Posts tagged ‘Florida’

September 17, 2018

El Corte Inglés!

Today , I will take a nostalgic ride to one icon of my beloved Madrid. Needless to repeat what I have written in these last few years in my blog and my love and predilection of Madrid since early teens years living there to now. I like to pick on particular memory that goes back to my family traditions and still carry on by me after 80 years , all together.

I like to tell you about the El Corte Inglés department stores of Spain, base in Madrid. When i was living there the competition with Galerias Preciados was fierce and both employees group still see this period with nostalgia even having memorial groups in FB. Calle Carretas starts it all near Puerta del Sol.

Now , today in Spain this is it becoming the conglomerate El Corte Inglés.  I have visited all their stores in Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Lisbon, and Valencia. However, again, all comes back to Calle Preciados. The department store in Madrid is very nice at Calle Goya 76 , (nearer exit metro Goya) ,Calle Serrano 47 (corner with calle Marqués de Villamagna) , and Calle Princesa 41, (near metro Argûelles across Calle Buen Suceso )and my quick getaway even coming from the airport at Paseo de la Castellana as line 8 arriving at Nuevos Ministerios metro station turn left out in street and the store is right in next corner on your left!! Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde!  However, I have to come back to Calle Preciados………

Madrid

Madrid

 

Madrid

Madrid

The complex of El Corte Inglés here is huge. The stores covered the entire block square starting at Calle Preciados, 1,2,3 and Calle Abadia 5,and Plaza de Callao 2. The Calle Preciados goes back to Plaza de Callao the store on your left coming towards Puerta del Sol. There is a store by the Plaza de Descalzas Reales (near the monastery) and another nearer Puerta del Sol, just out from metro Sol.

madrid

Here at the Preciados fortress! you have all available services you can imagine ,even a nice cafeteria in Calle Preciados, 3 building in the 7th floor and great views.There is also a cafeteria at Plaza de Callao,2 in the 9th floor.

The Calle Preciados 3 is for fashion and sports with underground parking, basement is a supermarket, and street level you have fashion accessories and up; we love the 3rd men’s fashion, 4th women’s Fashion, here. At Plaza de Callao, you have underground parking, ,basement supermarket, street level you have cosmetics jewerly and then up, house decoration and hi tech, we like the 4th and 5th kitchen and house decorations as well the 8th is toys. At the Calle Preciados 1, building you have electronics, music, dvd films etc with cd’s in basement, and street level we like as well in First floor video games and films. At Calle Preciados 2, here is the library with books of course, the street level is the best with new and best sellers, at Calle Preciados 9 you have a complete sports store and the first floor is for football/soccer; at Calle Abadia 5, you have the sales, discounted items for children, men , women, house deco shoes, work uniforms, etc. Enjoy it!!! we love it!

Madrid

Now let me give you a bit of history and company description that is very near to me! I have their card and shop there always even from France ::)

El Corte Inglés is the most important Spanish and European chain of department stores. It is present in Spain and Portugal. El Corte Inglés has stores in the majority of large and medium-sized Spanish cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Murcia, Elche, Granada, Cartagena, Malaga, Marbella, Pamplona, Valladolid, A Coruña, Badajoz, Burgos, Alicante, Salamanca, Cordoba, Leon, Santander, Albacete, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, etc. In Portugal, El Corte Inglés is present in Lisbon and Porto. The stores are located in the city center and occupy large buildings that include underground car parks. Its commercial offer is supplemented by other services such as hairdressing salons, travel agencies, insurance or real estate services.

The El Corte Inglés was a small shop on the Calle Preciados (near Puerta del Sol), with corner to the Calle Carmen and Calle Rompelanzas, dedicated to the tailoring and confection of children clothing that had been founded in 1890. The expansion of the business that had opened in 1934, with the union of employees of Nuevas Pañerias (draperies) and the contribution of capital that was baptized as Sederias Carretas,by Calle Carretas, 6. The idea was to buy all the properties of the square around it to create a new plant building that housed its establishment, which later became reality with the definitive name of Galerias Preciados. (My first store in Madrid with my mother).

At the time by 1935, the current owners had asked to hire a nephew of the owner name Ramón Areces, who had just returned to Spain and, in view of his refusal to hire him, to take him to developed the store of El Corte Inglés, located in the lower pf the plot he planned to acquire, as he finished the purchase of the rest of the square and proceeded to the demolition and construction of the new center he had in mind. The at the time the President Pepín Fernandez, who like Ramon Areces had formed with César Rodríguez in the El Encanto dept store in Havana, ( itself copied after the Galeries Lafayette of Paris and the store of my family ;clients for life, now gone of course) accepted this last request of his cousin and thus, on December 23, 1935 , proceeded to transfer the store in the name of César Rodríguez and, later, on January 25, 1936, to buy the complete property for the headquarters of Sederias Carretas. Transposed by César Rodríguez the tailoring is put in charge of Ramón Areces who will be in charge of his management from that moment until his death, maintaining the business throughout 1936 and the three years of Spanish Civil War later.

The El Corte Inglés is transferred in June of 1940 to Calle Preciados, 3 corner with the calle Tetuan, where the stores of El Aguila (eagle) were located. Between 1945 and 1946, after acquiring a greater part of the building and carrying out the corresponding reform, the sales surface reaches 2,000 m² in five plants and starts up a sales structure by departments emulating the existing one in Galerias Preciados founded in 1943. It is the competition between the El Corte Inglés and   Galerias Preciados, from the 50’s and 60’s, which will produce a revolution in the Spanish distribution market, introducing the seasonal sales , advertising campaigns , the air conditioning in the store, the massive use of advertising, the introduction of large-scale window dressing, the shopping cards, the computerization of the point of sale, etc.

The expansion of El Corte Inglés begins in 1962 with the opening of its second sales center, located in Barcelona, and continues until today with the opening of new centers, although already diversified in different formats of which the second type was Hipercor, whose Introduction is carried out in Sevilla in 1980.  In the model of large distribution surfaces the third and last expansion is made with the creation in 2006 of Bricor for sale of decoration material and DIY. The El Corte Inglés creates convenience stores ,first in the service stations, naming them at first Repsol-Supercor and later, in 2008, Repsol-Opencor to identify them with the chain of convenience stores that are not in a service station created in 2000 with the name of Opencor. In 2000, it also creates the proximity supermarket format, Supercor. Finally in 2001 appears Sfera dedicated to the distribution of retail fashion of great consumption.

By 1969, it starts the expansion towards other sectors beyond the distribution with the creation of Viajes El Corte Inglés (travel agency)   and continues this type of expansion in 1980 with the creation of Investrónica ,and in 1988 with the creation of computer science El Corte Inglés IECISA.  From the middle of the 90’s the national expansion is intensified by the acquisition in 1995 of its eternal rival Galerias Preciados which was in financial difficulties. In 2001, the El Corte Inglés also acquired five hypermarkets of which Carrefour had to sell due to competition regulations. This same year the El Corte Inglés bought all the centers that the British chain of department stores Marks & Spencer had in the peninsula (nine centers in total) on the occasion of its abandonment of the Spanish market.

The companies that make up the group today are:

El Corte Ingles S.A., parent company. Hipercor.,large area dedicated to the distribution of food and bazaar. Bricor., large area dedicated to the distribution of decoration and DIY items. Supercor ,medium-sized area in the proximity supermarket format. SuperCor Express, supermarkets of closeness and of small space. Sfera, young fashion stores and accessories in medium and small size towns, located in Spain and the 3 located in Portugal and franchisees located in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Kuwait and Mexico. Óptica2000, which are small surfaces of distribution of optical and auditory components. Computer Science The El Corte Ingles (IECISA), dedicated to consulting, software development and value-added computing services. Investrónica, computer and telephony wholesaler. Telecor, commercialization of telecommunications services for the consumer and the company.

Viajes El Corte Inglés , group matrix of a group of companies dedicated to tourism both from a wholesale and retail standpoint. El Corte Ingles Insurance Group (CESS), dedicated on the one hand to the brokerage of insurance and financial and real estate through the center of Insurance and services with offices open to the public in the centers of the El Corte Inglés, and, on the other, with Seguros El Corte Ingles S.A. , life and accidents insurance and managing entity of plans and pension funds with activity in Spain and Portugal. Financera El Corte Ingles S.A. as a company of financing of purchases to the clients and distributor of the bank card of purchases of El Corte Ingles.

As instrumental or ancillary companies of the main business involved 100% unless otherwise stated are Industrias y confecciones S.A. (INDUYCO) integrated in the group in 2010, Ason Inmobiliaria de Arrendos (rents) S. L., Construcciones, Promociones y Instalaciones S.A. Editorial Centro de Estudios Ramón Areces S.A.; Tourmundial Operadores S.A., and Parinver S.A. (75.83%). As minority stakes in other businesses: they are 50% in Gestion de Puntos de Ventas S.A. (GESPEVESA) that manages the Opencor stores in the Repsol service stations;   50% in Sephora cosmeticos España S. L.;   6.15% in Euroforum Escorial S.A.;   4.36% in Parque Temàtico de Madrid S.A.; and 1.7% in IAG.

Some webpages to help you come and understand this department store par excellence are

Official El Corte Inglés for Spain

Official El Corte Inglés English

And I give you one blog post of mine that speaks briefly of this store here: Madrid sights and smells

You will do good if shopping in Madrid or Spain for that matter to come here, check them out. Just saying….

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 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 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

July 30, 2018

My Florida!

As I am on a nostalgic run, and we are still sunny and cool at 21C or about the 70F mark, in my new neck of the woods, the Morbihan Breton, let me tell you about another dear spot on Earth for me. After doing the trajects America ,Europe, and back to America, I first settled in New Jersey (see previous blog post), and then came to live in the Sunshine State of Florida.

It was a spade of luck that searching for an University to go to, saw one of my liking and trade in Daytona Beach, Florida and went there for 4 years Bachelor of Sciences degree.  This was ERAU or Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, simply the best in its field. Liking it so much or rather liking Daytona Beach so much, once back in NJ could not remain there so decided to moved back to DB to live to the surprise of my parents. The independant boy was a determine young men and the beaches and bikinis was it lol!!!  This was the beginning of a beautiful story.

Daytona Beach

Living just north of DB in Ormond by the Sea OB area working and having fun (my parents follow me within a year yikes!) welcome, really we were very close and are with my Dad still with me. Growing up there made me visit other lands and one of them was France, as Daytona Beach at the time was the spring training site for the baseball team of the Montreal Expos (French Canadians). French taken as a language in High School stay with me and friendly with French students at the University.  For a shorter story, time went on and while traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris living in Meaux Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ïle de France region in 1989.  This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year and moving in the State from DB to OB (together) in Volusia County, then North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, then Miramar in Broward county (while here became French at the French consulate in Miami in 2000) before moving permanently to France in August 23, 2003.  We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in DB) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah); the trip ended with my dear late wife Martine passsing due to cancer here in the Morbihan Breton on April 30 2018, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sweeting the pain a bit.Thanks.

Daytona Beach

married at city island Daytona Beach 26 dec 1990

I like to tell you briefly, really short as too many towns and places in dear Florida, a State will never forget the experiences and which have many family members still living all over.  So not to bother with the tourist sites will give a historical and local view on the State, counties ,and cities we lived there for me 18 years!!! Warning: It will be a long post!

First, let me post my previous blog posts about Florida, it will give you a more touristic view of the Sunshine State.

Florida ,here I come!

My University days in Florida

Shopping in Florida

Restaurants of Florida

Florida, the Sunshine State

My Photo Album on Florida

Cities of Florida

Beach Volleyball in Florida

Always wonderful memories of Florida

I am used by now on Europe to use kilometers ,but below anything in km to miles is equal to 1km = 0,621371 miles.

Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Florida is a peninsula of 700 km and a narrow part in the form of a narrow “stove tail” (Panhandle). Its geography is marked by an extensive coastline, by the ubiquitous water and by the threat of hurricanes. Climate change from North to South and has such iconic animals as the manatee and the alligator, especially in the Everglades, one of the world’s best-known national parks.

The coast of Florida extends for some 1 930 km. Considering the bays and capes, the cumulative length reaches about 13 600 km. No other U.S. state, except Alaska, has a longer coastline then Florida with as well more than 4 500 islands. The largest island is Key Largo (47 km long). It is just 105 meters above sea level, Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida ; with almost 18% of its area under waters , Florida is marked by the ubiquitous aquatic environment , it has nearly 1 700 courses of water, 7 800 sweet water lakes, 700 springs, 44 500 km2 of wetlands;  Florida has the largest concentration of  springs/water sources in the World. Okeechobee is the most extensive with more than 1 800 km2; It is shallow ,between 4.5 and 6 meters, like most Floridian lakes.

Florida has five geographical areas such as the East Coast, West Coast, Central Florida, Panhandle (North), Southern Tip (Keys), and 12 National Park Service parks. More here: https://www.nps.gov/state/fl/index.htm

The main highways are Interstate 4, Interstate 10, Interstate 75 and Interstate 95. The U. S. Route 1 connects Key West to the Canadian border. This section of the US Route 1, in the Keys, called Overseas Highway, is about 150 km long and has 42 bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest in Florida with 10.8 km . The TRI-Rail is a regional line of trains stretching for 118 km and which has 18 Stations along the southern coast of the Atlantic and serving the three international airports in this region. The main airports, by number of passengers, are Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.

A bit of history I like.  Since its discovery, in 1513, by the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León who baptized it “La Pascua Florida” (“Easter Flowers” in reference to Palm Sunday), Florida is an issue for the European colonial powers before integrating  it into the United States in 1845. The Spaniard Juan Ponce de León would have discovered Florida by looking for the fountain of youth. He landed on the eastern coast of the peninsula between in 1513,  near the present city of Saint Augustine. He then made his way to the south where he was wounded in a clash against the Calusa’s Indians. He returned to Florida in 1521 to find gold and evangelize the Amerindians.

The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition discovered the West coast of Florida, but he is killed in an Amerindian attack in 1528.In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed near the present day Bradenton near Tampa Bay and explored the interior of the land. An attempt to settle in Pensacola led by Tristán de Luna in 1559 was finally abandoned in 1561.  The French Huguenot Jean Ribault approached the eastern coast of Florida in 1562 and took possession of Florida in the name of the king of France. He built the Charlesfort fortress to defend the new colony of French Florida. In 1564, René de Laudonnière founded a second fort in French Florida, Fort Caroline (Jacksonville). In 1565, after a great battle with the French at Fort Matanzas (massacre of the French…) the Spanish colony of San Augustin was founded by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés: It thus became the oldest colony of the United States occupied continuously by Europeans.

Saint Augustine

The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the seven Years ‘ War and altered Considerably the map of the North American colonies: Spain must cede Florida to the English in exchange for Cuba. Florida is an issue of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Unlike the Thirteen colonies, it remains loyal to the English crown and even accommodates Royalists refugees. The Spaniards took over Pensacola in 1781 and much of western Florida. The Treaty of Paris (1783) gave Florida back to Spain, without specifying its borders. The United States wants the old pre-1767 limit to be resumed. The Treaty of San Lorenzo ratified this choice in 1795. Florida was ceded to the United States by the Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in1819, and formed a territory in 1822. The capital is located in Tallahassee, halfway between Saint Augustine and Pensacola.

After the First Seminole War (1814-1819), they tried for the Americans to move the Amerindians. In 1832, they signed the Treaty of Payne Landing with some of the Seminole chiefs, promising them land west of the Mississippi if they agreed to leave Florida.  In 1835 the US Army arrives to enforce the treaty signed earlier, which triggers the Second Seminole War led by Chief Osceola. After his arrest, cease-fire negotiations were launched in 1837. He died in captivity less than a year later. The war was drag on  until 1842 and became the most costly of the Indian Wars of the 19C. After the conflict, the Seminoles were mostly deported to the west of the Mississippi; only 300 of them were allowed to remain in the Everglades. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States. The Third Seminole War (1855-1858) was waged to defeat the resistance of the last Amerindians. At the end of the conflict, there are only a hundred Seminoles left in Florida. Following an insurrection in 1859, 75 of them were deported to the west. The others, including Chief Apopka,( Sam Jones), remain in the Everglades, refusing to leave the land of their ancestors. Today, their descendants are still present in the region.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida , which is headquartered in Hollywood, Broward County , and control the Big Cypress Indian Reservation, Brighton Reservation, Fort Pierce Reservation, Hollywood Reservation, Immokalee Reservation, and Tampa Reservation. The Miccosukee branch of the Seminoles held to a more traditional lifestyle in the Everglades region, simultaneously seeking privacy and serving as a tourist attraction, wrestling alligators, selling crafts, and giving eco-tours of their land. They received federal recognition as a separate nation in 1962 and received their own reservation lands, collectively known as the Miccosukee Indian Reservation, including a 333-acre (1.35 km2) reservation on the northern border of Everglades National Park, about 45 miles (72 km) west of Miami. This one we have been many times for the Festival as they divide their overall reservation in three sections, the one for operations, festival ,and our visits was the Tamiami Trail Reservation. More on them here. Miccosukee Arts Festival and more

During the US presidential election of 1860, Florida refused to vote for Abraham Lincoln and eventually separated from the Union by signing the order of January 10, 1861. Florida joined the Confederate States of America a few weeks later and became involved in the civil war. In May 1865, Northern General Edward M. McCook was charged with regaining control of Florida. He challenged Colonel George Washington Scott, hoisted the flag of the United States on the state Capitol in Tallahassee, and read the proclamation of emancipation of the slaves on 12 May. The American Civil War is over in Florida, which is officially reinstated in the Union on 25 July 1868.

The Cold War (1947-1991) intensified the development of the military-industrial complex; Florida is becoming a major issue because of its proximity to the communist island of Cuba. It accommodates thousands of Cuban refugees. Due to this immigration, Miami gradually became one of the major economic centers of Latin America. During the Missile crisis of 1962, the region could be directly threatened by Soviet nuclear missiles. As part of the competition with the USSR and because of its geographical location, Florida hosts the Patrick Air Force base and the launch base of Cape Canaveral (NASA).

State of Florida Tourism https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

Volusia County stretches between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. Volusia County was named after its largest community, Volusia, when the Florida legislature created it by dividing Orange County on December 29, 1854. The county is geographically divided into East Volusia,  also known as the Greater Daytona Beach Area, or the Halifax Area;  Southeast Volusia,  also known as the Greater New Smyrna Beach Area, and  West Volusia,  also called Saint John’s River Country (named for the Saint John’s River which lies nearby),  Adjacent counties are on the north ,Flagler , on the south Brevard, also south is Orange, and southwest is Seminole, west is Lake ,and northwest is Marion and Putnam counties.

Daytona Beach

Halifax Hospital

Volusia County Public Transit System (VOTRAN) is the local Volusia County bus service. Passenger Train service to Volusia County is provided by Amtrak on the Silver Meteor and Silver Star routes. Service between Volusia County and Orlando is provided by SunRail, a commuter rail line running from Volusia to Orange County. Interstate 95 is the main south-to-north interstate highway along the east coast of the state (an up to Canada)  as well as in Volusia County it has eight interchanges  or exits, three of them in Daytona Beach.  Interstate I-4 is the main west-to-east interstate highway through Central Florida (going from DB to Orlando to Tampa), however it also serves as the westernmost interstate highway in the county. It has  seven interchanges and becomes State Road 400 east of I-95. US 1.is the main local road through eastern Volusia County, running south to north. This one is more city central and slower traffic. US 17  is the main local road through western Volusia County, running south to north. US 92 (can go to Deland and Orlando)  west-to-east route shares a concurrency with US 17 further south in Polk County until branching off onto the International Speedway Boulevard in DB. Florida A1A.is the scenic coastal alternate route to US 1, which also includes some county road spurs and extensions. It goes parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.  SR 40, a west-to-east road in northern Volusia County enters the county from the Astor Bridge over the St. Johns River and heads east towards Ormond Beach or towards Ocala and west Florida on the other direction.

Volusia county on visitors: https://www.volusia.org/visitors/

Ormond-by-the-Sea is an unincorporated town in Volusia County,the boundaries of Ormond-by-the-Sea include the Volusia/Flagler county line on the north, the city of Ormond Beach on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Halifax River on the west. The area has traditionally been called the North Peninsula, although other nicknames such as OBC or OBTS are sometimes used.  My oldest boy was born in Halifax Hospital in nearby Daytona Beach.

Ormond by the Sea

Ormond by the Sea paperwork

Ormond by the Sea

Ormond by the Sea house

There are two principal roads, State Road A1A (also known as Ocean Shore Boulevard), which runs along the Atlantic Ocean, and John Anderson Drive, which runs along the Halifax River.

A bit of history I like . The Timucuan Indians, who in the 16C occupied a large village called Nocoroco, located at the site of Tomoka State Park. Another nice area which I used a lot is the North Peninsula State Park, comprising approximately 800 acres (3.2 km2) along the A1A Atlantic Ocean road facing the sea! This is where I lived most. The wonderful Bicentennial park facing the ocean we love is at the city of Ormond Beach webpage here: Bicentennial Park Ormond by the Sea

The city we live is not a city but an incorporated area of the county of Volusia, however, our services and leisure activities like the park most were done out of the city of Ormond Beach. More here: City of Ormond Beach

 Miami Dade County . Dade County was created on January 18, 1836, under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. On November 13, 1997, voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami. Adjacent counties are north, Broward, southwest Monroe, and northwest Collier. It has great wonderful National Park Service such as the Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, and Everglades National Park.

Miami

Zoo of Miami

Key Biscayne

Key biscayne bill boggs beach

Miami International Airport, located in an unincorporated area in the county, serves as the primary international airport of the Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world . Public transit in Miami-Dade County is served by Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works, and is the largest public transit in Florida. Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works operates a heavy rail metro system Metrorail, an elevated people mover in Downtown Miami, Metromover and the bus system, Metrobus.  Tri-Rail also services the county. Miami-Dade County has 10 major expressways such as  I-75,(to go home!) ,  I-95, I-195 / SR 112,  I-395 / SR 836,  US 1,  US 27,  US 41,  US 441, and  SR A1A(ocean).

Tourist office of Miami dade county http://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

Cultural affairs of Miami Dade county: http://www.miamidadearts.org/calendar/month

North Miami, The city lies on Biscayne Bay.  Originally the town of “Arch Creek”, the area was incorporated as the “Town of Miami Shores”, which was renamed the “Town of North Miami” in 1931. It was reincorporated as a city in 1953.

The city is also home to the Oleta River State Park, which is the state’s largest urban park. The park contains one of the largest concentrations of Australian pine trees found in a Florida state park. The Arch Creek Park  opened in 1982. Today, Arch Creek is an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street (right where our apt was!!!) and Biscayne Boulevard, and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the original coontie mill are still visible across the creek, and the park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County. There is, also, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) a museum located in the heart of downtown North Miami, and the Miami Auto Museum displays a large collection of classic cars, Hollywood cars, mini cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles from the collection of Michael Dezer.

More on the city of North Miami: City of North Miami on parks

Hialeah the sixth-largest city in Florida and is the only place in the county, other than Homestead, Florida, to have its own street grid numbered separately from the rest of the county (which is otherwise based on Miami Avenue at Flagler Street in downtown Miami, the county seat).  Hialeah has the highest percentage of Cuban and Cuban American residents of any city in the United States, at 73.37% of the population(2016), making them a distinctive and prominent feature of the city’s culture. My twin boys were born in Hialeah Hospital!

Hialeah

Chuckee Cheese Hialeah

Hialeah is served by the Miami Metrorail at Okeechobee, Hialeah, and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer stations. The Okeechobee and Hialeah stations serve primarily as park-and-ride commuter stations to commuters and residents going into Downtown Miami, and Tri-Rail station to Miami International Airport and north to West Palm Beach. The best here was the old Hialeah racecourse full of flamingo birds. Now some horse races are done and there is a casino: more here: Hialeah race track and Casino

The city’s name is most commonly attributed to Muskogee origin, “Haiyakpo” (prairie) and “hili” (pretty) combining in “Hialeah” to mean “pretty prairie”. Alternatively, the word is of Seminole origin meaning “Upland Prairie”. The city is located upon a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.

City of Hialeah on history: http://www.hialeahfl.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6&Itemid=385&lang=en

Broward County Its county seat is Fort Lauderdale. It was founded on April 30, 1915. It was intended to be named Everglades County, but then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Ion Farris amended the bill that established the county to be named in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909. In 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create Broward County.  Adjacent counties are north Palm Beach, south Miami Dade, west Collier, and northwest Hendry.

Fort Lauderdale

las olas beach FLL

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport serves as the primary airport of the Broward County area. The airport is bounded by the cities Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach;  three miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale  and 21 miles (34 km) north of Miami. The airport is near cruise line terminals at Port Everglades and is popular among tourists bound for the Caribbean. Public transportation available are the Broward County Transit, Tri-Rail, Sun Trolley, and the major roads passing by it are the Interstate 95, I-75 ,I-595 (Port Everglades Expressway), Florida’s Turnpike (SR 91) Florida’s Turnpike Homestead Extension (SR 821) ,and Toll State Road 869 (Sawgrass Expressway).

Broward county tourist office : https://www.sunny.org/

Cities of Broward county: http://www.broward.org/Publications/ResidentsGuide/Pages/BrowardCountyMunicipalities.aspx

Miramar  is in Broward county, my last town in the USA, and it was name after the city of Miramar in Havana, Cuba (also near where I was born). The city has adjacent towns such as Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, West Park ,and  Miami Gardens. To the extreme west you find the Everglades!.

Miramar (en. seaview) was founded by A.L. Mailman to serve as a “bedroom community” for nearby Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He bought the original property he was to develop from H.D. Perry, Sr. in 1953.  The city was incorporated on May 26, 1955 bordered by the following cities,Pembroke Pines to the northwest and north,Hollywood to the  northeast, east West Park, and south Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, and a bit of Miami Lakes. My sons went to school here at Silver Lakes Elementary School, memorable last school in the USA and they fondly remember it as well as their teachers! We lived at Silver Lakes Division west of I-75 interstate road on Sapphire Bay sub division our last spot in the USA and very fondly remembered it.

Miramar

home in Miramar

Miramar

visiting school silver lakes miramar

City of Miramar on history: https://www.miramarfl.gov/257/Miramars-History

There , now you got all you need on Florida,and heck even me lol!!! Love the Sunshine State. We made a decision to move to France and we do not regretted either as it has been a roller coaster of fun and memories. Now ,the French reason is gone, but we still very much attach to France thanks to her courage and determination. Never to be forgotten. Enjoy the State of Florida.

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

July 25, 2018

Captain General Residence and Museum of Havana!

And I am coming back to my Havana of childhood, never to be the same again. Well I have written pieces on it in my blog just do search; however, never a post alone and so deservingly. I am coming right at you on La Habana, Cuba. Oh yes I meant , the Captain General Residence of the governor of Cuba under colonial period of Spain.

This one was done way way back when a boy of around 10, so memories are loose. I have decided to use the pictures that I kept from the text tranlation of Ecured Cuba from Spanish to English.

To begin with,the visit Cuba tourist site has some info on the wonderful building here in English. Museum of Havana, Captain General

The place is very nice, historical and architecturally and a must to visit while in Cuba. In addition, the museum of which is, give you an overall look of Cuban history from zero. Again, if one building to visit in Cuba, this is it, in my opinion.

Ahh yes I am talking about the residence of the Captain General of Cuba (this was the governor of Spain in Cuba), over the years use for many things and now a wonderful museum of Havana, Cuba.

Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former parish church, as the imposing Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. It served as Spanish colonial government headquarters until 1898 and housed 65 Capitanes Generales (governors), after which it served as the center of U.S. military administration (1898-1902), then as the Cuban President’s resident, and finally (1920-67) as the City Hall.  The two-story limestone building was not completed in its final form until 1835; the façade is adorned with the shield of the city and features a deep loggia supported on thick columns. Peacocks roam the tree-filled courtyard, where a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbis presides.  It is today the Museo de la Ciudad—the fabulous City Museum telling the tale of the city’s history. The Captain General’s apartments are furnished in the sumptuous style of their epoch, as is the Salón del Trono (Throne Room) with its throne prepared for a visit (which never happened individually) by the King of Spain but it did finally when King Juan Carlos I visited in 1999 during the Ibero American conference.  The his and hers Carrara marble nautilus shell baths are particularly wonderful.

My pictures still with me should be from 1998 last family trip to follow:

Havana

Havana

Havana

Now let me give you the translation because in Cuba they have more information than anywhere else on the building and museum. Here it goes, excuse me if the lenght of it is long and my typing sloppy.

The building/museum is in front of the Plaza de Armas, occupying part of the space of the Parish Mayor’s demolition, the palace was erected between 1776 and 1791 . From its beginnings, it also sheltered, in the West Wing, the public prison until 1834.  This provoked subsequent remodeling to achieve the harmony that is enjoyed today. The city hall of Havana met uninterruptedly 176 years in the palace halls.  Since 1938, the Office of the city historian was based in the building, under the direction of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring . In 1967 the municipal government moved to a new headquarters, so that the building began to be restored in order to allocate it to the Museum of the City of Havana, whose first showrooms were inaugurated from 1968.  The city Museum has 40 permanent exhibition halls, dedicated to preserving the memory of Cuban independence and the need of the search for national identity, until the definitive revolutionary victory in January 1959.

The different halls or rooms:

Sala Parriocal or Parish Hall: The passage through this room proposes the remembrance of the Parish Mayor or Parroquia Mayor, a primitive Church that opened its doors to the Catholic cult in the Villa San Cristóbal de la Habana in 1577, and that in 1741 was devastated as a result of the explosion of the invincible ship. Archaeological remains of its existence, jewels of the oldest churches of Havana, of the first religious orders that were established in this city between those that appear of Santo Domingo and San Francisco, as well as pieces of convents and portraits of the first Bishops, are memories of the Catholic Church in Cuba exhibited in this space.

Sala Giraldilla  (lady symbol of Havana like Sevilla) symbol of Havana has become the first molten sculpture in the city, Wind vane, done for  the tower of homage of the Castle of the royal force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)  between 1630 and 1634.

Heraldic room  (or Sala Héraldica) small room designed for exhibiting objects and documents that testify to the importance that the Cuban nobility attributed to heraldic symbology.  Certifications of weapons, cleanings of blood, facsimiles of nobility titles, military orders, as well as banners or confectioners that displaying especially in the balconies on the day of Kings, allow us to catalogue the heraldic imprint of the Cuban family, on All of the 19C.
Room set B (or Sala Ambientada B) (19C) in the mid 19C, after the great sugar boom of the Creole Sacarocracy,  luxury is gala with its presence in the great palaces, and grows the importation of furniture and objects of art from the most diverse styles. Coupled with this, it increases the national productions in which beauty and good taste almost always prevail. From then on, the so-called eclecticism appears in the interior environments, as shown in the room, which also occupies the space of the first room in the museum.

Carriages room (Sala Cochera)  in the area occupied by the garage and Palace stables are exposed various models of cars: The Quitrin, introduced in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C; The well-known Break of English origin, from the late 19C, with capacity for a greater number of people; Finally, the Phaeton, convertible carriage and quite light. In the showcases are shown costumes calesero, objects related to daily life and caricatures in customs of the Basque painter Víctor Patricio Landaluze. Another of the relevant pieces is the locomotive, a remembrance of the first that circulated on November 19, 1837 by the station of Villanueva. This Cagney 15-type piece, manufactured in 1905 in the United States, is a jewel of Cuban railway heritage.

Sala Emilio Roig:  retains pieces belonging to the personal collection of Dr. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, whose arduous work bequeathed fruit as the founding of the Office of the historian of the City of Havana in 1938 and the Museum of the city of Havana in 1942, located in the Lombillo Palace, in the Cathedral Square(Plaza de la Catedral). Promoter and founder of these institutions, Roig played the position of the historian of the city until his death. The room exhibits around the important work table pieces of the collection of Emilio Roig, among them an excellent caricature made by Conrad Walter Massaguer which recreates the members of the retail group, composed of transcendental figures of the Cuban culture that represented the most progressive wing of intellectuality in the first half of the 20C.

Pinacoteca : shows a series of important works of key artists within the Cuban plastic, covering different periods within the history of this artistic manifestation. In it, is possible to admire creations of figures of the 19C art, governed by canons of the academy, like Leopoldo Romañach and Armando Menocal; of representatives of the avant-garde of modernism in the Cuban plastic, among them its initiator, Víctor Manuel, and other prominent artists such as Amelia Peláez, Mariano Rodríguez, René Portocarrero and Wifredo Lam, who were interested in recreating the  Cuban reality, its cities, traditions and symbols, and a sample of the most recent work of our contemporary creators, who are launching to renew the universe of expressive resources, each one with its language and its way of seeing and reflecting the world.

Cuban copper room (Sala de los Cobres Cubanos) within the vital offices of the old City is the blacksmith, which, by its application in construction works, in shipyards, agricultural, industrial and defensive work, occupied a significant place in the development of the city; However, in the 16C there was an insufficient number of artisans to practise it, and it is not until the last decade of that century when by Royal Order the foundation of blacksmiths in the city began. In the room dedicated to the exponents of this noble trade, a great diversity of objects of domestic and military use can be appreciated, result of the tenacity and mastery of the craftsmen of the metal.

Sword Cemetery (Cementerio de Espadas) Bishop Juan José Díaz de Espada and Fernández de Landa distinguished himself during the first three decades of the 19C for his progressive and enlightened work. Among his many works is the creation of the first Necropolis, which took its name and was inaugurated in 1806. Sculptors and Quarriers performed beautiful marble works for niches and tombstones of this cemetery, where the homage is perpetuated in crowns with capricious shapes, biscuit flowers, metal sheets and glass beads, while the desire for preservation forged coffins of Iron. These works of funerary art, a reflection of the customs of an epoch and of the economic power of its high classes, were transferred, as the old cemetery closed, to the new Christopher Columbus Necropolis (cementerio Cristobal Colon), of which by donation of the families arrived at this museum.

Statuary and stoning room ( Sala Estatuaria y Lapidaria) the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19C enabled the abundant entrance of marble and the visit of Italian artists of more or less relief. In the main cities, elegant Marbre were introduced, which were given by private individuals and the town hall for Courtyards, avenues and public places. Many of the sculptures that are shown today in this room witnessed the life of Havana along with the stone tombstones of Jaimanitas or quarry that in former times beautified streets and precincts.

Spanish uniforms Room (Sala de Uniformes). The costumes used by the different bodies of the Spanish army and their attributes, including decorations, canes, sabres and others, are exhibited. Among the uniforms is the one of Ramón Herrera Sancibrián, colonel of the Corps of Volunteers who encouraged his troops to request the death penalty for the 8 medical students who would be shot in 1871.

Public office (Despacho publico) .This room shows one of the two offices with which was used by the captain Generals of the island of Cuba, where were attended the matters related to the political and military situation of the country, fundamentally. Among the personalities received in this office was the German sage Alexander  Humboldt, in 1800. Likewise, in 1890, the general of the Libertador Army, Antonio Maceo Grajales, was sent by this space, received by the general Captain Camilo Polavieja y del Castillo. In its showcases stands the first telegraph equipement that entered Cuba in 1865. In addition, several documents issued by the Crown and the general captains of the island of Cuba, including the concentration camp dictated by Captain General Valeriano Weyler and Nicolau, on October 21, 1896.

Spanish banners, flags and pennants room (Sala de Estandartes, Banderas y Banderines Españoles) flags, pennants and banners of different bodies of the Spanish colonial army are exposed. In the showcase are retained flag spears used to prevent the passage of Cubans on the enemy formations and thus avoid the machete, the main weapon of the independence fighters aka Mambises. Outside the showcase appears a shield representing the Bourbon dynasty and three Spanish flags used in combat.

Spanish armaments Room (Sala de Armamento Español) It gathers a small but varied sample of the weapons and allied equipment used by the Spanish forces in Cuba. They appear here from the primitive flint-key rifles to the modern mauzers, employed in many countries until well into the 20C. There are also regulatory white weapons, a valuable piece of artillery occupied by colonial forces, bugles of orders, and a handkerchief of military instruction.

Anteroom and Hall of the Cabildo (Antesala o sala del Cabildo) .The Cabildo was one of the forms of local government existing in Spain later applied in its Hispanic colonies. Once the palace of the general captains has been built, the Capitulars are moved to this room, which prioritized each step to promote the socio-economic and cultural development of the city. As representatives of the Creole class that held economic power, they introduced fundamental advances such as the application of the steam engine in the sugar mills and the construction of the first section of the Havana-Bejucal railway, in addition to creating Important institutions such as the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the country, the Royal Consulate of Agriculture and commerce and the first public library. In this room, Leonor Pérez, mother of José Martí, was veiled in ardent Chapel in May 1907.

Room of thought (Sala del Pensamiento)  It addresses the ideological currents that were manifested in Cuba at the beginning of the 19C, which constituted a sample of the discontent of the slave bourgeoisie with the regime imposed by Spain on the Antillean island, characterized by the iron control over its Products. The movement known as Reformism had among its most representative figures Francisco Arango and Parreño and José Antonio Saco. The Anexionismo,(Annexionists)  a trend that enlisted in its ranks to those Creoles who saw the United States as the only country able to procure the island the necessary economic support, had Narciso Lopez among its main representatives. To these tendencies was counterbalanced by the independentists,  initially supported by a group of students and members of the illustrated sectors, among which was highlighted the priest Félix Varela and Morales; But these ideas did not take force until the second half of the 19C, and their maximum expression was the first  cry of independence of October 10, 1868. The portraits made by the painter Santiaguero Federico Martínez, located on the wall , allow to visualize some of the most outstanding figures of 19C Cuban thought.

Heroic Cuba (Cuba Heroica) , After the failure of all the actions of the Cubans, either by the reformist way or by the annexationist, it will be shown that the contradictions metropolis-colony were insurmountable and the impossible annexation. And this is demonstrated by the independent outbreak of October 10, 1868, in front of which was located the radical and patriotic wing of the Cuban landowners, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.  In a short time the war spread to Las Villas and Camagüey, but because of regionalism, caudillismo, divisions within the liberating army and lack of logistical support from outside, the belligerent did not reach the west, region of greater economic potential of the island and which supported the Spanish army. Therefore, after two decades of heroic battle for the independence of Cuba and the abolition of slavery, Yara’s revolution ended with the signing of the Pact of the Zanjón, which meant the maintenance of the Spanish dominion.

Hall of the flags (Sala de las Banderas) The halls of the flags are the most relevant of the City museum due to the national treasures they expose: The original flag that flew for the first time in 1850 and that, once the war of the ten years began , became national insignia; It teaches that it began this emancipatory feat, and others that put the ideals of the liberation very high. It also shows personal objects of the highest leaders of the wars of independence, among them belongings of Jose Martí, political chief of the Epic of 1895 and unifier of its forces in the Cuban Revolutionary Party.  Portrait on the fall in combat of major General Antonio Maceo (outside my native town of Punta Brava) , reflects a crucial stage of the last battle against Spanish colonialism, when it materialized one of the most important aspirations of the leaders of the Cuban wars of the 19C: the Invasion of east to west, to put to the island of Cuba on war footing for the fight for the independence.

American Intervention Room  (Sala Intervencion Americana) On February 15, 1898, the explosion of the American-flagged battleship cruiser Maine  was produced in Havana Bay, in which 266 members of its crew, including 2 officers, were killed. The funerals were held in the Hall of the Palace Council. The event was the pretext used by the United States to intervene in the conflict between Cuba and Spain. This war, called Hispano-Cuban-American, (but only Spanish-American in the USA still today)  concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, on December 10, 1898.  In compliance with this Treaty, in which no Cuban representation was involved, the Spanish authorities handed over power to John Brooke, the American military Governor designated for Cuba, on 10 January 1899. In 1901 the Constituent Assembly was convened to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, a document establishing the constraints (Platt Amendement) that defined the future Cuban dependence.

Wicker Salon (Salon del Mimbre) .The wicker boudoir reflects the atmosphere that dominated the palace during the last two decades of the 19C. It highlights the art Nouveau furniture, artistic style that erupted in the late 19C and became fashionable in countries such as Belgium, France, Spain and the United States.  It also has pieces made by the jeweler and French modernist glassmaker René Lalique, as well as Émile Galle, Master in all the techniques that existed in the production of Glass with the company Daum Frères, founded in 1889 in France.  It also shows exponents of Art deco, French Gobelins, toys and a work by Cuban painter Guillermo Collazo.

Dining Room  (Salon del Comedor) Set in the style of the colonial palaces of the 19C, it is located in the same space that occupied during the colonial period and the first decades of the 20C, and where they offered great banquets to commemorate or to celebrate political events or Simply for celebrations sponsored by the Captain General himself.
The silver-plated copper trays that belonged to the General captain of the island of Cuba are integrated as original pieces. In the walls there are interesting Flemish tapestries from the 17C and 18C, hunting trophies and a collection of special attractive tableware that belonged to more than a hundred Cuban families.

Trinchante, Small hall that exhibits luxurious tableware and pieces destined for the service of table, between portraits that the American painter Elias Metcalf made for the wealthy family Ximeno.

Coffee Room (Sala del Cafe) It denotes one of those spaces destined to the receipt of the General captain. It highlights a set of room of knob of the 19C. A collection of pieces from the Millenary Oriental Art integrates the permanent exhibition with fans that use Cuban ladies during the colonial era. Works by foreign painters of the 19C such as Landaluze, Mejasky, Valentin Sanz Carta and Henry Cleenewerck, among others, can be appreciated there.

Infanta’s Room( Habitacion de la Infanta) ; In 1893 the Infanta Eulalia of Bourbon visited Havana, and during her seven-day stay she occupied this room that served as a bedroom for Captain General. The Habanera aristocracy hosted with parties and gifts, some exhibited in this room. Among the most important pieces are two portraits, one of the Spanish painter José María Romero and another of Esteban Chartrand, the main exponent of Cuban romanticism. Also significant is a set of furniture designed by John Henry Belter and two vases made with the technique of cloisonné.

Bath room (Sala del Baño) .Despite the fact that the Cuban tropical climate imposes a daily need for the bath, it is not until the middle of the 19C that the act begins to be integrated into the life of the inhabitants of the city of Havana. Until then, most of the hotels and private houses did not have a bath room, although the establishments of public baths, especially those destined for the male sex, were very crowded, and some became very comfortable. At that time the medicinal water spas were also very visited.
However, the most usual was the weekly washing with the Aguamanil and jofaina basin, with the complement of a touch of perfumes and flavourings. Many objects were brought by the aristocracy of Europe or the Orient.. The room displays French glassware, Czech crystal decorated by Mary Gregory, Chinese porcelain of exquisite firing, as well as pieces of Cuban silversmiths , and Italian marble baths in the form of snails or gondolas that constitute real treasures.

Room set A (19C) (Sala Ambientada A. The splendid way of life reached by the Cuban aristocracy in the mid-19C reveledan elitist interior environments characterized by the mixture of various foreign influences. Elizabethan period medallion furniture, French porcelains, English and Italian pottery contributed to distinguish these spaces. This piece that was available in the private part of the palace was used as a dormitory by the wife of the Captain General. In the room two portraits of landscapes were done by Esteban Chartrand.

White Room (Salon Blanco) . The Spanish and Creole elites selected recreational places among the halls of their elegant residences. The anteroom of the main hall of the palace was used as a complement to receive guests on holidays and space for musical auditions.
Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, oil portraits and European porcelains, it preserves among its most valuable pieces two beautiful 18C Meissen porcelain vases.

Hall of Mirrors (Salon de los Espejos). It was the space of greatest political and social importance of the Palace of the Captain General. Photographs and documents of the archives reveal some important events that took place in this Hall: transfer of powers of the Spanish colonial administration to the American government, on January 10, 1899; Birth of the Republic on May 20, 1902; Funerals of Máximo Gómez and Salvador Cisneros, in the first two decades of the 20C, among others. Illustrious personages who visited the island in the 19C received in this enclosure, also known as Hall of the Besamanos (hands kissing), the homage of the Havana high society.

The webpage in Spanish on the above was Ecured, a Cuban site. Ecured on Museo de la Habana

Hope you enjoy, a bit long, but worth it me think. A must visiting Cuba and for sure if Havana is your destination, cannot missed it.

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

 

 

July 24, 2018

Presidential palace of Havana!

Let’s get back to the deep roots and come up with something written before briefly in my blog, it deserve a single post. Therefore, I have decided to tell you a bit more on the Presidential Palace of Havana, Cuba.

My previous blog post on Havana , spoked a bit of it ,and for reference here is that post. San Cristobal de La Habana

There are so many buildings in Havana, once the Unesco did a report that I lost track of it but mentioned 144 buildings of the 14C, 15C, 16C, and 17C in Havana ;more than on any other city in the Americas. The multitude of beauty is enormous even if the history is sad. Hemingway once call it the Paris of the Americas, and he should know some.

Havana

In 1909 the governor of Havana decided to build a new headquarters to host the Provincial government. The project was carried out by the architects Rodolfo Maruri (Cuban) and Paul Belau (Belgian), while the construction phase was assumed by the General Contracting Company.  Meanwhile the interior decoration was under the responsibility of Tiffany Studios of New York.  The Salon de Espejos or Hall of Mirrors, which was conceived in the image and likeness of the homonymous Galerie des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace of  Versailles, France. Its floors and staircases are made from the famous Carrara marble of Italy. The building, built on the basis of the canons of eclecticism.

In 1917 the history of the building had a transcendent turn that marked its subsequent destiny. At the end of that year, the first Lady of the Republic visited the works, and was captivated by the magnificence of the building and the privileged of its location. No more needed to be said, she turns to her husband , Mario Garcia Menocal, President of the Republic, and took over the necessary legal quibbles and dispossessed the Provincial government of the property of the palace. In the beginning of 1918 everything was arranged so that the building located in Calle Refugio No. 1 between Monserrate and Zulueta became the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Cuba.

The construction work followed its course and on January 31, 1920 the official inauguration of the Executive Mansion took place. The work, in all its details, was not completed until the 12th of March of 1920.

Havana

The palace building  has four floors: the ground floor served to accommodate the dependencies that secured the main functions; Telephone exchange, auxiliary offices, power plant and even the stable for police horses. The first floor welcomed the most important spaces of the palace: presidential office, Gallery of Mirrors, Chapel, Golden Hall and the place where the Council of Ministers made decisions. On the second floor was installed the Presidential residence and in the last of the floor was placed the garrison responsible with the custody of the Presidential mansion. The building is crowned by a dome clad in the exterior of glazed ceramic pieces that, at the time, was one of the highest in the city. In all, there are 38 rooms that speak of more than a century of struggles and heroic epics of Cuba.

Havana

In the building are present paintings and sculptures of representatives of the artistic avant-garde of the moment: Leopoldo Romañach, Emilio Hernández Giro, Enrique Cabrera, Esteban Valderrama, Esteban Betancourt and Armando Menocal.

At the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959 ,not much was decided on what to do with it and came some periods of neglect.  The first revolutionary Provisional Government was established in the former presidential palace. From there the commander in chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, assumed the position of Prime Minister and carried out the great process of nationalization of all the private companies that existed in Cuba until that moment; including the American companies that gave rise later to the US Embargo due to non payment.  Later, the former Presidential palace houses since 1976 the Museum of the Cuban revolution with  holes  in the wall of historical shots as if they were the bones of a saint, as well as weapons, tanks or boats (the mythical Granma that brought the revolutionaries from Mexico) that led to the eventual drastic changes in the country for the worse.

Among the most visited areas of the museum is the Granma Memorial, founded on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the landing of the Granma yacht. It occupies the grounds of the old Parque Zayas, which President Alfredo Zayas had commanded to build during the last years of his term, in honor of himself, in front of the South Gate that divides the Memorial from the Palace.

You read up more about in English here: Visit Cuba on the Presidential Palace, Revolution museum

And see some of the beauty of it on the inside on this youtube video.

 

Hope you have enjoy this brief description of an icon of Havana for different points of views and reasons, divided as Cuba has been for the last 60 years.  A must visit to understand the tumultous history of Cuba.

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

July 24, 2018

Well Havana does have other Churches!

Sitting back and looking over my photos, I realised that I as many like to write about the big ones, the Cathedrals etc, and famous Churches. Well , there are many wonderful temples that are not yet discovered or not enough and are just as beautiful and full of history and architecture that I like. This is especially the case with La Habana, or Havana, Cuba. The island nation has plenty of wonderful Churches and with loads of history and beautiful architecture.

I have decided to write about them even if long post, I just took the ones that I remember from childhood and got some old books at home out and even pictures;hope you like it. These are my favorites Churches of Havana.

As you can see from the list below, there are differences between the terms of Cathedral, Parish, Church and Chapel.  Religious temples in the Catholic Church differ by their territorial hierarchy.  The archdiocese is an area with several temples under the jurisdiction of an archbishop and the main church that is its headquarters is named Cathedral.  The parish is still in importance and has under its authority one or several nearby churches and chapels, the latter of a simpler structure. The hermitages are small temples usually far away from the towns.  The sanctuaries are temples to which many faithful pilgrims, where an image or relic is venerated or where a miracle took place.

For addresses and contact this unofficial site has plenty of info on Cuba and in this case the Churches: http://www.cuba-junky.com/cuba/help-churches-comunities-havana.htm

The official archidiocèse of Havana site is here: Havana Archdiocese webpage

Official Catholic Church in Cuba: Catholic Church in Cuba

And here we go!

Church San Francisco de Assisi located at Calle Cuba, Old Havana (Habana Vieja). Its construction began in the year 1548 and lasted until 1591, although it was inaugurated in 1575, it was completely finished almost 200 years later, with a series of structural reforms occurring from 1731 to 1738. The facade is located on the Calle Oficios where you can see three stone statues representing the Immaculate Conception, San Francisco de Assisi and Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It is composed of three large naves, which are held by twelve columns representing the Twelve Apostles, of the Catholic Church. It has a tower of 48 meters of height, which in the colonial era was the highest structure of the city for several centuries. The tower was crowned by an image of Saint Francis of Assisi, in stone, whose head was torn by the wind during the hurricane of 1846. A garden in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has recently been built in the back.  The Franciscans monks used it as a high school for centuries; they taught grammar, philosophy, theology and mathematics. The Spanish colonial government takes in 1841 the property of the religious communities and the friars moved to the Church of St. Augustine, relatively close to the convent.  After this the convent is destined as warehouse and office of the General Archive and the Customs of Havana. After independence, in 1907, it is destined to the General Directorate of Post and Telegraph. In 1916 it was transformed again to host the General Directorate of Communications, which would later become a ministry. In 1941 and in 1944 it had restorations done.  In 1957 it moved the Ministry of Communications , and the Cuban revolution, it is given the category of Museum of Colonial History and one that  incorporates many historical objects of religious character to its collection. It was located in the lower basilica of the convent, after restorations, a room of sacred music and chamber.

Havana

Havana

Church of Our Lady of Mercy ( Nuestra Senora de la Merced) also located at Calle Cuba , corner of Merced, Old Havana (Habana Vieja), aka as the Church of the Mercedes. You will have the privilege of knowing one of the most emblematic religious temples of the greater of the Antilles, of singular beauty. In its interiors it is an imitation of the Italian churches erected in the likeness of the one of Saint Peter, in Rome. It consists of three naves separated by monumental arches of half a point. They call attention to the abundant and beautiful decorations of shades of gold and gleaming yellow, which contrast with the chestnut of the benches and the magnificent frescoes of the ceilings. The luxurious murals, the images of the vaults and the rest of the works of plastic arts, make up a collection of paintings from the last quarter of the 19C thanks to renowned Cuban artists of the time, including Manuel Lorenzo, responsible for the lofty main section, and Juan Crossa, who decorated the dome and the upper edges of the vaults of the greater Altar. The mural of the lower part of the Chapel, which refers to a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Lourdes, is the work of Didier Petit, while the landscaper Esteban Chartrand painted the background of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, located at the end of one of the two side aisles of the temple. They complete the constructive space the beautiful altars and the convent  annex, which maintains its original functions and is defined by a beautiful cloister patio. Father Geronimo Viladás asked that his remains be buried in La Merced after his death. Thirty years after he died, his desires were finally fulfilled and from 1913 he rests in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes within the aforementioned church.

The construction of the temple began in the year 1630 at the hands of the faithful of the Lady of Mercy. The process, however, required more time and effort than expected. More than a century later, in 1742, the section between the facade and the pulpits had barely been completed, as well as a poor adjacent convent house. For 1834, the government employed the building as a warehouse, housing customs goods, until in 1863 it was handed over to the Vincentian fathers. The occasion was celebrated with a big popular festival and with the revival of the construction by Geronimo Viladás, Superior of the Missionary Friars now responsible for the enclosure. In the new task the established community poor and rich again intervened. Finally, on January 31, 1867, the renovated temple was inaugurated.

Parroquia de Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y San Ignacio de Loyola (Sacred Heart Parish of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola) ,located at Calle Reina # 463, Centro Habana, district;  known in the city as the Church of Reina (Queen), is the highest church in Havana and one of the most majestic. Built in neo-Gothic style, is the highest church in Cuba and one of the most beautiful, its elevated tower of 50 meters can be seen from various points of the city.  It began approximately in 1907 due to needs that had the Jesuit fathers to have a place dedicated to their trades, the area chosen was that of Reina and Belsacoaín streets, the first stone was put on August 7, 1914 and on May 2, 1923 was consecrated , inaugurated the following day. It has the fundamental elements of this neo gothic style with pointed arch, high pointed vaults, reduced walls, large windows and luminous stained glass windows.  The altarpiece was made in Madrid, made of alabaster, wood and bronze, was brought in pieces and mounted on site. From the Calle Reina, you can see the great image of the Sacred Heart, carved in wood, whose base is the central capital that represents the parable of the Prodigal Son and the two saints who make guard; San Ignacio de Loyola and San Francisco Javier . Within the Temple, there are beautiful windows with stained glass, representing the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, passages of the Life of Ignatius of Loyola and some Jesuit saints. The Church has a central nave, supported by six lateral columns topped by ornate capitals, those that end at the main altar, which highlights a gigantic image of the Sacred Heart in an attitude to bless the faithful. To the right and left they are accompanied by two lively groups of Jesuit saints, as well as other saints and church doctors. A set of five angels, formed with their wings deployed a docility there is a bronze plaque on the altar of the Mass, where Jesus Christ is depicted as the slaughtered lamb and standing, symbol of his death and his subsequent resurrection, accompanied by a multitude that He sings praises to. The parish count also, with one of the most elegant organs of Cuba. The floor of the central nave is made by elaborate mosaics of stone and Crystal tesserae, it has in its entry the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, which signify Christ, and Ji and Ro, C and R initials of the Son of God in Greek.  In the end, there is an ancient anagram of Jesus in Latin: JHS Jesus Homo Salvator (Jesus Man Savior).  The two aisles form a Latin cross, one is dedicated to San José (St Joseph), where there is also an image of the Virgin of Charity of Copper (Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), patron of Cuba, along with the Cuban flag. The altar of the other nave is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and is where the tabernacle that holds the consecrated hosts is located. At the bottom of the temple is carved an image of the Virgin of Fatima.

 Parish of Santa María del Rosario, located at Calle 24  between 31 and 33 avenues, Cotorro district, built in Baroque style was inaugurated in 1776 was built between 1760 and 1766 and is known with the title given by the Bishop : The Cathedral of the fields of Cuba (Catedral de los campos de Cuba)  has a baroque altar of great beauty.  The gigantic altar still looks like its gold-covered spiral columns. It also presents four beautiful pendentives painted by the first Cuban painter of which it is mentioned, José Nicolás de Escalera. The first Cuban scientist graduated in medicine, Dr. Tomás Romay y Chacón, was baptized in the parish Church of Santa Maria del Rosario in 1764. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier married in this Church in 1940 something. José María Chacón y Calvo, a prominent  Hispanic historian and sixth Earl of Casa Bayona, was baptized in this Church. In addition, the Church was visited by Queen Sofia of Spain in 1999.

Iglesia Jesús de Miramar Church, 5ª Ave y 82 street, Miramar, Playa, Centro Habana district, the second largest church in Cuba. Built in a Roman-Byzantine style surmounted by a giant dome. Built between 1948 and 1953, it houses one of the largest tube organs in the world. The church murals, representing the 14 stations of the Via Crucis, were painted between 1952 and 1959 by the Spanish artist Cesareo Marciano Hombrados y de Onativia. The Roman soldier who stripped Jesus of his garments is a self-portrait of the artist himself.  The artist, also used as models for the murals by his wife Sara Margarita Fernandez and to all the people who contributed to the construction of the temple. The garden there is an imposing sculpture of 1.8 meters high  made in Carrara marble, replica of the Virgin of Lourdes (France).

Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Luis Rey de Francia , (Our lady of Rosary and St Louis of France Church ) located at Calle 44  between 279 and 279 street, Guatao, Centro Habana district, this is the small town of the cemetery of my native área, and the Church is not far. Just for the memories; my native town Church is the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad  Church of Our Lady of Charity, also Cuba’s Patron Saint)  located at Ave. 249  betwen  42 and 44 streets, Punta Brava, Lisa, Centro Habana. Again not much on it just for the memories.

Punta Brava

The first church built in Havana was on the grounds where the Plaza de Armas of Old Havana is today, its construction cost only 32 pesos and was destroyed by the French pirates in 1538. Some of the old ones are here:

Church of Santo Cristo ,at calle Villegas between Lamparillas and Lieutenant Rey streets.Old Havana. Built in 17C, rebuilt in 1755 and renovated and enlarged in 1932. When the Plaza del Cristo was created, in the year 1640, this Church was drawn by the Franciscan Order. Its position was destined to the culmination of the ceremony of the way of the cross that started from the Church of San Francisco of Assisi and was of the preferred ones between the sailors and the Navy that made stay in Havana on their travels from Spain. Originally built as a hermitage and converted in 1693 in auxiliary of the major parish, it elevated to the category of parish in 1703. In the year 1899, after the American occupation, it was handed over to the American Augustinian Fathers. In the possession of these, the residence of the friars, a parochial school and the private School of St. Augustine were built in the surroundings.

Church of the Holy Spirit  (Iglesia del Espiritu Santo ) located at Calle Cuba between Acosta and Jesús María streets in Old Havana. Original Hermitage in 1638. Tower in 1707. Vault of the Presbytery in 1720. General reconstruction and lateral nave in 1760, remodeling in 1847. The oldest Church in Havana.  Although the original building, erected as a hermitage for free blacks, and built  towards 1661 in the second parochial Church of the village, dates approximately 1638, very little remains of it due to the successive works of repair, reconstruction and remodeling that are carried out until the 19C. The tower was built in 1707, the vault of the presbytery towards 1720 and around 1760 an almost total reconstruction was executed that included the erection of new walls and the addition of a lateral nave. Other elements of interest in this temple are the funerary crypts discovered inside in 1953; The tomb of Bishop Gerónimo Valdés, found in 1936; And the fact that it was declared in 1773 as the only church in Havana with the right to grant protection to those persecuted by the authorities.

Convento e Iglesia de Santa Teresa de Jesus (Convent and Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus) located at Calle Compostela corner of  Calle Lieutenant Rey. Old Havana.  Built on 1707, the Church and the Convent in the second half of the 18C.  This Church is one of the three jewels of the Colonial Baroque of Havana of the 18C, as far as religious buildings are concerned, in the times of greatest splendor, the convent occupied a plot of 6,900 square meters which was more than half of the block contained in the Calle Teniente Rey and, between Calle Aguacate and Calle Compostela. By Royal Certificate of the King Charles III of Spain, dated in Madrid on March 14, 1700, the foundation of the convent was authorized, which was originally destined to the religious order of the Barefoot Carmelites. On January 28, 1702 was dictated by Bishop Diego Avelino de Compostela, the decree authorizing the founding of the monastery in the building that then occupied the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem (Nuestra Sra de Belén), with the houses and plots that he donated for the foundation of the east. The convent was called for many years monastery of the Barefoot Carmelites of Our Lady of Bethlehem of the Carmelitas Descalzas de Nuestra Senora de Belén). In 1753, the restoration of the Church that needed proper maintenance in the face of the deterioration of its ceilings. A few years later, the old walls of earth were replaced by stone walls. In 1928, the Carmelite mothers leave the residence because they were deprived of the closure that provides the order, as the height of the buildings that were built surrounding the monastery, specifically a building of the famous pharmacy Sarrá that It consisted of seven plants. After the nuns left the building that occupied the church and convent  was very much changed. In what was the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, another Church was founded with the name of María Auxiliadora, which remains its name today. Their gardens were abandoned and gradually lost the charm of other eras until they came to disappear. What once was orchard became a social dining room, in the part that gives to the Calle Compostela and in which it gives to the Calle Aguacate, in a child care center. The curb of the well and the cross that embellished the courtyard of the monastery, disappeared from the place many years ago.

Again ,these are some of my memories that are still there, and a beacon of hope for many of Havana. Plenty of history and architecture too, and if you are by there feel free to stop by, there are looking great after all these years.

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

 

 

July 17, 2018

A nostalgic look back, Gran Teatro de La Habana!

So  ,therefore, it is time to go back way back in my life when family immigrate and re immigrate we find ourselves with many nationalities and customs blending nicely thank  you. If you have read my blog careful, you will know that I have four passports! yes ! Welcome to the real world.  One of these passports is Cuban ,another is Spanish, later American, and finally I am French. However, it all goes back to the DNA and that is from Tenerife (Candelaria and Pàjara) Canary Islands of Spain.

One of the buildings that most explain the mixture of this immigration back and forth across the Atlantic ocean is embedded in Havana or San Cristobal de La Habana and the great history of the Gran Teatro or grand theater.  I was too young to visited, and when back had no time too many places to find your roots and show the new family. However, my parents told me a lot about it and I just passed by. It is time I give it the honor it deserves in my blog.

The Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso  as it is known today is located in the Paseo del Prado in the block formed by the interceptions of the current streets San Rafael, San José, Consulado and Paseo del Prado.

The theater has been home to the Cuban National Ballet and, on its main stage, to the International Ballet Festival of Havana. Its facilities include theaters, a concert hall, conference rooms, and a video screening room, as well as an art gallery, a choral center, and several rehearsal halls for dance groups and dance companies.

The  old Teatro Tàcon  across from the Parque Central (Central Park) had occupied part of the site for decades, it was named in honor of Captain General Miguel de Tàcon y  Rosique, governor of Cuba between the years 1834 and 1838 in the colonial period.

During the first years of Cuban independence when thousands of immigrants arrived in Cuba from Spain, a new building was constructed around it, preserving the original theater.  It was then known as the Centro Gallego or Galician Center, constructed to served as a social center for Galician immigrants to Havana. The building is decorated with a stone and marble statue as well as sculptures by Giuseppe Moretti, representing allegories depicting benevolence, education, music and theater. On the first picture below you will see part of the old ramparts walls of Havana over 4000 meters long at the time of Spain in Cuba.

Havana Havana

The old theater Tàcon was arguably one of the best in the continent for its elegance, comfort and exceptional technical preparation. Years later, in 1914, the theater itself and the buildings around it were purchased to build in that location the Centro Gallego, which took up the entire block.  The construction of this building, financed by donations of Galician emigrants, began in 1908 and it opened in 1915 with an opera season offered by important artists of the period. In 1985, at the initiative of the prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, the building was renamed the Great Theater of Havana (Gran Teatro de La Habana).

In 1961, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of García Lorca’s death, the board of the Centro Gallego announced that the theater would change its name to that of the Granada poet as  Teatro Garcia Lorca. Then in 1981, the entire complex changed its name to Complejo Cultural del Gran Teatro García Lorca, now under Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso Director of the National Ballet. Finally, in 1985, it received the name of Gran Teatro de La Habana. Following extensive renovations, the theater has reopened on January 1, 2016 and renamed to honor the Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso or Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso.   The principal venue is the Garcia Lorca Auditorium, with seats for 1,500; it provides a stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company, as well as for other dance and musical performances.

During the 19C and 20C performances took place on its stage by artists of the highest rank, such as Ole Bull, Enrico Caruso, Fanny Elssler, Jenny Lind, Anna Pavlova, Antonia Mercé , Ruth Saint Denis, Ted Shawn ,Teresa Carreño , Vicente Escudero, Maya Plisetskay, Clorinda Corradi, Sarah Bernhardt, Wajd Alianabi, Carla Fracci, and Alicia Alonso as well remarkable companies such as the American Ballet Theater, the Royal Winnepeg Ballet, Ballet Antonio Gades , the Ballet of the Colont Theater of Buenos Aires, the Ballet Folclórico of Mexico, plus many other highly respected artists and ballet companies of the times.

A wonderful historical building gone thru many periods and still there. One of the sights to see in Havana indeed.

Some webpages on it are hard to find so will give you a couple to enjoy it, you can always look up the tourist board of Cuba in your country.

Infotur on the Gran Teatro

Cuba Travel on the Gran Teatro

For example for France info can be obtain here

Consulat de Cuba en France :
14 rue de Presle 75015 Paris – Tel : 0145383112- Ambassade de Cuba en France :
16 rue de Presle 75015 Paris – Tel : 0145675535- Office de tourisme de Cuba : 
280 bd Raspail 75014 Paris – Tel : 0145389010
Hope it helps. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!
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