing South Africa, Sandton and East London!

Loong ago back in 1998 I came here and then a long pause until 2012 , after several trips, the last was in 2015. Just touching base on my waterholes around the world and the friends gathered that are still on board! This is my hommage to these folks and my visits there. Of course, I have other posts on specific areas over the years too. South Africa is a vast land but my interaction have been in East London area a working class but also, has some nice neighbourhoods, then the Sandton area as Fourways are just superb it seems very nice architecture and lively.

The country has gone thru a metamorphosis and its looking very bright with growth potential even if as every where else there are economic problems. I was there always on business trips , so not much touristic side trips. Once in the country, the car was the main mode as I was driven around, so it look easy, and as I am a road warrior this was heavens.

I did spent several periods running from a few days to a couple of weeks at a time, and many new friends who treated me as if known for years. I was able to go into the country to meet customers right in their homes out in the country, very good roads, and gorgeous scenery. My early photos were taken with my blackberry phone, so not uptimum but ease of use when on business trips.

I arrive and was pick up by the transport folks of the hotel where I was staying, the Sitatunga Transfers folks were always very dependable, and the lodging was done at their property near Sandton at Sitatunga Guest Lodge. Webpage here: Sitatunga villas and transfer

sandton

The airport at Johannesbourg  OR Tambo is very nice with all conveniences and had easy in and out there all the time.   Official OR Tambo airport

Johannesburg

The nice terrace bar there at OR Tambo was Mandys now it is gone!!!and on a resto Vasllis Mediterranean that seems now closed in Sandton.

When we did go out we had fun at Fornos Bakery in Fourways near Sandton, great burgers, sausages, and drinks while looking out in the terrace over a shopping mall and passerbyers. Official Fournos Fourways

Sandton

I ,also was able to try the Gautrain underground station in Sandton, and direct to OR Tambo international airport, very easy magnetic card depends on your usage you buy from machine using bank cards or cash, very easy indeed,and modern, clean, fast and on time. webpage  https://www.gautrain.co.za/

Sandton

The airport at East London is smaller but then easy to manoeuvre and I was told the most expensive place to visit by plane as not too many connections available. It has an interesting zulu type shape roof. The great bar there was Mile High Bar but do not seems to find it now so probably closed as well. Official East London airport

You will be in an oasis and well treated. When I needed to move to East London,  I stayed at Thrity Six on Bonza ,another nice   boutique lodge ,gorgeously done, and great friendly service. Bonza Collection Thirty Six

east london

We had dinner on request at Thirty Six on Bonza as per above.

east london

I was even close to a beach at East London, very nice beaches in the area, especially Buffalo Beach , that just saw, ,and sure a promise to come back. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be back again, until then thanks for the memories and the friendships.

The tourist office of South AFrica on cities here: Official South Africa tourism

The tourist office of Gauteng, the region of Sandton, and Foursways: Tourist office of Gauteng on Johannesburg

The tourist office for East London is the metro area Buffalo City here: Official Buffalo City tourism

And there you go , a brief tour of a wonderful section of South AFrica. There is a lot more with a lot more time, I have done some see my other posts. Hope it helps you enjoy them as well. And me to be back, I will be back… Enjoy Sandton, Fourways, East London and South Africa.

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

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March 20, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXIII

And lets get back to some news from France. The world is on the move and we cannot stay away from it, even travel lovers who are most direct concern. We have covid19 or whatever you call it, and it is bad, hurting people all over. No need to give ranking who is more or less , and who is close or not, WE are all concern sooner or later. So lets get inside our homes, minimize outings , wash your hands often, do tele work like me and keep busy. I did my pressure cleaning outside my house and the garden bricks for example.

And lets help whenever we can volunteering in my town has started for the elderly and needy with a support team we are participating as on call basis. We can do it together, I know in France and Europe we had gone thru worse times and we overcame, we will this time too. Vive la France!!! Long live  a united Europe!! and as I am a believer, may God Bless you all!

Now the news from various sources in my belle France!

The French Senate gives green light to bill on state of health emergency. The Senate with a right-wing majority adopted on the night of Thursday to this Friday at first reading the bill allowing the establishment of a state of health emergency.  The text, voted by 252 votes in favor, 2 against and 90 abstentions, also authorizes the government to take measures to support businesses by ordinance and records the postponement of the second round of municipal elections “at the latest in June”.

In California USA finally placed in containment. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, decides to place the entire state and its 40 million inhabitants in containment to strengthen the fight against the pandemic. The directive is one of the most stringent measures announced in the United States since the start of the health crisis.  Los Angeles residents placed in confinement. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, ordered Thursday confinement of all the inhabitants of this metropolis of 4 million inhabitants, asking them to refrain from any unnecessary movement to stem the coronavirus pandemic. Good for California!!

The cases are increasing in the NBA. Two Los Angeles Lakers players infected with the new coronavirus on Thursday, three of the Philadelphia Sixers, one of the Boston Celtics and a member of the Denver Nuggets: cases are multiplying in the NBA, stopped for more than a week due to the pandemic. NBA in case you are visiting earth, is the National Basketball Association in the USA.

Visas suspended in the United States. The United States has suspended the issuance of all regular visas to all countries of the world, the US State Department announced. “As far as possible, embassies and consulates will continue to issue emergency visas,” they  said.

No containment for the whole of the United States. Donald Trump says he does not envisage confinement for the whole of the United States. Playing with fire as deaths mount.  Closure of the United States / Mexico border. US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo announces the closure of the US border with Mexico for “non-essential travel”. ah yes…

Reinforced measures in New York State. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has decreed a halt to all non-essential activities and a ban on all gatherings. NY NY!

Why mobile links sometimes leave something to be desired. From a technical point of view, telephone operators have “two points of vigilance”, the interconnection of networks and the traffic on submarine cables to the United States. Operators are strengthening interconnection capacities, which allow a subscriber of one network to reach the subscriber of another network. This explains the difficulties that some have encountered in recent days. This was running in some newspapers in the USA.

NASA suspends its lunar work. The American space agency announces to put a stop to the works of construction and test of the rocket and the ship of its manned mission Artemis on the Moon. This is due to the increasing number of people affected in its teams.

Half of Air Canada’s technically unemployed workforce. Air Canada will lay off more than 5,100 flight attendants, half of its workforce, according to a union source. The measure will affect approximately 3,600 flight attendants of the first Canadian airline and 1,549 members of its low-cost subsidiary Air Canada rouge, at least until April 30, specifies the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in a communication news.

 The prohibition of any movement and gathering on the roads on the banks of the Seine, the lawns of the Esplanade des invalides and the Champ-de-Mars, from Friday and for the weekend. This is in Paris.

The Paris Stock Exchange opens on a 5.48% jump to 4,066.79 points. The Paris Bourse attacks the session of conquering mood (+ 5.48%) this Friday morning, partly reassured by the massive monetary measures adopted by several governments and central banks, in particular the European Central Bank, to face the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Same trend in Frankfurt, London and Hong Kong. And it keeps going up in Paris but you know this is an up and down game!

SNCF traffic increasingly reduced. Only 15% of mainline trains this Friday, 25% TER and almost more connections abroad, indicates the SNCF. Traffic is 35% on the Transilien network of the Paris suburbs, according to the company. Abroad, the service was suspended to Germany, Italy and Spain. There are still 20% of Eurostar trains to London, 20% of Thalys trains to the Benelux, and, to Switzerland, a Paris-Geneva return trip and a Paris-Basel return trip. The offer is likely to be further reduced in the coming days.

Free transport for carers in the Grand Est. Caregivers will be able to borrow free from Saturday TER and intercity buses in the Grand Est region, announced the community, which wishes to facilitate their travel while Alsace pays a heavy price in the coronavirus epidemic

Orange awaits masks with great impatience. Orange, which had supplied stocks of masks to comply with the requisitions for healthcare staff is waiting with “great impatience” to receive new masks for these teams responsible for maintaining the networks, this Friday explains its CEO Stéphane Richard.

Call for volunteers in Ile-de-France hospitals. The regional health agency in Ile-de-France is launching an appeal to active or retired health workers to help healthcare establishments. This is going on all over France now!

Humane Society worries about many abandonments when shelters are already overcrowded. , OMG don’t be a monster, these loving animals need our help too, and they will be right with you, they do not get the virus so keep them in with you please. I have a loving dog Rex and he is part of my family no way he will be treated lesser.

The soldiers prepare the field hospital in Mulhouse. Preparations for the deployment of the military field hospital in Mulhouse are well under way. This morning, soldiers in lattice are on site to prepare the installation of 30 beds. The future hospital will be set up a few meters from the heliport, right next to the Emile-Muller hospital. Yes the Armed Forces are people too, great! The hospital has begun to be deploy and some patients are been transported to Toulon where there are more hospital military installations.

There are still 130,000 French people are stranded abroad. France must organize the return of some 130,000 nationals stranded abroad by the Covid-19 pandemic, said this Friday the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will need to find transport back to France, not an easy thing to do. French abroad have been exceptionally authorized to enter the Air France crisis center.

Already 18,000 reports since the start of confinement. According to a police source cited by BFMTV, since the start of the confinement on Tuesday noon, the police have carried out 225,000 checks for 18 reports. This is the control for people not to go out, some idiots do not understand still they need to stay home and go out as needed with a attestation de déplacement dérogatoire which can be obtain blue for individuals and red for professionals/entrprises from the Ministry of Interior webpage: Min Interior of France

The agents of the City of Paris will be able to issue fines. The law on the state of health emergency (under examination) should give the agents of the security service of the City the same powers as those of a “real” municipal police. Now now this is a bit hysterical.

President Macron of the French Republic: “The State is holding up”. Emmanuel Macron says a few words in front of the cameras before the defense council. “We have taken exceptional measures to absorb this first wave,” said the President of the Republic. The crisis is mobilizing all aspects of the life of the Nation ”. “The State is keen, we will be there in the long term,” he says, thanking his ministers for being there “morning, noon and night and overnight.”

Pension reform abandoned? During his speech last Thursday, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron announced a break from all the reforms undertaken. Interruption or total stop, the question arises at the top? I believe it will be an interruption while the virus crisis is on.

Social benefits paid automatically. Social benefits requiring regular declarations of resources to qualify for them, such as the RSA, the disabled adult allowance (AAH) or housing benefits, will be paid automatically to beneficiaries “incapacitated”, the government announced. This is in France, no need for forms if you were on these programs benefits will continue; Vive la France!

And are we will be getting mail? Six unions of La Poste claim in a letter to the Minister of Economy and CEO Philippe Wahl a “discussion about the missions that the La Poste group should carry out as a priority” during the coronavirus crisis, according to a press release.  The unions (CGT, CFDT, SUD, CFE-CGC, CFTC and Unsa) are alerting to the health and social situation within the La Poste group, where “security conditions are far from being maximum”, and note that ” the essential missions that La Poste and its subsidiaries must fulfill are very broad in concept ”.

The meetings of the Defense counsel starts. A Defense Council starts at the Ministry of the Interior, chaired by Emmanuel Macron, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the main ministers concerned. This is sort of a control center to monitored the needs and actions needed as we advance.

In Nice, the mayor Christian Estrosi announces the closure of the Promenade des Anglais and all the city’s markets. Good measure too many people there anyway! And it gets tougher. A curfew at 20h (8 p.m.) in Nice. Christian Estrosi, the mayor (LR) of Nice, issued an order to impose a curfew in his city from this Friday evening.

No national curfew in France. “It is not a question of establishing a national curfew on the whole territory but of supporting local initiatives, such as that of the mayor of Nice” who has implemented a curfew in his city at 20 hours every evening, starting today, specifies Christophe Castaner, Interior Minister.

In Cannes, the Palais des Festivals opened to accommodate the homeless. This announcement is made on France Info the mayor of the city, David Lisnard. This decision is made “both to protect them, but also to protect any population from the spread of the virus,” he said. Good deal Cannoises!

An emergency fund for companies in Lyon. The metropolitan area of ​​Lyon has created an emergency fund of 100 million euros for companies affected by the containment measures, allowing in particular the payment of aid of 1,000 euros per month for certain self-employed. This is just a regional effort, nationwide it is 1500 euros per month.

After Mulhouse, the army in Ajaccio to evacuate patients. For the second time in a few days, the French army will be involved in the fight against the new coronavirus: after the evacuation by military aircraft of patients from Mulhouse, the navy will transfer this weekend patients from Corsica to the Riviera. The amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Tonnerre of the French Navy will go to Ajaccio this weekend for “the medical evacuation of patients with Covid-19” to establishments in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, announces the prefecture of Corsica.

Creation of a buffer zone at the Saint-Etienne teaching hospital. The CHU of Saint-Etienne is preparing for a ramp-up of its capacity to receive patients with symptoms of coronavirus and has set up a “sorting center” near the emergency department.  This advanced medical center, in the form of a long canvas tunnel 18 meters long by 6 wide built from scratch within the grounds of the Hôpital Nord site in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez (Loire), has been fully disinfected. “It will be active in the coming days, depending on changing needs,” says the direction of the CHU.

The beaches of the Somme dept 80 Hauts de France are prohibited. The Somme prefecture has announced that it will prohibit access to the department’s beaches until March 31.

Several protective measures for public transport adopted in France. Public transport companies must disinfect their vehicles at least once a day, the climb from the front of buses is prohibited in principle and travelers must stand a meter from each other, according to a decree published in the Official Journal on Friday . Reinforced controls will be implemented this Friday and this weekend in Parisian stations. The Paris prefecture of police reminds in a press release that departures on holidays and weekends are not part of the cases covered by the certificate of derogatory travel.

New Caledonia closes its airport. All international flights to and from New Caledonia are suspended from midnight on Friday, the local government announced. Initially, the traffic was to stop gradually by Tuesday but the executive decided Friday late in the day to shorten the delay.

Back in America,we have the first three coronavirus deaths in Peru. The government reports a considerable increase in the number of cases for a total of 234 infected people across the country.

Rio de Janeiro ,Brazil closes its beaches and restaurants. The state of Rio de Janeiro announces that it will close its beaches, bars and restaurants for Saturday, for at least two weeks, in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. The decree published by Governor Wilson Witzel also provides for suspension of land, sea and air links with any other Brazilian state with at least one confirmed case of coronavirus, but the measure must be validated by the federal authorities.

Brazil prohibits entry to Europeans and Asians. These restrictions, valid for one month, apply to passengers on flights from the European Economic Area (European Union, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and of Malaysia, who do not have residence in Brazil or a professional or family justification to return to the country, specifies a ministerial decree.

Argentina decrees the containment of the population. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez decrees “preventive and compulsory” containment of the population from this Friday until March 31 to fight against the coronavirus.  Argentina has 128 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.

In Europe,  Youtube suspends HD. With European networks suffering from slowdowns, YouTube is stopping playback of HD videos to relieve European networks. In the wake of Netflix, the platform reduces its impact on the Internet by passing its content to Standard version. No problems still see them  fine.

No lifting of confinement before April 13 in Austria. Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announces that the week-long containment measures in the country, where travel is drastically limited, will be extended until April 13.

Cases are exploding in Belgium. The number of deaths jumped from 21 to 37, announce the Belgian authorities. The country records Friday 2,257 confirmed cases, against 1,795 identified the day before.

Oh my poor and resistant Spain passes the 1,000 dead mark. Spain is approaching 20,000 cases, announced this Friday the director of the health alert center Fernando Simon. The country has “1,002 deaths” and “nationally we have 19,980 cases, with an increase of 2,833 cases compared to yesterday (Thursday), an increase of 16.5%,” said Fernando Simon. The death toll has increased tenfold in seven days. It is second only to Italy in confronting this awful virus.

Arrival in the Czech Republic of a plane from China with a million masks. This plane landed this Friday in Prague. “The plane contains 1.1 million FFP2 masks that will be immediately distributed to hospitals and other places,” said Interior Minister Jan Hamacek at a televised press conference at Prague Airport . Prague acquired the equipment for around $ 3 million, he added. To be fully reported, China has done the same for Italy, Spain and France so far as well.

New restrictive measures expected in Italy. The Italian government is considering new restrictive measures which could be adopted quickly. “In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible,” announced Minister for Regional Affairs Francesco Boccia, citing, among other things, the possibility of suspending outdoor activities. The governors of the northern regions, the richest in Italy and the most affected by the epidemic with around 3,000 dead, are calling for even more closures and the deployment of the army to enforce these measures.

The most affected nation today, Italy .It is still the Milan region, Lombardy, where hospitals are overwhelmed, which pays the heaviest price, with 381 additional deaths (2,549 in total). In the country, nearly 6,000 additional cases have been detected, again a figure never reached before. Forza Italia!!!

Bavaria , Germany, is the first regional state to order containment. “We are going to reduce the whole of public life to almost nothing,” announces the head of the Bavarian government, Markus Söder, the measure having to enter into force at 11 pm (midnight) and initially to last two weeks.

Reinforced measures in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom orders the closure of pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theaters. It’s about time ….!

EasyJet will maintain the majority of its fleet on the ground. The British airline EasyJet has announced that most of its fleet will remain on the ground from 24 March. The carrier will only maintain a few connections to certain destinations, mainly from the United Kingdom or to the country.

Reinforced measures in Switzerland. Switzerland has tightened its measures, banning gatherings of more than 5 people, but has ruled out any confinement – a measure adopted by other European countries – believing that it was “spectacle politics”. The government has also released an additional 32 billion Swiss francs (30.4 billion euros) to support the economy. An envelope of 10 billion Swiss francs had already been announced a week ago. Hard to tell the Swiss lol!

Back on the source:  Second day with zero new local cases in China. For the second consecutive day, China reports no new local coronavirus contamination this Friday, even though the number of imported cases, 39, reached a record.

And be careful Africa.  Gabon announces its first death. A first patient died in Gabon of the new coronavirus, the second in sub-Saharan Africa after Burkina Faso, said this Friday the spokesman of the cell for monitoring the epidemic in this country which has counted so far only three cases . The 50-year-old patient “died at 8:05 am as a result of complications from his diabetes and an acute respiratory distress syndrome,” said spokesman Dr. Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong.

More than 200 cases already in South Africa, authorities worry. A total of 202 people are infected in the country by Covid-19, against 150 the day before, said the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize to the press in Bloomfontein (center). The authorities estimate that the disease could infect up to 60% of the country’s population of 56 million.

General confinement in Tunisia. Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced a general containment of the country, without specifying its date of entry into force or its duration, after having recorded an increase in the number of patients with coronavirus.

Jordan will impose a curfew from Saturday morning until further notice, the government spokesman said. The latter explained that this decision had been taken after “citizens’ failure to comply with the directives” asking them to leave their homes only in the event of an extreme emergency.

More than 10,000 deaths worldwide. At least 10,316 deaths worldwide are now totaled, according to a report established by AFP on Friday. More than 5000 of these deaths are in Europe. Since the count made the previous day at 19h (7:00 p.m.), there have been 490 new deaths. If you like to keep count, there is Worldometer/coronavirus site that maintains tallies worldwide here: Worldometers information on Coronavirus

The Euro carried over to 2021 will be called … again Euro-2020. The Euro football initially planned for next summer but postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic will officially keep its name of Euro-2020, announced UEFA.

Of course, these news will change and expand in the coming days, weeks, and I promise not to give count of the virus, enough to have it recorded. Let’s keep the spirits up . Best wishes for everybody!!

And remember, happy travels, YES, good health, we will pray together, and best wishes to all!! indeed as always by yours truly.

 

 

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!!!

 

 

 

November 29, 2019

The foodie in me, best restaurants! World and France!!!!!

Ok so this is fun for me and love to eat good haa that is maybe one good reason I am in France lol! Written pieces on food and wine before, and will try once in a while to post interesting foodies reports here. I just saw one that caught my attention and translated a bit of it from Les Echos business journal on their weekend edition.

First, credit where credit is due, this is the Les Echos webpage on the whole article in French: Les Echos on the best restaurants in the world from La Liste!

And here are some excerpts in English

What are the best restaurants in the world? The question may seem inept, or terribly complicated … Better for what and for whom? Five years ago, Philippe Faure decided to take the issue seriously, and even to respond methodically. The former diplomat, who also owned the Gault & Millau guide and President of Atout France (the national tourism development agency), founded La Liste, an app that lists the best restaurants in 180 countries for travelers. A “metaclassement”, a bit like that of ATP for tennis or that of Shanghai for universities, which provides both a practical tool (the app La Liste) and a very original track record. By its methodology, it puts forward addresses often different from the three Michelin stars, or the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world established by the British The World’s 50 Best thanks to the votes of regional juries.

In exclusivity, Les Echos Week-End reveal the main results of The 2020 List, which will be formalized on Monday, December 2, during a ceremony at the Quai d’Orsay

Starting with the laureates, who are four this year. Two new names appear, and both are in Tokyo: Nihonryori Ryugin and Sugalabo. The first, an institution run by Seiji Yamamoto, offers elegant traditional cuisine (kaiseki). The second, only 20 seats, was created five years ago by Yosuke Suga, a chef with a more international and even French inspiration, since he worked for Joël Robuchon for a long time. The two other 2020 winners are more familiar to the list, since they were already big winners last year: Le Bernardin in New York, a Manhattan restaurant whose chef, Eric Ripert, is French, and Guy Savoy at the Monnaie,Paris.

Of the 1,000 best restaurants on the planet that we have distinguished, Japan is the first country in terms of number of establishments this year. It is being followed by China, which is gaining momentum. Then come France, then the United States. However, France is still doing well. We have made the accounts: with 120 restaurants ranked in the Top 1 000 for 67 million inhabitants, France has a ratio of 1.8 per million inhabitants. It is better than Japan and its 148 tables among the best 1,000 (1.16), and much better than the United States (0.28) or China (0.1). We are reassured!!!!!

Find the list of the first nine restaurants in the ranking, whose score is 99 or above.

Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris / France (Paris) / Chef : Guy Savoy / Score : 99.5

Le Bernardin / Etats-Unis (New York) / Chef : Eric Ripert / Score : 99.5

Nihonryori Ryugin / Japon (Tokyo) / Chef : Seiji Yamamoto /  Score : 99.5

Sugalabo /Japon (Tokyo) / Chef : Yosuke Suga / Score : 99.5

 Kitcho Arashiyama / Japon (Kyoto) / Chef : Kunio Tokuoka / Score : 99

 L’Arpège / France (Paris) / Chef : Alain Passard / Score : 99

 Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse / Monaco / Chef : Alain Ducasse / Score : 99

 Martín Berasategui / Espagne (Lasarte-Oria) / Chef : Martin Berasategui / Score : 99

 Sushi Saito / Japon (Minato-ku) / Chef : Takashi Saito / Score : 99

For business travelers or inveterate foodies, here are the best restaurants according to The 2020 List, in 20 capitals or major cities on the planet.

Amsterdam : Ciel Bleu / Chefs : Onno Kokmeijer et Arjan Speelman

Barcelona : Lasarte / Chef : Martin Berasategui

Berlin : Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer / Chef : Hendrik Otto

Brussels : Sea Gril / Chef : Yves Mattagne *

Doha : Idam (Alain Ducasse) / Chef : Damien Leroux

London : Gordon Ramsay / Chef : Gordon Ramsay

Lyon : La Mère Brazier / Chef : Mathieu Viannay

Madrid : Coque / Chef : Mario Sandoval

Marseille : Le Petit Nice / Chef : Gérald Passedat

Montréal : Le Mousso / Chef : Antonin Mousseau-Rivard

Moscow : Twins Garden / Chef : Ivan et Sergey Berezutskiy

New York : Le Bernardin / Chef : Eric Ripert

Paris : Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris / Chef : Guy Savoy

Pékin : The Beijing Hongkong Jockey Club / Chef : Johnson Meng

Rome : La Pergola / Chef : Heinz Beck

San Francisco : Atelier Crenn / Chef : Dominique Crenn

Shanghai : Ultraviolet / Chef : Paul Pairet

Singapore : Odette / Chef : Julien Royer

Tel Aviv : Lumina / Chef : Meir Adoni

Tokyo : Sugalabo** / Chef : Yosuke Suga

Tokyo : Ryugin** / Chef : Seiji Yamamoto

* Déménage en mai 2020 à la Villa Lorraine.

** Ex aequo.

The authors of La Liste (the List), also list good bistros around the world. Here are their ten favorites in the Hexagone (France).

Au Vieux Comptoir ; obsolete, genre The Traversée de Paris. The charcuterie (Jura, Basque Country, pâté de l’Ardèche) is carefully selected, such as scallops, fish or veal kidneys from Corrèze. Regressive desserts, like this drunk baba of rum. 17, rue des Lavandières Sainte-Opportune, 75001 Paris. Tél. : 01 45 08 53 08. Budget menu à la carte from  40- 55 €.

Le Grand Pan :  Benoît Gauthier has earned a loyal following with his no-frills appetizers (creamy cold white bean soup) and left the choice between a saddle of golden lamb with saltire or a braised pork cheek with red wine. In the evening, soup of office, and choice between a pork chop (Ibaïona), beef (blonde of Aquitaine), veal (of Mauléon) or a Breton lobster. 20, rue Rosenwald, 75015 Paris. Tel. : 01 42 50 02 50. Count from 35 to 55 €.

Café de la Fontaine :Bruno Cirino is a huge chef whose talent can be put to the test both at the Café de la Fontaine and the Hostellerie Jérôme, the big table in the hinterland. Depending on the season, the market or the auction, the menu will feature a brandade of sweet pepper cod or Mediterranean fillet of red mullet with wild fennel. 4, avenue du General de Gaulle, 06320 La Turbie. tel. : 04 93 28 52 79. Menu 33 €.

Café Brunet :  Installed in 1875 in a building of the fourteenth century, this bistro is resistance. Here, no trendy dishes or interchangeable menus. The canaille menu announces the color: féra, apples in oil, candied pork cheek or grilled sausage, French toast … found. 18, place Gabriel Fauré, 74940 Annecy. tel : 04 50 27 65 65. From 26 € to 33 €.

Mets Môts : The old printing press has kept some traces of its past, but the delicate and tasty cuisine does not invite nostalgia. The pie, tart red cabbage, like the blood pigeon, fondue caramelized or pumpkin pie recall that the chef is a former Gagnaire. 98, rue Fondaudège, 33000 Bordeaux. tel : 05 57 83 38 24. Menus lunch 22 €, evening 33 € and 58 €.

Le Goût des Choses : It is said that Marseille is the capital of a continent named Mediterranean. Precisely, Olivier Rathery went on a stroll before settling there, about ten years ago. The slightly aniseed cod moss evokes Florida, the Chimichurri sauce applied to Simmental beef fillet, Argentina. 4, Place Notre-Dame-du-Mont, 13000 Marseille. tel : 04 91 48 70 62. Menus 24 € (debit), 32 and 41 €.

Daniel et Denise : Created in 1968 by Daniel Léron (MOF), taken over by Joseph Viola in 2004 (also MOF), this corkscrew institution is a sanctuary of the sapper apron, fat double (in the cap), passed the beaten egg, breaded, seared served crispy with a gribiche sauce or a snail butter. 156, rue de Créqui, 69003 Lyon. tel : 04 78 60 66 53. Formula (dej.) 21 €, seasonal menu 33 €.

Le Bistrot d’Antoine :A stone’s throw from Place Saint-Etienne, in the heart of Strasbourg, Antoine Kuster proudly composes his menu with the products and traditions of Alsace. Frog legs, schniederspaetle (stuffed ravioli), wild boar stew, roasting cock, hand-molded pudding. A paradise for gourmets. 3, rue de la Courtine, 67000 Strasbourg. tel: 03 90 24 93 25. Menu 33 €, carte 45 €.

Terre-Mer : (yes this is in my area !!! good one)This is the good address of Auray, in the Gulf of Morbihan, where Anthony Jehanno and his wife remind us of the immemorial links that the Bretons have woven with the sea. The “pot-au-feu” of  gamberoni and marrow , followed by a monkfish tail, boudin, hock and langoustine bisque illustrate a creative and respectful approach to the products.20, rue Louis Billet, 56400 Auray. tel. : 02 97 56 63 60. Formula 28 €, menus 34 and 55 €.

Le Patio :   Although it promises to be self-taught, the young chef has a job: for example, scallops, cream of endives, confit pork belly, potatoes, or small cabbages (chocolate and passion cream). /blood orange). No map, but a slate and a reasonable addition. 5, rue Christine, 50100 Cherbourg. tel : 02 33 52 49 10. Menus 22 € (lunch) and 30 €.

And there you go folks, we keep on ticking the world with the best culinary skills and tastes even in far away places , they are either French inspired or French expatriates doing the work of heavens on earth. Bon appétit!!

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

 

November 10, 2019

My early life in my blog!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1972. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in. Posted: November 28 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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