Posts tagged ‘Florida’

July 28, 2019

Gourin and America!!!

So in my road warrior trip I have come into many towns all over the world and especially my belle France. Some have been passing by chance others well known in advance but this one well;;; it is so close yet was so far. Only an hour from my house but this is my first time there! And there, because I have heard the story of the important link between Gourin and the immigration to the USA and Canada.  I like to tell you a bit of this story and many others in subsequents posts in my blog on Gourin an amazing little town. The amazing thing as well was that while walking the city center got to see one of my collegues from work near Vannes, he had moved nearby but a native of  Gourin and was visiting relatives!  So I got good tips lol!!!

Gourin is a town in the department 56 of Morbihan, in the region of Bretagne (Brittany), it belongs to Cornouaille (Cornwall) Morbihannaise. It has the particularity of being 83 km from Vannes, its departamental capital city , and only 40 km from Quimper, the departamental capital of the Finistere, dept 29 . Gourin is also located 15 km from Carhaix-Plouguer, 47 km from Lorient, 71 km from Brest, 74 km from   Saint-Brieuc and 143 km from Rennes. As well as been 71 km from my house! The routes we take are the D102 into the D769 (Lorient-Roscoff road) and the Quimper-Rostrenen-Saint-Brieuc road D1 which takes us right into city center Gourin.

gourin

A bit of history I like

In the 11-12C; Gourin was the seat of a viscount that extended over the parishes of Gourin, Guiscriff, Langonnet, Le Faouet and Leuhan and the Trier of Roudouallec, Le Saint, Lanvénégen and La Trinité. Among the viscounts of Gourin are the names of Cadoret who rose up in 1075 against Duke Hoel et Tanguy I who participated in the First Crusade with his Duke Alain Fergent. The Viscount was attached to the ducal domain from 1265. Gourin then became the seat of a ducal bar which after the act of union of Brittany to France in 1532 will become the seat of a royal seneschal until its removal during the French revolution.

The first lords of Tronjoly were the Kergoet, who lived in the old manor house from 1426 to 1660. The present castle was built in 1768, replacing the old manor. At the beginning of the French revolution, the lords of Tronjoly sheltered refractory priests and chouans (rebels against the revolution) . Under the supervision of the republican authorities, the L’Ollivier were forced in March 1793 to settle at Le Faouët and some members of the family emigrated; among them François Urbain L’Ollivier de Tronjoly, wounded during the landing of Quiberon (Breton immigrants from England coming back to fight the French revolution) on July 16, 1795, was tried and executed in Vannes on August 1, 1795 (as about 795 others) . More of the castle in a separate post and immigration exhibit as well.

An interesting part of the town of Gourin which is fascinating to me even if heard before , it is now the time I decided to visit the town only one hour from my house!!!

In the late 19C and early 20C, especially between 1902 and WWI, Gourin and its region experienced a strong emigration, mainly of young men, to North America, although it began in the 18C. There was a second wave of emigration from the cantons of Gourin and Roudouallec in the 1950s following the visit of the Canadian consul., several y oung Gourinois went to Canada between 1948 and 1953. Many of the Bretons currently living in the United States are from the Gourin region (it is estimated that the Montagne Noire region around Gourin has lost about 4,000 emigrants to the United States between 1945 and 1958). But emigration to this country began around 1885, not all emigrants are young men, but sometimes older people, small farmers, small traders or craftsmen, not having land able to feed them; At the end of the 19C and at the beginning of the 20C, a large group of emigrants from Montagne Noirs ( Black Mountains) settles in the resort area of Lenox, Massachusetts , with women becoming housekeepers, and men as gardeners. By 1928, there were approximately 3,000 inhabitants of Gourin in New York, 400 of whom were directly employed by Michelin (founded in 1901 in New York), the factory of Miltown, in New Jersey, and who recruited Bretons in a privileged manner. Between; only the years 1946 and 1955 emigrants, mainly young, leave the region of Gourin (13.4% of the population), a large part of it to the United States, the Bretons emigrants tend to regroup in colonies, a real “Breton district” being created for example in New York, on the border of Brooklyn and the Bronx, between 49th and 52nd Street; others went south to Louisiana and Florida or west to California. Three agencies of the “Compagnie Générale Transatlantique” also had their headquarters in Gourin and Roudouallec at the time to organize travel to the United States. The return to the country of some of these émigrés, nicknamed “Americans”, sometimes enriched, was a powerful vector of modernization of agriculture and housing as well as changing mentalities; but most remained settled permanently in North America. These emigrants were also sometimes nicknamed “ar lostou ru” (“red tails”) in local Breton, referring to the color of their license plates.

Proof enough of this exchange of the Bretons with America is the fact that they have a replica of the Statue of Liberty, in the central square, (place de la Victoire) testifying to the exodus of the population of Gourin to the American continent.  Air France donated in 1996 to thanks the travellers who went the route from their office in Roudouallec until 1985 ;the initial statue of Liberty! The new  Statue of Liberty of Gourin will be identical to that of the Luxembourg Garden in Paris (in partnership with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux) There is a fund raiser going on to do this .

gourin

gourin

There are other wonderful things to see here but I will tell you I separate posts in my blog soon.

gourin

As to been after lunch, we still got a bit hungry so we stop by at the local bakery pastry and salon de thé shop Le Clec’h at Rue Jacques Rodalle just before the steep street leading to the Statue of Liberty. Nice abricot pastries indeed to keep us at bay until back home! And a nice mayor’s office across too. And do not forget the usual wonderful Saturday morning market at Place Stenfort!

gourin

gourin

gourin

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you should lots of history here and America at Gourin.

City of Gourin and its heritage things to see

Local tourist office of pays du roi morvan on Gourin

And there you go now me and you have seen  Gourin! A nice find and certaintly been so close a return trip is in order. I had a good impression of the town, lively, clean , good ambiance and wonderful things to see. What can I say, my beautiful Morbihan dept 56!

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

 

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2019

Restaurant: Florida USA!

So back to my newest regular posts on restaurants of memories past in my world trotter travels. This time will take you a cherish place of mine where I lived for 18 years, that is Florida USA! Hope you enjoy the memorable moments and can come and visit them one day. Thanks for reading.

Miami’s original Cuban kitchen , La Carreta (the wagon) was born out of the growing demand for an authentic cultural Cuban hub.  A Cuban family-owned establishment, it continues to be a staple of  old Cuba’s family dining traditions of “grandmother style” food and famous Cuban espresso. To characterize Cuban food in terms of other cuisines, it’s basically a fusion of Spanish, French, African and Caribbean cuisines, drawing many distinctive flavors from each of these, with heavy influences of garlic, citrus, and sugar cane.

As a restaurant, you don’t stick around for more than 40 years and expand into a local chain if you’re not doing something right. And for La Carreta, that something is food. Lots of it. Though you’ll find some Spanish-inspired dishes, you can’t go wrong by sticking to Cuban classics like ropa vieja (shredded beef cooked with onions and Cuban mojo sauce (coming from Tenerife) , served with rice and sweet plantains) and boliche (pot roast stuffed with chorizo). Even when the restaurant is packed, the waiters are great at making you feel like you have all the time in the world to figure out what it is you want to eat. They’ll help you figure that out, too, if you want, they’re full of suggestions, and recommendations. But mainly they’re super-friendly and fast.

Each day, the restaurant offers a selection of three or four specials, and weekday lunch deals include breaded pork chop, shrimp creole, and fried grouper for less than $10. Expect large portions on the plates and a backroom café for strong Cuban coffee, sweet pastries and sugarcane juice. Though most of the ordering happens at the walk-up coffee window, serving up flaky pastelitos and espressos until the wee hours.

Official la Carreta restaurant on locations

miami

We came to them many times and our favorites family location were at the International Mall parking lot outside the mall right next to the Dolphin Expressway (State road 836) coming from Miami Beach at NW 107 ave. you see it from the Expressway. One of my favorite restaurant is here La Carreta, Cuban Cuisine at its best.

Offiical International Mall for orientation

Another location we went is the original restaurant at SW 8th street Miami, this is some reviews: Yelp reviews on original restaurant of La Carreta

Another dandy is TGI Fridays reputation as the best corner bar in town started in Manhattan in 1965 and my fav location was near Sawgrass Mill Mall in Sunrise, Broward County, Florida just north of my old home.  Located near W Sunrise Blvd & Yellow Toucan Rd, proudly bringing you the best local mix of food, fun, and handcrafted cocktails. Many times here with the family!

sunrise

Sunrise

Sawgrass Mills shopping center is huge, I mean huge  ,one of the biggest if not the biggest mall in the USA, and Florida’s largest. https://www.simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills

Also, tried them while visiting the USA at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport near Gate B19.  http://apps.atl.com/Passenger/ShopDineExplore/ViewStores.aspx?comp_id=130

Atlanta

They were in Paris, France at 8, Rue Du Faubourg Montmartre 9éme,  but departed by 2013 and not back yet. However, they are in Spain and have tried their Madrid branch as well as Prague, Czech Republic.

Official TGIF Sunrise location

Yelp reviews on Sunrise location

Another twist on the above is Applebees!  They are  your go-to restaurant for burgers, chicken, steaks, and the infamous riblets all served in a relaxed family-friendly environment. And don’t forget to checkout  their Neighborhood Drink of the Month special. Applebee was Established in 1980 originally base at Kansas City Missouri, later in 2015 relocated to Glendale, California. The first restaurant opened in November 1980 in Decatur, Georgia.

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar offers a lively casual dining experience combining simple, craveable American fare, classic drinks and local drafts. Now that’s Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood. a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Doral– Miami. I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers. The webpage of Applebee is not available from France due to the owners refusing to adhere to the European rights of information laws (RGPD).

Offiical Applebees

Yelp reviews of Applebee at NW 41 st Doral

Miami

Another family souvenir is the  Latin American Bayside Cuban Café at 401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, in the Bayside Marketplace right at the entrance to the Port of Miami.  Awesome food and the Cuban sandwich & coffee are to die for. Great service n friendly staff. Made us go back again everyday while we were there.  For the big eaters this cantine type restaurant is a go and the possibility of choosing from a large selection of salads, meat grills all you can eat. There is a wine cellar and drinks but small selection. However, the location is superb in downtown/city center Miami.

The Latin American Bayside Cuban Café  has a nice location, with a small indoor seating area and bar, and a much larger outdoor patio, so you can overlooki Bayside’s harbor a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor by the port of Miami and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great Latin American Cafe,  while enjoying a nice mojito and watching several plates of Cuban food being brought forth from the kitchen. Sure, there are a lot of places to eat Cuban in Miami, but Bayside is quite the restaurant given it’s location and price.

Facebook page of Latin American Cafe Bayside

Yelp reviews on the Latin America Bayside Café

Official Bayside marketplace open air mall at port of Miami

miami

Another hugely favorite of ours is the Columbia Restaurant; we have been to the original in Tampa and also, St Augustine.  Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the Columbia Restaurant is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. It began in Tampa’s Ybor City, (from city area founder Vicente Ybor) as a small 60-seat corner cafe known for its Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches, frequented by the local cigar workers. To this day, more than 114 years since it first opened, the Columbia remains in the same family.

tampa

Over the years, Columbia Restaurant has attracted some of the most well known athletes and entertainers from yesteryear to today. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, Lou Piniella, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin, from Liberace to Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Brian Johnson of ACDC, from Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano to Evander Holyfield, from Marilyn Monroe and Liza Minelli to Bo Derek, everyone enjoys the Columbia.  Other recent visitors include George Clooney, Stephen King, Bryant Gumbel, Brooke Shields, and Lauren Hutton.

The restaurant’s wine list contains more than 1,056 wines with an inventory exceeding 50,000 bottles, and Columbia has won several awards for their Spanish wines. The restaurant features performances of flamenco, one of Spain’s traditional dances. another wonderful Florida combination of shopping, food, and games for the whole family!

Official Columbia Restaurant

tampa

tampa

Ybor City is a 10 square block National Landmark Historic District comprised of cobblestone streets and brick buildings that are an architectural fusion with strong Latin influences. The area reeks with history, for example President Teddy Roosevelt stayed there during the Spanish American War as did Sr. Winston Churchill who was reporting on the war for the London Daily Graphic.

Tourist office of Tampa on the Columbia at Ybor City

Ybor City official webpage on the Columbia Restaurant

The exquisite Columbia Restaurant sits in the heart of St. Augustine in the historic district of the nation’s oldest city, which was founded in 1565. St. Augustine is  also home to the Columbia Restaurant , located in the heart of the historic district at the corner of Hypolita and St. George Streets. We used to lived 45 min from it and visited often!!

Tourist office of St Augustine on the Columbia Restaurant

St Augustine

St Augustine

And now two of my favorite French hangouts while living in Florida USA.

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, no longer there but post for the memories.  We had our Büche de Nôel always done here as was not sold to the public for lack of knowledge of it;  ordered by my dear late wife Martine. The Royal French Bakery was South Miami’s go-to boulangerie/patisserie, with all that you’d expect from a French bakery (tarts, macarons, croissants galore), plus salads, sammies and cafe au laits. You can score the flaky, buttery treats in flavors like guava, ham & cheese and almond, to name a few of the goodies we got here over the years. The location was at  7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143.Just off Sunset Ave or NW 72 St. Now Closed in its place there is La Crêpe Bistro no relation do not know them.  It’s reviews are here on YELP: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-crepe-bistro-miami

Miami

Pleasant to verify the Croissan’Time Bakery at 1201 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL is still there! This bistro, bakery, and grocery store opened in 1986 by Bernard Casse, from  Port-Sainte-Marie in the region of Lot & Garonne France and very nice guy!! We came here for everything French even paying more for import taxes. He had started as a bakery in the southwest of France in the 1960’s and arrived in the USA in 1978. He began working in several establishments such as the prestigious La Grenouille, New York, before starting his own business.  In his team there was also Matthieu Cartron, that had worked in France, Saint-Martin, and New York, that came to lent a hand as well as the baker Garry Petigny. All the breads of Croissan’Time  are done on site from scratch. More info at official webpage here:  http://www.croissantime.com/

Yelp reviews on the Croissan’Time

Ft Lauderdale

And to show how the French community of Florida mingles and get to know each other as we had for many years there from 1990 to 2003; Miami Accueil is managed by the Consulat de France de Miami (very helpful understanding group who helped us immensily the transition from USA to France! merci!) and groups all the French residents in its jurisdiction. The group was done to share activities with French families of all sorts including those above. Official Miami Accueil , Consulat de France de Miami

There you go hope not too long, try to be as brief as possible for all these souvenirs of my life ,never to be forgotten and thanks WordPress for allowing me to share it here for my memories and the enjoyment of others. Thank you

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

July 11, 2019

Las Olas, beaches, Ft Lauderdale!

Ok so lets get back to the fun youthful days and my time in Florida (18 years strong!) . We were west of I75 expressway and we enjoyed a lot coming to the beaches especially in Ft Lauderdale that were straight east of us.

Again, I have written some posts on the city but felled in debt to do one on the beaches of Ft Lauderdale so here it is ,hope you enjoy it as we did.

fort lauderdale

 Las Olas Beach, has a small stretch of sand that attracts beachgoers of all ages. It is a smaller beach right of the chic Las Olas blvd and so beach amenities are not as plentiful as those offered at the bigger  and equally nice Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. However, visitors have access to beach chair and water sports equipment rentals, restrooms and metered parking. Restaurants, bars and shops are also available across the street. Just do not come during college Spring Break time as it gets rowdy and crowded otherwise is a great place to be at the beach.

fort lauderdale

The transportation to the beaches here is king Car but there are nice public transports from the city to the beach and back. The local bus lines 11 and 40 will do the trick. Here is their schedules in Broward county (where Ft Lauderdale is located).

fort lauderdale

The particular buses that comes to the beach are the No. 11 or 40 bus, see their schedules here: http://www.broward.org/BCT/Schedules/Pages/default.aspx

Another option is to take Sun Trolley’s Las Olas sort of like a little train on wheels : https://www.suntrolley.com/routes-schedules-fares/beach-las-olas/

Or the wonderful Water Taxi: https://watertaxi.com/

In the same venue of beaches , if you’re looking for more out of your beach day head over to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park just south of Las Olas blvd. At the bigger Ft Lauderdale Beach you’ll find a calmer and less chaotic version of other well known beaches in Florida, but with the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. There ,you’re more likely to find families relaxing or leisurely walking the waterline . Backing the shoreline, the palm tree-lined promenade bustles with visitors looking to shop and dine in the many establishments along it. All  just south of the wonderful Bahia Mar Resort, at 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard, this picturesque park has everything you need to maximize your fun in the sun time, from sand volleyball courts to a boat ramp to outdoor showers. There are grills for cooking, a basketball court if you get bored with the sand and a kid’s playground to keep the little ones busy. Park Facilities and Amenities available daily from 06h ( 6 a.m.)  to 21h (9 p.m.) include: Boat Ramp – non-motorized, Grills and Picnic Tables, Outdoor Showers, Restrooms,  Basketball Full Court, Children’s Playground, and a Volleyball Court. The above Broward bus schedule look for No 40 that takes you here. More info from the city of Fl Lauderdale here: City of Ft Lauderdale on the beach park

fort lauderdale

Here you will see closed by the Bonnet House , this came to be when in 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter . In 1920, began construction of Bonnet House, and later was donated to the city now open to all to marvel at its gardens and architecture along the beach! More info here: https://www.bonnethouse.org/

You will have another memorable spot for us there and lots of walks indeed in the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park located a few blocks north of the above Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. The park is position between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean makes it a fun locale for all types of folks. Those looking to get a little wet can canoe or kayak in the largest of the park’s coastal dune lakes. Adventurers who want to get their adrenaline pumping can bike along the nearly 2-mile paved park drive. Meanwhile, visitors who prefer to explore by foot can hike the Coastal Hammock Trail, which snakes through a native maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem, one of the last of its kind in the county.(marvellous indeed!). More info here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/HughTaylorBirch

The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea welcomes visitors to enjoy its beautiful beach, multitude of sidewalk cafes, frequent live music and enticing public plazas, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is widely acknowledged to be the South Florida shore diving capital. Snorkelers and divers come from all over to swim from the beach to reefs alive with tropical fish, turtles and even lobsters. And the Sun Trolley Las Olas can take you here too! You are worth coming up to El Prado Park( at 4501 N. Ocean Dr.) , this is the town’s most popular beachfront park and parking facilities just across at El Mar Drive (st)

And to close out let me tell you a bit on my fav Las Olas Blvd. A very chic place in So Florida which fame has relegated behind the more famous SoBe in Miami-Dade county. However, for my tastes this is more private, cosy, and chic a family event. Therefore, let me show you a bit of Las Olas Blvd, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA!

fort lauderdale

Las Olas Boulevard  runs from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District (downtown/city center)  to A1A (road along the beachfront) and Fort Lauderdale Beach. The easternmost section of the boulevard is interlaced with canals and waterfront homes. The commercial stretch, approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) or the Golden Mile ::)  in length, features cool sub-tropical breezeways and courtyards with bars, nightclubs, bridal stores, shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and the historically nice  Riverside Hotel. https://www.riversidehotel.com/

fort lauderdale

The name “Las Olas” means the waves in Spanish. All but the westernmost fourteen blocks are also signed as State Road 842 (SR-842) . Las Olas has its own historic house, a nearby IMAX cinema and movie theater within a short walk. Las Olas Boulevard can be accessed by the water taxi. The boulevard is a popular dining and shopping destination for locals and visitors as it is situated close to Fort Lauderdale beach, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. (cruise ship terminal), and has a wonderful arts museum such as http://www.moaflnsu.org/

The boulevard was constructed in 1917, when Las Olas was just a dirt road that crossed the swampy wetlands to the barrier island at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The boulevard begins at the famous Elbo Room bar where the beach meets the boulevard and ends in the west at the Arts Museum.  A few of the most notable who lived here are: Johnny Weissmuller, actor who played Tarzan and invented the signature yell. Wayne Huizenga, CEO of Waste Management, Inc, Blockbuster Video and AutoNation. Connie Francis, actress and movie star who was featured in the movie, Where the Boys Are which was filmed on Las Olas Blvd at the famed Elbo Room. Lee Majors, actor who played The Six Million Dollar Man and former husband to Farrah Fawcett. Sonny and Cher, singers and actors. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, television and movie stars. Stars of I Love Lucy fame. Gloria Vanderbilt, designer and socialite. Frank and Ivy Stranahan, founding pioneers of Fort Lauderdale and the first residents of Las Olas Boulevard. Their trading post Stranahan House is located between the boulevard and New River. More info on the house: Official Stranahan House

Official Tourist office of Florida on shopping at Las Olas blvd

fort lauderdale

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must when in Florida are

Official webpage of Las Olas Boulevard

Official tourist office of Ft Lauderdal, SUNNY

Official tourist office of Florida on Ft Lauderdale

This is a wonderful art festival on its 32nd edition! and has grown very nice right at Las Olas well recommended. Art Festival of Las Olas blvd

And there you go , a nice hommage to my last home in the USA. There were very nice 18 yrs in Florida and before that 13 yrs in New Jersey. Memories forever, as do not think will ever go back as France is awesome too, but the visits yes, and the memories forever, after all was married and my 3 boys were born in Florida! Enjoy Fort Lauderdale!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2019

Menceys and Tenerife!

Ok I will once again deviate a bit from my usual posts to tell you about a personal place of mine. I grew up with the traditions and came to live in Spain, and visited Tenerife as an adolescent only to think for it always. As they tell me, the DNA is strong or blood is thicker than water! La sangre es màs espesa que el agua!

I like to tell you a bit about seldom heard history or misplace in the travels of many. This is my rendition of a special place for all of us Islenhos or islanders of Tenerife from whatever we are now! I will tell you about the square, the basilica, and the statues read on….

The Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias is a large square located in the main center of the Marianne Villa of Candelaria  on the island of Tenerife. It is located next to the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria (Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria or Notre Dame) ,the patron Saint of the Canary Islands, and is the meeting place for pilgrims and celebrations of the most important festivities of the municipality.

In the place where the square is located, once was the Playa de la Arena beach, the place where the Convent and the old Church of the Virgen de Candelaria were situated. In the center of the beach was the castle of San Pedro, which was built in 1697. This bastion was designed to defend the Church and the Convent of the Virgin of pirate attacks and lootings, the castle was practically destroyed in the storm of November 1826, the same in which the original image of the Virgin of Candelaria was lost. After the start of the construction of the Basilica of Candelaria in 1949 was thought the need to create a wide square that framed the basilica taking advantage of the great natural esplanade of the beach. The foundation works of the square began at the end of 1950. Finally, the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias is inaugurated on January 31, 1959.

The Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias has two main entrances, the Calle Obispo Pérez Cáceres, which is the pedestrian and commercial street of the town, and the Calle de los Principes which is the vehicular entrance street. One of the attractions of this last street, are a series of mosaics made in volcanic stones, located in a small tunnel  and where the seven Canary Islands are represented next to each other, except Tenerife which is in front of the other islands on the front wall.

The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria ,and the Royal Convent  are located on the south side of the square, on the east side by the sea, is the sculptural ensemble of the Menceyes of Tenerife, meanwhile in the north wing is the Calle Obispo Perez Cáceres and on the west side is the main artery exit of the square .

On one side of this square are the statues of the nine Menceyes that ruled the nine Menceyatos (pre-Spain kingdoms) of Tenerife. Nowadays they are bronze statues, which replaced other volcanic stone sculptures that were moved to another avenue in the 20C. Specifically, it was August 13 ,1993 when the new figures of the Menceyes were inaugurated, the work of the sculptor José Abad. These statues are very appreciated by all the Canaries, because they represent a very essential part of our culture.

These bronze statues represent the nine Guanches kings (Menceyes in Guanche languages or Spanish Castilian -Reyes), and were the descendants of the Mencey Tinerfe the Great, son of Mencey Sunta, who had his court in the Menceyato of Adeje (one hundred years before the conquest by Spain) and ruled the entire island. Hence the name Tenerife or Tinerfe Anichet the land of Tenerife. These were divided into 9 menceyes or kingdoms as Acaimo: Mencey of Tacoma; Anjona: Mencey de Abona.; Añaterve: Mencey de Güímar (the one of my grandparents, that today is the territory of the modern towns of El Rosario, Candelaria (paternal grandparents were born here), Arafo, Güímar (my maternal grandparensts comes from a village south of here call Pajara),and parts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna). Bencomo: Mencey of Taoro.(last King 1496)  Beneharo: Mencey of Anaga. Pelinor: Mencey de Adeje. Pelicar: Mencey de Icode. Romen: Mencey of Daute. Tegueste: Mencey of Tegueste.

Candelaria

Candelaria

One of the statues held in his hand the “ Zanata stone “, in particular the Mencey Romén held it. It is a small rock of elongated form with inscriptions supposedly of Guanche origin ,the original  people of the Canary Islands. Currently, the Zanata stone is held at the  Archaeological Museum of Tenerife, city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Some webpages on the above to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Plaza in English

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Menceyes -kings

A bit more on our Basilica of Our Lady Virgin of Candelaria . Even thus pictures are not allowed in for good reason.

The Basilica is consecrated to Our Lady  Virgen de la Candelaria (patron Saint of the Canary Islands) whose original image was found in 1390 by two Guanches shepherds. The Basilica of Candelaria was built in the place where the Guanches venerated the Virgin after the conquest; the Cave of Achbinico is situated behind the sanctuary. Today, the Basilica is one of the main Marian shrines and pilgrimages of Spain. Every February 2 (Day of the Virgin of Candelaria) and August 15 (Popular Day of the Virgin of Candelaria chosen by the Bishop) This Basilica welcomes the thousands of pilgrims who arrive at the Villa Mariana, to venerate the Virgin of Candelaria the days of her major feasts.

Candelaria

Basilica Ntra Sra de la Virgen de Candelaria, credit WebTenerife.com

The height that gives it its bell tower of 45 meters makes it a dominant feature on the horizon of the Villa Mariana of Candelaria and its surroundings. The Basilica of the Virgin of Candelaria is one of the greatest examples of neoclassical architecture in Spain. Next to the basilica and attached to it is the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Candelaria, run by the order of the Dominicans, religious order in charge of the sanctuary, in it is the Museum of Sacred Art.

In 1596, King Felipe III declared protector and patron of the Virgin of Candelaria, a position that his successors maintained. The monarch, after ascending to the throne, declared himself patron of the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Candelaria, hence the rank that the sanctuary has since. It is therefore the first Marian shrine in the Canary Islands to receive royalty title from the Spanish monarchy. On January 24, 2011, the temple was elevated to the dignity of Basilica minor  of very good degree by Pope Benedict XVI.

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Basilica

So therefore, go there for more than the beaches, and our mojo, there is more to Tenerife with its history of old and new and its wonderful monuments. Hope you enjoy the post as much as me writing it did. Candelaria, Pajara, Tenerife are with me is in my blood.

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

March 24, 2019

Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, this is Florida!

OMG!, I just look back of my blog and realise not written on these wonderful spots since 2011! Times flies, this was my last stronghold in the USA before leaving permanently to France in 2003. I had not been back there since 2009 and now had 3 great days in the area. This is a re blog from November 2015!

This is the South Florida area where I still have lots of family.

It has a lot to offers other than the beaches and night life, but I let you mingle and decide on that with the tourist offices there of MiamiOfficial tourist office of Miami and the beaches

and Fort Lauderdale,  Tourist office of Ft Lauderdale area at Sunny

I was Lucky to have on my way back from Mexico the company ok to attend a finance conference in Fort Lauderdale arriving at Miami airport on American Airlines.  Airport info here! Official Miami International Airport  . I must add nothing compares with Air France ::)

Fort Lauderdale

 

One of my cousin was there to greet me and take me to eat at a local Cuban restaurant now very popular for the last 10 years or so;but there for over 30, Molina’s in the nearby city of Hialeah on which hospital my twin boys were born!!! The place was typical of old Cuba and the food very Cuban, something did not had for yearsss! picadillo ,moros rice, sweet plaintains, and a nice corona beer ::)  More here: Molina’s Ranch restaurant

Hialeah

Afterward ,I was taken to my conference hotel at Fort Lauderdale, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel; right off the ocean drive and very near Las Olas blvd chic area, the hotel info is here: Ritz Carlton hotel FT Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

 

OF course, the hotel was top luxury, glad was not paying ::) the room well the apartment as it was two rooms with living room and bedroom, TV in both in addition to a smaller one in the bathroom. There had bathtub and shower and lavs for two. The wonderful beachside restaurant was wonderful too. A great place ,location, and friendly prompt service.

The evening had the chance to eat dinner there overlooking the ocean and Fort Lauderdale beach , nice oysters, shrimps, and cocktails mojitos was wonderful right at the bar with a friendly bartender. Needless to say went to bed very late into the morning hours lol!!!

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Once the conference was over, we were invited for dinner as part of it, to the wonderful Brazilian charrusqueria Chima’s right on Las Olas blvd and about 15 minutes walking back to the hotel which me and a group of warriors found out. More on Chima’s here: Chima’s steakhouse at FLL

Fort Lauderdale

Chima’s has a wonderful front terrace to mingle and drink, and then great laidout indoor tables for the feast of bringing those different cuts of meats charrusqueria style (call here steakhouse) all night long with wonderful glasses of red wines. Good company and pleasant evening afterward on the way back and at the hotel bar ::)

The last day got pickup by my cousin again and given a right in the laberinth of roads and tolls the area has become, really change feld big and different already. Saw the new Marlins baseball stadium, the Lincoln Road Miami Beach area, and the bridges before finally depositing me at Miami airport for the trip back home. A nice nostalgic if short trip to what was once call home ::)

Florida Marlins baseball

Lincoln Road Mall Miami Beach

Miami Beach

At Miami before flight had some snacks at La Pausa in concourse J Mia for a mahi mahi sandwich fries and a glass of California Hogue cellars red wine. A nice send offs more here MIA La Pausa Restaurant

The flight back was my first ever ,believe or not, delayed in airport, happening after a heigthening of security tension for the atrocious terrorist acts in Paris, they found two bags checked-in but no passenger so the plane was ask to return to gate!! wait and wait finally departed to Paris. There, as was getting ready to board my last flight to Nantes, once already in the passarelle to the plane we were ask to return back inside as they was a fuel leak on the plane, wait wait, finally took off. Arrive home five hours late missed by twins birthday outing and needed to catch up today lol! Now ready for another long journey tomorrow to Brazil!!!

Hope you enjoy the short trip ,for me a memorable spot always will be. I am thankful of all my previous experiences no matter what it always enrich your mind. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

March 18, 2019

Capitol, Havana, a symbol of a Nation

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early youth ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country.

I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana. El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft).  It is located between the streets or  calle Pardo, Dragones, Industria, and San Jose. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. After the Cuban castro revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.

Havana

It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls here were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.

havana

The details of the work made the building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze by an Italian  artist, call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

To continue the description of this wonderful building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre ,also done by Italian artists.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof.

havana

Havana

You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidos” ( the hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance done by an  English firm.   The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba.  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio of La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.

havana

havana

It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

trip to Cuba private site good info and Capitolio

La Habana private site good info on city and Capitol

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

March 4, 2019

Windjammers Barefoot Cruises, Fantome!

So today will take you on memory lane that unfortunately did not turn out well for many. I have in my earlier life enjoy cruisings especially the singles kind… This was wonderful cruises to the Caribbean and it was awesome. Even now the memories are vivid and nice even in the sadness of it all.

I came many many years back into the Windjammers Barefoot Cruises and was booked a cruise to the Caribbean British Virgin Islands I believe was like in 1987-1988 but can’t recall exactly. I went on to two more cruises into the Roatan , Honduras and Costa Rica areas but the Virgin Islands was tops.

As I came upon articles to write and saw the book, I decided to rend hommage to the folks who took these cruises and especially those that perished at sea on the SV Fantome! Here is a bit of their story.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises was a leisure cruise line based in Miami Beach, Florida.  Founded in 1947 by Michael Burke, the company scheduled one and two week cruises in the Caribbean and Central America, using a fleet of sailing ships. The ships were former yachts and commercial vessels that were refurbished as cruise vessels, accommodating 60–100 paying passengers and 20–40 officers and crewmembers. The ships were refitted to resemble 19C sailing vessels called windjammers. Caribbean itineraries included the British Virgin Islands, French West Indies, Grenadines, the ABC islands, and the Bahamas. Recent and former Central American itineraries included Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and Belize.

In September 2007, Windjammer’s entire fleet was suspended from operating any further cruises. All remaining parts of the company that were still operating were shut down in April 2008. Later that year, the company’s assets were auctioned off. The four ships they operated are all laid up and were left in a neglected state of condition. It was a sad ending to a tragic event.

Fantome was a 679-ton staysail schooner. Completed in 1927 for the Duke of Westminster,  it was purchased by Windjammer in 1969, and became flagship of the fleet. During her twenty-nine years of service in this regard, Fantome offered cruises in the Caribbean and the Bay of Honduras. She was lost in October 1998, during Hurricane Mitch.

Originally ordered for the Italian navy but before completion was purchased by the Duke of Westminster, who finished her as a yacht  in 1927.  The Duke of Westminster used the Fantome only a few years before it changed hands twice in short order. Ultimately, it was acquired by Irishman A. E. Guinness, heir to the brewing fortune that bore his family’s name.  Guinness had taken her into the Pacific in the late 1930s and when war broke out in Europe in 1939, the Fantome was in Alaskan waters. Reluctant to cruise further or return to Ireland, he elected to lay her up in Seattle for the duration of hostilities. At the end of the war she was stranded in Portage Bay for 14 years, barred by  King County from sailing pending the payment of back taxes. In 1969, Windjammer owner and founder Michael Burke flew to Greece to purchase the schooner directly from Aristotle Onassis. He bought it, sight unseen, in exchange for a freighter. Windjammer then set about refurbishing Fantome, which became the flagship of their fleet of six vessels.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

On 24 October 1998, Fantome departed the harbor of Omoa in Honduras for a planned 6 day cruise. Hurricane Mitch, then over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away in the Caribbean Sea, was expected to pose a risk to Jamaica and possibly the Yucatán Peninsula. By dawn on the following day, however, Mitch seemed to change course. Fantome immediately changed course for Belize City, where it disembarked all of  its passengers and non-essential crew members. The schooner then departed Belize City, first heading north towards the Gulf of Mexico, in order to outrun the storm

The plan was to make for the lee side of the island of Roatan (Honduras). In case Mitch made landfall in the Yucatán or Belize, by being on the southern side of the island, it would provide her with enough protection to keep it from getting damaged by large swells and high winds. However, Mitch, now a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 180 mph (285 km/h), took a jog towards the south, directly towards Roatan.

Fantome made one desperate attempt to flee to safety, now heading east towards the Caribbean. Mitch’s forward motion picked up, though, and Fantome was unable to outrun the storm.  It has been recorded that around 16h30 (4:30 pm) on 27 October 1998, with Mitch having weakened but still at Category 5 intensity, Fantome reported that it was fighting 100-mile-per-hour (160 km/h) winds in 40-foot (12 meters) seas. They were just 40 miles (64 km) south of Mitch’s eyewall. Radio contact was lost with Fantome shortly after that.

On 2 November, 1998 a helicopter dispatched by the British destroyer HMS Sheffield discovered life rafts and vests, labeled “S/V Fantome,” off the eastern coast of Guanaja, Honduras. It was all that was found of the Fantome.  Sadly, all 31 crew members aboard perished, and a memorial service was held for them on December 12, 1998. RIP many of them I have come to know and were good hard working humble folks from many Caribbean islands trying to make a living. They were happy and proud to serve on such a wonderful ship ,the Fantome will be remembered forever so will they. Thanks for the memories.

The story was recorded in the book The Ship and The Storm by Jim Carrier (ISBN 0-07-135526-X). Of course, I have the book.

Daytona Beach

Caribbean Compass story on the Fantome tragic end

This one is for me , for the memories and for those who sailed with me ,before and after on the wonderful Fantome; memories to last a lifetime. If anyone is reading from this experience feel free to leave your comments. Much appreciated. Thank you.

This is one of several youtube videos on it, I like this one

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

 

January 17, 2019

Schoolboys in France, our take!

So on a cold night in the Morbihan Breton, I like to be a bit nostalgic of my previous home in France. This is my 16th year living here and 19th as citizen of France. Basically, broken down evenly now between the Yvelines 78 (ïle de France), and the Morbihan 56 (Bretagne).

One subject dear to me and the family I have not touch in my blog yet, and its about time, is the question of schooling for the kids. I have 3 boys now young men. When I first had the idea from my dear late wife Martine (French native of Meaux ,Seine-et-Marne 77, ïle de France), the first thing we thought was the schooling for the boys. Back in the previous old home of Florida there were in A rated schools by the School system there so we wanted to stay the same in France.

We went out and spoked with the French family on the schooling and was a bit surprise of the strict ruling as compare to what we knew. Also, the easy school days as they are no substitute teachers here, and kids are sent home. The homework was constant every day! In all subjects!

We found out it was true. We ,also, got in touch with the American community in Paris which is numerous and we are acquainted. They refered us to the AAWE organisation or tha Association of American Women in Europe. They published a book detailing the differences and equalities of the US and French educational systems that was invaluable. https://www.aaweparis.org/

The landing was easy ,soft and we found out our boys were getting good notes from the start. Due in fact for the training at home with the mother, an import/export custom agent who was very good of grammar , an important subject in French schools.

We got in and found out the schools ;free public schools were better in the smaller towns in Yvelines. I do not want to give away all the addresses but will put some pictures here of younger days.

verneuil sur seine

The schooling in towns like Verneuil-sur-Seine on the college John Zay was super and the staff always gave us compliments of our boys. It was a nice trip for them fully enjoyed with the bus and train as it is usual here. It gives you freedom. Here all 3 boys came together the college is like a middle school back in the USA; they spent all here in France. http://www.clg-zay-verneuil.ac-versailles.fr/spip.php?rubrique127

les mureaux

Then, came the Lycée or high school Blanche de Castille in the nearer town of Le Chesnay It was fantastic! We really enjoy it and the nearby Bel Air complex with many friends meeting on the park, and a miniature statue of the Eiffel tower! The bus system was the same as the one in Versailles so very convenient and the boys love it. https://www.blanche-de-castille.fr/infos-pratiques

le chesnay

versailles

Then came big decisions. The university system here as compare to the USA is very weak, but practically free. The ones we saw near us were about 500 euros per year! Most of the best jobs are had in the Grande Ecoles and they are like Ivy league schools ,very expensive. I had experience with universities and my skills were home grown , not too positive about universities; I think they are just business. My opinion of course.

Therefore, I told my boys to choose: univ or special technical schools that provide a skill and a job. They chose the later one.

My boys were split with my twins going into specialized schools in gardening:building: plumbing, and wood work which gave them job experiences . France does not have a system of funnelling the students into jobs so the youth unemployment is very high unofficially at 25% .The yound spent a lot of time in interim, training jobs for long periods and unemployment until finally with lots of work experience they can land a permanent job. They are now on the right track and getting paid for it.

auray

My oldest boy, went to commercial business school , very good CFA Affida at La Verriére 78 Yvelines. Here he got his commerce training as he wanted to go into Sales and did had the chance to work at the Chateau de Versailles and the gift stores across from the rive gauche train station in Versailles. Moving over to Bretagne, he went to the IBEP Vannes. Now getting his driving license and search for a permanent job in the meantime he gets support income from the mission locale who puts him into training program by working alongside local businesses for more time on the job and training for eventually getting a permanent job. The CFA Affida: https://www.affida.fr/nos-2-centres/cfa-affida-la-verriere-yvelines-78

The IBEP Vannes:  http://www.ibepformation.fr/fr/centre-formation-bretagne

la verriere

versailles

The life here is nice and friendly but the will to excel is a bit behind. If you have experience then coming will be no problems I found mine before arriving for a big CAC 40 company in management and have not stopped.   For the young, its an uphill battle.

crach

le roc saint andre

So this is nothing compare to what we get here ,however, as free persons, we know the job market in France is not the best and needs a lot of improvements. Maybe the yellow vests (jilets jaunes) can do something about it!

The Great Debate  or Grand Débat is on in France at the mayor’s office level and creating lots of suggestions in a truly democratic way where the citizens participate. The online site is to be functional by January 21st so they said. https://granddebat.fr/

Hope it gives you another look on France from a worldly person and experiences on both sides of the pond! I lived 31 years in the USA between NJ and FL!

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

 

 

 

November 7, 2018

Unique RAE, Madrid!

So now I come to you on something not considered touristic for me but rather part of my culture. This is the unique building in an unique spot in my beloved Madrid that one needs special permission to go in, and surely no photos. However, it is worth the tour around and walks in the surrounding area.

The surrounding area is the Prado Museum and the Convent of San Jeronimo el Real which is now part of the Prado. Just next to the Convent and after the main entrance to the Prado on the side patio you go up and see the  Royal Academy of the Spanish Language or la Real Academia de la Lengua Española! The Spanish language in all its forms is directed and enrich from here!

I like to tell you about it from my education and culture to you and the world.

One of the most important buildings in Madrid is at the same time among the most unknown in the city. This is the Palace of the Royal  Academy of the Spanish Language, located next to the Jerónimos Church, and the Prado Museum. The institution has just fulfilled more than three centuries of life. Up to 46 people, seven women among them, dedicate the best of their knowledge and their time to supervise the deployment of the Spanish language in the world, in permanent connection with 20 Iberoamerican academies and that of the Philippines. And I must say anywhere where Spanish is spoken is all validated by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language here.

It rises on the same spot that in its day housed the missing Royal Fourth of the Kings of Spain, intimate abode where, since the 16C, the monarchs were gathered to pray, rest or to idle, right on the edge of the Church of the Jerónimos. The palace rises in the heart of what was once called the Greek quarter, a rectangular area located between the Real Jardin Botànico (Royal Botanical garden) and the Puerta de Alcalá, which declines towards the Paseo del Prado from Retiro park.

Already mediated in the 19C, in a real estate operation pioneer of those of its kind induced by Queen Isabel II, holder of the crown owner until then of the Royal site, and the collaboration of financiers with few scruples when chopping the Botanical garden or to cut about a third of the surface of the Retiro park. The Retiro park, shortly thereafter, would be suitably expropriated after the Glorious revolution and became the property of the people of Madrid.

The fact is that the site was dedicated to house the Royal Spanish Academy, previously settled in different enclaves in Madrid. The palace was conceived in 1884, projected in 1890 and built over the next two years. The building occupies an exempt volume on a base of about 100 meters of length by about 70 meters of width; The typology of its plant is basilical and consists of four levels/floors, with skylights on the roof. It has a semi-basement, adapted by the administrative needs; A ground floor and a main one, where the offices and the main rooms are located, like the splendid hall of events, illuminated by four Bordeaux stained glass windows, plus a higher floor. The palace culminates a low-covered plant, in a four-month work was managed to earn almost a thousand square meters for administrative and work dependencies.

The building is adjacent to the Church of the Jerónimos, as well as with the Prado museum, in whose facades the brick also predominates, material that in the case of the Academy is of the variety called Recocha, of intense red color.in the neoclassical style. Here it shows a syncretism of ornamentations both Classic, Venetian, Gothic and Etruscan, among others.

Madrid

my photo of Prado museum right, back is the RAE

The venue is accessed on the days of gala through a small wooded patio, supervised from the nearby Royal Botanical garden, which leads to the stairway of a central portico marking by four high Doric columns , topped by a pediment of sober workmanship. The interior of this building arouses a special emotion, especially if the itinerary begins with the semi-basement: In it are archived, in old wooden furniture with brass fittings, or in more modern metal cabinets, up to 10 million of microchips of many words.

They were known by the Academy since 1713, when they began their tasks in the Plaza de las Descalzas, where the Marquis de Villena, founder of the institution, had his house. By privilege of king Carlos IV, the institution was then established in a two-story mansion of the Calle Valverde, where today is housed the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences. From there it moved to the current palatial residence, after being built in 1894 between the streets of calle Moreto, calle Academia, calle Ruiz de Alarcón and calle Felipe IV.

Between 1726 and 1739 the Academy gave the light of the first dictionary of the Spanish language. It portal webpage of the RAE(Real Academia de la Lengua Española or Royal Academy of the Spanish Language), which will make possible the consultation of three dictionaries: that of the Spanish language, the Essential dictionary and the pan-Hispanic of doubts, besides to facilitate the free access to the Grammar, of 2009 and the Orthography 2010. The study rooms and the abundantly assorted bookstores abound. The so-called academic library is a piece of singular beauty, whose windows look towards the north façade of the Church of San Jerónimo el Real. In the library used to work the heroes of the language and although the location of each is free, everyone knows that such a table is the usual seat of each !

Madrid

RAE Royal Spanish Academy of the Spanish Language, credit tourist office of Madrid

In total, the palatial building houses 250,000 volumes, of them 30,000 from the Golden Age, all of which make up one of the richest and most valuable libraries in the world. In its collection are among other treasures of the Castilian/Spanish language, manuscripts of Gonzalo de Berceo, the history of the life of the search, Francisco de Quevedo, the Book of Good Love, Juan Ruiz, Archpriest de Hita and others Pablo Neruda. Another donation, by Miguel Herrero, brings together a collection of 5,000 sermons of preaching from the 16-17-18C, unique in its genre. An important legacy of the filmmaker and academician José Luis Borau also belongs to the academy, as well as a collection of 17,000 loose sheets and another reprints of articles on Romanesque philology. Some units of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at 187 calle Serrano , now house the Academy’s Study Center. Since its inauguration in 1894 by the Regent Maria Christina of Habsburg, it counted on electricity supply and central heating, two non-existent advantages then, except in Royal dependencies and in mansions of the nobility.

A wonderful historical and cultural building of immense significant in our world today, been Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world counting only native speakers. About 477 million people have it as their first language. Some more numbers:

Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and of the European Union , Organisation of American States, Union of  South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, The African Union, and many other organisations. According to the Pew Research Centre, in the USA alone the number of speakers has grown by an enormous 233% since 1980 , and looking globally, the Cervantes Institute predicts that the population in officially Spanish-speaking nations is predicted to reach 750 million by 2050. According to the same Cervantes Institute, today in the United States, there are 43 million native Spanish speakers and another 15 million people with some knowledge of Spanish. There you go.

Some webpages to help you understand better and get a passerbys eventually in Madrid

Official RAE Madrid

Tourist office of Madrid on the RAE

Hope you enjoy the cultural trip, podràs hablar Español muy pronto en todo el Mundo! Hasta pronto!

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

 

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!!!

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