Posts tagged ‘Europe’

October 23, 2020

San Sebastian/Donostia, Basque country!

Ok this is an oldie from when started blogging and would like to give it fresh text as photos are already in my blog. Must be my new look, writing a book and no pictures lol! Anyway, hope you bear with me and enjoy the post on San Sebastian Spain or Donostia Euskadi.

One of the most lively cities in Spain, rich in Basque tradition and close to the French border;you can’t ask for more. The city is well connected to Madrid and Barcelona as well as Paris. Capital city of the province of Gipuzkoa. From the 1914 it was built up following Haussmanian architecture as in Paris. That is why is so beautiful…!

How to get there is best from major cities by air to the San Sebastian airport, about 20 kms from the city. bus network Lurraldebus E21 Hondarribia – Airport – San Sebastián (Plaza Gipuzkoa) takes you there and back regularly from Plaza de Gipuzkoa. By train from the Estacion del Norte at Paseo de  Francia, and for local transport use the local basque system Euskotrain from train station de Amara at Plaza Easo. By road, take the N-1 from Madrid dir Irun or from Paris take the A10/ A63 direction Irun. Parkings in the city best at Zurriola beach, Parking Txofre at Segundo Izpizua,26 underground and safe close to all on foot.

The railroad station was done in 1864 inspired by Gustave Eiffel, and the city grew out into the neighborhood of Zurriola, now a nice beach area. You have the old section or casco Viejo wedge between the harbor and the river Urumea ,the area was rebuilt from 1813 after a fire previously devasted it. Here you find the center of the city and people watching in the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Church of Santa Maria del Coro , and the Monte Urgull or hill with a Christ on top plus the ruins of the castle Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota.

On the beaches side you start from Monte Igueldo to the beach or playa de Ondarreta, very fashionable , to the more popular Playa de la Concha, and between them the palace or Palacio Miramar built in 1889 ,the summer residence of queen Maria Cristina. Finally reaching the aforemention beach or Playa de la Zurriola looking up the third hill in the city that of Monte Ulia.

Some of the sights to see here are, the Museo de San Telmo at plaza Zuloaga, a large museum in a former monastery underneath Monte Urgull. It has many basques tombstones from as far as the 15C with items typical of the area including paintings by famous basques from old to the newer Ignacio Zuloaga.  Palacio del Mar, paseo del muelle, 34, basque architectural design to house the aquarium opening in 1828 as the headquarters of the Guipuzcoa Oceanographic Society. It has an unique collection of marine life from the local waters.

Monte Igualdo, has an attraction park at the top built in 1912,with all rides and sights. There is a cable car. Monte Urgull ,has a lot more such as the aforemention aquarium, the Bateria de las Damas as it was an old fort with cannons, Bateria Gobernador with a children section in its old cannons grounds, the aforementioned Castillo de la Mota built in the 12C now in ruins but still parts of it visible. The English cementary or Cementerio de los Ingleses in honor of these soldiers who died helping Spain in 1813 from Napoleon’s troops. Church of San Vicente, one of the oldest in town, Club Nautico, or Yacht club, the Museo Naval or Navy museum,. You have the Plaza de la Constitucion, as built in 1722 it was a former bullfight arena, city/town hall, and library, now its the center of it all. Plaza de la Trinidad, where the famous international film festival takes center stage.

Casino Kursaal, yes a real casino by the main artery Boulevard, at the old section of town for a bit of luck and some relaxing time. Really for adults only Kutxa espacio de la ciencia, a Science museum just outside the city, with a planetarium, you get there from city center bus 35 which took once. The famous International Film Festival is a happening needs reservation well in advance but once to it you will be back, its a happening in the city, I yearned to go back again.

Two building that is worth mentioning to step inside at least is the Hotel Maria Cristina ,the regent queen of Alfonso XII, And the other being the Theater Victoria Eugenia, from 1912 it has carried the artistic expression of the city and its beautiful inside as outside. The people seeing is best off Boulevard the grand artery along the bay, this gets you into many side streets of old world treasures and shops, plus great restos and bar, walking is a must here, you will see more.

For shopping you can do some along Boulevard to calle Legazpi left or at Calle Mayor right or a bit before left on Garibai Kalea street. By plaza de Gipuzcoa do not forget to have a mouthful of Basque pastries at the bakery Pasteleria Barrenetxe.  My favorites over the years are , Casa Alcalde in the old section at calle Mayor near pl de la Constitucion .Another good one is Bernardo Etxea, by the sport/fishing club near playa de la Concha, and Juanito Kujoa, sublime cellars type resto, great service,and excellent seafood ,doing it good since 1947 at Calle Puerto,14 toward the fishing port from plaza de la Constitucion,many family memories here!

Hope it helps discover this wonderful city of San Sebastian, that I would love to visit again once the situation allows it. Memories of my beloved Spain! Hope you enjoy the book post like a black and white photo dream on!!

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

October 22, 2020

Some news from Spain XCVI

And things are moving right along with the new trend covid19 and the fears eminating from governments without telling you the real story. I have contracts but will tell you briefly as some information is already surfacing. Oh yes the weather is cloudy, cool in my neck of the woods and looming colder now at 12C or about 54F. In my beloved Madrid;;;; it is 13C or about 55F cloudy and raining.

In the Interterritorial Health Council today Thursday, the agreement has been clear: except for Madrid and the Basque Country, which have abstained, all communities want to restrict night mobility to stop the coronavirus, so they are in favor of the curfew, However, it is still necessary to clarify the legal instrument for its application, specifically if a state of alarm is necessary, so before the final approval of this measure (at a future meeting), a legal consultation will be made. In any case, the one who will finally decide whether to resort to the state of alarm will be the Government.  I just heard on Spanish TV, that Valencia community and Castilla y Leon have asked the rules to be enforce immediately. Of course a bit slower here…

You know it all started in Wuhan China? yes it seems many has already forgotten this small detail… The first news was that it came from an animal etc, and we /I saw the Chinese army forcing people into their homes there as well as initial doctors who spoked were taken off the radar never to be heard again. Well there is a biological warfare laboratory there P4 maximum security, it is said to be done with French technical help in 2015. There was a leak and the rest is the Wuhan virus oh no it was called coronavirus and then to be more politically correct its the covid19 now. Well one virologist from Qingdao (see my post ) did escape thru Hong Kong and now in the USA. Her name is Li-Meng Yan. More info:  https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinese-virologist-coronavirus-cover-up-flee-hong-kong-whistleblower

I know this is not travel news but the situation is so critical now we need to speak up the truth. Hope it helps you understand.

We start the low cost route through Spain in Cáceres, which this autumn is positioned as one of the cities where it is cheaper to spend the night according to the ranking prepared by the Rumbo travel portal based on the offers available on its website.

The tour continues in Lugo, where the average cost of a hotel night for a couple is 57 euros. It is time to discover its Roman vestiges such as the wall, the bridge or the hot springs of this Galician city, as well as its Episcopal Pazo, its Cathedral or its Town Hall. We jump to Andalusia and, specifically, to the Cadiz province in  Jerez de la Frontera, where you can find offers like this one: 204 euros for four nights for two people. A perfect getaway to launch into wine tasting in its many wineries and enjoy a show at the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Jerez is known for a reason as ‘the city of the horse’. Of the Spanish cities on the beach where it is cheaper to spend the weekend, one is Cartagena, which offers packages of two nights for two people at a cost of 76 euros. The trip to the Murcian city has to include a visit to the Roman theater, as well as to the Sea Wall ordered by Carlos III or the National Museum of Underwater Archeology ARQUA.

The Castilla-La Mancha capital of Toledo is always a good destination, since in few places you can find the cultural richness it offers, having been the confluence of three religions, the Christian, the Muslim and the Jewish. Also, few people know that the Cathedral of Toledo is considered the second richest church in the world after the Vatican Cathedral. Spending a night in a hotel is around 93 euros. The list continues in Ávila to enjoy its medieval and Romanesque architecture this fall at a bargain price: 105 euros for two nights for two people. It is time to rediscover once again its walls, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, as well as the old town and its churches outside the walls. Aragon is also a good destination for an autumn getaway at a good price. And especially cities like Teruel, the city of famous lovers and Mudejar art par excellence with examples such as the church of San Pedro, which is well worth a visit. Beware of this offer: two hotel nights at 116 euros for three persons.

We follow the route in Valladolid, which was the capital of Spain for five years in the 17C and a stone’s throw away from cities like Madrid by AVE fast train. Anyone who wants to mark a gastronomic tribute based on garlic soup, roast lamb and chorizo omelette paired with the best wines of the land can do so by staying in a hotel at an average price of 240 euros for two nights for three people. The Valencian town of Gandía not only receives countless tourists during the summer, but its pleasant climate also allows you to enjoy it in autumn and winter. If it is also at an affordable price such as two nights at 132 euros for two people, the reasons to visit it multiply. Its beaches, its restaurants, its Doge’s Palace or its Archaeological Museum are waiting.

And affordable desserts not just for the Real Madrid CF team but for you too.  The tarta de queso or cheese cake that has conquered the Real Madrid CF dressing room. It goes that Alejandro González Cordobés always threw pastries, largely due to the influence of his English grandmother, who taught him to appreciate good sweet. Part of the success of his cake is in the ingredients: Pata Negra eggs from Cobardes y Gallinas, excellent butter and cheeses from small suppliers. Many clients repeat and that is always a pride. Among them, there are some Real Madrid players. Lucas Vázquez or Álvaro Arbeloa are some of those who have blown candles with it with their Instagram followers as witnesses. Free publicity for a project that starts. There are more teammembers in the list, but Alex prefers to be discreet. For now, the orders (26 cm of cake for 40 euros) are made by his instagram profil: @alexcordobess. Also from the traditional cheese, it also makes artisanal white chocolate and a mixture of milk and dark chocolate.

The Museo Picasso Málaga exhibits one of the lesser-known facets of Pablo Picasso: that of a ceramist. Until December 31, room XII of the Palacio de Buenavista hosts Dialogues with Picasso. Collection 2020-2023, a sample composed of 19 ceramics that the brilliant painter made between 1931 and 1962. Installed in the south of France, it was between 1946 and the end of the 60s when Picasso delved into the art of ceramics, which later It was a great artistic discovery. Among the exhibits are colorful clay plates illustrated with the heads of goats, human and faun faces, jugs in the shape of owls or insects, plates, tiles or bricks. The exhibition includes three paintings that he carried out during the same period ,and the La Californie Drawing Notebook, a publication with twenty-two drawings in Chinese ink, pencil, graphite, charcoal and gouache on vellum paper, made by Picasso at Cannes in 1956. This is exhibited in digital format and is mostly portraits taken in the La Californie studio or notes from nature. Museo Picasso Málaga; Palacio de Buenavista. Calle San Agustín, 8. More info here: https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/

And about those octopus or pulpos or even better pulpitos! A Galician delight very much in vogue in Madrid. These are some good ones to recommend.

Lùa of Manuel Domínguez, chef from Orense ,the embassy of Galician cuisine in Madrid is from O Carballiño (where the best Galician octopuses are eaten), from a family of pulpeiros and pulpeiro himself. So with these wickers your octopus a Feira is one of the essentials in Madrid. It is made in a traditional way, with extra virgin olive oil, a mixture of spicy and sweet paprika and coarse salt. Price: 20 euros.

La Pulperia de Victoria is only a few meters from Puerta de Sol, in this modern establishment that, despite its urban air, does not lose the atmosphere of a Galician pulpería, the production of the pulpe is quite a spectacle. Following the original tradition of and it is served, on wooden boards, seasoned with La Vera Denomination of Origin paprika and virgin olive oil for16.50 euros. They also prepare it on the grill for 18.50 euros.

Without a doubt, octopus is one of the reference products of this house, known as La Troya, which after almost 55 years of history in Madrid continues with its commitment to traditional cuisine. And there they continue, unalterable to time and fashion, two of their hits: octopus a feira (you know, with oil, paprika and coarse salt) and Galician style. Price: 22 euros the ration.

When strikes out events you find a replacement of equal importance. Dance arrives this season at the Teatro Real by the hand of one of the greatest Spanish creators: Antonio Gades. The coronavirus has prevented the hosts of the Munich Ballet from traveling to Spain to offer their version of “Giselle”, as planned (as told in previus some news from Spain), and the Spanish company, which has been grounded for the same reason had to cancel a performance in Baden -Baden, will take its place with the lesser-known work of that fertile pairing that Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura made: «Fuego». It is a ballet created in 1989 from the film “El amor brujo”, signed by both four years earlier. “Fuego” was commissioned by the Châtelet theater in Paris, where the play premiered on January 26, 1989. Spanish audiences had to wait twenty-five years to see “Fuego.” The premiere took place in July 2014 at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. More on the Teatro Real and Fuego here: https://www.teatroreal.es/es/espectaculo/compania-antonio-gades

The ninth Caixaforum of Spain is progressing as planned within the huge Agora designed by Santiago Calatrava in the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. With its 10,000 square meters, it will be one of the largest, together with Madrid, when it opens to the public in the first quarter of 2022, if the deadlines are met. And, probably, it will also be one of the most spectacular due to the size of the building, which reaches a height of 70 meters in height, and because of its whale skeleton shape. Official webpage waiting for Valencia to be added: https://caixaforum.es/es/home

And there you go folks, short and hot just for your thinking mind. Hope it helps you understand and enjoy the news of Spain. Stay safe and best wishes for all.

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

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October 21, 2020

My dear Segovia!!!

If you have read my blog, you know blood runs thru my veins (Tenerife) of this wonderful kingdom of Spain. And you should know I used to lived in my beloved Madrid. If there are many wonderful cities in my dear Spain, one of the closest to my heart would be Segovia. I like to give you an overview as already written several posts on its sights in my blog on my dear Segovia!

I first wrote an introductory piece in my blog on Segovia back on March 2011. However, I have come here many many years before , in fact came with my girlfriend 30 years ago , later my dear late wife Martine (28 yrs married and 3 boys). So , very emotional memories coming back to write on Segovia. Even if always stop in Madrid, Segovia is special for this and the magnificent stable of monuments of wonderful beauty and architecture.

Segovia is the cradle of Castilla y Léon, worth a kingdom and a very nice day trip from Madrid. It is UNESCO heritage site and for good reason.  Here was the seat of the kings of  Trastamara ,and one of them the queen Isabel I the Catholic was crowned here at the Church of San Miguel  queen of Castilla in 1474! , later the main supporter for the colonisation of the Americas.

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So where to start ,this is very emotional for me and many nice memories that my mind is going back to when my Mom took me here as a young early teen boy in the early 1970’s. Then coming with what was my Wife of 28 years, and finally coming up with my grown boys in their 20’s. So special family memories and now to continue sharing. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

We took off by car always either from Madrid and a couple of times from Cuenca. Our last trip together was from Cuenca on the A40 direction Tarancon, then ,A3 direction Madrid and, then the M30 tunnel until getting off the AP61  entering Segovia by Calle de Jose Zorilla and just landed at the underground parking of Ezequiel Gonzalez and then walk all over. The parking is named on Calle Los Barreros / Pº. Ezequiel Gonzalez;photo is from parking. More on this parking and others here: http://segoviaturismo.es/routas/parkings-de-la-ciudad

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The walls or murallas of Segovia, they used to be  3 kms long ( about 1.8 miles); today it is still visible the gates archway towers of San Cebrián, of  Santiago,and the San Andrés, as well as three archways such as Consuelo, de San Juan, del Sol, and de la Luna.  We passed by the Puerta de Madrid (see post) to find the parking and then walked up  the hilly back around the Cathedral and direction the Alcazar we passed by the Museo de Segovia at Casa del Sol, (see post) museum is on since 1842 and the house or casa is very old from the time of king Enrique IV. 

We walked on the Paseo de los Tilos by a nice fountain encrusted on the ramparts walls, we took a look at the city and Alcazar from a mirador or lookout of the museum of Segovia and walked passed the Puerta San Andrés (see post) that connected to the old Jewish quarters, and we passed the tourist office too! Wonderful walks and views!!!

We arrive on the side of the Alcazar (see post) following the high end of the old ramparts and with beautiful views of the country below. The Alcazar have older photos can see myself become of age lol! This is a beautiful fortress records show it from 1122 but probably it was there before, and a must visit with armor and statues of past Kings and portraits all beautifully kept. Inside the Alcazar, do not missed the section on the Real Colegio de Artilleria, royal college of artillery a wonderful museum of military history of the times. 250 years of history!! 

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We went around back into Calle de Daoiz and we found our first shopping spree on leather bags on 50% off!!! real bargain from Fernando. We continue on munching on ice cream until we reach the Cathedral or Catedral de Nuestra Señora de  la Asunción y San Frutos , (see post) a masterpiece and another must see here.  It has 27 chapels and the cloister, sacristy, Corum, Altar nave included. The work on its construction began in 1525 and completed in 1768! Considered the last gothic Cathedral even if many styles are renassaince. I am nostalgic about the Chapel of Sainte Barbe or Santa Barbara of which my mother was a devotée. Its a must to visit.

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You can see a nice building on calle Juan Bravo just before the Plaza San Martin that today acts as a Municipal Library but once was the Royal Prison where the great Spanish writer Lope de Vega spent time…!

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You come running if you can to see the Aqueduct and all its splendor, a must ! (see post) It is from the 1C or early IIC  AD, it has 818 meters long ( 2699 ft)with more than 170 arches and its highest point is at Azoguejo with 29 meters (95.7 ft). We came from above the aqueduct goes into the city upper side you come down on a grand stair alongside the aqueduct and see the Plaza de Azoguejo below and the famous restaurant Candido.  This goes beyond words of mine, you just have to come and see it.

segovia aqueduct from above aug16

Another wonderful building that I came straight for it is the Casa Museo Antonio Machado , (see post) one of Spain leading poet/writer.  He first came here in November 25 , 1919 to hold a place as professor of French in the Instituto General y Técnico where he stayed until 1932.  And even thus he leaves the city in September 1932 to teach French in the Instituto Calderón de la Barca in Madrid. He did came back for visits afterwards; Segovia keeps a very big heart for him. He was actually born in Sevilla in 1875 , and founder of the Spanish Modernismo been part of the famous Generation of ’98 and member of the Spanish Royal Academy.  One of the poems I always remember was dedicated to the assassination of another great Poet/writer of Spain, Federico Garcia Lorca in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, “El Crimen fue en Granada” = Se le vio, caminando entre fusiles, por una calle larga, salir al campo frío, aún con estrellas de la madrugada. Mataron a Federico cuando la luz asomaba” IN short, it translates as, He was seen walking amongt rifles on a long street, going out into the cold field still with stars of the night. They killed Federico when the daylight looms. One of my favorite poets of Spain! There is a guide map where you can trace the walks of his daily routines in the city ask the tourist office.

You can see the Church of San Andrés, on the street near the ramparts walls and the beforementioned Puerta de San Andrés. We came by to see the Church of San Clemente, built in the 12-13C. A nice one was the Church of San Martin, built from the 12C in Romanesque style. A historic one, Church of San Millàn, in the moorish area built by 12C, similar to the Cathedral of Jaca (see post) . Another nice one we passed by was the Church of San Sébastian built in the 12-13C however, dismantled and rebuilt in the early 20C. Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de San José, founded by Saint Teresa de Jésus in 1574. The Monasterio Santa Maria del Parral we saw at a distance as time is of the essence. However, is a worthy place to visit too. The monasterio de San Antonio el Real, old hunting lodge of king Enrique IV before becoming a monastery, the rooftiles dates from 1455AD all of them! Most of the above see separate post in my blog.

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Of course, we walked around and the Plaza Mayor is a must and Plaza de la Merced, and Plaza San Martin as nice too. And we ate here too lunch in the Plaza Mayor at the La Oja Blanca restaurant (see post). We had of course our bathful of beers, codfish croquettes, chorizo a la cazuela, hot dogs! and omelettes all for about 8€ per person. On the way back we took a different route and slept for the night at my old reliable at Venta Magullo, lodging and restaurant on site for road travelers. We came here first in 1990! So close it was time to visit again before returning to Cuenca! on the same AP61, A6 to M30 tunnel road in Madrid and A3 to Tarancon, and then A40 to Cuenca in about 2h40! Nice ride indeed for this road warrior!!!

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The Province of Segovia tourist office on Segovia city in English: http://segoviaturismo.es/en/ven-a-segovia/destinos/segovia

The city of Segovia tourist office in English: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/

The Autonomous Community of Castilla y Léon tourist office in English: https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/destinations

There you go folks, one of the best of Spain, and plenty to see in architecture, history, personalities, and gastronomy/wines you should be there and we will be back! Segovia forever!

As not to duplicate photos will only post here different ones. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 20, 2020

At Hamm, the American braves RIP!

So let me tell you about a spot that I visited on my road warrior way to see the whole of Luxembourg. I have heard about it but on this trip decided to stop by ,just to pay my respects. I will tell you a bit about the American Cemetery of Hamm, just a district of Luxembourg city.

This is an area I have passed by and always left out, so now took the family in and it was great, glad it was done.  By taking the A3 into Luxembourg and then going around the beltway on the A1 ,and get off at N2 you come into signs on Reimech that also tell you of the cemetery. The actual town on which the cemetery is call Hamm.

First, a bit of history that I like.  Hamm is one of the 24 districts of Luxembourg-city. It was a town of the canton of Luxembourg from December 20, 1873, when it was separated from the town of Sandweiler, to March 26, 1920 when it was integrated into the city of Luxembourg with Hollerich and Rollingergrund The origin of Hamm dates back to the monastery Sainte Catherine founded in the 14C, around which a village developed.

The area is served by Cents-Hamm train station. More info here:  https://www.cfl.lu/en-gb/network/station/gare-de-cents-hamm

In addition, a bus connection guarantees access to the city center with bus 15. Also, bus lines 25 and 29 serves Hamm. More info here: https://www.vdl.lu/fr/se-deplacer/en-bus/horaires-et-depart-en-temps-reel/lignes/2-8

The city of Luxembourg on the district of Hamm in English: https://www.vdl.lu/en/city/glance/luxembourg-citys-24-districts/hamm

Since 1944 the district has been home to the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, a cemetery of American soldiers who fought in WWII and the Battle of the Bulge, including General Patton. This cemetery has 5,076 graves of American soldiers who fell during the Battle of the Bulge during the winter of 1944-1945. General George S. Patton , who died after the war in a car accident, also rests there. The commander of the 3rd US division had expressly expressed the wish to be buried near his men. Next to the chapel, the names, ranks and units of 371 missing American soldiers are inscribed on two rectangular pylons.

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The entrance is nice and has a wrough iron arch door, with a welcoming house on the left. As you go in, sheer adreline pumps up with so many beautiful crosses. The stone plaque on the floor tells of the debt of gratitude we owe these men. There is a tower with a female angel, and the inscription “Here is enshrined the memory of valor and sacrifice”. There are huge stone walls depicting the battle movement and on the back the names of the fallen. Inside the tower, there is a nice chapel with flanks US flags and the inscription ” I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish”.

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IT should be more than a tourist trip, very educational and moving place which all should see. Hamm remember them.

The American Battle Monument Association keeps it clean managed the cemetery. More info in their webpage here: https://www.abmc.gov/Luxembourg

The Luxembourg tourist board on the cemetery memorial at Hamm here: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/misc/american-military-cemetery-luxembourg-hamm

And for the most famous name buried there , General George Patton, US 3rd army , thank you Sir. More info from official webpage here: http://www.pattonhq.com/funeral.html

And now I feel better to show this post in my blog, well deserve by all freedom loving persons in the world. Hamm is special indeed and glad I was there. Hope you enjoy the post.

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

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October 20, 2020

Koblenz , a revisit!!

I like to update this post with new text and different photos than originally done back in 2015. Things change and like to have it with fresh text and better choice of photos. Bear with me folks!

We were on our road warrior trips with the family base near Trier and we decided to go away into the center and we pick Koblenz, a nice city on the rivers Moselle and Rhine or the German corner or Deutsche Eck (see post). The city is very nice and great for walking.

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We arrive by car from Trier on the 602 ,then 1, B48 and finally the 9 roads or about 3 hrs. We entered the city and park at the Schängel Center underground, nice and all around you to walk. More on the center parking here: https://www.parkme.com/en-gb/lot/352393/schngel-center-koblenz-rp-germany

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As always recommended when in town for the first time, we immediately headed for the tourist office in the Forum Confluentes  building across the street. There is a boutique and several shops as well rather nice airy clean we like it. City of Koblenz in English here: https://www.koblenz-tourism.com/culture/koblenz-attractions/forum-confluentes.html

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After some shopping there, we move on on foot. And we went into Forum Mittelrhein because my boys saw a Saturn electronic store they know from the Paris region so again another nice shopping mall. More on them here: https://www.forum-mittelrhein.com/shops/alle/SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

By Friedrich-Ebert-Ring 41 street we came across an imposing belltower Church of Christ (see post).   We did walk a lot as the city is marvelous with great architectures and figurines on the streets with fountains sometimes; we reach another Chapel of John the Baptist (see photo) who was mentioned for the first time in 1321 with the Jesuists ;located at An Der Liebfraunkirche street. We continue by Florinsmarkt , we reach the Church of St Florin or Florinskirche. (see post).

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And we reach the German corner or deutchen eck with the huge statue of emperor William I (see post) of Germany and overlooking the river Moselle and Rhine with the great cable car to the fortress above and the quaint restaurants along the riverbank . Here we had a nice German meal with sausages and a good Kronenbacher beer! at the  Eiscafe am deutchen eck ; they have a Facebook page but their original page cannot go in so maybe gone, again here just for the family memories: Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Eiscafe.am.deutschen.Eck/

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We continue on the Basilica of St Castor , a huge wonderful Church that is in itself a must to see. (See post). Right around it you see the Ludwig museum , (see photo)  there is a wonderful fountain such as the Historiensaeule in Josef-Görres-Platz (square).(see photo) Passing by the Rathaus or city hall (see photo) . A wonderful town and good idea we decided to visit it. Certainly worth coming back here.

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The tourist office of Koblenz in English here: https://www.koblenz-tourism.com/

And there you go an overview of Koblenz as already plenty of posts on its sights in my blog. Feel better with updated text and new photos. Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

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

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October 20, 2020

Dusseldorf for the memories!

So here I am on a cold sunny day in my neck of the woods and remembering trips passed, trying to bring them to life again. Of course, I have written before on Dusseldorf, Germany but this is new text and new photos. Hope you enjoy it.

I  admit, Germany always is a gravity pull, and been there on business and family trîps, and cousin married to one.. This time went for a short spell on business to a new city on my map, Dusseldorf, wonderful! I like to tell you briefly and remind myself of the souvenirs of the visit.

It was during the Christmas season ,so plenty of Christmas markets in the zentrum or center, and we did walk the nights away. The Konigsallee area is gorgeous, and the hotel I stayed is the best, know it well because worked on them in management years ago in France. The best way is by taxi only 21 euros at the time, the train is about 6 euros at the time, but need to have changes, and no need to start your trip stress out with these taxpayer supported schemes.

The airport was great too, very clean, and friendly even without speaking German. I try the restaurant on the travel gallery on the E3 level , Das Gasthaus , more chow, this time flaky meaty fish, mashed potatoes, and the same nutty walnut cake type with a large Becks beer lol! A different way to arrive at a city lol! then went out to my hotel! Always goood to revise the posts as again another that bites the dust the resto is no longer there!! So again ,just for the memories.

The Dusseldorf airport webpage is here in English: https://www2.dus.com/en

dusseldorf airport departure level stores nov11

The airport has connection by train, bus, taxi, etc very well connected to city center. The site above will tell you only the S-Bahn S11 train stops at the Düsseldorf Airport Terminal station in the basement of the terminal building. There are several buses too to different locations. Eventually did not tried any of these. I use the taxi , even recommended by the local Germans! However, I saw the rate already up I paid 21 euros and now it says 28!!

The walks in the zentrum old city center was great, full of life nothing left unseen, the people were in their best moods. The bars were full, we had a great time at the Intercontinental Hotel lobby bar, and then went on to check out the two next ones that are a must for everyone visiting the city. The hotel webpage in English: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/dusseldorf/dusha/hoteldetail

I like the fact that just out of hotel the Konigsallee street and district is very nice to walk even at nights. The Düssel river passing was perfect with good friends and good cheers and a bit of Paris! Too bad this time not enough time to see much other than the culinary delights which are always welcome by yours truly.

The tourist office of Dusseldorf in English is here: https://www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de/en/

And the city of Dusseldorf page on Konigsallee district is here in English! https://www.duesseldorf.de/international/tourism/discover/koe.html

However, the highlight of the visit was going with friends to eat at a wonderful steakhouse with great wines selection. For the best steaks western style and wines galore head for the The Classic Western Steakhouse, Tubmannstrr 12 with top US beef with sound of country music and old western photos all over the walls,huge and delicious. I had the regular cut of juicy steak, mashed potatoes, nutty cake for dessert which I even forgot its German name, and share a bottle of 2008 Errazuriz Chilean red wine. More info here in German: https://steakhouse-duesseldorf.de/

Dusseldorf The Classic western steakhouse resto nov11

The next evening we went for old German chow, of beef and potatoes and green beens at a place where the beer never stop coming, I had ten glasses!!, and it was delicious, we walk home lol! This was at Brauerie Schumacher, Oststr 123. The brewery been there since 1838, pub with beautiful wood carvings, we went to the back a special room for us lol!!. More info here in German: https://www.schumacher-alt.de/index2.html

And it was time the next morning to say goodbye. Always tough to leave a place you had such a good time. I am very attaching and probably will find it well to even live there already!! nahh just kidding….

I started my return to Nantes airport direct flight , easy quick in and out place, and then my car home in about 1h30, on the N165 expressway. In all a very nice trip, and a discovery is made to come back to Dusseldorf. Hope you share with this post ,for the memories of old and travel thrills!

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

October 19, 2020

Amsterdam, public transports!

Here is one of my classic posts, as been crazy about road warrior trips I give the impression that I am always in a car ! However, you know that if you live in Europe, public transports is a must. I have taken these in many cities/countries of Europe. One of my fun trips were in Amsterdam! Therefore, let me tell you a bit on public transports there!

Granted, I have driven to Amsterdam too lol! call me crazy but I do not said road warrior for nothing! Love the freedom of the road! The main here is the A10 Ringroad surrounding the city connects Amsterdam with the Dutch national network of freeways. Interchanges allow cars to enter the city by transferring to one of the eighteen city roads, numbered s101 through s118. The s100 is called the centrumring, a smaller ringroad circumnavigating the city center. There are free parkings in Amsterdam but not with security and are rather quickly taken so be aware, anyway these are Spinnerij, Diemen-Zuid, Gaasperplas, and Buikslotermeerplein. To find a covered parking in Amsterdam see the choices at parclick webpage with my favorite Centraal near the train station showing here: https://parclick.com/parking-amsterdam/weparc-valet-amsterdam-centraal-station-cs

ams parking centre near centraal apr13

For the fearful or radical ecolos who do not want to drive into city center, you can choose the P+R (park and relay)» Olympish Stadion . This one is better in off season from tourists as when they are in the most it is full usually. Others are  P + R Sloterdijk and P + R Bos en Lommer, P + R VUmc (weekends only), P + R RAI, P + R ArenA, P + R Zeeburg I, and Zeeburg II. The city of Amsterdam tells you all about their parkings in English here: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/parking/

My road warrior experience took me into the A4 then A5 in Holland connecting with the A10 to connect with road s109 then s108 ;museumbrug ;Prinsengracht; Westerdokskade, right on De Ruijterkade to  Centraal train station parking! Great city driving!

As per the pure public transports within the city of Amsterdam you a blend of  bicycles and other public transportation.  The city is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and is a center of bicycle culture. Most main streets have bike paths. Bike racks are ubiquitous throughout the city. Bikes can be taken onto tram 26 or the metro but only outside the rush hour (7-9h / 16h-18h30). A bicycle ticket costs 1.80€ and is valid for the entire day. It can be added as a supplement to a personal or anonymous OV-chip card. Alternatively there is a disposable 1 hour card + bicycle which costs 5€. Do check these prices for updates.

Amsterdam has a large collection of canals (see post). In total over 150 of these waterways crisscross the city and its surroundings, dividing the city of Amsterdam into approximately 90 mini islands. This network of islands is joined together by a vast number of bridges, totaling over 1,000. Today these canals are only suitable for smaller barges, pleasure craft and the canal tour boats. There is however one main exception: DHL (my dear late wife Martine wonderful employer in France) has its own DHL parcel boats that delivers packages across town using the old waterways.

ams centraal canals apr13

As you can already notice, public transport in Amsterdam consists of metro, tram, bus and ferry routes operated mainly by GVB, the city-owned public transport operator. Currently, there are 16 different tram routes, and five metro routes. There are also privately operated water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing operation, electric rental boats (Boaty) and canal cruises, that transport people along Amsterdam’s waterways. A GVB day ticket will give you unlimited traveling with GVB for 1,2,3 , 4,5 up to 7 days ( I have purchased the two days ticket very handy on a OV chipkaart).

The GVB network: https://en.gvb.nl/

ams centraal station right apr13

The metro in Amsterdam is especially efficient to travel to the edges of the city. When exploring the city center trams and buses are more convenient.
The tram is one of the most popular ways of transportation in the city center, the network is large and highly reliable.

it is not possible to travel with standard paper tickets anymore. Traveling using the railway network requires a public transport chip card or a one way ticket. Please note that in order to be able to travel by train the credits on your chip card must be at least  20€. To avoid the hassle of buying a travel ticket seconds before departure of the train it is possible to buy your ticket online. The card to load money is call OV-Chipkaart

Of the 15 tram lines, 9 operate from Amsterdam Centraal train station.  There are 2 tram stop areas on the city side of Amsterdam Centraal station ; one on the eastern side labelled A, for services south- and east-bound, and one on the west side labelled B, for services south- and west-bound. Trams run daily from around 6h(weekdays) and 7h (weekends) to just after midnight.

The GVB tram lines in English: https://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/lijnen?tram&show

There are 5 metro lines such as M50 , M51, M52, M53, and M54 with a total network length of 43 km which includes 39 stations. The Amsterdam Metro first opened back in 1977. Just for reference as do not like to go underground, want to see the city best above ground.

To move in the harbor, best try a ferry , just for the adventure. Each of these ferries is entirely free to use and there is no ticket required. Ferry services are available for foot passengers, cyclists, and moped users.

ams GVB ferry at port behind centraal apr13

Second best to trams ,use the bus in Amsterdam!  Amsterdam’s public bus system is probably the most extensive service offered by GVB with a total of 35 bus lines taking passengers from the city center to the suburbs. There are also 10 night buses which run after dark from Centraal train station to a variety of locations such as Sloterdijk, IJburg, Nieuwendam, Bijlmer-ArenA and more.

The GVB bus network is here: https://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/lijnen?bus&show

There are 10 train stations in Amsterdam.  My experience has been with Amsterdam Centraal. From the station there are regular services with destinations in Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland. The other train station just listing as never used them are Amstel, Bijlmer ArenA . It is close to the Amsterdam ArenA stadium. Holendrecht, Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, RAI Amsterdam Science Parkn Sloterdijk . It allows passengers to change between the directions Amsterdam Centraal, Haarlem, Schiphol and Zaandam.Sloterdijk Hemboog This is an extra stop for trains on the direct railway between Zaandam and Schiphol. Amsterdam Zuid.

ams centraal left side apr13

I have to include here Schiphol Airport which is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal Station . The Airport Express bus 397 operates between Schiphol and Elandsgracht in central Amsterdam every 15 minutes. However, already have a post on the airport see post!

ams schiphol airport transfer line schedule sept17

The city of Amsterdam on public transports: https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/policy/policy-traffic/public-transport/

The tourist office of Amsterdam on public transports: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport

My favorite route planner in English webpage 9292https://9292.nl/en

The official GVB travel plannerhttps://reisinfo.gvb.nl/en/route

And for the most courageous public transports in Holland as a whole from the tourist board in English here: https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/information/public-transport.htm

There you go a wonderful pocket guide for your moving around in Amsterdam. As said, have experience here by road, plane, tram, and train. Hope this brief guide can help you navigate and enjoy the city better.

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

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October 19, 2020

Lovely Prague, and more!!

Well lets get back to Europe shall we! I always heard of the country even when it was a different name, and had opportunity to come in but did not. Then , all of a sudden, came to it first by 2014 and thereafter came 3 more times until the virus. Prague is nice and the new country of the Czech Republic has interesting sights as well as the new country of Slovakia! Let me tell you a bit about it with new text using some old photos but new in the blog.

I am not going to go into the history because is long and troublesome, already touch base in previous posts. Let me tell you where I went instead. This was Prague, mainly, as well as by Brno and Bratisalva in Slovakia as well as visit smaller towns like Kurosov, Budmerice, Ostrokevice, and Radnov.

I did walk the Prague,and went to the periphery of Praha 10 or Prague 10 district away from touristic center. This is the real city for me. The airport is smallist but easy to move about, not too many stores. I came by air on AF from Nantes to Paris CDG and then Czech Airlines to Prague Havel airport. The airport is in the nearby town of Lestice.

There are many ways to get to the city with buses ,taxis, shuttles etc. I usually took a taxi, but this time try the tourist in me and took Cedaz the private express airport. The ride was 150 K or about 7 euros; every 30 minutes ride is about 40 minutes. You can take it from Terminal 1 exit F or 2 exit E. Very easy nice ride. It stop me right in front side of the Hilton Old Town Hotel. However, as updates goes, the Cedaz service has been discontinued so this is just for the memories ok.  At the aiport had lunch at a nice restaurant in El Mundo del Tabaco cafe. Where I had my lunch with a nice Czech beer Pilsner Urquel. This has also closed so again just for the memories in my blog.

The Prague airport site in English: https://www.prg.aero/en#/

Prague airport T1 passing oct16

prague airport getting to gates C7 T2 oct16

My first stay going in was at the wonderfully nice mansion villa in Praha 10 as well call Hotel Villa, very nice friendly service, good space rooms,and good breakfast, restaurant. They are still there, webpage in English: http://www.hotel-villa.cz/?lang=en

prague hotel villa main ent nov13

However, while in town went out to eat as the locals do for a full feeling of belonging in Praque. I had great lunches at Peugeot Restaurant; very local food and away from tourist, good food and nice prompt service. I went for the menu of Czech specialties and all good. The owners love the Peugeot cars and the rooms are decorated with replicas and posters of them plus scènes from Paris! More here in Czech: http://www.restaurace-peugeot.cz/

prague peugeot resto outside praha 10 nov13

Then, it was a wandering walk thru old town, just missing the Charles river but see everything else.  I stop by the train station which is rather nice and webpage is here: https://www.dpp.cz/en

Also , at  Masarykovo Nadrazi with plenty of tramway and bus service to the city and around it. Also trains as  Hlavni Nadrazi to other towns, webpage here: https://www.cd.cz/en/default.htm

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As I needed to be in and out of Prague ,when back stayed at another wonderful location. I did some ride into town and did some walking until finally settling into my hotel. A new place very inexpensive and very nice, I have already experience knowing the investment guys in the St Christopher’s in Paris, but here it is call Penzion U Krystof in Praha 10 .More info here: https://krystof.cz/en/

prague-penzion-u-krystof-hotel-side-from-tennis-club-oct16

prague-penzion-u-krystof-hotel-lobby-oct16

Nice friendly and no English Pizza Next on 131 Zabehlicka street Praha 10, real good pizzas and a nice pint of Pilsner Urquel beer. all for 6€ lol! Cannot find a webpage for them but it is near the Hamr tennis complex on the above street. Talking about the Hamr tennis sports complex, this is superb, and nice modern facilities. Even a soccer/football local match to watch, and great food at the Piazza d’Oro terrace restaurant overlooking the lake Hamersky. too bad is only in Czech, but the facilities are full, the restaurant was goulasch , rice and a nice krusovice beer for 4€ ;more info  here: http://www.hamrsport.cz/cs/zabehlice/restaurace/

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prague-hamr-tennis-club-entrance-next-to-hotel-oct16

On my way out of Prague and going home I did splurge myself  at the Hilton Old Town Prague. This is  a grand chain and this hotel rank high up. Queen size bed and views of the city in front of you, walking to Namesti Republiky square The room was big ,bath too, wifi, bar, and on the 7th floor nice.  more into the business traveler but families will be in heaven too. More info here: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/prgothi-hilton-prague-old-town/

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And of course, going out with a bang. I went to eat at Potrefena Husa resto and it was fantastic ambiance good food and cheap at 10€ including beer. The beer was local and a bit yeasty but ok. More info here: https://www.potrefena-husa.eu/en/

My evening I went to the Kolkovna Celnice typical Czech resto not far from the Hilton, and it was  a simple business dinner pilsner beers that took the idea of Prague even more enticing Old Czech Kolkovna  platter 900 grams for about 13 euros! More info here: https://www.kolkovna.cz/en/kolkovna-celnice-13

Next day was a soul searching in dark old town Prague; and I took my friends on a walking tour of Prague to find a place locals had brought me before, the Hybernia or 2002 with the brewing pilsner beers and more drinks and be merry, recommended for more time. More info here: https://www.dvatisicedva.cz/contact

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I continue the seach for excellence and we just got in before closing at the Dubliner Irish pub that we should come back. More info here: https://aulddubliner.cz/

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In between i was in the market of Monday morning at Namesti Republiky, colorful by the metro station entrance. I walk around seeing the wonderful buildings such as the powder tower ,muséums, and theaters; etc.

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The tourist office of Praguehttps://www.prague.eu/en

This time took some time into the countryside and even into Slovakia. Hurry trip by car moving fast and eating on road stops but now I saw more of a pretty country.  It was new ,also, to have lunch at the road rest stops like Benzina, Mol, and Viva along the road 1 dir Brno, etc. and into Slovakia. This site will help you find some of the stations : https://www.benzina.cz/en/stations/Pages/main.aspx

bratislava-mol-gas-rest-stop-resto-oct16

And of course the Czech motorway info page is very good for car travel there ! I love it!!! http://www.motorway.cz/

I did had lunch at a nice stop hotel restaurant Atrium near Brno , more info here:https://www.hotelatrium.eu/en

brno-near-brno-hotel-resto-atrium-for-lunch-oct16

I drove by Brno and Bratisalva in Slovakia as well as visit smaller towns like Kurosov, Budmerice, Ostrokevice, and Radnov with lots of country and farms. All nice rolling roads and beautiful scenary. It will be a nice to be back when the virus allows it for in depth look.

bratislava-new-tramway-network-oct16

Otrokovice city hall passing oct16

And it was time to be back to Prague, and my Hilton again before saying goodbye to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The difference was that I always get a taxi and never a problem,only once had to haggle over a price but was easily settled in my favor. This time I hire the Prague Airport Transfer service and English spoken nice ride and good driver. More info here: http://www.prague-airport-transfers.co.uk/

The tourist office of the Czech Republic:  https://www.visitczechrepublic.com/en-US

The tourist office of Slovakiahttps://slovakia.travel/en

There you folks ,another dandy road warrior trip with a bit of help of airplane to get there. Wonderful country side and lots of souvenirs of these trips. Again, looking forward to be back, it was a blast! Hope you enjoy the post as I did.

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

October 18, 2020

Wonderful Pyrénées-Atlantiques!!!

So I am taking you back to my belle France, of course. I like to revised, update my post on this wonderful department 64 Pyrénées-Atlantiques of my belle France , that I have visited and love so much. Of course, so do the rest of France, but this is special. I have written on its off the beaten paths towns and would like to reshape, update the text with some new photos found.

Following first the Tour de France bicycle race , later came in to visit the city of Pau and took advantage to take my local road warrior trips into my deep France. Always wonderful memories of doing it with my dear late wife Martine.

This part of France have gone thru many name changes over the years into the unified kingdom of France, the empire and then the Republic. Before 1969, the department was called Basses Pyrénées from the French revolution.  And before the French revolution ,this was the province of Béarn ,including lower Navarre, lands of Labourd and Soule (from the province of Gascogne) as well as some parishes of Soubestre .  The Labourd, Lower Navarre and Soule were the three provinces of the French pays basque. The department 64 has two faces today, that of the Béarn with Pau as principal city and the Pays Basque with Bayonne as principal city.

Let me tell you a bit about these off the beaten path towns which I have written specific posts before; this is a revision in a general sense of them.

Not too far from Pau, we have Thèze, about 20 km and is part of the Vic-Bilh. The N134 and the D44 /D944 as well as the connection with the A65 connects the city very nicely.  The Church of St. Peter dates from the 12C. It is remarkable for the volume of its porch tower and its Renaissance portal.  More from the city of Théze in French here:  http://www.theze64.fr/?page_id=488

We have Monein . The best way to get there is on the A64 highway (Toulouse-Bayonne); Exit 9 Artix at 11 km.  Monein counted a secular abbey from the 12C, a vassal of the viscounty of Béarn. King Henry IV dubbed Monein ,the Paris of Béarn!!!  The Church of Saint-Girons  (see post) dates from the 15C and 16C. It is the largest Gothic church in the  Béarn.  More info on the city of Monein heritage in French here: http://www.monein.fr/la-ville/patrimoine.html

The tourist office of  Coeur de Béarn on the Church Saint Gironshttps://www.coeurdebearn.com/en/heritage/the-church-of-st-girons-and-its-timber-roof.html

In direction Morlaàs we passed by an old castle where winding roads needed to be taken up the road D7 and then D62. this is in ruins but the tower is in excellent shape rides up ; and chivarly or knights contests for kids was very colorful. This is the Château de Montaner.  More info in French from the tourist office of the Pays Vic en Bigorre here: http://www.tourisme-vic-montaner.com/patrimoine-historique/chateau-de-montaner.html

And we arrive at wonderful Morlaàs, the town is connected with the D39 and D943 roads from Pau traversing the A64 highway. From the 10C to the 12C, Morlaàs was the residence of the Viscounts of Béarn and capital of the Béarn in place of Lescar destroyed in the 9C ,and Orthez will follow in the 12C. The town had a commandery of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from Carvalho and Morlaàs. There were convents of Jacobins and Cordeliers. Morlaàs  printed money at the Château de la Hourquie (or the Fourquie, whose exact location is unknown to us today) since the 9C. The Morlan money was used throughout the south of France throughout the Middle Ages. In 1690, the monetary workshop was transferred to Pau. The weights and mesures of Morlaàs served as standards throughout the Béarn and up to Soule and lower Navarre.

Plenty of things to see here, and the main ones were covered in previous post but will name my favorites here: The fountain known as Baratnau, place Sainte-Foy, dates from 1635 ; this square also welcomed, from the 17C until 1845, a market; there is ,also the house of Jeanne Albret from 1451 as well as the Musée de Morlaàs with a rich collection of medieval or newer objects, paintings, weapons, keys, furniture, sculptures, a funerary slab and various architectural elements. The Château de Baratnau (at Place-dit Grange de Baratnau) was built around 1540.  The Château de Sarrabat, at the square of the same name, was built at the end of the 19C. There are eleven windmills in Morlaàs, some of which have preceded 1385.  St. Andre’s Church, rue Bourg-Neuf, partially dates from the late 11C. The Romanesque Church of Sainte-Foy dates from the 11C. The church is a stopover on the via Tolosane (or Toulouse Road), the Latin name of one of the four paths of France of the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, the southernmost.

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Further in glorious Morlaas, you have the The Cloister of the Benedictine priory of St. Faith dates in part from the 11C. A Church belonging to the Saint John Hospital Commandery of Jerusalem is reported in 1318 at the place Berlanne. Several times demolished and rebuilt (destruction by the Protestants in 1569, re-erection in 1610, demolition in the 19C, new inauguration in 1902), it is still the subject of a pilgrimage.  A first Convent of Jacobins was built in 1268, north of Bourg-Mayou, then destroyed in a fire in 1569. The monks then occupied a new building, dating from the 16C. You can see five capitals of marble columns Rue Molaàs-Vielle, the Convent of Cordeliers was founded before 1290 by Gaston VII of Béarn. 

Power to you to visit this beautiful architecture and historical city of Morlaas, more in their city page in French here: https://www.mairie-morlaas.fr/la-ville/histoire-et-patrimoine/demeures-monuments-remarquables/

Then took the D918 direction Mauléon-Licharre.  Not expecting to see anything here but just passing and voilà to our surprise it has many interesting things if hidden to the general public, of course you need a car but I will always say , the best way to travel….Mauléon-Licharre is located in the heart of the historical province of Soule, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Mauléon, an old feudal town, is built on the right bank of the Saison river or gave of Mauléon, at the foot of a hill where the ruins of the castle rise. The current town was created in 1841 by the union of the towns of Mauléon and Licharre. The old castle of Mauléon is an 11C castle, the castle of Maytie called Andurain was built at the end of the 16C by Pierre de Maytie. The city/town hall, located on the Place des Allées, was built for Count Philibert de Grama by François Mansart whose style is recognized with the alternation of skylights arched and triangular pediment and large spaced windows.  The states of Soule bought this mansion in 1777. It became the sub-prefecture of Mauléon from 1789 to 1926. Since 1980, it is the new City/Town hall of Mauléon. 

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Some further interesting facts here are that the writer Pierre Benoit used this location for the action of his novel for Don Carlos ,la Maison de La Fee (fairy ), at 8 Rue du Fort, known as the oldest in Mauléon. It bears the date of 1485 but probably dates more like 1785. The Maison de Bela which dominates the upper town with its Rounded tower. It is particularly well known because in 1587 its owner, Gérard de Béla, decided to introduce taxes, an innovation that displeased particularly  the inhabitants of the city. The market or halles dated 1765, was claimed by the inhabitants since the terrible fire of 1641 which had destroyed about 20 houses, leaving only eleven that could still properly shelter the market under their awnings.  The Chapel of Saint-Jean-de-Berraute is attested from 1220. It was part of the Commandery run by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem or Knights of Malta. The Notre-Dame Church in the Upper Town; it has a parchment of 1373 which gave permission of the Bishop of Oloron to build a new chapel. The Chapel even though it was small, became Church and even Cathedral, having sheltered, with its contiguous  houses the bishop of Oloron and his chapter of canons on two occasions, from 1378 to 1412, during the Great Schism of the West which saw the Catholics divide between supporters of the Pope of Rome and those of that of Avignon . And again, from 1570 to 1599 during the Wars of religion. The Bishop of Oloron Claude Régis, expelled from his cathedral by the Protestants, took refuge in this Church to which he bequeathed his heart at his death in 1592. The Calvary (or white Cross) from the  17C made in  white marble located in the Rue de Navarre is a marble column erected at the site of the walnut tree where the judges of the ancient Court of Licharre, (today a crossroads in the traffic roundabout), were gathered.  The Church of St. John the Baptist was built in the late 19C.

More on this wonderful little town of Mauléon-Licharre from the city webpage in French here: https://www.mauleon-licharre.fr/fr/decouvrir-mauleon/patrimoine.html

The wonderful Lescar very near Pau , our home base always in the area for years, and you can tell we like it very much.  Lescar is located at 6.5 km  west of Pau;  it is also 52 km north of Urdos, which allows the passage to Spain (via the Col du Somport), heck yeah for many years our route even before the tunnel was built !!!,  and 87 km east of Capbreton on the Atlantic coast. It sits on the east-west axis by the A64 highway ( aka  La Pyrénéenne). A highway exchanger to reach the new highway A65 ; (aka Autoroute de Gascogne), crossing the A64 on the territory of the town and allowing to reach Langon in the north.  The town is also served by the old national Roads RN117, Route de Bayonne, and RN417 (forming part of the Beltway of Pau) which are grouped under the RD817 (super road connecting to many areas of Pau and out to other towns, great).

The town maintains more than 600 000 m2 of gardens, 12 000 m2 of compound massif shrubs, and has 2 674 trees on its territory. The best on are the Parc de Beneharnum, at the foot of the ramparts, then the  garden of the place Royale or the park of the City Hall. An oppidum of the second Iron age was also identified in the district of Bilaà, on which is built the castle of the family of Ariste. The lower town of Lescar represents the heart of the ancient Beneharnum. Archaeologists have exhumed in the district of Bialé  178 traffic lanes, sewers, foundations of houses, as well as ditches. Still on the Domaine Saint Michel, the remains of the funeral enclosure La Tourette are discovered dating from  the lower empire period of Rome. Several elements discovered on the site are exposed to the museum of Lescar, including furniture and a mosaic of 6.5 meters long on 3.3 meters wide.

The city of Lescar on its heritage in French: https://www.lescar.fr/attractive/ville-historique/patrimoine/patrimoine-architectural

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And we continue on towards Orthez, this is a nice town, first you have the house museum of Jeanne d’Albret, that shows the Protestant Béarn, the museum at 37 rue Bourg-Vieux, here you have four centuries of history from the reform to the 20C, the story of the Huguenots ,love the history. You must see the Church of Saint Pierre in a vast square or pl St Pierre. The town was the site of the viscount of Béarn and this led to start the construction of the Church in the 13C.

The city of Orthez on its heritage in French: http://www.mairie-orthez.fr/Decouvrir-Orthez/Patrimoine

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On our way out we passed and got to see the parvis of the château Moncade right in the town of Orthez! It is built on a hill of 100 meters high protected by moats with a well unique in Europe, from the top of the tower donjon (33 meters) you can see a wonderful view of the roofstops of Orthez.  the castle was built in 1242 and finally finished in the 14C by Gaston VII de Moncade. More on the Coeur de Béarn tourist office in English: https://www.coeurdebearn.com/en/heritage/the-moncade-castle.html

And there you go a quick run to some of the most picturesques off the beatn paths sights in my Pyrénées Atlantique of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Enjoy the ride and do keep them in to see places in my belle France.

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

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October 17, 2020

Real Madrid CF!

Do I need to say more? This is the ultimate in the history of the game of football/soccer/calcio in the world. I am a proud Madridista! Its been a while, it is time I talk about my other love!

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since youth years, and needs update in my blog. I think at this moment it would be very opportune to re tell you about it. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the Alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer. Hala Madrid!!!!

La Liga (the league as its call in Spain), has been different this year. Due to the virus it was stopped for a while and recently re started.  Last year the Real Madrid won its 34th league title (most in Spain) and arrive to the quarter finals of the Champions league (which we lead with 13 wins). This year we are to a good start even with injured players we are in first place with 10 points in 4 matches. We will be playing the “clasico” game against our eternal rivals on 24 October at 16h away.

I am not going to tell you about the history as plenty in my blog on it so read on.

The official Real Madrid CF webpage in English here: https://www.realmadrid.com/en

My main source of news on the team is from the Spanish sports newspaper AS, which I am reading since 1972! Their page is here and finally in English too: https://en.as.com/

You can see previous games and leyends games at Real Madrid TV here: https://www.realmadrid.com/fr/real-madrid-tv

For shopping Real Madrid official items you have an online store here: https://shop.realmadrid.com/?lang=es

Over the radio my favorite is Cadena SER and the Carrusel Deportivo provides lively themes on the sports , teams, players ,and just gossips. Their webpage here : https://cadenaser.com/programa/carrusel_deportivo/

Another favorite program of Cadena SER is the Larguero, the webpage here: https://cadenaser.com/programa/el_larguero/

However, more than the club this post is on the stadium. The legendary Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Paseo de la Castellana, metro line 10 Santiago Bernabeu is getting a complete facelift.

mad real madrid estadio santiago bernabeu emblem feb13

The stadium expansion and restructuring project, by 2022, sought to increase the capacity by 8,000 seats, the restructuring of the stands, the complete lining of the stadium by means of a retractable roof, a shopping center and underground parking lots. This overhaul, for a budget of around 500 million euros, includes the installation of a roof, a new metal envelope made of steel strips and a luminous ring-shaped display board, visible 360 degrees from the stands. The club’s museum will be enlarged and new dining and shopping areas will be created. The number of seats in the stadium is not expected to change, around 81,000.

The New Bernabéu will feature access points which will ensure quicker and easier entry, with the towers allowing for a large number of people to access and leave the stadium quicker even on the busiest nights.   The underground carpark, located where the former shopping center La Esquina del Bernabéu  (Bernabeu corner many memories here sad to see it go but modern times are a must) used to be. The carpark will have five levels, two more than the previous one, with 500 parking places including places for the Real Madrid team bus and the visiting team’s bus. The adjacent building which once housed the club offices and Adidas store has been completely demolished. In its place, a new, three-storey office complex will be built – which will extend along the whole of the Calle Padre Damián side of the stadium.

mad TGIF la esquina del bernabeu entrance apr17

One feature of the future stadium that is now visible is the metal structure belonging to the new towers on the Paseo de la Castellana. Equipped with ramps, escalators and lifts, the new towers will replace the current B and C towers and will serve to make the flow of spectators more fluid. They will also serve an architectural purpose, given that they will provide structural support for the new roof.

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You can see the videos of its construction sequence here: https://www.realmadrid.com/en/bernabeu-stadium

Its “socios” (supporters-shareholders), adopted a long-term loan of at least 525 million euros last September. This loan will cost the club around 25 million euros per year and the completed stadium will generate 150 million euros in additional income per year. Real has returned to the top of the ranking of football clubs with the most income in the world, according to the firm Deloitte.

You can get tours of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium info here: https://www.realmadrid.com/tour-bernabeu

You can see the tourist office of Madrid on the Santiago Bernabeu stadium here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/santiago-bernabeu-stadium

And there you have it all on the best in the world! Real Madrid!!! Hala Madrid!!! we say. If you want an experience on football/soccer than come here and see feel enjoy the best! Hope you like the post as I did telling you about it!

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

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