Posts tagged ‘Americas’

April 2, 2020

The Gauchos of Porto Alegre!

So, lets stay with Brazil shall we. A huge country of many faces and sights which I had the opportunity to see over the years from north to south and even lived there for several months and speak the language, Portuguese. Many souvenirs and friends over these years that are still in touch!

I like to bring from the vault a visit and friends that made the trip and the introduction to Brazil much more enjoyable. Porto Alegre was the first city I visited in Brazil, and they are the Gauchos of Brazil! Let me tell you a bit about it ok

A bit about the State of Rio Grande do Sul!

The Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost of the 27 States of the Federative Republic of Brazil. It is separated from the State of Santa Catarina by the Rio Mampituba, is bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by the Argentina and Uruguay. Its capital is Porto Alegre. The inhabitants of the state are called Rio Grandenses or, more commonly, Gauchos!

A bit of history to set up the State of Rio Grande do Sul (big southern river)

In 1627 the Spanish settled near the Uruguay river, but were expelled from it by the Portuguese in 1680, who founded the colony of Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata. However, Spanish Jesuits established missions in 1682 in a geographical area straddling the contemporary states of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.  In 1737, the Portuguese arrived in present-day Rio Grande do Sul with the military expedition of José da Silva Paes. Many conflicts later broke out with the Spanish for the possession of the land and did not end until 1801.  In 1816, the Portuguese extended their presence in the region by seizing the Banda Oriental (en. Eastern Band ,the old name of Uruguay), which became a Brazilian province, the Cisplatin Province. But in 1825, the independence of Uruguay is proclaimed; a war ensued until its recognition by Brazil in 1828.

On February 28, 1821, after the proclamation of the Republic in Brazil, the State of Rio Grande do Sul was formed. In the 19C, the Rio Grande do Sul was the scene of several federalist revolts, such as the Farrapos War (1835-1845). During the Revolution of 1893, left-wing insurgents occupied the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná, occupying the city of Curitiba, but were ultimately overthrown due to their inability to obtain war ammunition. Then in 1923,a civil war broke out again between supporters of the President of the State, and the opposition. In 1930, the president of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Getúlio Vargas, after having presented himself without success in the presidential elections against the candidate of São Paulo, took the head of a revolt against the federal government and succeeds in overthrowing it. This led to the dictatorship of Vargas in 1937 and the period known in Brazil as the Estado Novo (en New State, same new and similitude with the one in Portugal); the  Third Republic which ended the dictatorship of Vargas in 1945. And the rest is the modern history of Brazil.

Coming now to my city of Porto Alegre the first city ever visited by me in Brazil , as well as been the Capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, and the largest city in the southern region of Brazil. The city was established on the east bank of the Rio Guaiba, a bay within which converge five rivers that form the Lagoa dos Patos. The latter is a huge lake that faces south on the Atlantic Ocean. It is thanks to it that Porto Alegre is in constant contact with the sea, even if it is not by the sea. The activities of the port are so important that every year, the locals celebrate a feast dedicated to Our Lady of the Navigators or Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes. This event is held every February 2.

The first inhabitants of Porto Alegre were the Amerindians Minuanos and Tapes who were mainly cattle breeders. The Portuguese from the Azores then arrived who brought in the African slaves. After the abolition of slavery in the country and especially its independence, new immigrants also came to settle there, including Germans, Poles and Italians.   As the city is very close to Uruguay, its history is also linked to it, including that of Gaucho culture. This term describes the culture in which the Gauchos evolve every day, cattle breeders who also specialize in rodeo. the majority of the inhabitants are strongly anchored in the gaucho culture which implies musical traditions as well as the famous rodeo or throwing a bottle intended to capture the cows. The gaucho are in Argentina, Uruguay and in the south of Brazil, a guardian of herds of the South American plains or the pampa, in the same way in Paraguay, in the south-east of Bolivia by Tarija   and the south of Chile . In Brazil, the term is at the origin of the gentile Gaucho, which is used to designate the inhabitants of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

My wonderful introduction to the Brazilian Gaucho tradition at Porto Alegre was at the magnificent Churrascaria Galpao Crioulo ; Rua Otavio Francisco Caruso da Rocha s / n and praça Mauricio Sirotsky Sobrinho square. The official webpage in Portuguese here: official churrasqueria Galpao Crioulo in Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre

I was with local friends and their families and had a great meal, wine of the region and a great Gaucho show. The youtube video below best show this wonderful tradition.

 

The tourist office for Porto Alegre in Portuguese with contact info: Official govt tourist section with contacts info for Porto Alegre

Tourist office of Brazil on Porto Alegre in Spanish (cant seen to find others) : Tourist office of Brazil on Porto Alegre

Tourist office of State of Rio Grande do Sul on Porto Alegre in Portuguese: Tourist office Rio Grande do Sul on Porto Alegre

And there you go a wonderful world different from what most think of Brazil. Lucky to have been there and won’t mind going back, time will tell…For now enjoy the Gauchos of Porto Alegre.

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

 

April 1, 2020

Copacabana!!! yes Brazil!!!

So here I am picking up some oldies from my vault to tell you about a wonderful country and a great city of our world, more precisely one of the best known spots on Earth. I have written pieces before but fell a post should be merited. Let me tell you a bit more on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A bit on the name first shall we

There are several hypotheses for the name Copacabana. The first alleges that the term came from the Quechua language spoken in the ancient Inca Empire, meaning “luminous place”, “blue beach or” viewpoint of blue”. Other sources point to the term as originating from the Aymara language spoken in Bolivia, meaning “view of the lake. “. In that country, Copacabana is the name given to a city located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, founded on an ancient Inca place of worship. There are reports that, in this place, before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, there was the cult of a deity called Kopakawana, who would protect the marriage and the fertility of women.

The beach and the entire region around it had the Tupi name of “Sacopenapã”, which means “the noise and the flapping of the wings of the socós”. In the 18C, with the opening of a chapel in honor of Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, or Our Lady of Copacabana on a rock at the end of the beach, the name of the beach and the region was changed to Copacabana.

And the beach at Copacabana!

Copacabana is a district of Rio de Janeiro. It is located south of the city. The district includes the beach of the same name, one of the most famous beaches on the planet. The area is lively and full of good restaurants, cinemas, banks. Many football fans come to spend time there.. The beach is a half-moon extending for 4.5 km, from Leme to the Arpoador, along Avenue Atlântica. It is nicknamed in Portuguese the Princesinha do Mar, or the little princess of the seas as heard on the song by Tom Jobim. Copacabana is one of the tourist emblems of Rio de Janeiro. On August 13, 1923, the Copacabana Palace Hotel was opened, in front of the beach. Since then, the hotel has become a symbol of the city

Leme is usually a less crowded corner of the beach. It is the left end for those looking towards the sea, close to the rock of the same name and those who have a view of the shore almost as spectacular as that of Arpoador, in neighboring Ipanema. Although the strip of sand is the same, it is considered another neighborhood, and has two favelas (Babilônia and Chapéu-Mangueira) that can scare the unsuspecting a little. But, in general, everything is quiet on the boardwalk, in the sand and in the nearby streets, without major problems.

Then, Posto (station) 2 is almost in front of the trendy Copacabana Palace Hotel. There is the most crowded spot on the waterfront at any time, as it is the first drop off by bus or metro/subway at Cardeal Arcoverde station from city center/downtown or from the north of Rio. During New Year’s Eve, you can hardly walk. But few things compare to the grandeur of the Copa (the hotel’s nickname) facing the sea.

Posto (station) 3, 4 and 5 are right in the middle of the beach, a little less crowded, but no less beautiful. At Posto 3 there is the Siqueira Campos metro/subway station, while Posto 4 receives the third and last one in the neighborhood, Cantagalo metro/subway station. Both are further into the beach at about 300 meters.

Finally, the stretch of sand ends at Posto 6, with the famous statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade and at the Copacabana Fort, which has the Army Historical Museum and the delicious café Confeitaria Colombo, where it is it is possible to have a breakfast or afternoon snack with a view of the entire length of the beach. During Sundays and holidays, Avenida Atlântica is closed in its closest part to the boardwalk, and it is possible to ride a bike, rollerblade, skateboard or just walk / run with ease.

Rio de Janeiro

The district of Copacabana has four metro/subway stations such as Cardeal Arcoverde, Siqueira Campos, Cantagalo and General Osório; and more than eighty municipal and intercity bus lines. Which, of course, did not took any as had a car   lol!

This is the skyline webcam on Copacabana beach, beautiful even from a distance: Skyline webcam on Copacabana beach

A bit on the anecdote and main reason of writing this post.  Hotéis Othon is one of the largest network of hotels in Brazil. The first Othon hotel was launched in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, former “Hotel Aeroporto” close to the city airport, today known as Aeroporto Othon Travel. Until the seventies it was built and launched seven more hotels at the famous Copacabana beach. From the year 2000 on, the Othon group of hotels started to operate third parties units abroad with 11 units in countries such as France, Portugal, United States of America, Argentina and Peru. In 2003, Othon decided to invest in a new market, creating the brand “Othon Pousadas”, starting to manage tourist class hotels or “Bed & Breakfast”.  In the same year, there was the start-up of the managing of condos with the launch of the Othon Brand “Othon Flats” ,today “Othon Suítes” , with five units. At the moment, they currently operate 12 hotels, four of which are wholly owned by the Company and eight of them owned by third parties, which are managed units. The Rio Othon Palace unit, situated at the famous Copacabana beach, is one of the most famous national luxury hotel, Seven floor are now, after the modernization, included in the luxury category, focusing on business executives guests.

However, I have a story here. While visiting Rio for the first time back in the 80’s we were booked by my company a trip here and apparently by mistake they booked us on the Copacabana Palace which of course at the time was like 500 US Dollars per night. This was too much, and they cancelled the reservation. I came to know this while at Guarulhos airport! When asked to booked me in another hotel before I got to the city, the company booked me at the Othon Palace Hotel which was at that time at 150 US dollars per night. The good deed for me, they ,also, make a mistake and instead of booking for two night they did it for three so an extra day of enjoying Copacabana beach!!! The Rio Othon Palace Hotel is a highrise hotel with 98 meters high , 30-stories which opened in 1977 and had 585 guest rooms.

Rio de Janeiro

The official Othon Palace webpage in English: Othon Hotels on the Othon Palace Copacabana Hotel

And there you, been back and have enjoyed always. A wonderful souvenir for me and still many friends from those times . Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana beach, Brazil, nice! Hope you have enjoy the tour

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

 

March 26, 2020

Trés Coraçoes, Brazil!!!

So I am back in my memorable Brazil. I have many posts on the country and its cities in my blog; needless to expand more as I also lived , work and speak the language. However, let me tell you a bit more about a peculiar spot there.

Have you heard of Pelé? Do you follow football/soccer? Then , welcome to Trés Coraçoes! Read on…

Três Corações is a town in the State of Minas Gerais, and it is Pelé’s birthplace. The town of Três Corações is located in the Rio Verde basin, this being the main water course that crosses the territory.

tres coracoes

The main things to see here of course and only for the die hard football/soccer aficionado like me who welcome him to the NY Cosmos way back in the USA is the Monumento ao Tri at the Praça Coronel José Martins square.  It pays a fair tribute to the Tri-World Football Championship, won by Brazil, in Mexico, in 1970. It includes a special tribute paid by the locals to their eldest son , Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Rei Pelé.

Casa Pelé , this is a replica of the house where the King of Football lived as a child in Três Corações on the real terrain was rebuilt. Located on Rua Edson Arantes do Nascimento, nº 1.000, city center/downtown.

They even made a museum in his native home, even if he hardly visit the town now.  So much for the fame; the museum of Pele or Museu Terra do Rei , is open Mondays to Fridays from 8h to 18h and Saturdays from 9h to 13h. More on the museum in Portuguese from the Minas Gerais portal here: Minas Gerais on museum of Pele

tres coracoes

Now this is great coffee country and wonderful vendas or farm selling the wonderful Mineira food.  Some of the best coffees in the world are produced here, mainly in the state of Minas Gerais. The coffee plantations, which cover about 10,000 square kilometers, are located mainly in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Espírito Santo, in the Southeast and South, in Paraná, where the environment and climate offer ideal conditions for growth. In Minas Gerais, the largest exporting state, the culture of coffee production gained strength from 1907. The union of coffee growers of Minas Gerais in Portuguese here: http://sindicafe-mg.com.br/tipos-de-cafe

And for my recommendation of places where you can buy this wonderful brew direct there , my favorites, Trés Coraçoes, their webpage is here:Cafe Tres Coracoes

And to try a cup on site go the Cafeteria Grao Terra in Trés Coraçoes; webpage here:  Cafeteria essencia da terra and grao terra

I stayed briefly once there, of staying at the Pousada Calabreza, a simple hotel too simple the TV did not work but did had time to rest after the long 4 hrs trek by car.  They have a hotel propertly said in city center a bit better for longer accommodations;  I actually moved to the town nearby Varghina.  For a night stay over this one is ok. The Facebook page is here : Facebook page on Pousada Calabreza

tres coracoes

And for eating we went to Venda do Chico right around Tres Coraçoes for lunch, a great country place right in the woods with beautiful gardens and great souvenir and foodie store as well as the great restaurant. Real food, Mineira or miners’s town food hearty and plenty at excellent prices.  See it here and take a look at the photos! Venda do Chico restaurant store

tres coracoes

 

And to do things in reverse, let me tell a brief history of the town of Trés Coraçoes:

Três Corações do Rio Verde became part of the Minas Gerais Province in 1873, after the President of the province sanctioned laws establishing that the territory was part of its civil parish. The town continued to develop civically after Emperor Pedro II, and the imperial family visited it in 1884, for the inaugural of the Minas & Rio railroad. The railroad connected the town to Cruzeiro, a town in São Paulo Province. Three months following the emperor’s visit, the town was emancipated and became a city. Though formally known as Três Corações do Rio Verde, on September 7, 1923, the city became known as Três Corações.

The city of Trés Coraçoes webpage in Portuguese is here: City of Tres Coracoes

Tourist portal of Minas Gerais on things to do in the area in Portuguese: Tourism of Minas Gerais on things to do

And there you go , a small spot but very off the beaten path for the real taste of Brazil, this time in Minas Gerais and Trés Coraçoes. Hope you enjoy the brief tour.

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

 

 

March 26, 2020

The streets of Mexico DF, some!

So let me bring you back to the land of tequila, mariachis, beaches and architecturally stunning sites; my Mexico. One of the countries I have visited the most over the years and family there!

I like to tackle the streets of Mexico city or some of them in this post. Hope you enjoy it.

I always wanted to write something on the streets of Mexico City and finally took the challenge. Of course, this is a monumental task in a huge city and even if I have driven by it or driven with for most of it do not have enough photos. Probably the reason not written on the subject before. However, have some and here I go for you. Hope you enjoy it in one of the world’s most congested cities, driving is a thrill and a challenge. All handle well by your road warrior!

Let me start with my favorite area. The place known as the Zona Rosa is a space that over the years has become a commercial area. Located within Colonia Juárez, which belongs to the Cuauhtémoc Delegation of Mexico City. It is surrounded to the north by Paseo de la Reforma, to the south by Avenida Chapultepec, to the east by Avenida de los Insurgentes and to the west by Avenida Florencia . All largely walked by yours truly over the years as well. This is my Mexico city central!

You know why this area was call Zona Rosa or pink zone? Well several theories, my favorite was written by the Mexican painter José Luis Cuevas, whose explanation was that the pink color of the area comes from being a red area at night, and white area during the day. Indeed this is a happening area and my home even if over the last few years it has become the LBTG central as well.

Likewise, he has declared on numerous occasions both in the press and on television, that the name originally emerged as a tribute to the Cuban actress Rosa Carmina born in Havana,(1929), who is a film actress and Cuban television, dancer, singer, rumbera and star based in Mexico ; you can search for her work. She belongs to the so-called Golden Age of Mexican cinema as one of its main stars. For some years, she lives in Barcelona, Spain.

The most notable street for bars has to be Calle Amberes. All between Avenida Chapultepec and Paseo de la Reforma!   This is my central central and as said lately the home of its LBTG bars even if all are welcome including me! I have stayed here several times on the Royal Hotel and the Basque/Spanish Tezka restaurant, and just around in Calle Genova the Konditori now closed. And by Calle Hamburgo, El Lugar del Mariachi still open. And just across the street Avenida Chapultepec another old favorite the Segovia Regency Hotel.

Mexico

Mexico

Moving on to Calle Mercaderes,Colonia San Jose Insurgentes is   home of Fiesta Inn hotel , City Express Hotel and the El Gran Leon de Oro restaurant. All of my usual stays over the years. As well as Le Pain Quotidien Belgian chain resto ; Teatro Insurgentes and the Parque de los Hundidos ,and of course the Lamborghini car dealer for Mexico lol!

Mexico

I moved into more business like areas and reach the Avenida Centenario, by delegation Alvaro Obregon home of Teatro Centenario Coyoacan and Arcos de Centenario a very nice residential area of friends.

mexico

mexico

And really central for me and close to all the others is the hugely popular and grand Avenida de los Insurgentes which is a set of three continuous avenues that form one of the main road axes in Mexico City. With a combined length of almost 29 km, it crosses most of the Mexican capital. It is divided into three avenues or zones: the Norte (north), the Centro (center), the Sur (south) zone, which is the one I have been the most. The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur, from Paseo de la Reforma, to the Caminero Monument, its numbering starts north and ends south between 1 and 5000, north to south. This area begins at the intersection with Paseo de la Reforma and due to its extension it will be divided into several areas.

 

I will mention the ones I crossed either by car or walking! These are the Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Cuauhtémoc – Juárez). Between Paseo de la Reforma and Avenida Chapultepec It is characterized because to its west is the popularly called Zona Rosa, while to the east is the Colonia Juárez which is characterized by its architecture, where the modern and tall buildings that surround it.

Mexico

The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Roma). Between Avenida Chapultepec and Miguel Alemán Viaduct and it begins at the so-called Glorieta de Insurgentes , built by the works of Line 1 of the Metro and where the Insurgentes metro Station is located, this gazebo is characterized by being sunk with respect to the rolling area, having several tunnel accesses, such as the Zona Rosa and this is characterized by being one of the main meeting centers of the LGBT community.

Mexico

Mexico

The Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur (Napoles – Del Valle). Between the Miguel Alemán Viaduct and the Interior Circuit. We find one of the areas with the highest economic level in the country, in which there are several colonies such as Napoles, Colonia Insurgentes Mixcoac, Colonia Nochebuena, Colonia del Valle and the remains of the Pueblo de San Lorenzo. Tlacoquemecatl. In this segment, the World Trade Center building in Mexico City stands out (see my post on views from above Mexico city). You , also find in this area the wonderful Monumental Plaza de toros (bullfight arena) and the so-called Estadio Azul (Blue Stadium) This stadium was home from 1996 to 2018 of the Cruz Azul FC of the Mexican first division football/soccer. It has been said, that it might be demolished in 2020 as the team plays now its games at the Estadio Azteca.

The tourist office of Mexico city in English: Tourist office of Mexico city

The Atlas turistico of Mexico City in Spanish: Atlas turistico of Mexico city

Tourist office of Mexico on Mexico City in English: Tourist office of Mexico on Mexico city

And there you go a wonderful tour of Mexico City; you do not have to do it by car, once in the location walking around is magical and allows you to see the architecture styles of this great metropolis. Enjoy the streets of Mexico city as I do!

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

 

March 25, 2020

The Gentlemen from Paris, Havana!

And here is a nice story of my lointime Cuba. This was very popular and all our grandparents told us stories of him. One of the souvenirs is that I actually saw him in Havana before leaving long ago. It’s about time I write about him in my blog.

Therefore, this is story of the Gentlemen from Paris or El Caballero de Paris.

The story goes that José María López Lledín was an elegant vagabond known as El Caballero de París (The Gentleman From Paris) who wandered the streets of  La Habana (Havana) and was a well-known cult figure in the city. According to the birth certificate issued by the district court of Fonsagrada  in Lugo, province of Galicia, in Spain , López Lledín was born in the village of Vilaseca, located near the Asturian border and the Eo river.  The fourth of eleven children, was born on 30 December, 1899 in Vilaseca, in the Municipality of Fonsagrada, Province of Lugo, Galicia. As many in Cuba came from this region of Spain.

Traveling in the German passenger ship S.S. Cheminitz, he arrived in Havana at twelve years of age on 12 December, 1913. His mother was Josefa Lledín Mendes and his father was Manuel Lopez Rodriguez; the owners of a small vineyard, they produced and sold wine and Sherry. He was baptized in the Parish of Salvador de Negueira.

According to his sister Inocencia, he worked as a tailor and in a bookshop. Later he worked as a waiter in the hotels Inglaterra, Telegrafo, Sevilla, Manhattan, Royal Palm and Saratoga. There are many stories as to why he lost his mental sanity but all of them converge on the fact that he was imprisoned in the Castillo del Principe ( Prince’s castle, used many times as a prison) in 1920 for a crime he did not commit.

El Caballero de París was a cult figure in Havana in the 40s and 50s. He was of medium height, disheveled hair with some gray hair and a beard. He always wore black, with a long coat of the same color, even during the summer. He used to carry a folder full of papers. He was a gentle and educated man who roamed the streets and traveled by bus all over the city, greeting people and discussing philosophy, religion and politics. He never asked for alms or said bad words, he only accepted money from people he knew or liked.

He could regularly be found in the Paseo del Prado; the Avenida del Puerto; in a park near the Plaza de Armas; near the Church Iglesia de Paula; in the Parque Central, where he sometimes slept on one of the benches; in Calle Muralla street; near streets Infanta and San Lazaro; and in the corner of 23rd and 12th streets in El Vedado.  It is remembered seeing him walking along the central path of the Fifth Avenue (5th ave) in Miramar, where he usually was in the afternoons. I am not sure but i believe i saw him by the Parque Central.

He was late in life diagnosed as suffering from Paraphrenia, a late-onset mental disorder featuring such symptoms as delusions and hallucinations; it does not have any negative symptoms such as the deterioration of the intellect or of the personality.

You can listen in Spanish a popular song created by a popular singer of the times Barbarito Diez, call El Caballero de Paris, video still available in youtube here

 

There is a statue to perpetuated his presence in bronze, so that his figure will wander forever in the streets of Havana.  Where I have a souvenir photo from 2012 here

havana

This illustrious man was a permanent presence in the city which, from the decade of the 20s of the last century and until 1977, saw him wandering through its streets. He died on July 11, 1985 at Mazorra psychiatric hospital atage of 86. He was initially buried in the cemetery of Santiago de las Vegas in Habana province. His remains were later exhumed by the Historian of the City of La Habana, and transfered to the convent of San Francisco de Asis (now a concert hall and museum), his current resting place.

After the Communist Cuban revolution, the brothers and sisters left Cuba and only El Caballero de Paris was left behind. Three of his brothers had descendants, some now living in Chicago and others in Asturias, Spain. The only surviving sister of El Caballero de Paris, Mercedes, was living in Spain,was last read 91 years old , and in perfect mental and physical health.

No official webpage for him but there are many private efforts on the web; i just will put one here CiberCuba in Spanish; CiberCuba on El Caballero de Paris

Hope you enjoy this unique anecdote of Havana and do look out for him if going there. Hope it helps find him. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

March 25, 2020

A courthouse at Daytona Beach!

So in these times of worries I am home and reminicent of past places in my life that have some personal meaning. Hard to go back as pictures are rare, those were the crazy days where picture taking was not in my mind. Times change and now I am fully especially since starting my blog back in November 2010. And I thank you for following me along all these years.

Let me tell you a bit more on a courthouse, not just any courthouse mind you, but the one I was married in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. I have mentioned it briefly but feels needs a post of its own, so here it is.

While traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris living in Meaux Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ïle de France region in 1989. This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year and moving in the State from Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach (together) in Volusia County, then North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, then Miramar in Broward county (while here became French at the French consulate in Miami in 2000) before moving permanently to France in August 23, 2003. We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in Daytona Beach Halifax Hospital) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah at Hialeah Hospital). The wonderful trip ended with my dear late wife Martine passsing due to cancer here in the Morbihan Breton on April 30 2018, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sooths the pain a bit.Thanks for sharing.

daytona beach

Daytona beach

That is the happy and sad story. Now for the spot itself City Island is a wonderful place to visit while in the area. Here is more

City Island, Daytona Beach, is an island in the Halifax River ,a section of the Intracoastal Waterway between mainland Florida and the barrier islands/outer banks. Buildings on the island include the Daytona Tortugas’ Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the city’s courthouse annex, and the main branch of the Volusia County Library.

The area is ,also, a great spot to relax there in the wonderful City Island Park which is an island hub in a waterway from the mainland. In its immediate vicinity are facilities such as Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the City Island Tennis Center, City Island Recreation Center, and the Daytona Beach Regional LibraryCity Island. Enjoy this park’s water access by fishing or simply relaxing on shore or in one of the many covered pavilions that extend into the water. It has a fishing pier with a large pavilion at the end, pavilions, grills, playground, ample parking and restrooms.   There is also here the Downtown Farmers’ Market held every Saturday with all kinds of local vegetables, fruits, plants and specialties. Open from 7h to 12h.

The Daytona Beach Regional Library , location at 105 E Magnolia Ave ; official webpage here:  Volusia County Libraries on City Island

The Daytona Tortugas are a minor league baseball team based in Daytona Beach. The team plays in the Florida State League (FSL). They are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball. The team plays at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Webpage here: https://www.milb.com/daytona

The Jackie Robinson Stadium is a historic baseball field It is located at 105 East Orange Avenue on City Island, in the Halifax River. It opened in 1914!. One reason the stadium is named for Jackie Robinson is the fact that Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to allow Robinson (Black player) to play during the 1946 season’s spring training. Robinson was playing for the Triple-A Montreal Royals, who were in Florida to play an exhibition game against their parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Bethune–Cookman University (B–CU) is a private historically black university who played its baseball games at the stadium now. The DB webpage on the stadium here: https://www.daytonabeach.com/listings/jackie-robinson-ballpark-and-statue/903/

However, for me as above, the most important building there is the Daytona Beach Volusia County Courthouse annex, City Island located at 125 E. Orange Ave. This is where I was married with my dear Frenchie Martine on December 26 1990. A wonderful date always to be remembered .. As this is an annex alternative location to serve the citizens of the beachside, the main building is mainland in Deland here: https://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/parks-recreation-and-culture/art-and-culture/aipp/county-courthouse.stml

Daytona Beach

Credit:Volusia County Courthouse City Island Daytona Beach

A bit of history I like

The Halifax River is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, passing by Daytona Beach, and around City Island; but ,also, Ormond Beach, Ormond by the Sea, Holly Hill, Port Orange, South Daytona, Daytona Beach Shores, and Ponce Inlet. All memorable towns for me too.. The waterway was originally known as the North Mosquito River, but was renamed after George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (for whom Halifax, Canada is also named), during the British occupation of Florida (1763–1784). The Halifax River originates at Tomoka Bay, at the confluence of the Tomoka River, Bulow Creek, and Halifax Creek, adjoining Tomoka State Park. All very nice places of my younger life always fondly remember. This river Halifax or the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway ( a defense perimeter done by US Defense) has several bridges passing it. These are north to south, Granada Bridge, Seabreeze, Main Street, Broadway, Veterans Memorial (passing city island); and Port Orange Causeway. Webpage of Tomoka State Park as the picture below: Florida State parks on Tomoka park

Ormond Beach

City Island is an urbanized area, resembling any small Florida city. The animal life on the island are typical of such an environment: squirrels, rabbits, abundant green and brown anole lizards, occasional raccoons and skunk, as well as a large population of doves and pigeons. The real diversity of wildlife on and around City Island are birds, especially aquatic species. There are many varieties of duck; mallards, clue-winged teal, and cormorants. American white ibis are common, as are brown pelicans, snowy egrets, great blue herons, great white egrets, and several types of gull. An occasional bald eagle or red-shouldered hawk can be seen overhead. Indeed a wonderful place to spent some time while in the Daytona Beach area, recommended!

The city of Daytona Beach on facilities, chose maps and zoom in on City Island: City of Daytona Beach on Facilities parks

Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do : Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do

The  Volusia County on tourism boards : Volusia county on tourist boards

The State of Florida tourist board on Daytona Beach: Tourist office of Florida on Daytona Beach

There you go a nice memorable dot on my world map, City Island Daytona Beach, never forgotten always remember. Thank you very much for reading and sharing with me.

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

March 24, 2020

Walt Disney, Orlando!!!

Wow, I just notice!!! Have not written a post on the Walt Disney parks in Orlando Florida!! Hear all about it, lived not far from there, visit even from my college days for rides and concerts, took my family as a tour guide!!! and later my wife and boys!! We did it and just briefly mentioned in previous posts where  I mostly wrote about our experience in Disneyland Paris. 

Well even if photos are few and between by now, I need to have this in my blog. Hope it helps and you too can visit the best Disney park, period. Photos are from early 1990’s.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the largest leisure complex of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. It is located about 30 km from Orlando, actually by the Lake Buena Vista city area but commonly call Orlando. The area covers more than 27,400 acres (111 km2), a little more than the city of Paris (105 km2) or twice the island of Manhattan (50 km2). Walt Disney negotiated with the State of Florida so that the domain could have a jurisdiction comparable to a city. It was the signing of the Reedy Creek Act which in 1965 created the equivalent of a municipality run by a private company, the first of its kind.

Between the end of 1963 and 1964, Walt Disney under the guise of agents and shell companies, proposed to buy from many small owners their orange grove or their marshland about 30 km from Orlando, between the Bay Lake, the intersection of Interstate I-4 highway, then under construction and the federal road US 192 for a total of 27,400 acres (11,088 ha) (111 km2). The secret was kept from the press so as not to cause inflation in the price of land.

Walt Disney decides to create a whole world and settles in Orlando. The Walt Disney World amusement park is being born. In 1971, it opened Magic Kingdom, the first of 4 major Walt Disney parks. Followed the opening of Epcot Park in 1982, Disney MGM Studios Park in 1984 and finally Animal Kingdom Park in 1997. When you enter the world of Walt Disney World parks in Orlando as elsewhere, you switch to another world led by the famous mouse with big ears. All done before we left Florida, after many trips here with my boys! And even before concerts by me!!!

orlando

In each of the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando, you will find a dedicated universe. In the Magic Kingdom park: Disney princes and princesses and the famous Cinderella Castle, In the Epcot park: a World Show Case. At Disney Hollywood Studios: the Star Wars world. In the Animal Kingdom park: a safari. In the parks of Blizzards Beach and Typhoon Lagoon: aquatic activities. And finally the new Downtown Disney: Disney Springs.

The traditional first park, meet Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jasmine and all the Disney princesses at Magic Kingdom! Embark on the Caribbean pirate ship, sing in Fantasyland and enjoy the magic of Disney.

orlando

Go on to Epcot and its world of the future imagined by the Disney team in 1970. Go to Epcot Park to discover 11 countries thanks to the World Show Case! Taste Chinese, German, French, English, Japanese and Mexican specialties on the same day!

Orlando

Welcome to the magic of Disney-style cinema! Face the ghosts of the Hollywood Tower of Terror! Use force to survive the Star Wars, watch a live Jedi combat show! In Disney Hollywood Studios Park, you will feel like you have passed to the other side of the screen.

Welcome to the Walt Disney World Wildlife Park. In the Animal Kingdom park, take a safari in Africa! Watch the gorillas and tigers! Escape the clutches of a Trex! And embark on an unforgettable journey on the planet Pandora to meet the Na’vi.

Fancy a day of shopping in the world of Mickey? Go to Disney Springs! An entire village dedicated to shopping and restaurants! All like the mouse with big ears.   Disney Springs is a commercial area divided into 4 parts by the lake

Pleasure Island party on an island with night clubs (we love it and I have many memorable nights here from college days lol!) More forest-based marketplace with many Disney boutiques, a Rainforest Cafe (we love it) and a huge McDonald’s. West Side part closer to Las Vegas with restaurants and attractions such as DisneyQuest and a permanent Cirque du Soleil theater.

Disney’s BoardWalk ; it is a commercial area integrated into a hotel, representing a pediment of a New England seaside resort around 1930.

Looking for freshness? Visit the Blizzard Beach water park where you will feel like swimming in the middle of an icy pool! Obviously, this is an illusion and the rendering is absolutely stunning and original. A water park that immerses visitors in the middle of the Caribbean islands. Welcome to Typhoon Lagoon. Relax in wave lagoons or hit the water slides at top speed!

Then, you have others such as the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Sports training and events center open to the public.   Five world-class 18-hole golf courses, a sixth of 9 holes, 2 miniature golf courses. The lakes with their hiking or horse riding routes, their marinas and many other activities: Bay lake; Crescent Lake; Lake Buena Vista; and Seven Seas Lagoon.

orlando

A whole world of entertainment awaiting you with lots of lodgings and eating places of all prices all over in addition to many other attractions nearby. This makes the area around Walt Disney a complete one stop family and fun place to be. Absolutely cannot miss it at least once.  A must in Florida, and it gets visitors from all over the world as well. As said, I have many memories there from going to concerts to going to rides and taken other friends or family as guide and eventually taking my wife and boys. We left the area in 2003 ,and I bet it has grown even more since then. On our subsequent visits to  Florida we had not stopped by.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Walt Disney webpage: Official Walt Disney

Tourist office of Orlando on Disney: Tourist office of Orlando on Disney

Tourist office of Florida on Disney: Tourist office of Florida on Disney

Tourist office of the USA on Disney Orlando: Tourist office USA on Disney Orlando

For out of park entertainment shopping, eating and just night fun see the Disney Springs: Official Disney Springs

There you go now you are well armed to visit this wonderful park and area of Lake Buena Vista, Orlando and not forget Kissimmee to enjoy it fully with the family. Hope you like the post and have the opportunity to see this marvel.

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

 

 

 

March 24, 2020

Villa Vizcaya at Miami!

Ok so here I am telling you of another jewel of my years in Florida, 18 to be exact and still searching for photos! Memories are forever ,they tell me and it is true. This property was many summers pastime for me and my family with great views of Biscayne Bay. Ok I am cheating a bit on the title as Miami is the better known name, but actually it is in Coconut Grove ok. Just a street over from Miami!

Let me tell you a bit on the other brother Deering and his Villa Vizcaya!

Villa Vizcaya or the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, built by James Deering, is a villa built in the style of a 16C North Italian villa. It is located in Coconut Grove ,next to Miami The villa was built as a winter residence for businessman James Deering .It is precisely located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Coconut Grove.

The name Vizcaya derives from the Spanish Basque province of Biscay. In fact, the villa dominates the Biscayne Bay while Vizcaya dominates the Bay of Biscay . This name would mean in Basque an elevated place.

The land covers 72.8 hectares. The main house was built in between while the construction of the gardens continued. The villa thus combines European marble and Florida limestone. The plants in the Italian garden were chosen to be able to withstand the tropical climatic conditions of the region. The accommodation thus resembles the Villa Rezzonico located in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

James Deering lived in the Villa Vizcaya from 1916 until his death in 1925. In 1945, the descendants of Deering donated part of the land to the Archdiocese of St. Augustine and to a hospital. The land, however, still included the main house, part of the gardens and the village. These were sold to Miami-Dade County.

Villa Vizcaya was opened to the public in 1953 as the Dade County Art Museum. It was later renamed to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The land now covers 20 hectares and hosts a botanical garden. The museum contains 70 rooms decorated with objects dating from the 15C to the 19C.

All the furnishings at Villa Vizcaya are just as they were in Deering’s time, including early versions of such amenities as a telephone switchboard, a central vacuum-cleaning system, elevators and fire sprinklers. The East Loggia looks out on to the bay, the exit guarded by a vast telescope. Off to the south stretch Vizcaya’s idyllic gardens, with fountains, pools, greenery, a casino and a maze. Strolling here on a quiet summer’s day can be magical indeed. Another bonus is the café, which offers above-average lunches and, on Sundays, tea for two from 13h to 16h. This is wonderful!

Miami

memories of my dear late wife Martine at Vizcaya and the gondolas

Villa Vizcaya was chosen to host the meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II during his visit in September 1987. Villa Vizcaya was chosen as the setting for the filming of many films. Some of these were Ace Ventura, detective for dogs and cats. Any Given Sunday, Bad Boys 2, Airport ’77 and The Money Pit.

The official webpage of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens here: Official Vizcaya

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on VizcayaTourist office of Miami on Vizcaya

This is a wonderful property to visit blending European finesse and natural beauty of Florida in a tropical setting. Easy to get to it taking from Miami Beach 5th street the McArthur Causeway I395 to exit 2 into Biscayne Blvd (US 1) turning left southbound on this street; then continue on US1 Biscayne blvd and this will become Brickell Avenue passing Rickenbacker causeway stay on the left unto South Miami Avenue and follow to entrance to Villa Vizcaya on your left hand side. A beautiful ride thru beautiful residential neighborhoods, you might see a star!!! Enjoy it

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

March 24, 2020

Deering Estate at Miami FL!

Well and here I continue in memory lane of my Florida. Harder to find photos each time but need to have it in my blog. These are historical sites and full of Florida nature living like no other. It was fun while it lasted. Nice looking at you kid

Let me tell you about the Deering Estate of Miami.

Charles Deering Estate ;also known as Deering Estate at Cutler Ridge Road was the Florida home of Charles Deering until 1927 when he died at the estate. Deering lived on the 444 acres (1.80 km2)[property for five years, from 1922 to 1927. No, not the same Deering who built Vizcaya castle, but close. The Deering Estate was, in fact, set up and built by James’s similarly well-off brother Charles, who erected his own winter retreat at about the same time that Vizcaya was constructed.

miami

The property consists of a three-story wooden house built in 1900, known as the Richmond Cottage and a three-story stone mansion. Other buildings were also built on the property to serve as auxiliary buildings to the estate. Charles Deering Estate is located in the Cutler neighborhood of Palmetto Bay, Miami. The grounds include what is thought to be the largest virgin coastal tropical hardwood hammock in the continental United States. The estate was acquired by the state of Florida in 1985.

In 1900 the wooden house was built and soon after S.H. Richmond’s wife, Edith, opened the house as an Inn called the Richmond Cottage. The Richmond Cottage was named the most southern hostelry in the continental United States by The Miami Metropolis newspaper (gone) in 1901. Charles Deering became secretary of his father’s company, which merged with McCormick Harvesting Machine Company  and became International Harvester in 1902. After the merger, Deering became the chairman of the board for International Harvester; (now history continue as part of CNH Industrial).

The Cutler Burial Mound is a prehistoric mound on the Charles Deering Estate. It is one of the few surviving prehistoric mounds in Miami-Dade County. The mound is about 38 feet by 20 feet at the base, and about five feet high. Artifacts from the mound are from the Glades II and III periods. The mound is believed to contain 12 to 18 burials of Native Americans. The mound is accessible via a boardwalk. In 1979 a sinkhole on the Deering Estate was found to contain bones of Pleistocene animals associated with bones and artifacts of early humans.

On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged and damaged the property of Deering Estate. The water front property was devastated by waves that reached as high as the second floor of the buildings. Water rose more than 16 feet (4.9 m) from sea level and caused major flooding on the property. The Richmond Cottage was taken off its foundation and splintered by the hurricane. It took seven years to restore the cottage. Deering Estate at Cutler reopened to the public in 1999 and officially opened in 2000

The house and grounds were featured several times in the 1980s TV series Miami Vice (yes!), and the estate was the starting location for The Amazing Race All Stars in 2007.

The official webpage for Deering EstateOfficial Deering Estate

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on the Deering EstateTourist office of Miami on the Deering

Miami-Dade county webpage on the parks, Deering EstateMiami Dade county on Deering Estate

You have good directions on the above webpage go to Plan Your Visit. This is a wonderful historical and architecturally stunning house and property, we love to come here with the family indeed, memories are forever. Enjoy Deering Estate at Cutler , Miami.

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

 

March 23, 2020

Seaquarium at Miami USA!

And again going back to memories and early posts in my blog. Just when I started my blog back in Nov 2010 had many posts that now seems lost in the web of posts done afterward. These I will try to renew or even expand on them now.

This is the case of my old Seaquarium of Miami. I even visited friends nearby and of course took my kids there. Then we left for France and done with it. However, if in the area is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more ok

The park was founded by Fred D. Coppock and Captain W.B. Gray and was the second marine-life attraction in Florida. When it opened in 1955, it was the largest marine-life attraction in the world. From 1963 through 1967, eighty-eight episodes of the 1960s TV show Flipper (yes!!) and two movies starring Flipper were filmed at the Miami Seaquarium. From 1963 to 1991, the Seaquarium also had the Miami Seaquarium Spacerail, which was the first hanging monorail in the United States.

The Miami Seaquarium is an oceanarium in Miami ,county of Miami-Dade, State of Florida on the island of  Key Biscayne. Opened in 1955, it is the main aquatic oceanarium of this type in the metropolitan area of Miami. The Miami Seaquarium has a dolphinarium with bottlenose dolphins, white-sided dolphins from the Pacific and an orca, named Lolita. It also displays fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles and manatees. Since 2014, it has been owned by the Spanish multinational Parques Reunidos.

Miami

You can see the following areas

The Shark Channel one of the most popular attractions in the aquarium when the it opened in 1955; and still going strong.

The Tropical Reef holds captive corals and colorful fish, with views of the beautiful beaches of Key Biscayne

At the manatee pool even if shows can be short due to the nature of the shy animals it presents several manatees of the rivers of Florida!

The Top Deck Dolphin and the Flipper Dolphin are shows that feature dolphins. The park has two pools dedicated to bottlenose dolphin shows, the Top Deck Dolphin Show and the Flipper Dolphin Show, as well as a third pool, Dolphin Harbor, dedicated to public interactions with dolphins.

 The Golden Dome presents a spectacle of sea lions and seals.

The basin hosting the Killer Whale Show, presents Lolita the orca of last count 48 yrs old and four white-sided dolphins from the Pacific

The Dolphin Odissey allows the most stubborn to swim for half an hour flat with the dolphins, for a fee.

miami

Precious memories

And as you are aware of the type of football played in the USA, the super super event Super Bowl LIV (last one) feature guessing the winner contest by the Seaquariume Nurse sharks . However, they failed as went over the SF 49ers and the winners were the KC Chiefs!!

The Miami Seaquarium is at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway,on Key Biscayne, Miami. Again the best way to get there is the car. Again to start you off at popular Miami Beach get on 5th street to the McArthur Causeway (I395 road) to   I 95 highway southbound exit 1A. Stay on I95 to SW 26 road exit direction Key Biscayne paid toll at Rickenbacker Causeway into Key Biscayne, will see seaquarium on your right.

The Miami Dade bus network taking Route 102 B provides bus service from Brickell Station to Miami Seaquarium. PDF route map here: https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/library/routes/102.pdf

Some webpages to help you enjoy your trip here and worth it

Official Miami SeaquariumOfficial Miami Seaquarium

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on the SeaquariumMiami tourist office on the Seaquarium

And my luck will have , been here more than on the other parks yet have much fewer photos! Memorable ones as they are when my boys were growing up in Florida. We enjoy a lot as a family the Miami Seaquarium. Hope you too can one day enjoy it.

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

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