Posts tagged ‘France’

January 17, 2021

The Rome antique, and its squares!!!

A while back after many trips solo to Italy decided to take the family to Rome as a starting point for Italy. It was a long two weeks memorable vacation which we all enjoy and now many souvenirs of that trip. Already with several posts in my blog, let me update the introduction to the Rome antique and its squares from August 2013 to you and hope you enjoy it as we did. This of course, in my black and white series counter. Therefore, as an introduction will be brief, plenty more on them in my blog and pictures.

Having traveled to many countries, and been to Italy many times, even Rome , but always on business trips. This time for our summer vacation we decided to attack as a family the eternal city. Much have been said of this wonderful city and its historical meaning, I will tell you what is today.

Even in Italian news programs there was talk of making the via fiori imperiali pedestrian, they tried tested this summer and they like it locals and visitors alike. So maybe something to do for the future on a permanent basis..But is was not to be.

The parking is chaotic, and the road clogged; and I know how to drive in big cities! The metro or subway is very limited even thus the B1 is in expansion construction and the new line C is ,also, under construction; badly needed. Finally, the line 3 was done in 2014.  The bus system is great but for the uninitiated can be complicated because they only post the end line and not the stops, so you need to go to the stop and read the places the bus goes, the online system ATAC is not user friendly either if compare to France or even Spain that I know very well too.

Last we went to the Antiques of Rome, the Colosseum, Foro Romano, and the Palatino, all classical places and known to many.

The colosseum is the great roman amphitheater  built during the Roman Empire and was inaugurated in the year 80. It was then used for performances of great popular appeal, such as hunts and gladiator combats. The first phase of construction of the Colosseum was financed with the proceeds of the plunder of the temple in Jerusalem by Vespasian in 72. His son and successor Titus, in 80, added the third and fourth row of seats .

The Roman Forum or Foro Romano, is indeed a grand event for walking this area alone. The Roman Forum was the old center of ancient Rome where, from the 5C BC to 5C AC, the most important monuments were built. The entire area of the Roman Forum is one of the biggest archeological sites in the world containing temples, buildings and monuments from the Republican era until today. Inside the Roman Forum you can admire the Arch of Settimio Severo, the Temple of Saturno, the Vestali’s house, the Mamertine Prison, the Temple of Antonino and Faustina and the Arch of Tito.

The palatine or Palatino area, great for walking along ancient monuments, This is a large archeological area located between Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. It contains the old Emperor residences, arches, temples and thermae. The legend says that Rome had its origins on this hill and, indeed, recent excavations have shown that people were living in the Palatine since 1000 BC. According to Roman tradition, the Palatine was the place where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that nursed them keeping them alive in the “Cave of the Lupercale”, probably found in recent excavations, and for this reason on this hill was celebrated every year the festival of Lupercalia.

We , also, walk all over and really like the piazzas or squares of Rome! Coming to Rome ,one of the things I always heard and later briefly came were the wonderful squares there or piazzas in Italian. Therefore, i made it a point to visit as many as possible while there with the family. To remember them there are the piazza Cavour, Colonna, Spagna, Giavanni in laterano, Napoleone I, Navona, Popolo, Venezia, Santa Maria in Trasteverde, San Lorenzo in Lucina, and vittorio emanuele .

The piazza Cavour was very nice along the palace of justice and behind the castel sant angelo, with an imposing statue of Mr Cavour. Piazza Colonna is the center of it with nice old palazzos and buildings with the great galleria alberto sordi and many shopping areas.

Piazza di Spagna is the famous one of the steps, with great shops and history, Bernini’s fountain and the celebrated Spanish Steps rising up towards the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Home to English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the world-famous piazza, located at the foot of the Pincio Hill, has always been considered both a priceless cultural gem as well as popular tourist attraction.

Piazza San Giovanni en Laterano is where the huge beautiful cathedral of Rome is located. Decorated in its center with an Egyptian obelisk in granite from the 14C BC that was at the place of the Grand Circus for a long time and now gives access to the Palace of Laterano.

Piazza Napoléone I, is right inside the Villa Borghese, at the mont of Pincus, offering a plunging view of the city towards the Piazza del Pololo to which it is link by stairs ,giving a wonderful panorama of the city. Of course, Napoléon could not be without one in Rome, he even name his son king of Rome!

Piazza Navona, is a wonderful one that we like a lot.  It is the most elegant and cheerful of all Roman piazzas, and we agree. It was built on the site of Stadium of Domitian in the 1C  A.D.  This is where Roman children received their gifts from the wise men by Jan 6th, and you should not missed seeing the Fountain of The Four Rivers and Church of Saint’Agnese in Agone.

Piazza del Popolo, is a huge square with three roads coming into it , the Via del Corso was our entry point into it always. Once there you will the writing by Bernini  over the northern gate, Porta del Popolo, (the former Porta Flaminio) “Felice faustoque ingressini MDCLV” “For a happy and blessed entrance”; a message left for Queen Christina on her arrival in Rome following her conversion to Roman Catholicism. In the piazza there are the twin Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto, with the  obelisk at center  (known as the Oblisco Flaminio) which is the oldest and second tallest in Rome and the two Valadier fountains, also, see the wonderful Church of Santa Maria del Popolo ,built on the burial site of Emperor Nero.

Piazza Venezia, is very popular with filmgoers, and it has the impressive   The square is of course dominated by the overpowering “Altare della Patria” (Altar of the Fatherland) a monument to honour Victor Emanuel II, unified Italy’s first king.  You will see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Incorporated in the massive pure white marble structure, which was built between 1885 and 1905, it serves to honour and remember every soldier who lost his life during WWI and who remains unidentified. From here Mussolini used to make his speeches. After much work to preserve the character of this square , Palazzo Venezia,and  Palazzo Bonaparte where Napoleon’s mother, Letizia Ramolino once lived until her death in 1818.

Piazza Santa Maria in Trasteverde, located in the popular district and on the spot of the beautiful church basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde; its sparkling 15C fountain, said to be the work of Bramante, 17C Palazzo San Callisto, and glittering gold mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde, while in the evening it is transformed into a lively meeting place for night-lifers, with the restaurants and bars’ tables overrunning the paving and all and sundry soaking up the atmosphere on the steps of the fountain.

Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, a very nice fashionable area today. As it said churches started from private homes that allowed worshiped on them this is what is thought of the one here ,church of San Lorenzo in Lucina (b. 4-5C  A.D.). It was dedicated to St. Lawrence the Martyr as late as in the 12C, when some relics (including the alleged grid-iron of the saint’s martyrdom) were placed here. The tourist office will ask you ,who is Lucina? Tradition has it she was a rich pious Roman matron, owner of the original home on which the church is built. However given Lucina was an epithet for Juno, the Roman Goddess of heaven and also protector of Roman women, it is feasible that the church may at one time have been a temple, a shrine dedicated to her. Nice story , I buy it lol!

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, this is a huge square, also known as Piazza Vittorio,in the Esquilino Rione. Surrounded by palazzi with large porticoes of nineteenth-century style, the square was created by Gaetano Koch shortly after the transfer of the capital of Italy from Florence to Rome in 1871. With nearly 10,000 square feet in addition to St. Peter’s square, the largest square in Rome (316 x 174 m). In the middle of the square umbertino style emerged spontaneously since the late 1800s, with large blocks of flats that the recingevano, a large open-air market, especially of food but not only. The food stalls were placed daily, from sunrise to two long sides of the large garden. The market remained in business until the 1990s, much frequented by the Romans for the convenience of prices, and also by tourists hunting for folklore. The Nuovo Mercato Esquilino reflects the multi-ethnic characteristics undertaken in recent decades by the square, and  a strong foreign pressure, both in personal goods. In the middle of the square there is a garden that shows the remains of the nymphaeum of Alexander, and the so-called magic door, the entrance to Villa Palombara, residence of the Alchemist Massimiliano Palombara.

Some webpages to help plan your trip here as usual from me are

The official tourist office of Romehttp://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

And, Archeoroma a nice cultural historical sights of Rome:https://www.archeoroma.org/sites/

You can be sure a trip to Rome will make your money’s worth! We will be back, for now hope you enjoy the post as I do.

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

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January 16, 2021

Vannes, the gateway to the Gulf of Morbihan!!!

Indeed, it is the gateway to the Gulf of Morbihan and more! Vannes is our capital city and I need to update this post from 2013 with links and text on my black and white series as sights and pictures are elsewhere in my blog already. Hope you enjoy the reading and do stop by when possible. 

It was another excuse to go where I work, and have it as a holiday lol! I am really on vacation but always the last minute road warrior.  Yesterday, we needed to do some errands and shop, so I gather my father and boys and drag along the streets and stores of Vannes.  Its a magical city full of shops and restos all over, and yesterday it was vibrantly full. A nice summer day with temps in the 28°C and sunny. We drove by car of course, and went thru the back door on blvd de la paix, got on rue de la fontaine and found parking on the street payable but for 2 euros spent 6 hrs! And as everything is nearby on foot is heaven.

Again, Vannes means Gwened if use the Breton language as Morbihan is small sea, mor=sea bihan=small, in French, petite mer; and you are welcome to my region, Degemer Mat !!

We went to the Church of St Patern (see post), is the second most popular after the Cathedral and it is gorgeous as well. In a very quaint old city side full of shops and restos, where we ate too. The church is in the St Patern neightborhood and was name after the first bishop of Vannes in the 5C.  The church was destroyed by Norman invasion in the 10C,and rebuilt in 1723. To visit and walk around its neighborhood is a delight that I recommend.

We wandered all over the side streets,like Méné, pl des lices,de la Fontaine,de halles, Francis Decker, and the ramparts with the old castle ruins still visible plus a look at the entrance to the chateau de l’Hermine , 5 rue porte de poterne (see post). We did some shopping in the covered market by pl des lices, and visit la Belle Illoise, La Trinitaine , the ice cream gourmand Alain Chartier, Monoprix store in pl jacques le Brix, la huche à pains bakery, and a brief visit to the museum of history and archeology at Chateau Gaillard. (see post).

Got a nice shot of my regional government building or Préfecture du Morbihan, this is the official one, that is for govt employees and official functions, there is another one where the citizens go in for our daily routine as driver’s license,voting,etc. at pl de la République. .

Did I said, we ate, yes at the St Patern neighborhood and a wonderful find; Le Gavroche, (see post) a traditional French restaurant with terrrace in the back, with friendly Breton welcome of a brandy of rum and honey for free as a digestif! It is at 17 rue de la Fontaine, and we had steaks with cook vegetables, potatoes, grimbergen beers for five, coffee for five, and desserts from créme brulée to ice creams of many sorts all for 19 euros per person. 

Boys did go and shop at Empire Games  (now closed memories only) a sort of star wars scenes of games and figurines, t-shits etc. ; all chic and different by pl des lices; very nice friendly service. Another store Japanim is by 14 Bis Rue Emile Burgault  that offers lots of mangas, dvd, cups, etc of the japanese genre of games and movies. My son’s favorite !

We did our usual majestic drive by the porte de Poterne into the remparts to inner city that is always magical  going thru there.  And,of course see the old fortifications and the tour du Connétable majestic rising over the remparts gardens. (see post).

In Vannes ,we did our grocery shopping at E Leclerc with my sons and had a between meal meal at a nice cafeteria  we have seen and now was the time to try it. Le Vénélis cafeteria grill (this is closed and is now Flunch cafeteria which we have tried too)  is very friendly smiling staff, and great food at wonderful prices. We had boeuf bourguignone, spaghetti meatballs for some, and breast of duck for others, with a bottle of beaujolais nouveau red, bottle water Evian, sodas such as fanta and coca cola , desserts from natural fruits including kiwis, to passion fruit desserts, and coffee expresso for less than 18 euros per person.

In late afternoon we continue our walks passing by some of our favorite stores and streets such as 

La Belle Illoise, fish canning local ,wonderful; 31 place des lices, La Trinitaine, cookies biscuits ,breton sweets, deco, souvenirs,and fish canning too, glorious at 19 place des lices. Alain Chartier chocolatier and glacier ,ice creams gourmands, mâitre chocolatier de France at 25 place des lices, and also a school of cooking desserts. Monoprix, discount dept store at place Joseph le Brix. La Huche à Pains, the best bakery at 23 Place des Lices. 

And we move on for late dinner at Villa Valencia. 3 Rue Bienheureux Pierre René Rogues ,where I had my filet mignon pork in a wok oriental style, and the kids had their pizzas , a bottle of Charles Pain, Chinon red wine , banana splits desserts and coffee for 24 euros per person.

We went home but next day came back to Vannes so will put it together here. We stop by Le Port for lunch at one of our favorite places, A l’aise  Breizh Café on top of the Capitanerie du port (harbormaster). We had our mussels =moules with the local guimennée sausages and fries, with  kouign–amannbreton sweet with a ball of apple ice cream ,and banana splits, plus a bottle of muscadet from Sauvion, for less than 22 euros per person.

Again with the boys we needed to stop at Japanim, japanese cartoon,mangas the works from Japan, at 14 Bis Rue Emile Burgault for more mangas books! We passed by the quant nice covered market or marché couvert des lices at pl des lices. We did some tablecloths shopping at La Tapenalgue, 23 Rue des Halles , wonderful gifts of Brittany and foods items locally done. The store is in the old section very nice quant area to walk too, our favorite. Now own by Aux Mille Délices of Lorient. Even if now closed we stop by our favorite shopping store  Michel Loizeau was at pl Henri IV , the house dates from the 15C! Here we had our Breton winter clothing, bags ,umbrellas,and belts of the finest local quality. 

Through the meandering hilly cobblestone streets of old Vannes we love to walk it ,however, if feeling tired , we never but, dont forget the petit train, or little train that can take you past these places to get a general feel of the city if time is short, of course, walking is best.

We decided to try a different eating place this time for dinner, and having passed by the pizzeria, we took the plunge into .It was a wonderful discovery as the service was fast and friendly, the food was excellent and with big portions, the place was full of local folks most with families. This Pizzeria Don Camillo at 20 rue du port, by the Le Port area across from the canal and the tourist office. We like it so much came back second time same week, once we like something ,we are very hard to let go, the couple owners are a delight and fun to speak with regulars of many years ,who even come to sample the wines that will be serve on the menu book! This time it was a chardonnay from the Languedoc area, but we stuck with our Rosé of the Côtes de Provence, les Diamantines of Domaine de l’Estan , very inexpensive and delicious rosé for about 11€ the bottle.  We had  pizzas in mediterrannée with chorizos, and goat cheese samplers, with cafe gourmand, the expresso coffee with four different small portions of sweet from tiramisu, mousse au chocolat, apple pie, and babba rhum cake, and the beforemention bottle of rose wine all for less than 19 euros per person!

And we came home again, as usual by now a regular routine in my Vannes from to Pluvigner. You will love it at Vannes,capital city of the Morbihan in my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. Hope you enjoy the walks!

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on Vannes: https://www.golfedumorbihan.bzh/explorer-vannes/decouvrir-vannes/golfe-morbihan/vannes/

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist office on Vannes: http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/vannes

The city of Vannes on tourism in English: http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/

Now I feel better, all done and pretty , waiting for you to visit when possible of course. Vannes is worth it, one of the best jewels of Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

January 16, 2021

Bretagne, Morbihan, roads and waterways transports bits and pieces….!

As the world turns, one needs to update links and refresh the older ones, this is the case of this post back from 2012. It is a must with transports, and even thus listed some in the individual cities’ posts, I like to update the general overview of them. Hoping you enjoy the transports bits and pieces of my Morbihan breton dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne.

One of the most difficult situation in Brittany, Bretagne, Breizh (Breton) is the minimum public transport service. The idea of moving about freely as in the Ïle de France region from where I came from here is unheard of, nothing like 10 minutes of intervals on buses,etc, here you get one every two hours; the summer a bit better as it is tourist season for the region, the winter is dead…Literally!

Trying to figure it out is tough, luckily I depend on my car, my boys a bit less, we tried to connect whereever they are as to from where I am coming from or a simple outing to city center Vannes for example can take all day to maximize the traject and shopping. So ,therefore, here are some bits and pieces of public transports in my new department of the Morbihan, dept 56.

Listing by main towns I have traveled already.

Auray, you have the connections with the Keolis Morbihan network on the new site mobibreizh on lines 1,1bis,5,6,and 16. webpage: https://www.mobibreizh.bzh/

The above is the general site for the region of Bretagne on public transports for trains, buses, train buses, bikes, metro, tramway, cable , boats, car sharing, and school buses ways of transport. There is another site more regional by department serving the same, this is Breizhgo, https://www.breizhgo.bzh/accueil

You can pay on the mini bus, then you have the city of Auray Auraybus, all year from monday to saturday, tickets sold on the buses as well, the city contracts out with Keolis Atlantique network here: https://keolis-atlantique.com/11-Horaires-et-itineraires-Auray-bus.html

In summer you can take the train ride Tire Bouchon from Auray to Quiberon, a popular destination and already noted as my favorite spot. TER Bretagne you can buy tickets in all area train stations. Next the line will open June 21 ,2021! webpage: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/loisirs/lignes-touristiques/tire-bouchon

You have car rentals at the gare from Avis, Europcar so far as the train station is on a big renovation project.  There are good parking at Athéna (by the centre culturel) rue Henri Dunant, Chapelle Saint -Esprit, rue des Féves, place Hulot,Place de Kériolet (my favorite just at city center side), place Notre Dame, place du loch, place raoul Dautry, rue du jeu de Paume, and Le Verger. 

There is a taxi stand by the train station, hospital CHBA, and Le Port. The best and most available is by the gare or train station, webpage: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frxuy/auray/transports-horaires/transports-individuels/taxis

The city of Beltz, Keolis in mobibreizh buses line 16,18, rent bicycles at les vélos de la ria, 19 rue des sports (behind the Super U grocery store)  webpage: https://www.velosdelaria.com/

Belle-île-en-Mer, bus Taol Mor everyday from april to november 7th, four regular lines, main station embarcadere espace Charles de Gaulle, A quai de l’Yser. Several here me think the best are Cars Vert: http://www.cars-verts.fr/

A loca scoot & Vélos 4 quai Bonnelle for bike and scooter rentals: webpage: http://www.velo-scooter-belle-ile.fr

At Belle-île-en-Mer,Locmaria bikes at locmaria cycle, rue des Acadiens. webpage: https://locmaria-cycle.com/

Brech, Keolis on mobibreizh bus line 5, info at as in Auray and into Vannes. This know very well, it was my kids school bus line for a couple of years here!

Carnac, Keolis (mobibreizh)  lines 1 and 18, site as in Auray. bus Carnavette, from center to beaches in summer july and august 7 days a week, free main at mayor’s office or Mairie, Place de la chapelle, or Carnac bourg.webpage: https://www.ot-carnac.fr/infos-pratiques/transports/navette

Rent bicycles at A bicyclette, 93bis avenue des Druides, carnac plage. webpage: https://www.velocarnac.com/

Parking for your car available by Impasse des Korrigans, chemin du Tumulus, rue Paul Person, rue de Courdiec, Square Illertissen, Place Saint Fiacre, avenue du Rahic, La Poste, Port en Dro,Carnac plage (my spot). parking is free.

Crac’h, Keolis (mobibreizh bus line 1 and 1bis . Ti’Bus  goes in summers to Crac’h, Locmariaquer,and Saint Philibert from monday to saturdays in july and august. Free. webpage: https://www.ville-crach.fr/fr-ti-bus,218,1896.html

Erdeven, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus lines 16 and 18 . bike rentals at Taxi, Allez-y Taxi, Kerouriec.

Etel, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus lines 16 and 18. And bikes from the Les vélos de la ria,webpage: https://www.velosdelaria.com/

Houat, island, bike rental Houat vélos, on the port . You can have your luggage and you transported to the house or port harbor by calling the mayor’s office or mairie at tel +33 (0) 2 97 30 68 04.

Locmariaquer, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus 1bis,. Bus local, Ti’Bus, goes from city center to campings and beaches of Locmariaquer, Crac’h, Saint Philibert, its free.  bike rentals, camping domaine résidentiel de Kerpenhir, 2 rue Henri Erzan. webpage: https://www.domaine-de-kerpenhir.fr/ and Camping Lann-Brick; webpage: https://www.camping-lannbrick.com/

Plouharnel, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus 1 and 18. bike rentals, tourist office in summer at rond-point de l’océan, and train station or gare de Plouharnel in summer months. Taxis:,taxi du dolmen, tel +33 (0) 2 97 52 40 40 and taxi de Plouharnel Kristof, tel +33 (0) 6 27 42 57 87. You find car parking by the train station and place de Gaulle;free.

Quiberon, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus 1 from Auray, also see the train Tire Bouchon from Auray in summer months. The local Quib’bus goes in city center to gare train station. webpage: https://zenbus.net/quiberon

Best bike rentals at Cyclomar at 47 place Hoche near the Grand Plage or big beach: webpage: http://www.cyclomar.fr/

Parking at Quiberon , big one at Le Sémaphore,route de Kernavest, entrance to Quiberon or Kerné, by the passenger boat terminal, route de Kerniscob,  also at Sizorn, 36 rue de Port maria (april to september), Hotel de la Mer, 8 quai de Houat, however my favorites are by Place Varquez and the gare or train station and then its 5 min walk to the beach and its free. For taxis well known Abaca taxis Quiberonnais et Saint Pierrois, 24 rue des Tritons , webpage: https://www.taxi-quiberonnais.com/

Saint Philibert, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus lines 1 and 1bis. and local bus Ti’Bus see Locmariaquer, and Crac’h above.

Saint-Pierre Quiberon,  Keolis (mobibreizh) line 1 from Auray. bike rentals at train station or gare at Rue Georges Clémenceau.  Taxi Nevo, 22 avenue de Bretagne see above Quiberon.

Sainte-Anne d’Auray,  Keolis (mobibreizh)  lines 5 and 6, by Auray to Vannes etc.  taxi Guernevé,  34 Rue de Vannes (D19)  tel +33 (0) 2 97 57 56 56.

La Trinité-sur-Mer, Keolis (mobibreizh) bus lines 1 and 18.  local bus Trinibus, city center to beaches, harbor, villages in summer every day only .Free. webpage: http://zenbus.net/la-trinite-sur-mer

The parking at La Trinité sur Mer best along the port or behind the creperie la Goeland. others are at Place du Voulien, le Grand Pavois, La Vigie,Kervourden, Le Poulbert, Cours des Quais, Place de la Mairie (fees), parking du terre-plein des américains, last two in zone bleau , parking limited by time. Otherwise the rest are free. Taxi, tête de station, cours des quais facing the fishmarket, Les Taxi Trinitain, webpage:http://www.taxis-trinitains.com/

The sea connection to outlaying islands are diverse, to the Belle-île-en-Mer, Houat,and Hoedic. See the Compagnie Océane and Navix leaving from Quiberon,Vannes, and Locmariaquer Port Navalo, la Turballe, Le Croisic from april to september.

Leaving from Locmariaquer towards the Golfe du Morbihan or Gulf of Morbihan, you have the passeur des îles to port Navalo and Ïle d’Arz from april to september. webpage: https://www.passeurdesiles.com/

And the L’Angélus to Ïle d’Houat from Locmariaquer at 9h30.webpage:https://www.vedettes-angelus.com/ 

Connection at Etel port to Plouhinec ,Le Magouër port with the le passeur, from june 1 to September 30th .webpage: https://www.gavres-quiberon.fr/fr/le-passeur

Also, departing from St Goustan port in Auray to le Bono ; le Passeur des Iles as above. webpage: https://www.passeurdesiles.com/croisiere-golfe-morbihan/riviere-auray-saint-goustan-morbihan

And this is leaving out the major town and capital city of Vannes, and the sub capital city of Lorient. As mentioned above the overall site for all transport in Bretagne now is  Mobibreizh. Have it on journey planner page. webpage: https://www.mobibreizh.bzh/fr/itineraires/4/JourneyPlanner

And there you go a nice way to move about on the roads and waters of the Morbihan dept 56 of Bretagne in my belle France. Hope you enjoy the ride!

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

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January 16, 2021

The river Loc’h, Auray and Brec’h!

One more chance to tell you something new in my blog thanks for the updates and revisions of text and pictures I have been doing lately. This is a nice time in my life when  I first came into the Morbihan dept 56 and rented an apartment in Brec’h. There is a river passing by here and then onwards, let me tell you a bit about the Loc’h river and later down the Auray river!!!

Right by the D19 road upon entering Brec’h bourg or after passing it depending where are you coming from, you can go down a hard dirt forested trail and see the Loc’h river at its best! see the picture!!!

Brech loch river to auray river jan12

Then, go down to the port of Saint Goustan or Auray lower town, and see the vast Auray river just before it takes off into the Gulf of Morbihan. Several river cruises starts here and out fishing, kajaking, canoes, sailing boating etc activities abound.

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The Auray river is a ria which begins in Auray, in the department 56 of Morbihan in the region of Bretagne. This is the Loc’h estuary. The Auray river flows into the Gulf of Morbihan and is navigable. The length of its waterway is 56.4 km.

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The Loc’h river takes its source in Plaudren and goes west , then branches off to the south at half of its course. It becomes the Auray river, a northern projection of the Gulf of Morbihan, in the town of Auray, just west of Pluneret. The Auray river overlooks the Gulf of Morbihan between Locmariaquer to the south, and the Pointe du Blair and Sept Îles, in the town of Baden to the north. It joins the mouth of the Gulf of Morbihan located between Port-Navalo, end of the Rhuys peninsula to the east, seaside resort and port of the town of Arzon and Locmariaquer to the west.

auray st goustan ria auray to gulf jul13

The towns of which the Loc’h goes thru are Plaudren (source / origin), Locqueltas, Locmaria-Grand-Champ, Grand-Champ, Brandivy, Plumergat, Pluvigner, Brech, Pluneret, Auray its mouth. In Tréauray in the town of Brec ‘h, it widens and becomes a pond where fishermen like to fish for trout and pike.

In terms of cantons, the Loc’h has its source in the canton of Grand-Champ, crosses the canton of Pluvigner and has its mouth in the canton of Auray. The Loc’h river, 45 km long crosses the department on the south to Auray to flow into the Gulf of Morbihan, by the port of Saint Goustan (Auray) it takes the name of the Auray river.

It is on the left bank of the Auray river, on a quay called Quai Franklin (picture from castle ruins) was where on December 3, 1776 Benjamin Franklin landed, who came to asked France for help for the United States independence. The port of Saint-Goustan today houses a marina.

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The town of Brec”h webpage on the natural heritage of the Loc’h: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel/

The tourist office of Bretagne/Brittany on Saint Goustan/Aurayhttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/auray-port-of-saint-goustan/

The port of Saint Goustan in French: https://www.passeportescales.com/fr/port-saint-goustan

The Bay of Quiberon tourist board on Brec’hhttps://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/brech

The Bay of Quiberon tourist board on Auray: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/auray

There you go short and sassy a wonderful natural experience to try once and you will love it, the river Loc’h becoming the river Auray and then the Gulf of Morbihan, one of the most beautiful bays in the world (Great Bays and Condé Nast) and the vast Atlantic ocean! Hope you enjoy the tour

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

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January 15, 2021

The Tour Solidor at Saint Malo!

Again reviewing old posts to update/revise text/links , I have come across many sights not really mentioned in those posts or briefly. They deserve more , so therefore, here is my take on the Tour Solidor or tower in Saint Malo! This is in Ille et Vilaine dept 35 of my lovely Bretagne in my belle France!

The Tour Solidor (tower) is located at the mouth of the Rance, in the district of Saint-Servan and was built in 1382 by Duke Jean IV of Brittany in order to control the city of Saint-Malo. At a time when the city of Saint-Malo was rebellious to his authority. In particular, taxes should be levied on the goods transported. Its name is derived from steir and dor which in Breton means “door of the river”.

The Solidor tower was built on an already fortified site, the Tour d’Oreigle, also called Tour Aiquin and which included a small châtelet, transformed into a guardhouse of the new ensemble and a fortified enclosure, itself built on Gallo fortifications. Roman dating from the 4C which defended the ancient port of the city of Alet and of which vestiges remain in the current entrance bastion. It is possible to spot at low tide, the remains of a stone causeway which led to the Gallo-Roman port, the sea level being 8 meters lower than today.  This tower is the combination of three circular towers connected to each other by small curtains, the whole forming a triangle whose width is about 14 meters and the length about 20 meters. The base of the west tower at about 9 meters in diameter is reinforced by three massive buttresses. About 22 meters high , the tower consists of four floored levels, served by a spiral staircase of 104 steps. Its top has a beautiful belt of machicolations.

st-malo-tour-solidor-aug12

In 1588, the local folks or Malouins seized the tower on behalf of the Duke of Mercœur, leader of the League of Brittany. It was only guarded by five or six men. A captain was installed there in 1590 with three soldiers, a maid and two watch dogs. The soldiers occupied it for a long time in order to watch the estuary in order to block trade between Saint-Malo and Dinan.  In 1636, Louis XIII ordered repairs to be made there. In 1694, the guard of the tower was entrusted to the inhabitants of Saint-Servan. In 1756, the drawbridge at the entrance was replaced by a stone bridge. The history and evolution of military technologies having rendered its initial use obsolete, the tower was transformed into a prison during the French revolution and then as a warehouse under the Empire. Priests, nuns and soldiers were locked up there. Graffiti can still be seen on the interior doors which closed the cells. In 1886, the Ministry of the Navy ceded it to the administration of Historical Monuments. The current appearance of the tower is a little different from the one it had at the beginning of the 20C, in fact only the tower remains as a building. and the guardhouse.

A cross resides at the foot of the Solidor tower. It was erected in 1985 on the rock where Jacques Cartier cast off for Canada in 1534.

The Saint Malo tourist office on the tour Solidor in French: https://www.st-malo.com/tourisme/art-culture/tour-solidor/

Since 1970 it has housed a Cape Horners museum which brings together the collections of the Saint-Malo museum on long-distance navigation and Cape Horners (maps, models, navigation instruments …) A wooden weather vane in the shape of an albatross was donated by the Chilean section of the Amicale internationale des Cap-Horniers in 2003. The collections of objects and on-board instruments belonging to the sailors, the nautical charts from the end of the 19C to the beginning of the 20C will be exhibited at the Maritime History Museum of Saint-Malo (Opening scheduled for early April 2022). You will therefore be able to relive the history of sailors around the world by passing through Cape Horn.

The Amicale Internationale des Cap-Horniers webpage: http://www.cap-horniers.fr/CHLC/Welcome.html

The musée d’histoire maritime of Saint Malo from the city how it will look like: https://www.ville-saint-malo.fr/albums/le-musee-dhistoire-maritime-de-saint-malo/

From the Solidor tower , a passenger and vehicle ferry regularly crossed the Rance towards Dinard, before the Rance dam was put into service in 1967. The Rance tidal power plant draws its energy from the force of the river tide. It is located in the Rance estuary, between the towns of La Richardais and Saint-Malo, With an installed capacity of 240 MW, it remained the largest tidal power plant in the world for 45 years, from its commissioning in 1966 until August 4, 2011. The departmental road 168 passes over the dam and allows vehicles to link Dinard to Saint-Malo. The dam houses the Discovery museum of the Rance tidal power plant. The Saint-Malo museum has a pastel by Henri Arondel representing the Solidor tower, in its collections.

The Saint Malo tourist office on the Rance Dam in English:https://www.saint-malo-tourisme.co.uk/explore/on-and-in-the-water/the-river-rance

More from the electricity company of France, EDF in English: https://www.edf.fr/en/the-edf-group/industrial-provider/renewable-energies/marine-energy/tidal-power

There you go folks another dandy in my beautiful Bretagne and wonderful Saint Malo. Hope you enjoy as I did catching up with this marvel, the Tour Solidor.

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

January 15, 2021

City Hall of Redon!!!

So, therefore, I have found a missing link that will post here a new post and pictures! I have come several times by Redon, and eventually visited the city with the family. One monument that caught my eyes, first passing by in the TGV train to Paris was the city/town hall of Redon. Let me tell you a bit about it ok.

redon

The town of Redon is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine department 35  in the region of Bretagne. It is located north of the confluence of the Oust and the Vilaine rivers which runs along the city, 60 km from Rennes, 50 km from Vannes and 60 km from Nantes. The Nantes-Brest canal runs along the Oust river then crosses the center of the town.

Redon is located in the heart of the western waterways and close to the Atlantic ocean with, in particular, a sea and river port sheltered from winter storms. It is located at the crossroads of the TER train lines for Rennes, Quimper and Nantes. The train station of Redon, is equidistant from the stations of Rennes, Vannes and Nantes. Redon has, also, a TGV Atlantique stop. The trip lasts between 2h06 and 2h37.  And this is how I first came to know the city passing by on the TGV! Later, I visited by car coming on the D775 road off the N166. The city is crossed to the north by the D177 road. It connects Redon and Rennes in 40 minutes. Best for parking by the place de la République or  place aux Marrons.

redon

The neighboring towns are in 3 departments such as in Ille-et-Vilaine (35) Bains-sur-Oust; and Sainte Marie ; in the Morbihan (56) Saint-Perreux; Saint-Jean-la-Poterie; and Rieux; and in Loire-Atlantique (44)  Saint-Nicolas-de-Redon.

The City/town Hall was erected in 1905 on the site of the previous one. This original and beautiful building is in the Gothic Revival style. The city/town hall is located not far from the abbey and the Gothic tower. In front of it, you have a pleasant square crossed in above by the railroad tracks. It is located at 18, Place Saint-Sauveur.

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The historical variations of the Breton linguistic border show that the Breton language was spoken in Redon in the Middle Ages. The local language is from Gallo, which is part of the language group of Oïl.

A bit of history I like

The history of Redon begins in 832 with the foundation of the Abbey of Saint-Sauveur de Redon (see post), by Conwoïon  a Benedictine monk native of Comblessac, under the protection of Nominoë, king of Bretagne/Brittany, on a promontory called Roton ( later Redon). Some of the personalities by here were Saint Vincent Ferrier, a Spanish Dominican from Valencia who preached here in 1418. Duke François II received the King of France Louis XI in Redon in 1462. The States of Brittany met 5 times in Redon, in the 15C and 17C such as in 1446,  1460, 1461,1476 and 1612. Pope Nicolas V erected the city of Redon as a bishopric on June 10, 1449 at the request of Duke François I ; this bishopric included at that time 14 parishes, removed from those of Vannes, Rennes and Saint-Malo. The  election was revoked on December 20, 1440. The town of Redon was handed over to the French in 1487 by the lords united against Duke François II. Mercoeur entered Redon without resistance in 1589, then was driven out by the Royals and his governor Jean de Talhouët in 1595. Vineyards were cultivated in Redon from the 9C.

The Redon market takes place on Mondays from 8h30 to 13h from October to April; and 8h to 14h May to September.

The city of Redon on its history: https://www.redon.fr/tourisme/p23-histoire.html

The tourist office of South Brittany on Redon: https://www.visitsouthbrittany.com/redon-historic-town-and-port-0

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Redon: https://www.bretagne35.com/partez-a-la-decouverte-de-lille-et-vilaine/sites-remarquables/redon/

And there you go folks a nice off the beaten path town and monument. How often have you visited the city/town hall of a town you are visiting? Well here in my belle France they can be beautiful architecturally stunning buildings such as the case in Redon. Hope you have enjoy the post as I

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

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January 15, 2021

Brussels , and the family!

I have been coming here since 1991, business and pleasure. This is Brussels, one of my favorite cities in Europe. This is an update, refresh link post from 2012 and of course plenty more in my blog on it too. Its a whimsical city, holding the main of the European Union. Let me tell you a bit more on Brussels, Belgium!

At first, the trips were short, but this time took the advantage of a vacation period between Christmas and New Years to go for a week with the family and go all over the city , Brussels, Bruxelles is magical. See my posts on the many sights below.

You have many nationalities here, and English is well spoken too. The trip started by car from our new home in the Morbihan breton dept 56. Before, I have gone from Versailles and then by train from Auray thru Brussels Midi and then rent a car there. This time went by car from  Brec’h, where we lived ,taking the expressway N165, then  N166 to Rennes, briefly on the N24 around Rennes to connect with the  A84, N175,A13 (autoroute de Normandie), and then cut across northern France on the A29, A28, back on A29, A16 briefly, A29 again (E44 European road system), then got on the A1 by TGV Peronne , (E19 European road system), A2 by known family territory of Cambrai, then get into Belgium in the A7,and get on the RO or Ring road of Brussels to exit No 13 or the road N8 at Chaussée de Ninove (where I always get in from France); past by suburbs of Dilbeek, Molenbeek, Anderlecht,  under the tunnel Leopold II to go our hotel past more north west suburbs of Saint Josse ten Noode and then Schaerbeek. All 9 hrs with stops and 818 kms later ,and 117€ gas and tolls. Yes Bretagne is a peninsula deep in when before from Versailles was just 4 hours with rest stop!

Then, we headed for the hotel parking at 10€ per day ,not bad at all.  We chose an inexpensive 2 stars hotel in a city area away from tourist center , it had some not soo good reviews on travel sites, but I am a contrarian when I read these so took in at the Hotel Bentley.  it was a basic accommodation with continental breakfast included about 67€ per night per room; the folks were very friendly, always available,and with great service at breakfast even if a bit limited in choices you had all the typical offerings in a continental style breakfast. My son left his bag full of electronics stuffs in the resto area and it was immediately brought up to his room, nice confidance to stay in places like this. All throughtout the service, and help was very nice and courteous, and see no reason why folks write bad reviews on properties like this, stand alone family business who try to help and make your stay a pleasant one. Maybe its the bad human habits of downplaying immigrant areas as the hotel is in little Turkey, plenty of nice folks even walking at night, and very helpful on bus tram routes. We will be back here. The webpage: http://www.hotel-bentley.com/

We went all over so much, taken bus, metro, and tram. The stop Botanique is the closest station to the hotel. We walk all over taking the metro line 1,5,and 6. We took the tramways 25 and 92, and the bus 66. We prefer the trams very nice clean efficient and see it all. The buses were crowded older and less clean, the metro was great but underground not to our liking. You can a Brussels journey planner to trace all your trip here: https://www.stib-mivb.be/tripplanner/?l=en

Folks sometimes get confused when I tell them to drive instead of public transport. It is better for a family to rent drive a car, and once in the city use the public transport, then go around all over in transport, much more expensive everytime you go past 2 persons. Try it. We purchase the magnetic card for 10 trips at a cost of 13€  ,good value from the usual 2,10 per person individual ticket on the trams. This having already a MOBIB Basic card which cost 5€. If purchase in the transport is 3€. The best part of the MOBIB Basic card is that you can lend to other persons to use so if a family you can reduce the cost further you know.

We like very much the City 2 shopping center, with FNAC, Armand Thiery, Carrefour market groceries; Australian ice cream parlor ,and a nice refuge from the rain ,all week, but we manage ok. Webpage in English: https://www.city2.be/

We ate at great places some old to come back to a Pizza Hut in Brussels brings a lot of memories from the time way back came as a young man with my late mother, our spot was here Bvd du Jardin Botanique 10. We tried the Australian ice cream parlor , the steakhouse Brussels Grill across the street, call the Manhattan center,  the Casa Nostra pizzeria was good, the wonderful all time favorite , real Belgian ,always a stop at Chez Patrick, an all time favorite here. We had our chocolates at a classic galerie de la reine at St Hubert, Corné Port Royal, the very best Belgian pralines or chocolates! We love it!!

We visit many stores old and new, and walk by the many wonderful streets and jardin botanique or botanical garden, seeing and reshape many monuments along the way from the great statue to Gen Montgomery of WWII fame by the metro tram stop of same name just pass the Parc du Cinquantanaire where we saw the wonderful Autoworld museum of vintage auto and bikes, a must see even if not into cars. We went over the Royal Armed Forces museum but here we got into a bit of laberinth, the museum close at noon for one hour, so if you are inside, you stay in the aviation hall with a restaurant very nicely place ho ho ho , but we wanted to continue seeing, no way, all aisles were close! so after having seen most (just pavillion 12 was left), we decided not to wait and leave, well no signs for sortie or exit available, we asked ,and it was thru the WC sign tunnel or rest rooms lol!!! weird way to leave a museum lol!!! Other than that, the museum is a marvelous place, not to be missed, of WWI and WWII to the Cold War tanks, planes, weapons,  uniforms the whole works!

We went over to mini Europe, so nice to see the wonders of Europe monuments all in minituare sizes, just glorious, and very nicely done, a must to visit. Nearby by is the symbol of Brussels, the Atomium globe , its a great architectural achievement and very nicely done for at least once seen, its 108 meters high with many levels open and some not. The panorama view from 7 is the main point of going up! You come here and dont drink beer lol!!! wonderful, we do lol!! and do visit the museum of beers at the Grand Place, small but a good introduction to beers Belges!  In all another wonderful visit to Brussels/Bruxelles, and a passing by the European commission of course, and the Royal Palace, and Santa Claus motorcycles, and the Cathedral Ste Catherine, the site of this year Plaisir d’Hiver or a Christmas market place full of hamlets, slaloms, dragon tunnels, and a big wheel we took awesome!!! a Great ambiance. the Church of Benigue, nearby is nice, the Royal Theater, parc du Bruxelles, and the wonderful chic Louise neighborhood.  Not to missed the Mannequin pis!!

A must to see when in Europe, one of its great Capital cities, Bruxelles, Brussels, we will be back. And we did, see the sights above on individual posts in my blog with pictures.

And of course, told the way up above, so now giving you the way down or home. I took the old route back, as if we were in Versailles, we left out very easy just as to go in, really is easy to drive on, you only need experience driving in cities and it will be fine. We left on the blvd du jardin botanique to blvd Adolphe Max left continuing on blvd Anspach then right on Rue Antoine Dansaert, then left on blvd de Nieuport to Chaussée de Ninove direction Mons to get on the RO ring road direction Mons. There you go on the Belgian A7 or E19 roads towards Paris, once in France you get on the A2 dir Valenciennes, then at the end it takes you into the A1 direction Paris, you go all the way to near CDG Roissy airport you see the panels Cergy Pontoise on the N104 (this is the la Francilienne road that goes on the outer limits of Paris) , continue direction Cergy Pontoise, pass the bridge of the A15 direction Versailles (yes my old town lol!) then go direction St Germain en Laye on the N184 same road, and just pass the Centaure train station at St Germain en Laye turn right on the A13 towards Poissy/Orgeval, at this round about you take the A13 direction Rouen,and up you go towards Caen then Rennes on the A84, N175, N24, N166,and N165 back to  Brec’h which is finally the road D768... This route took 880 kms, and 10 hrs with stops, with 91€ gas and tolls. So, longer but cheaper on gas/tolls.

The  tourist office of Brusselshttps://visit.brussels/en

The city of Brussels : https://www.bruxelles.be/

I must say that in later years I took the time to go on secondary /national roads without any tolls as these I consider extra taxes to pay! Its up to you! Hope you enjoy the ride! And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

Sunshine State, Florida !!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in the Sunshine State, Florida!!!

My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1974 when I went from New Jersey to visit my father’s side aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey lol!

Then in August of 1977,  I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Spring Break is an event all American college students need or do go thru in their life,and its not to be missed. At those times Daytona Beach was it, over 500 000 of them collapse the beach all of its 23 sandy miles with a party atmosphere tops in the USA. Dont get me wrong, I did my studies too, and finally graduated in april 24, 1982 with a graduation at the Peabody Auditorium on the beachside and a class of 396 students.

I went back “home” to New Jersey, and began my working life at the Newark International Airport EWR with Butler Aviation the following month May 15 1982. However, my heart was left in Daytona Beach, on my first year vacation in the summer of 1983 ,I came back for a visitor spring break time, and reunited with old friends and students.  Then ,finally it set in ,and made the decision to move to Florida. I did on January 4, 1985 arriving in Ormond by the Sea, North Peninsula, just 150 meters from the Atlantic ocean and 200 meters from the Intracoastal waters of the Halifax River. I had the Oceanside country club to the south and Bicentennial park to the north. Heavens !!!!!!

The pay was less, but the feeling was great. My first job was in the wine department of the ABC wine and liquor store by Yonge st US 1 Ormond Beach, under JD Brandy as store manager; the rest is history as I was able to get back into my accounting career with 5 resorts timeshare condominium builder/manager called Aqua Sun Investments,  with Finance Director  Mike (who crashed his Ferrari on Anderson Drive against a tree !!)  and later collection manager, Arthur ,whose wife was my bank counselor at Barnett bank (today Bank of America) , then the career took off into the Commercial Credit (citibank) with good person assistance manager Marc and Manager Bill; and Equifax AR as Senior Supervisor with the branch in Holly Hill ;  working with a group of people who donated a Bond EE for my son’s birth I never forget the folks like Barbara,Terry, and Angie.  While living in this beautiful Ormond Beach area  where by now its a sweet history for me, I encounter in one of my trips to Paris a nice lady from Meaux, France, we were married  December 26, 1990 at City Island govt building in Daytona Beach. We had our first son at the Halifax Hospital on March 9, 1992.

While working for Equifax, the Credit Bureau office in Daytona Beach, the company decide to close several sites, and was offered a move to North Miami city at the entrance to Williams Island (Elizabeth Taylor owned there ::)). So this cause my move to South Florida, and it was fantastic, job wise and activities wise. Once they decided to close the North Miami office as well! , I took off into computer distribution to Latin America based in Miami with CHS Electronics (at the time the 3rd largest in the world and NYSE), this allow me many travels in Latin America and my future looks bright. We, the family and I eventually moved to the Silver Lakes division, Sapphire Bay subdivision in Miramar, Broward County, to the west of FT Lauderdale while continuing to work in Miami Beacon Center area. Before the move to Broward County, my twin boys were born at Hialeah Hospital , Hialeah city near the fame horse racetrack in 1993.

We have continuosly made trips to France every year since my marriage in Daytona Beach City Island municipal government building on December 26, 1990 with my frenchie , Martine. Our boys went there since been 6 months old at each time.

The Daytona Beach tourist officehttps://www.daytonabeach.com/

The Miami and the beaches tourist officehttps://www.miamiandbeaches.fr/

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area tourist office: https://www.sunny.org/

The State of Florida tourist officehttps://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

Florida was very good to us, and we have great memories of our stayed there, all in all, I lived 18 years in the State of Florida. Finally in August of 2003 the family made the decision to move permanently to France, and the saga continues. Never look back, all forward with always keeping the memories of the places and people, especially those no longer with us.

I hope you enjoy reading a bit about me from my blog. It has been a fantastic ride going back to these old posts and bringing to life again, Florida will always be there for us; thanks for reading along.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 14, 2021

My college days in Florida –ERAU!!!

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in ERAU – Florida!!!

I was visiting Florida since 1974 from my home state of New Jersey. When it was time to choose my university studies, leaning towards a career in aviation , hopefully with an airline, and by reference from a friend who was going to the US Navy, I heard of ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida ,USA.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship or love with the state of Florida. I was admitted to the school fairly quickly and arrive at Daytona Beach, ERAU campus by August 24th 1977. In time to get me into dormitory No I (later call Doolittle for the general) and began Freshman or 1st year classes.

I was totally new to the place, the area, the habits, so my first year spent going to the beach, “the worlds most famous beach” almost daily, becoming a beach bum ::) Going to the Daytona Connection, 600 North Club, Mocambo, Big Mamma, Daddy’s, Razzles, and Oyster Pub (the last two still there!) greatly enhance my feeling for the area.  Seeing my first Spring Break in the spring of 1978 was awesome, never seen so many girls in one place !!!! I quickly learn the best way to enjoy the area is to have your own place off campus. The school has limited space on its campus dormitories so changing was easy and the area landlords were nice to us, we had a nice “reputation”.

My second year or sophomore, I was already renting a house by Winchester St, Holly Hill an inland community just to the north of Daytona Beach. This was a 3 bedroom home so I found myself 2 roommates to share the cost, and have a whole bedroom for myself, plus lots of more freedoms… Great place to study too, the school demands were very heavy, focus on learning and little space for entertainment or sports inside of it. I was on the Aviation Management degree curriculum for a BS=bachelor of science degree, fyi I got it!

While hanging around a field that look like a football/soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and asked me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower divisions, played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately signed me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran, Portugal, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played against NCAA div 1 and 2 team on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds.  Sadly, if you now read the story on the school webpage no mention of this history is shown!! and has the soccer program started in 1986!!! writing to them made no moves so I am completely away from all university activities now as Alumni. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools. I did played in the Central Florida Soccer league out of the Daytona Beach YMCA complex (which was actually in the city of Holly Hill).

My third year began at a new rental house closer to the center at Magnolia Avenue and Charles Street (did not see it seems new construction there now!!)  It had two bedroom and the other was rented to a friend from the soccer team so we both can have same interests. School was taken its toll as the subjects became more complicated and more study time was needed, however , the soccer continues and trips to the beach and other parts of Florida. the Razzle disco was on as well as the country music place Finky’s on Grandview. The weekend trips to the Nickels alley place in Gainesville home of the Univ of Florida was great escapades with lots of fun dont want to go into it ::) I was checking out the same chain Nickels alley in Amelia ave, Orlando too as well as going down to Miami at Tiffany’s in the Sheraton (no longer) at Bal Harbours, Limelight (burn down no longer) by the Hollywood dog track area , and the 747 by Miami Springs. Coming down I stayed at the Don Sebastian motel (no longer there) in North Miami Beach for ease on driving after a long night dancing away, a great souvenir indeed. Participating in spring break activities was great, in addition to our Spring Fling festivities on campus, I visited the Univ of South Florida River riot festivities by the Hillborough river, Tampa. As well visiting my family in the Miami area for the weekends, the Christmas breaks were still spent in New Jersey with my parents, and some summers too.

My last year 4th or senior year, again was the time to try another housing, and closer to the action, so I moved to a two bedroom house in Hollywood ave and Main Street, Daytona Beach surrounded by bikers Lol! My neighbors were the Pagans gang from Vineland NJ and I guess my car plates were from NJ so they were friendly ::) I could use their hoses to clean my car Lol!!! I was by this time very involved in the school with the Management Club, and was its Treasurer my last year there. Under me and with the help of Professors Rudi Knabe , our club advisor, William Chamberlain ,our accounting prof and Peter de la Rosa, our Finance prof; I was able to implement a scholarship doing fund raising events to help pay our members book expenses while investing the proceeds with Merrill Lynch, and did established the club as a non-profit organisation. This is still without recognition by the school who simply just asked for donations!

The soccer/football continues at the club level playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in Florida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.  Playing with the Daytona Beach team in the amateur league as well. Another popular activity was playing intra mural volleyball and softball where we finish second place on both sports as the Management Club team.

The school had gone thru some transformation and new buildings were erected, the student body reach 5000 on campus and they had purchase another campus in Prescott ,Arizona, (near Phoenix). The city had some lesser crazy spring breaks as the city fathers decided to put more efforts on family vacationing. Of course, the Daytona International Speedway was always a great event to go to, and my 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo was a sight in fire red in and out Lol!!!

Graduation came eventually on April 24 1982 at the Peabody Auditorium ,Daytona Beach, where 396 of us graduated with college degrees. What it seems yesterday, it became a reality we were now going into the “real world”. I went back to New Jersey for work at EWR  Newark International Airport, Newark, with an outfit called Butler Aviation an FBO doing ticketing for charter flights from England and Greece as well as the UPS second day air delivery contract. This only lasted for about a year, as I realised I missed Florida !!!!!

The following summer 1983,  I took myself my spring break visiting the area alone, and then on January 5 1985 arrived for good, this time living at Seaside Drive, Ormond by the Sea (North peninsula) on a house my parents had bought for their retirement ::) Beach bum boy was using it first Lol!!! Living was great as I could use the school library ,and became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986!! It was easy as my team was made up of women from the Univ Central Florida (rank in top 10 in USA soccer) and resident guys from England , Greece, and Germany!

The ERAU university Daytona Beach campus webpage: https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/

The ERAU Alumni office: https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/bp20/home.aspx

So even thus I am now far away, I want you all to know, I love you Volusia County, Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach area in Florida. You have been very good to me and my family and we always mentioned you, never forgotten all the folks we encounter there and some still keep in touch, so if you read this; this post is for you.

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

January 13, 2021

Versailles, yes there is a castle here!!

I am updating, revising text on some of my older posts; however, some are very nice that I should had done it before. I will bring you back to my beloved Versailles a city I used to lived, enjoyed and love. Again with so many posts and pictures, this will be on my black and white series. Hope you get to like it too ::)

I have live almost 9 years here, and love it. Most come to Paris, many think is an annex to Paris, but this is Versailles, royal, grand, historic, the foundation of a Nation. It is here when the French constitution needs to be discussed ,changed, amended, all the French parliament and President must move here by constitutional law, and Versailles becomes a de facto Capital of France, last happenned in 2009. The Kingdom was here and the Republic started here.

It has many attributes, friendlier, smaller, nice, beautiful architecture, lots of history all around  you, royal and republican, but it ,also, has a castle. What a castle, I considered the most beautiful in the world, and many were tried and done copying it. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been done. Thanks to king of the French Louis Philippe I that seeing history goes to nothing, had the brilliant idea of converting it into a museum! as he said, FOR THE GLORY OF FRANCE, So in 1837, the castle became the museum, and the story began for all of us. I got caught up in this museum magna, the most beautiful of them all. A bit of stories, compiled from my time as living there and Friends of the Castle.

First you see the statue of Louis XIV on a horse,  done in 1836! but the base and mount comes from the Louis XVI statue that his brother and later king, Louis XVIII wanted to have in the center of the pl de la Concorde in Paris ,then also call place Louis XVI  instead the statue was transferred here to honor under Louis XIV the great builder of Versailles, and the first you see upon coming to the castle. The moment you walk up to it you see pave stones roads, six alignements of pave stones, to welcome the king and guest to castle; nothing could come here than by invitation of the king, once past it you see the cour de marbre or marble courtyard, done by 1681, and renovated a bit in 1678 to give it a clock crown on top middle of the square, and the windows expanded to seven. Around this clock you have Hercules and Mars figures, and an eagle representing defeated nations of Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire during the war of Holland. You see a hydra snake representing the Grand Alliance raised to combat France, and a bull symbol of glorious pass over the Rhine in 1672.  You have the statues in the cour de marbre representing Africa and America on the south side of it, facing the Asia and Europe on the other side. Here too you find on the facades of the cour de marbres 84 busts done in 1685, after heroes of antiquities such as Marc Antony,Jules Cesar,Constantine, etc. Here you see the Cour des Cerfs et Degré du Roi, intimate spaces of Louis XV, it has three floors invisible from the cour des marbre or the cour royale, it serves to do libraries, cabinets rooms, and dining rooms for Louis XV could received his intimes friends. There was a dining room in the 3rd floor opening into vast terraces,and on 1754 a stair degré du roi was done to access the apartments of the royal guards from the cour royale.

But , lets go inside, ok. The wonderful Salon de Mars, see the wonderful painting, La Famille de Darius aux pieds d’Alexandre (1660) with the eyes of Louis XIV at Chateau de Fontainebleau done by Charles Le Brun, who had done Vaux-le-Vicomte,and  also did the galerie d’Apollon at Louvre and considered the best French painter of the 17C. See the marble floors between the Salon de Mars and Salon de Diane in the Grand Appartement du roi; known as the Versailles style parquets, done first in 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart.  On the ceiling of the Salon d’Apollon see the Apollon conduisant le char du soleil (1671-1678) just to imitate the father in law known in Spain as the planet king, so Louis XIV (married to Spanish queen Maria Thérese or in Spanish Maria Teresa, and where all Spanish bourbons kings descend today such as Felipe VI) . Move on to the same salon de Diane to see the work on the doors by the stairs de Maréchaux ,see the reliefs on the doors, the stairs was destroyed in 1752, the reliefs stayed on.  It is now a small replica there and copy at the Chateau d’Herrenchiemsee in Germany.

At the north wing, on the rooms of the 17C, you see the great courts of the portraits of woman of the court of Louis XIV; It is the room of beauties done in 1663, such as the duchess of La Valliére, Henriette of England, Princesse  de Soubise or Princess of Monaco, Marie Mancini, or Anne Marie Martinozzi; lovely indeed. At the cour de l’Hymen by the stair of the queen you see a trophy en metal cover with copper and lead, showing the marriage of Louis XIV to his cousin Marie-Thérese d’Austria to reconcile the quarrels between France and Spain done at St Jean de Luz in signing the treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659. You see the fatality of queens at the ceilings of the antichambre de grand couvert, grand appartement de la reine , beautiful. Go on to the first antichambre du roi done in 1686, vast and beautiful.

The magnificent galerie des glaces done in 1681-1684, with 73 meters long and a canopy of almost 1000 square meters, as well as the ceilings of the salon de l’Abondance, grand appartement du roi. Here see the wonderful office cabinet furniture done in 1708. See the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf, on the second antichambre in the appartement du roi; white ceilings done in 1701 but richly decorated along the walls. See the wonderful bedroom of Louis XIV at the appartement du roi. Here the king died on Sept 1st, 1715 after 60 years of reign.

There is a big oval encrusted painting showing Louis XV offrering peace to Europe in 1729 in the Salon de la Paix(peace) that follows the Salon de la Guerre(war) to the Grand Appartements. You,also, see the calendars for the anniversaires of the chapel of the king, see at the Sacristie des Musiciens near the tribunes of the chapel done by 1770. You can see the bedroom of Louis XV by the interior appartement du roi,the king uses it from age 27,and he died there May 10, 1774, Louis XVI continue its use, one of the places in the castle where few could entered.

See the wonderful dining room or salle à manger des retours de chasse in the interior appartement du roi; done in 1750 and held until 1769 the diners after his returns from hunting.  There is a nice room call the Cabinet de l’appartement de Madame de Pompadour, in the small appartement du roi in the attic, on top of the salon de la guere. Here many rdv was held by the king and woman including putting here Mme de Pompadour,(real name Jeanne Antoinette Poisson), entered in the courts of Versailles in 1745, and lived her first five years in the castle here, she even had a small chapel  once becoming a duchesse in 1752, she takes a jesuist as confessor in 1756, and while she was sick the king allows her to finish here in 1764, the only person of non royal blood to died in the castle, the king later said, ” Here is all the honors that I can give her, a friend of 20 years”.

You can see the library, in the appartement du Dauphin, or heir to the throne,  done in 1750, served for he of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The Grand Dauphin died at 49 in 1711 four years before Louis XIV while his son Philippe V or Felipe V ascend to the throne of Spain. You can see a wonderful pending clock  or the pendule astronomique de passemant (1730-1740) at the Cabinet de la Pendule, interior appartement du roi.  Given to the royal academy of sciences in 1749 it put here by Louis XV in 1754. It is programmable to be used until 9999! At the time it gave the time in the kingdom of France. You can see the library and bathroom of Madame du Barry, petit appartement du roi (second floor french ,3rd floor US), before becoming the favorite of king Louis XV, she was a saleslady in a boutique n the rue Saint Honoré de Paris. Louis XV keeps her at the age of 25 when she came to lived in the castle. In kicking out Madame du Barry by Louis XVI he takes over the room and you now see the Grand Cabinet in the appartement du Comte de Maurepas, the advisor to king Louis XVI not a good one after his bad advice Versailles came from being the birthplace of the monarchy to its tomb.

Another favorite is the Salle à manger des Porcelaines, or porcelain dining room.  It was the last dining room used by Louis XV  after his hunting runs, and later became a formal dining room under Louis XVI;its in the interior appartement du roi.  Another favorite item is the chandelier or imperiale du lit de Marie Antoinette n the bedroom of the queen. The room has been done exactly as the last day the queen use it on October 6, 1789. Furniture is from 1787 and the bed is from 1769 all renovated. Just think here 19 royal children of France including Louis XV ,and Felipe V of Spain were born. Come to see the Cabinet Doré , interior cabinets of the queen, done in 1783, one of the most beautiful piece of the queen, the harp was done in 1774.

There is a passage from the bedroom of the queen(chambre de la reine)  and the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf; early on October 6, 1789 the queen was awaken by a large noise, the Parisiens arrives, the Salles des Gardes there was havoc, the room ladies help Marie Antoinette opening the small door to the left of her bed,and she takes leaves by the passages that led to the bedroom of the king. They met there in the passages, while the crowds gather at the cour des marbres and invades the castle. From the king’s bedroom (chambre du roi)La Fayette( he who help the US independance as the Marquis de Lafayette) and a few granadiers battle the insurgents protecting the royals ,while they arrive at the salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf. They needed to leave Versailles

You come to another of my favorites, the Galerie des Batailles or the battle gallery, at the central wing or aile du midi, (1 floor or 2nd Fl US) You see 16 paintings in bronce done from 1834-1836 with engraving of 528 names: 36 princes of the royal house, 10 admirals, 6 connatables,25 mariscals, 33 warriors,18 commanders, and 400 officers dead in combat for France. It describes the military history from Clovis to Napoleon, with 92 busts and 33 paintings of famous battles including the famous USA battle for indepedance at Yorktown.  See the magnificent Porte de l’Hospice des Chevaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem; at the salles des Croisades, the door is sculpture in cedar wood and bath of bronze from Rhodes Greece dating from 1512! ,from 1837-1839 the room was embellished with 150 paintings representing the period of the crusades.  Right around there, see the stair or Escalier de l’attique Chimay, to go to the attic Chimay, that extend the one of the queen done during the time of Louis XIV, but the king Louis Philippe, does from 1833-1837 true marble of colors and dust with a paste that gives the impression of seeing glass. The lady in room of Marie Antoinette was to have live here  14 years but actually stayed in the attic of the central wing just behind the glasses of the galerie des batailles/ So her name princess of Chimay,Laure-Auguste de Fitz-James who never lived here but the name stayed on. See the sculptures des Grands Hommes de France, galerie de Pierre, north wing 1 fl or aile nord. four galleries of stones, done in 1776 for the grand galerie du louvre but by Louis XVI here.

The project of a museum to the great man of France is the idea of the Assamblée Générale that in 1791 starts the Central Museum of the Arts, and on 1797 Versailles welcome the special museum of the French School of Arts. The most remarkable of the statues sculpture here is that made in marble of Joanne d’Arc done by Marie d’Orléans second daughter of the king of the French Louis Philippe I done in 1837.

The French Republic is ,also,here, the aile du midi or the middle wing served until 1958 to hold the National elections to hold the parlamentarians that came here to name a President of France.  You see the monograms FF as not to confused the R with the republican party of France, see it at the corniche de la Salle du Congrés du Parlement de Versailles, aile d midi or middle wing. Same wing, see the Pavillon de Provence, the Bureau or cabinet du Président du Congrés ou l’Investiture. The old salon of the countess of Provence came to be under the IV République Française the working office of the president of the National Assembly or Assamblée Nationale. From the 1879 to 1953 14 presidents of  France were elected here! Now is the lieu of work when the French constitution needs revision,changes or amenmends.

The official webpage of the Château de Versailles: http://www.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

The official webpage of the Château de Versailles eventshttps://en.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/

The city of Versailles tourist office on the must sees in the Château de Versailles: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/les-10-incontournables.html

Versailles is a lot more than a castle, but the castle is sublime , unique, exceptionally superbe and a must see while anywhere in France or the République Française! I hope you enjoy my favorite, the property is huge , for all tastes. One place to know the whole history of France. Hope you enjoy the post , and it needed to be long.

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

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