Posts tagged ‘Americas’

September 20, 2018

The Statue of Liberty in France!

On a mundane Thursday, I started writing this post on a famous statue that believe it or not many come searching for it in Paris especially. However, is in a few other places in France. I welcome all comments to tell me if there are any others.

Oh yes, of course, it is the Statue of Liberty by Bertholdi. The nicest one in my opinion is in Paris.

The Statue of Liberty is just to the south, smack in the middle of the Seine river, the quarter-scale replica sits on the southern end of Île aux Cygnes,(swan island) an artificial island built in the Seine in 1827 to separate river traffic from the busy port of Grenelle. Over time, a tree-lined walkway was built that runs the full 850-meter length of the island, and three bridges were built across the island to connect the 15th and 16th arrondissements. Île aux Cygnes is the third-largest island in Paris.

The statue itself was given to the city of Paris in 1889 by the American community in Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. This Pont de Grenelle Statue of Liberty was installed some three years after the New York Statue of Liberty, and in fact was originally one of the working models made whilst preparing to construct the “real thing.” The statue can be accessed via either the Pont de Grenelle or the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, both of which cross the Île aux Cygnes. While this is not the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris, both the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts et Métiers house their own; this is the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris that was featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

A bit more on the Île aux Cygnes is a small artificial island on the Seine river, in the 15éme arrondissement . It was created in 1827 to protect the bridge named the Pont de Grenelle. The uninhabited island is 850 meters (2,789 ft) long and 11 meters (36 ft) at its widest point, making it the third-largest island in Paris. A tree-lined walkway, named L’Allée des Cygnes (Path of Swans), runs the length of the island. The island is crossed by three bridges: the Pont de Grenelle, the Pont Rouelle and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. The Statue of Liberty  here is  22 meters tall and facing west in the direction of its larger sibling in New York City. Inaugurated by President Marie-François Sadi Carnot on 4 July 1889, nearly three years after its US counterpart, it was donated to the city by the American expatriate community in Paris to mark the Centennial  of the French revolution. Get closer walking to it or by metro Javel line 10 and Bir Hakeim line 6.

Paris

Much smaller  at 2, 85 meters, the bronze reduction installed in the Palais du Luxembourg, then in its garden in 1906, was moved into the nave of the Musée d’Orsay in 2012. A copy was placed in its place shortly thereafter.  The museum of Orsay is at   1, rue de la Légion d’honneur 7éme arrondissement with  Métro: Solferino line 12 or RER C station Musée d’Orsay, You go in by the rue Guynemer Métro : Saint-Placide line 4.

Paris

Fully realized in plaster, the construction model that rests in the Museum of Arts and Crafts (musée d’Arts et Métiers)  makes no less than 14 tons. It is she that Auguste Bartholdi will use to achieve, by enlarging it, the New York Statue of Liberty. The museum also hosts a reproduction, also in plaster, scale 1/16, of 1876. This model was also used to make the bronze statue that stands, since 2010, outside the museum.  292, rue Saint-Martin  3éme arrondissement , métro : Arts et Métiers  lines 3 and 11.

The replica of the flame of the statue, the flame of freedom, offered by the United States in Paris, is located in Alma since 1989. It became known worldwide by becoming the place of recollection in memory of Princess Diana, who died in August 1997, in the Tunnel of the Alma which passes under the monument. Pont de Alma  8éme arrondissement. Metro: Alma-Marceau line 9.

Paris

There is a very small reproduction of the Statue of liberty in the beard of Caesar’s Centaur, place Michel-Debré, in the 6éme arrondissement. A miniature is part of the elements composing the Centaur. It’s a small size. It’s up to you to find it.

Near me, I see it every day is another replica. In Ploeren, a statue of Liberty greets motorists along the Nantes-Brest Expressway (voie express N165). Installed in the business park of Coëtdigo, it still measures 7, 20 meters high.

Ploeren

Others I come across are:

In Blérancourt, at the National Museum of Franco-American cooperation has a small scale version in terracotta. In  Nice, on the Quai des Etats Unis (United States wharf), a small copy  of  1.35 meters  weighing 80 kg has been installed since February 1, 2014.  In Bordeaux, place Picard, in memory of the victims of 11 September 2001, re-edition in the form of a resin casting made by the workshops of the Reunion of National Museums of France, the original statue having been melted in 1941 by the Nazis in the framework of the recovery of non-ferrous metals.

There you go some nice statue reminds me always how lucky I have been after all. Enjoy it.

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

 

 

 

 

September 14, 2018

Two souvenirs from La Habana!

Ok this is just a nostalgia post on a quiet Friday in my Morbihan Breton of  Brittany, France. I am remembering my early life and thought about Havana , and search for some photos , hardly any left but at least the memories still lingered of what it was. My Havana.

When I was just a little boy back in the 60’s I remember my mother taking me on bus rides the 27, 99, 35 etc into Havana as well as with some friends and family by car; old Oldsmobile and Chevrolet Bel Air’s mind you.

One of the essence of Cuba is the cooking, coming from mixtures of races European, African, and in between some Orientals. The choices were big back then, and notice some resurgence recently with the easing of provisions for private businesses.

One of my old time favorites that I have found photos are El Conejito (little rabbit) and El Potin (coming from old French Gossips). They are still in my heart today thanks to my dear late mother Gladys or mima as I called her.

The El Conejito was created by 1966 in Vedado district of Havana. On Calle M and 17 . It was a sumptuous restaurant serving many dishes all with the rabbit as main course. I do not recall how many variarities of it they did but it was a full menu carte.  There is not much information now but found one popular webpage with some information on it here: El Conejito on Cuba Junky site

Havana

I remembered we always had to make reservations and it was packed back in the late 60’s. We would be visiting old Havana and on the way home we stopped here; just great souvenirs. Luckily for you,the restaurant is still there and I highly recommend you try it while in Havana. A family hairloom memory photo above. I believe they are still open.

The El Potin cafeteria restaurant was even closer to home at Linea and Paseo del Prado in Vedado district as well. This is actually a French name meaning gossip, and we really enjoy the cafeteria style sandwiches that are so famous in Paris such as croque monsieur and croque madame as well as French desserts like the Paris Brest! Coffee of course was sublime from the mountains in eastern provinces of Cuba like Oriente; where many French landowner colonists from Haiti settled after the Haiti Revolution of 1805 made them leave there.

We came here even more often I recalled, and sat by the terrace looking over Linea street which is a no number street in Vedado. It is one of the modern historical streets there. Linea was for the streetcar (tramway of today ) tracks that ran along this street. It was renamed to Avenida del Presidente Wilson in 1918 and to Doble Vía General Batista in the 50s, but people kept calling it by its original name. One thing that is peculiar about this street is that it has a tunnel across the Almendares River. The below photo was passing by car as had no will to entered, too many memories.

Again not much information online but the same place as above has some directions here: El Potin in Cuba Junky

Havana

I again highly recommend coming here, is not what it was but the feel of Havana and Cuba is still there, and you will mingle with locals. Enjoy it

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

Cuba Junky

La Habana guide to Havana

Tourist office of Cuba on Havana

Ministry tourism of Cuba

Hope it helps you enjoy your stay and visit some unique places that are still hanging in there after so many years, around 52 years!!! And I will be back there end of Sept18.

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

 

 

 

September 13, 2018

An encounter with Brazil!

So here I am to talk to you about South America and especifically Brazil. There is a story behind my continuing writing on this country. I have written several blog posts on Brazil and you can do search to find a plethora of information on the country in my blog.

I will just give you one post for reference as I believe is the oldest: Wonderful memories of Brazil

Many years ago, in my working life in another country, my boss ask me to do some business traveling. The year was around 1999 or so, do not recall exactly and did not dated my photos. My boss a CFO was a very busy men and we have even become friends over the years and still in touch. He was doing all the traveling and I stayed behind handling the battleship (office) of a multi billion dollars corp traded in the NYSE.

Finally, one day he sat with me and told me I need to travel. I try to evade it claiming have small children and do not wanted to be away so much from home. However, he insisted and touch a nerve on me when he told me that he trusted my decisions and was sure I would do a good job doing these travels. That was it, confidence and self acknowledgement are men’s best friend , could not refuse anymore.

The trip that I needed to do for two weeks! included Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Now to most this would be like a dream trip, but at that time I was sad to go leaving my little boys( ages 7 and 5 ,5) behind for the longest period as of that time in 1999. The rest is history, memories, souvenirs , the best experience of my life up to that point, the trip went beyond my expectations ,the job was done well but what I saw and the friends I met have stayed with me even today. Yes, today, still have friends from that trip from Brazil in touch with me in social media!!!

Previously to this trip i had played football/soccer with the Portuguese community clubs and was aware of the language to a basic level. This trip push me to learned the language which now I do fluently and improved each time with subsequent trips. A Vida É Bela!!!  What can I say more than to tell you again a bit more on these 3 cities and get some old photos from my vault.

Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, located between the Rio Guaíba and its many islands. The city is decorated with parks (nine large urban parks) and tree-lined streets, especially in the ancient districts of the Cidade Baixa (lower town). In addition, the municipality has a biological reserve, around the beach of the district of Latif, on the river, which it is known to have one of the largest urban concentrations of birds of the country. The city has many hills, the Morros, which can reach up to 311 meters in altitude.

Many memories here of a family who would read this having white wine in her restaurant that kept her cellars loaded with wine bottles!! right in old city center. Always nice memories, thank you!

Porto Alegre

The port of Porto Alegre is the southernmost of Brazil. A river system that unites the regional producer center on streams that flow into the Lagoa dos Patos with the largest seaport of Mercosul, the port of Rio Grande, 300 km south, on the South Atlantic Ocean. Its old entrance portico was built in an iron structure decorated with stained glass, commissioned in Paris in 1919. The latter is a tourist attraction point of the city, from where the cruises on the Rio Guaíba leave.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Porto Alegre

Tourist office of State of Rio Grande do Sul

São Paulo is a town in southeastern Brazil. It is the largest city in Brazil and South America. On the plateau of Piratininga at 760 meters above sea level, the city is crossed by two rivers, the Rio Tietê and the Rio Pinheiros which confluent before crossing the whole State of São Paulo and to throw themselves in the Rio Paraná. Founded in 1554 by Portuguese Jesuits, the city developed thanks to the gold of the surrounding mines until the end of the 18C, and then became prosperous thanks to the cultivation of coffee and sugar. In the last century, it has gradually become the economic heart of Brazil, with its business district around Avenue Paulista (I stayed next to it), hosting the São Paulo Stock Exchange and seats of large Brazilian and international companies. The city is known for its unpredictable climate, its architecture-and in particular its skyscrapers-, its gastronomy, its gigantic traffic jams and the number of helicopters flying over the city (biggest in Latin America).

And again many memories of good cheers and still good friends, who would read this page. Thank you!

Sao Paulo

Many things to see here, my favorites are:

The city has many monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Ibirapuera Park (big park and many business conventions attended there) and its flag monument, the Municipal Theater b. 1911; The Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP); The Cathedral of the Sé, the Botanical Garden ; the Trianon park, the Zoological Park , Rua 25 de Março ,the largest outdoors market place of Latin America, with over three thousand stores, the wonderful Sao Bento monastery , the Benedictines arrived in São Paulo in 1598, but only in 1634 was created the Abbey and the Chapel was dedicated to St. Benedict. The site, which hosted Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil, home to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and the monastery. Avenida Paulista; the most popular avenue of the city  (yes) concentrates all that is best in São Paulo. It is possible to visit museums and cultural centers, find a park amid great skyscrapers, check book launchings, enjoy the happy hour in one of its many bars, enjoy the evening at nightclubs, watch theatrical performances and movie sessions of the most diverse productions, and go shopping: all in one place!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Sao Paulo on tourism

Tourist office of Sao Paulo

Rio de Janeiro, located in the southeast of the country, is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro.Originally designated the Bay of Guanabara, discovered on 1 January 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil. On March 1, 1565, marks the foundation of the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (“St. Sebastian of the River of January”) in honor of King Sebastian I of Portugal and the celebrated Saint on the day of his birth. San Sebastian who remains the patron of the city is celebrated every year. The capital of the Portuguese kingdom was thus transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, which became the only European capital located outside the European continent. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

The Bay of Guanabara is 30 km into the landside. Its entrance is guarded by two forts of the 17C and 19C. It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói (great gliding here see photo below) or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it. The most interesting stage is the island of Paquetá, one of the 84 islands of the bay, where the landscape has not changed since the 19C. In this island, cars are not allowed. The largest of the islands is the island of the governor (Ilha do Governador), where is located the international Airport Antônio Carlos Jobim.

Rio de Janeiro

Many memories here, the anecdote is that upon ariving at the airport, my buddy call to verify the hotel reservation, the company had cancelled it because he booked the Palace in Copacabana!!! very expensive place; in the haze to change the reservation the company made a booking at another hotel in Copacabana beach, but booked it for two nights instead of one, so we took advantage lol!! The view from my hotel below !!!

Rio de Janeiro

Many things to see here ,my favorites are

Pao de açucar (Sugar Loaf) is a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters and the so singular form that has always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer , a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. Copacabana beach (my hotel was always here! )and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its six kilometers of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city.  Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. The São Conrado beach is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. There rises the Pedra da Gávea, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, the mountain of Pedra da Gávea overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. You can access it after the Botanical garden . Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and World Flora.

Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro ,white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this Chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles).  National Historical Museum was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes.

Case apart for this beauty and the errors of incapables governments/

National Museum, located in the park of Quinta de Boa Vista, the Sunday promenade of the Cariocas (natives of Rio are call) of the suburbs, this former palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection of zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology in Brazil. Unfortunately for lack of funds and proper fire system ,on September 2, 2018, the museum is ravaged by a fire that has burned hundreds of rooms and destroys all historical archives!! This museum webpage and follow up on the disaster is here: National Museum at Rio

A tourist office webpage on Rio de Janeiro that will be handy for a visit there, a must.

Tourist office of Rio de Janeiro

There you go, a nice 1 2 3 punch to enhance all the beauty of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it.

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

 

 

 

September 13, 2018

Quintana Roo ,Bacalar! Mexico!!

So we go on with some exotic parts of Mexico lindo y querido. Not taking you to the popular areas anyone can do that, I like to take you to seldom and little seen Mexico down in a popular State of a well known region but a bit south of it all towards Belize. I will be talking about Bacalar in Quintana Roo, Yucatàn, Mexico.

I will combine here the visits to historical San Felipe fortress/museum, and naturally beautiful Cenote Azul.

I have written before on these, for reference my previous blog post here

A different part of Mexico

Bacalar is a town located on the southeast side of Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo. The city is bordered on the east by the lagoon of Bacalar, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea. All of this part of the Yucatàn peninsula.

The first inhabitants of the place are the Mayas in pre-Columbian times. In 1543, the city was taken and occupied by the Spanish conquistadors. In 1545, it was  established a Spanish town in the same place and baptized it Salamanca de Bacalar.

In 1848, during the Caste war, the rebel Mayans based in Chan Santa Cruz (the current city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto) took the city. The Mexican army reclaims it in 1902.

The Fort of San Felipe was built in 1733 under the order of don Antonio de Figueroa y Silva, field marshal of Yucatan, to protect the Bacalar population from the frequent attacks by pirates from the Caribbean and to defend the region from harassment from the traders of wood in Campeche. In the second half of the 19C, during the so-called War of the Castes, the fortress once again became the scene of skirmishes for the possession of the fortress. It has recently been restored and sits looking over Lake Bacalar in the center of town.

Bacalar

Bacalar

bacalar

The fort is built in the form of a four-pointed star and has a moat 4 meters deep. San Felipe contains a museum of local history and nice recreations. The plaques on the museum are in both English and Spanish and there is free parking nearby.

Bacalar

More on the museum in San Felipe fort in Spanish here: museum in fortress san felipe:  Museum in San Felipe Fort

Bacalar is a very nice Mayan town   the main appeal here other than the fortress is that it sits on the rim of Cenote Azul, a 91 meters deep by 182 meters in diameter cenote that is crystal clear and good for diving when the Caribbean is too rough. Because the water is so clear you can easily see quite deep. Rumor has it that it is the largest and supposedly the deepest Cenote in the Yucatan. Its arguably one of the cleanest. However, get advise from the locals if diving as many spots it is very thick with vegetation and rocks difficult to dive/swim.

Balacar

Bacalar

What is a Cenote? Well, Yucatan is a large riverless peninsula made primarily of limestone. There are thousands of underground caverns, many running with underground rivers. Occasionally these caves will collapse leaving an opening. If the cavern is running with water, it will create a cenote. The Mayans used these for sources of water and would even build cities around them. Cenote Azul is a mature cenote and is documented as the largest in the Yucatan.

Other attraction nearby , maybe 100 meters is the Lake Bacalar with many watersports offers with kayaking across the lake one of the favorites. But you can ,also, do jet ski, waterski, swim, fish and sail.

Balacar

Bacalar

Other webpages that will help you plan your trip here are

Local Bacalar government tourist info webpage

Visit Mexico on Quintana Roo State

There are many other sites to plan your trip here, I only gives official webpages. Enjoy Quintana Roo and especially Bacalar.

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

 

September 12, 2018

Basilica San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico!

Let me bring you back to America, and especifically Mexico. This is one Latin American country that i have visited extensively from afar back as 2000, and have family there in DF and Yucatàn regions today. Many mention the risks but if careful you can manage it, locals do take precautions as well so why not you. I have enjoyed all my trips there.

I like to tell you about a main religious center very popular with all Mexicans but especially those from the north Jalisco especially.  This is the Basilica Church of San Juan de los Lagos, in Jalisco state. I have written some previous blog posts on it which like to put them here for reference.

Tepatitlan de Morelos and the Basilica

Another time by Tepatitlan de Morelos

While around the town of Tepatitlan de Morelos , locals drove me to San Juan de los Lagos basilica and it was fantastic experience. It was a prayer day and the Basilica was full almost, and it was impressive to see the faithful there, a very moving experience.  However, let me tell you a bit more about this town and Basilica.

San Juan de los Lagos

San Juan de los Lagos is located northwest of the state of Jalisco at 150 Km from Guadalajara. It is considered the most important tourist center of the area because it is the second point of attraction for the religious Tourism of Mexico and one of the main Marian shrines in Latin America, since here is one of the images venerated by the Catholics faithful.

san juan de los lagos

Founded in 1542 by Fray Miguel of Bologna, the indigenous people of San Juan Bautista Mezquititlán today San Juan de los Lagos, where a hermitage was built with hospital, in this place it left the image of the Virgin of the Conception, elaborated a heart of a mixture ground cane with certain bulbs called   talzingen. During the 18C and 19C the city acquired great economic importance due to the demand for services and commercial activity venerated by the thousands of pilgrims. This boom, coupled with the growing presence of the structure of ecclesiastical authority, led to the construction of several buildings and houses that today have an important architectural and historical value. San Juan de los Lagos after Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, is the largest tourism registered in the state of Jalisco.

The architecture of the Basilica is rich and varied some points on it brief.

The High Altar, in the center is located the baldachin of large dimensions, conformed by four columns of African salmon marble that holds a semicircular entablature and on this one vault of a quarter of mat, that is framed with a beautiful arch of half point of wavy and ornamented profile with phytomorphic elements, in the part inside a thin molding of ovals and darts. All this in white Carrara marble. In the center of the arch as a key a cross, and under it a cartridge with the monogram of the Virgin Mary. On the ledge of the entablature lie on the inside two beautiful little angels of Black Broce on a cloud that hold in their hands a beautiful crown, which is said to have been fused in France by the known sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, who made the Statue of Liberty of New York. At the sides of the baldachin framed with a rectangular molding that serves as background and standing on huge corbels, are the sculptural images of Saint Joachim on the left, and Saint Anne on the right.

San Juan de los Lagos

Inside the Baldachin is located the tabernacle that keeps the splendid image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, niche of very beautiful manufacture of circular plant supported by eight semi coupled columns of ionic order, with rebounds in the axes of the columns and on these, pairs of crown-shaped auctions; The tabernacle is covered with a sloped front, made in silver, culminating in the high with the symbolic figure resplendent in the Holy Spirit.

san juan de los lagos

The Virgin de San Juan de los Lagos is of Indìan manufacture, made of pasta of corn in Patzcuaro, Michiocàn., the portrays of the clean conception of Our Lady of San Juan, measures 38 cm and represents Marìa standing, with the face a little inclined in prayer and with the hands together before the chest , dressed in blue and a crescent at her feet. The bottom of the body is stored in a glass, the portrays is wrapped in tùnicas linen interiors, which puts a dress of rich fabric with an opening done by leaving the hands, closes with button at the top, under the neck. Her silk tresses, overlapping the gilding of the sculpture, spreads on the shoulders of fine pearls and rich tendrils of gold with precious stones. Both the Tùnica and the mantle can be brocades, apricots, tisù, maorè or silk, with exquisite embroideries or gallons of gold or silver, with inlays of gemstones.

In 1990, Pope John Paul II came as a pilgrim and offered mass to a crowd of six million! And that is me in front of the statue of Pope John Paul II done as a thank to his visit on the side of the Basilica.

san juan de los lagos

A prayer says;  For your clean conception and unsurpassed beauty, cover us with your mantle, blessed Mother of St. John (San Juan).

The Basilica is on a great square: The Plaza de Armas or Rita Pérez de Moreno Civic Plaza is in the center of the city. It was built in the 18C, and later modified. In the center, there is a Monument to Independence, erected in 1872. It consists of a thin column supported by a base which has four dragon figures. At the top, there is marble sculpture of a woman holding a laurel crown. The monument stand in the center of a large circular fountain.

san juan de los lagos

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Tourist office of San Juan de los Lagos

Official Basilica San Juan de los Lagos

There you go a beauty up Jalisco, Mexico, you should see the country, it has a lot more than tourist beach spots. Enjoy it. I will be back end Sept !!!

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

September 9, 2018

Two symbols of Mexico City!

Let me bring you up to the top, high up symbols of Mexico DF or Ciudad Mexico, or simply DF in of course , Mexico. I have several blog posts on Mexico having visited the country in numerous occassions and with family now there for several years who married into Mexicans both at DF and Yucatàn peninsula area.

I like to bring you up to two symbols of the Mexico lindo y querido I know. The Mexico pretty and loved that I know. These are the Angel de la Independencia tower and the Fountain of Diana Cazadora, both around the Paseo de la Reforma. I have written many posts as said, but will pick just one as reference for my new entry, here is that post: Mexico Glorious and Friends

Now let me tell you a bit more about these two wonderful symbols of Mexico.

The fuente de la Diana Cazadora (eng. Huntress Diana Fountain) or originally La flechadora de las estrellas del norte (eng. the arrow of the stars of the North), is a monument located in the roundabout at Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Río Misisipí and Calle Sevilla, on the border of the neighborhoods of Colonia Cuauhtémoc and Colonia Juàrez, and was begun in 1938.

The sculpture of the Diana , was started to create when a program of beautification of the city that included the creation of several monumental fountains in roundabouts or representative corners was designed.  The model was then 16 years old, it was called Helvia Martínez Verdayes and worked in the evenings as secretary in the offices of Petroleos Mexicanos, (petroleum of Mexico pemex). It was there that it was proposed to her the model for the sculpture. The young woman accepted and the sculpture was elaborated from April to September of 1942, month in which finally the bronze smelting of the same one was made. During all that time, Helvia Martínez Verdayes posed naked for the sculptor without receiving another pay than the vanity of seeing her body immortalized in one of the most beautiful avenues of the city. The Fountain of the Arrow star of the North was inaugurated on October 10, 1942 and from that moment the affection of the people was won, who began to call it the Diana the huntress fountain.

Mexico

Mexico

To take advantage of the celebration of the Olympics of Mexico 1968, it was decided to remove the bronze loincloth of the sculpture, and thus after 25 years, the Diana returned to show its original beauty in 1967. However, in doing so, the statue suffered some damage. To solve the situation, it was decided to melt a new piece without defects to occupy that place, while the one that was damaged was sold by the artist to the regent to avoid that the piece was destroyed. This piece was donated by the politician to the city of  Ixmiquilpan, in Hidalgo, his hometown, where it remains since 1970. For 1974 with the construction of the Interior Circuit (today Bicentennial Circuit) The Diana was removed from her place and kept for two years. After the works, in 1976 it was relocated to one side of the extinct cinema Chapultepec, in the Parque Ariel, in that place the singular lady remained forgotten for a space of 16 years. Faced with the pressures of the citizens, the Diana returned in 1992 to the Paseo de la Reforma, but this time at the crossroads of Calle Rio Misisipi and Calle Sevilla, where she remains until today wearing her firm body, wavy hair, eternal beauty and her bow without arrow.

Let me jump in to the next symbol of Mexico on this post, the Angel de la Independencia or the Independance Angel.  El Ángel de la Independencia is a column located on a roundabout in the end of the Paseo de la Reforma. The column has 36 meters high, and the statue, which weighs 7 tons,  and about 7 meters, for a total of 43 meters. Made with gold leaves.  El Ángel was built in 1910 to celebrate the centenary of the independence of Mexico. In 1925, a mausoleum was made at its base containing the remains of the heroes of the Independence of Mexico. The statue of the winged Victory located at its summit is inspired and is a quasi-conforming copy of the statue of the Genius of Liberty located on the column of July, Place de la Bastille in Paris, France.

Mexico

Mexico

Mexico

Visitors are allowed to enter the monument, view the memorial plaques at the base level, and climb to the top of the tower. Entrance is free. To go up people must get a permit at the Cuauhtémoc borough where you must show ID. Groups of no more than 6 are then allowed into the monument for about 15 minutes.  As things can change you need to check the information with the tourist office or the borough (Delegacion) of Cuauhtémoc . More here: Govt webpage Cuauhtemoc contact

There are 200 stairs, and the climb is arduous. The first approximately 15 stairs, in the base, are wide and comfortable. The stairs in the column itself, approximately 185, are circular, metal, very narrow and without a landing or resting point until one reaches the top. Visitors who are not in good physical shape will find the climb exhausting, and those not comfortable with tight spaces should avoid the climb as there is insufficient room to allow others to bypass. Some areas of the staircase are very dark, and there are only a few slits to let in light. The top balcony, though narrow, offers a commanding view of the wide avenues that surround the column. The return trip down is by way of the same circular staircase. But of course, there is always the challenge to see it , me not climb yet lol!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my previous blogs are

Tourist office of Mexico Chapultepec forest and sites

Good private webpage DEFE on the Angel

Good private webpage Chilango on Diana

There you go enjoy Mexico DF or city of Mexico or Ciudad  de Mexico; a fascinating world awaits you. Enjoy it

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

 

 

 

September 7, 2018

A revisit to Belize!

Let me bring you back to a tiny country that is very nice to visit in Central America. Let me tell you ,there is a North America, a South America, and then a Central America and they are all the Americas ,ok.

Belize is in Central America, and main language amongst many is the English.  I have written before on my visit there ,and for reference this is the previous blog postAt Belize, life is beautiful

Let me tell you a bit more on the history and country on this post.

Belize, is an unitarian constitutional monarchy with a ministerial-tendency parliamentary regime, whose territory is located in Central America, southern Mexico and eastern Guatemala. It’s capital is Belmopan. Belize was once called British Honduras. The current denomination is from the name of the old capital and the river of the same name.

belize

Northern Belize consists mainly of flat, swampy coastal plains at highly forested sites. To the south is a low mountain range of the Maya Mountains, whose highest point in Belize is the Victoria crest culminating at 1 160 meters. Belize is located between the Hondo and Sarstoon rivers, with the Belize River flowing in the center of the country. Along the coasts of the Caribbean Sea there is a coral reef forming cays.

belize

belize

A bit of history I like

16C BC. – 4C AD: Expansion of Maya civilization from the north of the peninsula of Yucatán. The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, and flourished there until about 900 AD. In the 17C, there were among the haunts of corsairs, pirates and freebooters, Huguenots or Puritans, along the coast of Belize.

1798: Battle of St George’s Caye: During the wars of the French Revolution, a naval expedition mounted by the Spaniards, allied with France, was repulse back.

1862: The colony is called British Honduras. As part of the British Empire (1862 – 1981). In 1981 the Independence of Belize, as Commonwealth kingdom in the UK came to be.

Throughout Belize’s history, Guatemala has claimed ownership of all or part of Belizean territory. This claim is occasionally reflected in maps drawn by Guatemala’s government, showing Belize as Guatemala’s twenty-third department. As of today, the border dispute with Guatemala remains unresolved and quite contentious with all leading international groups participating in keeping the peace.

Today Belize is divided into 6 districts such as Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, and Toledo.

As to beach activities abound, the most known and just awesome is the Barrier reef.

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 feet) offshore in the north and 40 km (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 km (190 mi) long and section of the 900 km (560 mi) along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is continuous from Cancun on the northeast tip of the  Yucatan peninsula through the Riviera Maya and  up to Honduras making it one of the largest coral reef systems in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996. More on this here: UNESCO on Belize

And Unesco youtube video:

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is worth the trip

Official Tourist office of Belize

Good private webpage on Belize

private webpage Ambergriscaye on Belize

Official Belize hotels association

There you go enjoy the Caribbean beauty on the small country of Belize in Central America.

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

August 29, 2018

The wines Nantaise or Muscadet or Poiron Dabin!

Ok let’s talk wine again! If you have been reading my blog you know my love for wines went back to my first sip from my maternal grandmother at age 8! It’s a tradition in our house ever since and into marriage and family life it continues. Today with so much to do and see in my belle France sometimes we skip trips to the wineries ;however, in my vacation time we took it to see one not far from Nantes in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 region of Pays de la Loire.

the vineyards here are the home of the Melon de Bourgogne or simply melon and gives a minerally flavored white wine known as the Muscadet or higher up we have the Muscadet Sévre et Maine sur lie. However, there are other wines  as the AOP region (Appellation d’Origine Protegée by EU standards that in France is same as AOC appellation d’origine controllée) can be broken down into parcels outside the appellation where the growers can choose other grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir , etc. These of course are not AOP wines but just as good indeed if looking at the right producer=winemaker.

Nantes

Let me tell you briefly about this region and wine appellation first, before we go into the property visited.

The region is located in the departments of the Loire-Atlantique (44), the Vendée (85) and the Maine-et-Loire (49). A single IGP (Iindication Géographique Protégée more at EU level) wine appellation, the Val de Loire.   The vines are planted on shale, granitic and silty soils. The main grape varieties that make up the vineyard are for red wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Négrette. For white wine, Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin and Sauvignon.  The list of wine region within this AOC are Coteaux Ancenis, fiefs Vendéens, large Plant of the country Nantes, Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, nutmegt cotes de Grandlieu, Muscadet Sévre and Maine.

More reading to do and learning as we all do is to read these webpages that enhance anybody vision and appreciation for these wines.

Tourist office of Nantes: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/vineyard

Tourist office of the region Pays de la Loire : https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/Loire-Valley-wine-routes

Info webpage of the winegrowers of the Nantes region: http://www.lesvignesdenantes.com/association-les-vignes-de-nantes/

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 has more info in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/theme/vignoble/

Hope you get to know these wonderful wines of the Nantaise, old Brittany you know ::)

The property we visited was that of Poiron Dabin in near town of Chateau Thebaud village of Chantegrolle. Why this property? Well we like to go to places already spoken with the owner either by telephone , email, or in fairs , city tastings promotions etc. Once I realized the property has potential to like it , the personality, the winemakers, and the wines, then we proceed to a formal visit to the property itself. We came to know Poiron Dabin by attending the wine event Village Vignerons in Guérande a while back (see that post); and by speaking with Cynthia and JP we realized these were real wine aficionados who love to tell their trade and wines to all; the wines that follow 3 of them were very good and a great price/quality ratio.

Chateaud thebaud

Once past that stage, we proceed in making reservation for a visit to the property. This we did last Monday August 27th. We arrived by 10h30 as agreed and all was ready with a nice welcome tasting of four bottles from sparklers to pinot noir wines. We proceeded to given a booklet map and go walking in the vineyards!!! This was fun we did about 3 kms or 1.8 miles of vineyards of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Melon de Bourgogne, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc fields and fields about 70 hectares or 173 acres!

Chateaud Thebaud

The best was that on several posts along the route you needed to find the bottle! lol! This was great you find the bottle , you drink it, (we carry cups, corkscrew, etc all provided for). The walk seems like heavens as we seriously search for more posts with wine bottles !!! It was a huge field with a horse farm in the middle of it all, but we were able to find 6 out of 8 bottles; not bad for amateur walkers in the sun at 25C or 77F.

Oh yes the walk is divided into two parts one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a break for lunch .Oooh did I said Lunch ! wow this was superbe, on our way back we call to let the organizer of the walk know we are close by and she had already all prepared. A huge picnic basket full of cheeses, small tomatoes, cold cuts including pate de champagne delicious ,and baguette breads as well as fruit yogurt like strawberry, framboise etc and of course accompany by the house wines from Pinot Noir, to Muscadet ,Chardonnay and a sparkler brut rose as well ,ending with Maxwell House coffee, bread and butter or tea!!  This trip is explained further in only French here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/fr/oenotourisme/activites-sur-place/

chateau thebaud

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

You are ready all of this plus the tasting, and the supplies of the walk for 30€ per person , we thought this was a still and will surely be back in Fall. English and Spanish is spoken too ! The property webpage is here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/en/home/

They can ,also, propose a tour in a local river flat bottom boat and wine tastings. This is La Divette option, you can inquire in the property contact email here:  contact@poiron-dabin.com

The property of Poiron Dabin produces about 600K bottles per year and were ready to start harvest for 2018 in a couple weeks! They do Melon de BourgogneChardonnayPinot GrisPinot Noir, Fié GrisCôt Malbec, and Berligou, a historical red variety from Britanny ( great red a gift of the duke of Burgundy to his cousin the duke of Brittany in 1460!), petit Manseng and rich Gewurztraminer.

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

As what we did after tastings all these wonderful wines well we purchase of course. About two cases of wines lol! We do drink in moderation ::)

Our lot included Berligou, sparkler on the traditional method (ie champagne) 2016, Berligou marché de Bretagne 2016 red, Perle de Seduction mousseux demi sec sparkler and The Pinot Gris Rosé Val de Loire et voilà we are taking care of rather nicely.

In all, it was a wonderful day in the vineyards as usual in my belle France or rather beautiful Loire Valley, in the coastal Pays de la Loire (not to be confused with the castle known Centre-Val de Loire region more inland). Enjoy the post and En Vino Veritas

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 25, 2018

The time will be cherished forever, the pain will remain, and the memories will linger my dear Martine!

And here I am alone, not really, my sons are all around me and still my old Dad with me.  It is a cloudy day and some rain was felled. I have come back from a trip, a special trip to a special place in our family’s heart. This entry will try to make it brief and share a bit more personal with my readers, friends and family who reads.

I have just came back from Honfleur , dept of Calvados 14 in region of Normandy. Why Honfleur, well people asked me. When we came to France we lived in Versailles and on our many runs in France and neighboring countries we came for a visit to Honfleur. Mine all mine, everybody felled in love with the quaintness of the town, architecture ,and the fact that the sea plays a major part past and present here and we are islanders on all sides !

Over the years we came back visiting the town and participating in its many activities and felled more for it. When it was the unfortunate time to say farewell to my dear mother Gladys, she asked to be deposit her ashes here, why tombstones for a traveling islanders , the sea is life. I took my mother on the Notre Dame du Port boat from the SNSM société nationale de sauvetage en mer or the National Marine Rescue Society. This is a volunteer life savers at sea ,former marines ,fisherman , and sea lovers who come to help the distress at sea in France.

The people were very nice and humble to us. We continue to visit the town ,and I became a donor for the association,back in 2008. My father always told me if his time comes, he too will out here at sea. I told him , I will follow suit and made it known to my sons. As the unfortunate lousy cancer came and took my my dear wife Martine, I had asked her where, and she too told me to put her ashes at sea here. And so I did on Friday ,August 24 2018 at 10h between Honfleur and Le Havre out at sea with the braves of Normandy. I was told by the boat Captain and President of the SNSM Honfleur station the ashes were spread at coordinates 49°2’6′ 08 N and 000° 10′ 850 E.

A phase is turning and now the duty is done, the paperwork is mostly done minor details left but easy.   Life they tell me is to be continue and so I will, there is no sensible  alternative. However, the memories, the souvenirs, the happy face, the energy and love will remain forever. I am very lucky to have met her at that 36 rue de Noefort, Meaux , Seine-et-Marne dept 77 and before on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in beautiful romantic Paris.

Yes, they tell me too ,time will ease the pain. Heck, I am human, time will not heal any pain. The pain will be there, I will just have the will and need to continue with my  young men sons. We are very much together, always as a family remembering those words in the 3 Muskeeteers of Alexandre Dumas, One for all ,and All for one! We stand together.

I will put the previous post in hommage I did in my blog for my dear loving wife Martine, and some of the photos of this special sad trip here. The rest is up to you. And me.

The ordeal of a good bye

Hommage to my dear late wife Martine

In memoriam my sweet wife Martine

An hommage to Paris and Martine

 

Honfleur

out to sea between Honfleur and Le Havre

Honfleur

coming back to Honfleur and the garden promenade on right

Honfleur

ecluse levy to open boats out and in at sea

Honfleur

Notre Dame du Port waiting for our day at sea

Honfleur

Notre Dame du Port of the SNSM of Honfleur

Honfleur

Notre Dame du Port waiting for the volunteer crew

Honfleur

going in to the Notre Dame du Port at Honfleur

 

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

ps. if you think the SNSM job is a worthy one, and would like to help  with Euros here is their official webpage in French of course. No obligation at all just for information. SNSM org

August 3, 2018

And quaint small Morretes!

Well on a nostalgic run of my trips in Latin America several years back to 2008! this time . I still have a couple of photos to share from those days on a wonderful quaint small town in Brazil.

My trip here was two folds, once they told me about a nice little train ride, and took it. Seeing the great rides and the roads not far, and with a Chevy Prisma car , decided to come back by car. Both events were fantastic. Let me tell you a bit about Morretes.

Morretes   is a town in the State of Paraná,south west Brazil. The name “Morretes ” is a geographical reference to the Morros (Portuguese for “Hills”) that surround the city. Founded in 1721 on the banks of the Nhundiaquara river , this calm and collected colonial town rests on an emerald-green plain at the foot of the Serra do Mar.  The city is known for its restaurants in which one sells the Barreado , at typical dish of rib-sticking meat stew cooked in a clay pot. Also,since colonial times, Morretes has been a traditional producer of cachaça. The distilleries still use the original alembics, and age the liquor in special wooden barrels for at least seven years, for flavors that are unique to the area. Most of the distilleries can be found on Estrada do Anhaia (Anhaia Street). Also produced in the area is a special type of banana liquor (pinga de banana).

Things to see here in addition to your walks along the Nhundiaquara river are

Saint Benedict’s Church (Igreja de São Benedito), the Saint Benedict’s Church whike in in 1760, the Brotherhood of Saint Benedict was founded in Morretes.

Old Bridge (Ponte Velha)  Its structure of steel brings an old and glamorous aspect making it even more attractive. The bridge is used to pass over the Nhundiaquara river and gives access to restaurants, that I will tell you below. Pedestrians share the space with cars, considering that there is just one street band. Therefore, one way car or person lol!

Morretes

Marumbi Peak (Pico do Marumbi): Located in Paraná’s sea mountain, the state park of Marumbi remains with natural wealth of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. For those who enjoy outdoor activities, it’s the perfect spot, because there are waterfalls baths, trails or even climbing.

Flower Street (Rua das Flores): The main street of Morretes, a boardwalk on the banks of the Nhundiaquara river with its historic mansions such as the house where Dom Pedro II slept, Marco Zero, fountain, restaurants and the city’s first telegraph. The loveliest colonial buildings are clustered around Praça Lamenha Lins (square) as well as the Flower st, mentioned above, the cobblestone walkway that runs along the river.

Touristic Train (Serra Verde Express): Leaving from Curitiba, the train goes to Paranaguá’s direction, passing through, and stopping, in Morretes. The train, which goes about 74 km between both Paraná’s cities, is compound by 18 wagons divided in three classes: economic, touristic and executive.this train offers fantastic scenery as it meanders its way down in elevation through the Mata Atlântica. The ride from Curitiba (from where I took way back in time) From  Paranaguà, there is service on weekends and holidays Need to check the site for the latest schedules and pricing. This is a great train ride and a must. I have taken the initiative to put a youtube video here hope is ok to do this. Let me give you the official webpage of Serra Verde Express train here: Serra Verde Express train

 

In addition to the walks and the train ride I came here to try the Barreado dish as above.  This dish is credited to the Portuguese more than 300 years ago that came here.  The dish consists of one or more types of second and lean beef, such as the palette,maminha and duckling, seasoned with onions, garlic, pork rinds, peppers, laurels and cumin and cooked until discolored. The preparation is mixed with manioc flour , and served with rice and sliced banana . The secret in the preparation is the cooking time in the crock pot-about 20 hours-enough to shred all the meat and keep it hot always. After cooked, the fibers of the meat loosen up resulting in a thick and tasty broth and seasoned to taste.

And I try it first in style at Ponte Velha right on the banks of the Nhundiaquara river. The service was memorable , the food enormous quantities and the price to die for… The resto webpage is still there: Ponte Velha restaurant Morretes

Morretes

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Brazil tourism on Morretes

City of Morretes on heritage

There you go another small spot in the world map for me but always thankful of the welcome and the experience by all locals. Something to remember forever. Enjoy Morretes, Paranà, Brazil.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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