Posts tagged ‘Spain’

May 17, 2018

A little detour to Darmstadt, Germany!

And it is Wednesday afternoon, a walk in town and thinking of finally going to work tomorrow after the passing of my wife. Another era begins for me, maybe less posts. Not withstanding, I like to reminicent of this city in Germany a bit ok. The weather in my neck of the woods is a whopping 25C or 77F sunny gorgeous too bad but we have next Monday off again! Vive Mai en France! Thank you all for following my blog ,its a pleasure having you around.

I came to know the city of Darmstadt because my company had a branch there that reported to me accounting wise. My interactions were daily so eventually I traveled a couple times there in 2004! As I recall all my business trips with the family in a general sights views basis, they were interested on all the places I go to ,of course. Once, we decided to vacation in Germany back in 2015, I told them would be a perfect opportunity to visit this off the beaten path city, and so we did.

The story on the visit is told in my previous blog post here: Memorable Darmstadt

It had good impressions on me and later the family as well so its time to tell you again about it on a bit of history side. Here is the story ,brief.

Darmstadt is a city in the Hesse region part of the Rhine of Germany Closest cities are Frankfort Main at about 30 km and Mannheim at about 45 km as well as Heidelberg It is call the City of Science due to the proliferation of technical schools and research centers there including the technical University founded in 1877.

Darmstadt is connected to a number of major roads, including two Autobahnen the no 5 and no 67 however the main road passing west east is the bunderstrabe 26 and the north south no 3. The public transport system of Darmstadt is integrated in the RMV (the transportation authority of the Frankfort Metropolitan Area). The backbone of public transport in Darmstadt is its modern tramway network of 9 lines and a local bus service serving all parts of the city. Darmstadt is furthermore connected to the Frankfort S-Bahn train network and being served by regional bus lines. Furthermore, regional rail lines R64, R65, and R66 connect six secondary railway stations within the city. Darmstadt is connected to the Frankfurt rapid transit network by the S-Bahn line S3. Darmstadt can be easily accessed from around the world via Frankfort Airport which is located 20 km (12 mi) from central Darmstadt and connected to it via the expressway autobahn no 5 and S-Bahn rail as well as several bus lines and a direct express bus-link , Airliner.

A bit of history I like

Darmstadt was chartered as a city by the Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330, at which time it belonged to the counts of Katzenelnbogen. When the house of Katzenelnbogen became extinct in 1479, the city was passed to the Landgraviate of Hesse , and was seat of the ruling Landgraves from 1567 to 1806, and thereafter to 1918 of the grand dukes of Hesse. The city became the capital of the princes of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1567 while the creation of the landgravat of Hesse-Darmstadt created after the death of Philip the Magnanimous. Part of the possessions of Philip the Magnanimous were ceded to Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Marbourg, Hesse-Rheinfels, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Dietz. In 1668, Friedrich Jacob Merck purchase the pharmacy of Engel and put the basis of his empire of the future Merck KgaA pharmaceutical company of today.   In 1711 the Great Landgraves Caroline of Palatine-Deux-Ponts-Birkenfeld and Johann Heinrich Merck of the mentioned family were the initiators of forming a Circle of Romantic composers such as Goethe, Herder, and Klopstock.

In 1806 after the end of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire the landgravat of Hesse-Darmstadt became the Grand Duke of Hesse and the Rhine. This Grand Duke had the protection of the Tsar of Russia, nephew by alliance to the first Grand Duke. The princes and lovers of arts made Darmstadt an intellectual and cultural capital and towards 1900, a center of the Art Nouveau movement; many institutes especially the German Academy of the Language and Poetry and the Aesthetics and Industrial Institute continues today this tradition. In 1844, the monument to Ludwig Langer was built in the square Louise (Luisenplatz) with the statue of the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. From 1898 to 1908, the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig had name 7 artists to create the colony of artists of Mathildenhöhe. His mother was a child of the Queen Victoria and his sister Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt married the Russian tsar Nicolas II to come to a tragic ending. To note, all 3 tsars having married princesses of Hesse-Darmstadt were assassinated.

In 1918, the defeat of Germany made end to the monarchy. Two sisters of the Grand Duke, the tsarine of Russia and the Grand Duchesse Elisabeth were assassinated with their families by the Russian Bolsheviks. The son of the last Grand Duke, openly against the Nazis died with his wife, his mother and the children in 1937 in a suspect airplane accident. Darmstadt was the first city in Germany to force Jewish shops to close in early 1933, shortly after the Nazis took power in Germany. Darmstadt was first bombed on in July 1940, and 34 other air raids would follow before the war’s end. Post-war rebuilding was done in a relatively plain architectural style, although a number of the historic buildings were rebuilt to their original appearance following the city’s capture on 20 March 1945 by the American 4th Armoured Division. At the end of WWII, Darmstadt was among the 112 communities where U.S. Forces were stationed. Early units stationed here included elements of the U.S. Constabulary, Air Force units and a Quartermaster School. As part of the U.S. Army’s ongoing transformation in Germany, the Darmstadt military community, by then designated as U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt was inactivated on 30 September 2008. Even after the garrison inactivation, however, there is still one unit active in Darmstadt not showing in some official documents until much later, this is the 66th Military Intelligence Group at the Dagger Complex on Eberstädter Weg.

You can easily spent a day here on things to see and I would say as a side trip to Frankfort or even Trier near where we were base! And once in the city on foot is glorious!

The Evangelical Church, The Russian Chapel of Darmstadt, and the Saint Louis Church. Other interesting places to see are the History House of Darmstadt, the colony of artists of Mathildenhöhe , the German Center for Art Nouveau and its museum. The Prince Georges palace built in 1710 old residency of the landgraves and today housing the wonderful collection of porcelain from the Grand Dukes in which almost all were gifts of the Imperial and Royal families of Europe forming the biggest collection of porcelain coming from the Grand Ducal factory of Kelsterbach and other German and Russian factories. The Regional museum of Hesse, the Hunting museum, the city hall building built from the 16C to 18C, the column of Louis Ier of Hesse; the castle Frankenstein and the nice theater of Darmstadt.

Darmstadt

Column of Louis Ier in luiseplatz square

Darmstadt

State museum of Hesse

Darmstadt

Saint Louis Church

The Luisenplatz, the central square of the city, forms the center of the city and is the main public transport hub. Other important squares are the Marktplatz near the old city hall and the Sabaisplatz at the Mathildenhöhe. Among the most important parks are the English style Herrngarten in central Darmstadt. In former times it was part of the Royal Gardens used exclusively by the dukes of Darmstadt. Today it is a public park . The French style parks Prinz-Georgs-Garten and Orangerie, the modern style Bürgerpark or People’s Park in northern Darmstadt and the mystical Park Rosenhöhe, or Rose Heights, which also serves as the cemetery for the dukes, with two impressive mausoleum buildings in its remote parts. The Botanischer Garten or Botanical Garden in eastern Darmstadt is maintained by the Darmstadt University of Technology with a fine collection of rare plants and trees.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Darmstadt https://www.darmstadt.de/sprachversionen/english/discover-darmstadt/

Tourist office of Darmstadt: City tourist office Darmstadt

Federal govt tourist info on Darmstadt http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/towns-cities/darmstadt.html

Frankfort area tourism on the Mathildenhohe Darmstadt :  Frankfort on the Mathildenhohe

Enjoy the seldom visit areas of any country is a wonderful local experience and by going to Darmstadt you will feel just that, unique. Enjoy the post and remember, Happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

 

Tags: , ,
May 16, 2018

Valencia, the Cid and a lot more in sunny Spain!

This is one of those cities that should be visited more. I was here as a child when had my aunt on mother’s side living there in a farm just south of the city near El Saler; when we lived in Madrid we would go there as our “vacation” ; then, their passing took us a dry spell of many, many years, finally with my wife and boys ,we decided upon my request to visit the city. Not the greatest impact for all but good enough to enjoyed the sites especially the markets and the beach front. I am talking about Valencia, Spain.

Valencia a city by the mediterranean sea founded in 138BC by Roman consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus with the name of Valentia Edetanorum which later in the middle ages became the capital of the kingdom of Valencia. It’s old town area is the most extensive in all of Spain, 169 hectares! The main motorways of Valencia have a radial route, such as the V-21, the V-31, the A-3 (the one to go from Madrid), the V-15/CV-500, the CV-35 or the CV-36. But Valencia also has a series of beltway roads around it, you are the by-pass, the V-30, which joins the A-7 with the city port, or the CV-30, which borders the north area of the city. The International Airport is located about 8 km west of Valencia, on the territories of the municipalities of Manises and Poblet.

The metro/Subway/tube network of Valencia is the third oldest in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The Port of Valencia is one of the ports managed by the Port Authority of Valencia (Valenciaport) ;the passenger Terminal of the Port of Valencia is managed by the shipping company Acciona Transmediterranea and has all the necessary services to Meet the demand of cruise ship owners: assistance to the crew, gangways for direct access to ships, passenger parking, gift shops, duty free, etc.

My touristic post on the city was done previously in my blog here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/08/28/valencia-from-the-el-cid-to-pedmar10/

The natural park of the Albufera has  21 120 hectares located just 10 km south of the city on the way to El Saler which is right on the tip of it. The park includes the Lake Albufera. Its environment is humid, and adjacent to both the coastal strip. The marshes of Rafalell and Vistabella, with an area of 103 hectares, is one of the last marshes that extends to the north of the river Turia at Alboraya Sagunto, which shoots the groundwater and the irrigation. La Horta of Valencia (vegetable garden) was born in the Roman Empire , but what is really today the Horta of Valencia was developed in the Middle Ages, during the Arabic period.  Arabs have created an extensive network of irrigation infrastructures: irrigation canals; Wells; and small dams. This network is derived from the canals of the Turia and allows to the formation of marshes carrying large amounts of water to the irrigation fields.

A bit of history I like

In 711, the city was taken by the Arabs/Moors. Abd al-Allah, the son of Abd al-Rahman I, (first Emir of Cordoba), settled in Balansiya (name of the city in Arabic) and exercised his authority over the region of Valencia.  The Arabs imported their language, religion and customs, but coexistence with Hispanic people is done in a peaceful way. The assimilation of the indigenous population to the Muslim religion and the Arab culture was very rapid, since it was estimated that by the end of the 10C, Christians and Jews represented only 10% of the population. Within the taifa of the Amirides (descendants of Almanzor), Valencia is a city with an important influence.

Here comes the story of El Cid or Rodrigo for my post, who was then staying in Zaragoza, besieges Valencia and takes over the city in July 1093. A skillful politician or an inveterate warrior, Rodrigo does not seem to have aspired to exercise power directly. The arrival of a Almoravid army sent by Emir Youssef Ibn-Tashfin led the Valencians to shake the yoke again. As the Almoravids ran out of food without an arrow being blow, Rodrigo besieged the city again. After vainly awaiting the arrival of reinforcements, Valencia, decimated by hunger, capitulates on June 15, 1094. Rodrigo allied with Pedro I of Aragon and Raimond-Berenguer III of Barcelona with the aim of curbing the constant progression of the Almoravid. In 1096, the Great Mosque was transformed into a church. Then, in 1097, Jérôme de Périgord, acclaimed and elected by the chapter, consecrated by the hand of the Roman Pontiff, was named Bishop of the city. Rodrigo continued to consolidate his power on the Levant, notably with the capture of Murviedro (Sagunto), in 1098, Rodrigo El  Cid died in Valencia on July 10, 1099. Chimenea his wife succeeded in defending the city with the help of his son-in-law Raimond-Berenguer III Count of Barcelona, until 1101 when King Alfonso VI of Castilla ordered the evacuation of the city. From 1102, the family of the El Cid and his companions abandoned the city to the Almoravids. Valencia will only be recaptured definitively from the Arabs moors in 1238, by king Jaime I of Aragon. In 1391, the Christians forced the jewish to convert to Christianism or face death;by 1456 the Muslims face the same dilemma. The 15C is known as the golden age of Valencian culture, and since 1437 the Holy Chalise is preserved in the Cathedral of Valencia.

In the war of Independence vs Napoleon’s invasion,the first battle here took place on 28 june 1808 and you can still see the canons shots in the tower of Quart and lower base on fields around it. The city felled under command of Marshal Suchet on January 8 1812 after a long siege  and lasted until the end of the war in 1814.  In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War Valencia becomes the capital of Republican Spain until 1939.

There is so much to see in Valencia city alone, its incredible. You really several days here. Things to see and do in Valencia, general brief overview. 

Valencia has two urban beaches of golden sand, Las arenas and the beach of Malvarrosa, which are bounded by south the Port of Valencia and north the beach Patacona Alboraya. They are urban beaches, which have a large promenade where there are many large premises, which occupy old public baths, and offer a wide choice of accommodations and local cuisine. There are other beaches like those of Pinedo, with the area of the Black house where the beach is nudist, of Perellonet, of Recatí and the Gola del Perello, more than 15 km of coasts of sand (protected by dunes), which constitute an offer of large beaches , in the heart of the Albufera Natural Park. A must the beaches, Malvarrosa and Las Arenas are right in the city easy.

Valencia

Malvarrosa beach

The royal Chapel of the Virgin of the Forsaken, (Real Capilla de la Virgen de los Desamparados) with Basilica category from 1872, was made between 1652 and 1666 the temple dedicated to Saint Catherine Martyr, located in the Plaza Virgen de la Paz, rose on a previous mosque and in 1245 had already acquired the rank of parish Church. It consists of a single nave, with lateral buttresses between which the chapels were placed. It is the only one of the Gothic churches of the city with an ambulatory in the headrests, like the cathedral the Primitive Church of the Saints Johns was raised in the suburb of the city known as the Boatella, where and located an old mosque. The old hermitage was erected before 1240 on the mosque in the newly erected temple preached St. Vincent Ferrer and there offered his first sermon on the day of St. John the Baptist.  The Church of San Juan del Hospital was the first church built in Valencia, behind the cathedral, as a priory of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. St. Mary’s Cathedral of Valencia  is a must.

Valencia

Basilica de los Desemparados or forsaken

Valencia

St Mary’s Cathedral

The Monasterio de San Miguel de los Reyes isan important work of the Valencian renaissance that according to some authors can be considered as precedent of the monastery of El Escorial, being like this, Jerónimo Monastery, cultural focus and church commemorative of the memory of its Founder. The first stone was placed in 1548 by the bishop and  Fernando of Aragon, Duke of Calabria. The construction of the monastery lasted during the 17C, beginning the church of the monastery from 1601 in 1821 the disentailment of the liberal three years abolished the Jerónima community in 1835 the definitive secularization is produced, passing the monastery ,and their properties at the hands of the state. It is now the home of the Valencian library or Biblioteca de Valenciana. Located in the Avenida de la Constitucion.

There were crosses, which in the Crown of Aragon were used to be called peirones and in other places wayside shrines, were located in the paths to mark the limits of the city ; the one cross covering the Camino Real de Játiva, is still visible on the  current Calle San Vicente. It is a gothic work carried out in the year 1376 (14C) by an unknown author. Between the years 1432 and 1435 (15C) ,the Master of Works Juan del Poyo and the Carver Johan Llobet renewed the cross on behalf of the factory (Fàbrica) of Murs and Valls, and in the 16C the temple restored itself and in 1898 (19C) José Aixá carried out a complete reconstruction of the work.

The building of La Lonja de la Seda is a masterpiece of the Valencian Civil Gothic located in the historical center of the city; Gothic-Renaissance style is the Palacio de Benicarló, the current headquarters of the Valencian courts. This building is an aristocratic mansion, which was built in the 15C as a residence of the Borja family in the capital of the ancient kingdom of Valencia. Between the years 1485 and 1520, adaptation activities of several pre-existing buildings were carried out, as well as the construction of the stone staircase of the patio the palace of the Valencian government is also a building late gothic with interventions Renaissance dating back to the 15C. The construction of the palace began in the year 1421, expanding in the 16C. In 1831 the territorial courts hearing was installed, which in 1922 became the provincial council.  The towers of Serranos are one of the twelve gates that guarded the old wall of the city of Valencia. Las Torres de Quart, a pair of twin towers, also formed part of the medieval wall that surrounded the old town of Valencia, whose function was defend the city. These towers are located at the intersection of Calle Guillén de Castro with Calle Quart.

Valencia

Torres de Quart towers

The Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas ( two waters), as it is known today, is the product of a radical reform carried out on the old manor house of the Rabassa of Perellós, holders of the marquis of Dos Aguas, in the decade of 1740 (18C) in a Rococo style houses the National Museum of Ceramics and the arts sumptuary González Martí with one of the most important collection of ceramics in Spain and Europe.In 1914 it became the seat of the Palace of Justice the Plaza Redonda, of singular round perimeter, was built in 1840 ,and is located next to the Church of Santa Catalina and the Plaza de la Virgen, in the historical center of the City.

Valencia

Santa Catalina Church

Valencia

Museum Nacional de Ceramica y artes decorativos

The bullring of Valencia was built between the years 1850 and 1860 (19C) on the site of a previous square that because of budget problems was never finished. It is neoclassical, inspired by Roman civil architecture. There is, also, a bullfighting museum, which was founded in 1929 with funds from the donation of Luis Moróder Peiró and the bull chopper José Bayard Badia, which for years collected a significant number of materials and objects of Valencian bullfighting of the 19C to the 20C .

Valencia

bullfight arena Valencia

The City/town hall (Ayuntamiento)  of Valencia integrates in a slightly trapezoidal block  two constructions of period and style well differentiated: the Casa de Enseñanza or house of Teaching, built by the initiative of the Archbishop Don Andrés Mayoral, between 1758 and 1763; and the building body (the main façade), made between the second and third decades of the  20C in a marked modernist style another of the most important modernist buildings of Valencia is the Estacion del Norte or North station, built between the years 1906 and 1917 the building of the Mercado Central market is also another construction of Valencian modernist style and began to be built in the year 1914 ;the Mercado de Colón (where we parked underground parking!!!) is another clear example of Valencian modernism of the early 20C. This market was designed and built  between the years 1914 and 1916.

Valencia

city hall Valencia

Valencia

Estacion del Norte

Valencia

Mercado central

Valencia

Mercado de Colon

The Puente 9 de Octubre or 9th of October Bridge was built in the 1980’s by the then still not recognized Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, by the Bridge of the exhibition (Puente de la Exposicion) and the metro station of the Alameda, which is located under the old channel of the river Turia to which you have to go down to access the station. These works were inaugurated in the year 1995 the complex of the City of Arts and Sciences, also designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, one of the most popular areas of the city. Since,  1998 when the hemispheric (Hemisférico) was inaugurated, and in 2009 with the opening of the Agora. The Museum of Fine Arts St. Pius V and the IVAM (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern) , which are spaces in which permanent collections can be seen as well as temporary.

The botanical garden managed by the University of Valencia, the Royal garden or pots (Jardines Real) in the neighborhood of Pla del Real right where it was located the Royal Palace of Valencia(Palacio del Real de Valencia). Along the vast and nice Paseo de la Alameda you reach it from the sea, today it has a bit over a km walk between the Puente del Real and the Puente de Aragon bridges. The promenade without garden goes for 2,5 km from Plaza Zaragoza to Grao Cemetery. The parterre lawn or Plaza de Alfonso the Magnanimous was built on some existing plots in the old Customs square (Plaza de la Aduana), more or less in the year 1850, since its creation the garden has undergone very few variations, emphasizing fundamentally that due to the flood of 1957 which damaged this garden, thereby changing its morphology. The gardens of Saveros (which include the gardens of Montroy), the Jardín de Monforte  or the gardens of the Túria, former bed of the river Túria, which was deviated from the city center in the 1960’s after the Last flood of 1957. The Oceanogràfico, a oceanarium, a zoological park of 8 hectares, the Biopark Valencia, takes place west of the city by the Turia river too.

Main festivities in Valencia in my opinion are

From March 15 to March 19 the days and nights in Valencia are a continuous party, but since March 1 are shot every day at 14h (2pm)  the popular Mascletás. Fallas is a party with an entrenched tradition in the city of Valencia and different populations of the Valencian Community .yes the Fallas!  Easter has its prolongation with the festivity in honor of St. Vincent Ferrer,(who also is a revered Saint in Brittany and his body rests at the St Peters Cathedral of Vannes!)  Patron of the community canonized by the Pope Calixto III (Alfonso Borja, Spanish). This day is customary to visit the birthplace of the saint (currently a chapel), where it is “the Pouet of Sant Vicent” of which the children are given to drink ,so that they speak soon, they do not suffer from angina, they do not swear false or they are blasphemous. On the second Sunday of May the City of Valencia celebrates the festivity of the Virgin of the Forsaken (Desemparados), popularly known as “La Geperudeta”, affectionate allusion to the slightly stooped posture of one of the images of this vocation of the Virgin. The Corpus Christi procession has historically been considered the big festival of Valencia, especially since the last third of the 14C. The history of this festival begins in the year 1355. And of course ,when in Valencia is the time to eat Paella, the original and always the best , the dish of Valencia , which was originally a humble dish cooked by the inhabitants of the swamp of Albufera mainly of chicken, rabbit, duck, snails, legumes and fresh vegetables (later many variations have come forward). A legend ,I was told by the elders is that the name PAELLA is a contraction on how we speak cutting letters to speak faster so Para Ella or For Her became pa’ella and it was the fisherman out to sea for days to bring the food in to the families and the wives stayed behind to do everything else…One day a fisherman decided that they should all gathered their catch and prepare a dish for the wives, so they did and when a name was called, simply stayed well it is for them/her so PAELLA. I stick to this version.

Some further information to help you plan your visit to the city of Valencia.

Tourism of Valencia : https://www.visitvalencia.com/en

 Ciyt of Valencia in Spanish : http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/laciudad.nsf/vDocumentosTituloAux/origenes?opendocument&nivel=3&lang=1

Spain tourism on Valencia: https://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/ciudades-pueblos/grandes-ciudades/valencia.html

Hope you enjoy the post, and maybe take a look at Valencia! Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: ,
May 15, 2018

Memories of my Spain, Villanua!!!

This is a road taken many many times since 1990. It nostalgic for me and brings me many good memories now even more. This is the first trip i took with my girlfriend, back in 1990 to show the Frenchie my  Spain; and later my wife for almost 28 yrs before the F cancer took her away from me recently.

I am talking with deep emotions about a very small town in Spain, call Villanua.

Villanúa is a mountain town in the Province of Huesca and the communidad autonoma de Aragon in northern Spain. It sits at the foot of the peak Collarada with 2 886 meters. The town itself is at 953 meters. It is half way between Jaca and the ski stations of Candanchu , Canfranc ,and Astun and only 12 km from the frontier with France over the Somport tunnel on the road N330 or E-7.

Somport

entering Somport tunnel to France

I wrote a post on it in my blog before, here it is.  Remembering Villanua:  https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/2375

Very old town was mentioned for the first time in the Cartrusa of Santa Cruz de las Seros in 992 AD   The Church of San Esteban from the 11C inside it has a polychrome St James from the 15C and a Virgin with Child from the 10C or early 11C called here the Our Lady of Angels or Nuestra Señora de los Angeles.

It has the cave of Las Guixas, dolmens or old stone as well as the abandon towns of Cenarbe and Aruej with its small roman Church from the 11C. The old bridge or Puente Viejo from the 12C built by ordered of king Pedro I of Aragon in 1100 the only access to the town until the new bridge in the 1990’s. The adventure park of Parque de aventura de los Arboles El Juncaral. The biggest in the pyrénees.

Villanua

park and the mountains from Villanua

More tourist interest information to help you plan your visit here

City of Villanua in Spanish for tourist interest go to El Pueblo, http://www.villanua.net/

Tourist page for Villanua in Spanish: http://www.turismovillanua.net/que-ver-en-villanua/

At the Jaca tourist office more on Villanua in Spanish : http://www.jaca.com/villanua.htm

Region of Aragon tourist office in Spanish on Villanua too: https://www.turismodearagon.com/en/ubicacion/zona-turistica/valle-del-aragon-y-jaca.html#.WvnuOoCFPIU

province of Huesca with the caves of Villanua: https://www.descubrehuesca.com/huesca/cuevas-de-las-guixas-en-villanua/

It is an excellent base for the skiing station of Candanchu and Canfranc especially and for the lovers of nature and walks, bikes, it is very laidback and the hotel/restaurant we stayed and always stop is still there even if the name has change. Even if we do not stop, we always passed by here at least one way and take a look at the hotel. The story is we arrived very late by 22h or 10pm and the kitchen was closed, but the nice owner open it to serve us and even allow to take pictures of his pyrenian dogs.

Villanua

Hotel we always stayed Faus Hutte now new name in villanua

Canfranc

up to France Torre de Fusileros in Canfranc

Memories to last a lifetime. I have many paper photos and with the aid of the internet and wordpress blogs my history can now be kept longer and for more to know the beauty of the mountains of Huesca and Aragon, kingdom of Spain.

Enjoy your week. Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

Tags: ,
April 30, 2018

In memoriam my sweet Frenchie!

As my blog is part of my life history and all the wonderful travels done with my family and alone throughout the years, I have a very sad news to tell all ,and make part of my blog.

I have no words as this is just been communicated to me by the doctors . My wife of 27,5 wonderful super years have passed away at Chubert Hospital in Vannes. It is a very sad moment for me but writing here is a soothing relief of the great pain I am going thru. We had 3 wonderful young men who are very close to her and me and we are hanging in there and we will survive together. My father still alive at 82 is with us.

The French family has call they are coming  ,and received condolances even from some not heard lately but in these times is when the real friends show up and I am very glad have a bunch.

In just 27,5 years of marriage date was December 26 1990 and her coming birthday was to be September 26 where she would have been 60 yrs old; she died of the lousy sickness of our times pancreatic cancer with intestinal occlusion complications due to the cancer.

In memoriam born in Meaux, dept 77 Seine et Marne, September 26 1958. I had the extreme priviledge of meeting by August 1989 and marrying on December 26 1990 in Daytona Beach Florida USA/ 3 young boys twins of 24 each and older of 26 years old are with me and very supportive. She died  at 19h (7pm) on April 30 2018 in Chubert Hospital (Bretagne Atlantique) in Vannes.

Farewell my Martine ,we will not forget your staunch positive aptitude and so much caring for us . As we had said many times, we take our motto from Alexandre Dumas Three Muskeeteers , ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE. We are together thanks to your example and strenght. God bless you my mamie blue, and may the angels keep you great company as you look after us from your resting place.

We spoked and decided she will be cremated at Plescop, near Vannes and later on the ashes will be deposti in the Atlantic Ocean from Honfleur Normandy. Where my mother was done and where we are all coming.

Thank you all my readers to make it so comfortable to enjoy myself telling you all the good things about travel. I will be back , promise.

 

Pluvigner

My Frenchie mamie blue Martine

 

April 28, 2018

A bit of Uganda for you!

Ok, so I am back, the blog keeps me going thru these days, it is a way to keep up with the past and tell of the future. So on my last journey ,and my 80th country visited, I came to Uganda. A wonderful place of many friendly people all eager to improve themselves.

My journey as usual took me from Nantes Atlantique airport after getting there with my car. From Nantes I flew again to Paris CDG T2F and then change to Terminal 1 for a fly with Qatar Airways to first Doha and then Entebbe, Uganda. The return was easier on KLM from Entebbe to Amsterdam Schiphol airport and then again on KLM to Nantes Atlantique airport where my car was waiting for the return home. All done well except needed to change from AF to Qatar Airways which made me arrive five hours later to Entebbe.

Amsterdam Amsterdam Paris Paris Paris

Once there, had a friendly transportation ride as it was a business trip ,to Kampala the capital even if has no airport.  Here I stayed first at the bit expensive but just to impressed me Le Petit Village actually of Belgian style and the price to match Europe. It is actually a village with accommodations ,pool, an inside bank, souvenir store, bar and light restaurant as well as a fancy one call le Chateau with again prices to match for visiting businesspeople like me. The overall place is very nice of course, worth it of its name. The webpage is here; Le Petit Village

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Doha airport is very nice as usual in this part of the world, the airport is the highlight … huge super modern place with all the trimmings and easy to connect flights. The formal name of the airport is Hamad International,and the webpage is here: Doha Hamad International airport

Qatar Qatar Qatar Qatar

From Doha I continue to Entebbe and here you are worlds apart; small, a bit rundown, and dirty and you need to get out of your car so they check on it , walk by and the driver will pick you up on the other side after you going thru a security check point. Once at the airport no sense in getting earlier as they put you on the side waiting room until your flight is call for departure; then you outside again and come back thru the security check point to get back into the terminal… At least the people are very friendly. The webpage is here: Entebbe airport from official gov source

A better more information place for the airport is found here: Unofficial Entebbe airport

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

While passing by Entebbe saw a bit of the local street scene, and several malls such as Imperial Mall and Victoria Mall, very interesting and some crowded traffic jams as well as rain. The imperial Mall is a recent development for Uganda standards and they have a Facebook page for it here: Facebook Imperial Mall Entebbe

Uganda

The Victoria Mall is the largest in the country and very nice. IT is in Facebook but has its own webpage here: Victoria Mall Entebbe

Uganda

There is a nice multiple store with a shopping mall call Oasis in Kampala. It has several stores and even saw a KFC restaurant here: More from this webpage: https://theeye.co.ug/nakumatt-oasis-mall/

Uganda

I  continue from Kampala and doing some street scenes rides and tasting the local Nile Special beer, just yummy! I went on to Jinja another important city in Uganda,and right by the mouth of the mighty Nile river.

Uganda

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

In Jinja , I stayed at the nice and friendly Two Friends guest house, worth it good value location and services. Here we had dinner at the next door All Friends Restaurant. The webpage is here; 2 Friends guest house Jinya

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

IT is on a street bordered with tourist accommodation as Jinja is a popular place for tours of the Nile river which starts here around Lake Victoria.  A bit more info on the Nile river mouth and cruises here: Nile river safaris

And of course , a bit more on Lake Victoria, simply amazing. Lake Victoria Uganda

While in Jinja, I did my baptism on the Nile river , a bit lake but I was here!!! Well having a jet ski waverunner and driver helps a lot but the views were spectacular and of course on the way back to harbor I fell in the water trying to go from the jet ski to a fishing boat; no big deal it was shallow and had floating jacket on, quickly out, just my clothes were soaked. An experience to remember for life. Wonderful place thought.

Uganda

As my time there covered a week and traveling back and forth from Kampala to Jinya I got me a different hotel for the last day and a half in Kampala, this was the MacKinnon Suites, very centrally located, rather nice building, impressive courtyad only the bedding was a bit well yellow.  The rest was fine with good friendly service and excellent facilities. webpage: Mackinnon Suites hotel Kampala

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Coming back landing at CDG Terminal 1 been there but is my worse terminal, been the oldest nothing like T2. The pdf map for Terminal 1 is here: CDG Terminal 1 map  You walk into the CDGVAL train connection to get you to Terminal 2 and the connections to Paris.

Coming thru Schiphol Amsterdam allow me for a quicker return and to do some shopping for Gouda cheese, and pepermint candies. The airport is an usual one for me with just one big boulevard Holland to walk by and shop and eat and drink.  I spent most of my time there at the Internet Centre and eating at the Oven pizzeria upper level.  You have the maps here: Schiphol airport maps

Nantes Atlantique is booming with growth and facilities every where already very much in use, it will grow for sure. It is my favorite airport as it is so easy to use and very convenienent covered attach parking garage. The hotels are just across the street for a stayover about 300 meters. Webpage: Nantes Atlantique map

Overall, a very pleasant trip and a new dot in my world map. Uganda know from many years before doing business there but never visit until now, as the saying goes better late than never. And I will be back….

I took many pictures of all things moving, will put a sampler here just to get you to try it go there ,the beer is good the coffee is great, and the people very friendly and safe place to be. Enjoy  the street scenes.

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Happy long weekend with our Labor Day coming May 1, and other personal duties going to Paris for my wife illness,and then before see the semifinal second game of the Champions league…; Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

 

Tags: , ,
April 21, 2018

And we do still have eternal Rome!!!

Ok so this is a major tourist destination so one page blog won’t cover it. However, will give you enough wish list items to do visit. I admit when living outside of Europe never visited Italy, but since living in Europe, been there several times and one big summer vacation with the family all over Rome, Lazio region. Flew the family with the frequent miles by air and then public transport or a rental car to visit outside Rome was fantastic.

The public transport in summer was almost empty, and all the attractions were open even with big line did not matter we have seen plenty of old stones already in Europe ::) We did rented an apartment the Nomentano area very residential nice real people living and doing our groceries in the nearby Carrefour market. We were near Bologna metro/subway station but nevertheless we only use a couple times, the rest was on the bus, best way to see a city ,above ground!

So let’s give you an overall view of the Eternal Rome, starting with my previous blog posts on it !

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/22/eternal-roma-rome-in-italy-of-course/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/24/the-castle-at-rome-sant-angelo/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/08/25/the-piazzas-or-squares-of-rome/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/09/03/the-vatican-and-rome/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/09/05/the-churches-of-rome/

Rome or in Italian Roma is the capital of Italy since the Italian Republic in 1871 , located in the center west of the Italian Peninsula near the Tyrrheniann sea and also the capital of the region of Lazio; and was of the Roman empire for 357 years. It has the peculiarity to have a State right in the middle of the city, Vatican city where the Pope is the chief of State; it is the only one of its kind in the world. The history of Rome extends for over 28 centuries since the foundation by Romulus in 753 BC to now, been successive the center of the Roman monarchy, Roman republic (509 BC to 27 BC) ;later the Roman empire ( 27BC to 330AD)  ; during all theses periods we came to hear the popular phrase, All roads lead to Rome! . Since the 1C AD it host the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the  Pontifical States from 752 to 1870 and later the Vatican City.

The city center extends 25 km to the coast by the Tyrrhénien sea forming the district of Ostia later call the Lido of Rome  (as lido means littoral ).  It is why Rome is one of the rare capital city that has a sea front and about 20 km of beaches.  The center is where you hear the phrase the seven hills of Rome with the Aventin, Caelius, Capitole, Esquilin, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal on the south where there is the Tiberian island. The city center ,also, includes the hills of Janicule and Pincio as well as the Vatican and the nearby Mount Testaccio. Outside the walls of the city you can find other hills even higher such as Monte Mario , Monte Parioli and Monte Antenne; as the old city was surrounded by ramparts walls or the Aurelian wall built by Emperor Aurelian in 270AD to protect the neighborhoods developed outside the Servian wall.

As mentioned , and by looking at my previous blog posts above there is lots to cover here. However, as different from many my favorites parts of the city are the parks such as : Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Ada, Villa Borghése ( a must),  Gardens of the Vatican, Villa Glori, Villa Celimontana, Villa  Torlonia, Villa Medici (another dandy) ,the gardens of Pincio and the botanical garden of Rome.

Roma

Villa Borghese gardens left of palace

There is a lot of old history and monuments here, so you come for the  Roman period, excellent choice. My favorites or everybody’s favorites are the Colisseum ,Panthéon, Roman Forum,  arch of Triomphe of Arch of Constantin, and the Arch of Titus, the Marcellus theater, Via Appia, Thermes of Caracalla, Trojan column , Circus Maximus, Aurelian wall, Pyramid of Caius Cestius, Hercules temple, and Ostia Antica. You have nice fortress castles such as Castle of San Angelo, Fortress of Ostia and House of knights of Rhodes.

Roma

Colosseo di Roma

Roma

Trojan garden domus aurea

Roma

Foro Romano by palatino entrance

Roma

Pantheon di Roma

There are beautiful squares we like such as the Piazza Navone, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza di Capitolio , Piazza de la Rotonda, Piazza de popolo, Campo de Fiori, Piazza de Quirinal, Piazza Farnese. The nicest bridges in my opinion are the Ponte San Angelo ,and the nicest fountains are of Trevi, Four rivers fountain, Neptune fountain, Turtles fountain, Triton fountain in piazza Barberini, and fountain of naides in piazza della Repubblica. Then, you have many many obelisks, gates, columns, catacombs, churches, basilicas, chapels, museums  libraries and the semifinalist in the Champion League 2018 AS Roma!

Roma

Piazza di Spagna climbing

Roma

Piazza Narvonna obelisk

Roma

Piazza Popolo

The webpage to help you plan your trip further is the tourist office of Rome here:  http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

The region of Lazio tourist office: Lazio tourist office

Hope you enjoy it, on a hot Saturday in the Morbihan going to 29C or 84F!!! time to head for the beach. Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

 

Tags: , ,
April 20, 2018

How about the history and things in Jerez de la Frontera!

Here we are again with a piece of my beloved Spain. This is deep Spain, in fact when visitors comes to Spain or hear about it, what they really see / hear is Andalucia. Not bad to wandered around Spain, as we say Spain is everything under the sun ::)

I came here to see the history as told abroad with the famous sherry ,horses,  and flamenco all in one, mind you as Spanish these are not my traditions been from Tenerife. However, all refer to Spain with these Andalucian treasures. So, therefore, lets talk about Jerez de la Frontera.

Jerez de la Frontera is in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia ; frontera comes from the frontier between moors nazari Granada and the Crown of Castilla. Only about 12 km from the Atlantic ocean and 85 km from the Gibraltar strait. It can describe in four words, wine/sherry ,horse, flamenco and motorcycles. The city is known for centuries as the capital of wine or sherry. Another trait is the horse or cartucian horse or jerezano a line of the andalucian horse from the 15C. The city is also known as the birthplace of Flamenco. The motorcycle Grand Prize of Spain is run here along the neighboring El Puerto de Santa Maria.

The name of Jerez is from the denomination Xera of the Phonecians in the area where the city id found today; later the Roman called it Ceret or Seret and after the  Visigoths it was called Seritium or Xeritium. After the Moorish invasion it was called Sherish and when the kingdom of Castilla took Jerez in 1264 the city came to be known as Xerez, and later added de la Frontera as it was in the frontier with the kingdom of Granada. It is said the origins go back to the city of Asta Regia founded by the Tartessos at about 8 km from the current location and could have been their capital. After the discovery of new world and the conquest of Granada in 1492 Jerez goes thru a tremendous growth period with trade with nearby ports of Sevilla and Cadiz. This made that king Felipe II ordered built a navigable estuary so the ships can reach the port in the city such as El Portal to the city of Guadalete,and that the city was included amongst the 480 cities of the world part of the  Civitates Orbis Terrarum  or panoramic cities of the world. By 1890, Jerez  was the first city to have public electricity at least for the lighting together with Haro in La Rioja . From the 17C, time where Sherry was famous all over the world, many British companies settled here such as Garvey, Gonzalez Byass, William & Humbert as well as Spanish Bearn such as Domecq; the strong close link to the  British remained constant.

I have written a piece in my blog a while back and will remind you to see the more touristic side of it here: My post on Jerez de la Frontera

Then, the city of Jerez has excellent information in Spanish here: Jerez city info on heritage

Tourist office of Jerez de la FronteraTourist office of Jerez de la Frontera

Tourism in the province of Cadiz on Jerez de la Frontera: Cadiz Province tourism

Some of the things to see from a religious standpoint are huge, some of my favorites are:

Convento de San José, now housing Franciscans Clarisas descalzas or no shoes ; Capilla de los Desamparados, Capilla de San Juan de Letràn, Capilla del Calvario, Convento de Madre de Dios, very good pastries here!!! with sisters of the Franciscans Clarisas , Church Madre de Dios (mother of God) Sanctuary San Juan Grande, Church of Santa Ana, and Capilla de Santa Marta.

The city has several castles/palaces some in not so good shape, again many, so my favorites are:

Palacio, Duke of Abrantes, here is the home of the Royal school of Andalucian Equestrian art. By the nice Plaza Benavente you have the Palacio de Camporreal, and Palacio de Bertemati, Palacio de Riquelme, 16C, Palacio Domecq baroque style built in 1778 with Italian red marble and decorated arches. Palacio Dàvial renaissance style, in the Plaza Rafael Rivero come to see the Palacio de Luna (moon palace) baroque style built 1777. Palacio Pemartin, home of the Flamenco Andalucian center. Palacio de Villavicencio inside the Alcàzar, the curious can see now a store but this is the Palacio del Marqués de Villamarta in Calle Larga! At the Calle Pozuelo see the Palacio del Conde de los Andes; Casa Palacio de los Ponce de Léon, now the home of the sisters of the Savior ; in the Plaza de Belén see the Palacio de los Condes de Montegil, and the unique Casa de los Basurto built between the 16C and 19C is now part of the Bodegas Domecq sherry house.  Plenty more I told lots of palatial homes here.

There are several museum spread all over the city, my favorites are:

The Archeological museum or Museo Arqueologico in nice Plaza del Mercado with a corinthian center unique in the western world found near the Cartuja and the Guadalete river. Museos de la Atalaya, includes the mystery of Jerez (wine museum) and the Palacio del Tiempo ( watches museum). Museo Taurino on the bullfights and matadors! The Museum of the Andalucian costumes :dresses or Museo del Traje Andaluz. A unique museum for all is the Museo de la Fundacion Espinosa de los Monteros, with guitars, and musical instruments on strings; interesting indeed.

Some other interesting building in my opinion worth a detour are: City hall or ayuntamiento in Renaissance style. The Zoo and botanical garden, Alcazar old arab fortress and as mentioned inside it has the Palacio de Villavicencio and a hidden camera; as well as the ramparts walls with pieces of it on several streets, open or encrusted in buildings today.

Jerez de la Frontera

walls tower of the Alcazar

And of course other then the horse, the best to come here is the sherry , or Jerez; in many forms. Many houses but in my opinion the best from a historical , architectural and wine perspectives are:

The Gonzalez Byass (visited), Domecq (visited), Grupo Garvey, Williams & Humbert, Sanchez Romate (visited), bodegas Lustau, and Bodegas Tradicion with wine cellars from 1666. Other aspects of a visit to this city is the vineyards festival or Fiestas de la Vendimia, celebrated since 1848, oldest in Spain, the first foot step of the grape is done the first 15 days of September. Another huge event here is Holy Week or Semana Santa, the biggest in Andalucia! with 42 processions averaging six per day, and several nativity scenes in town. The Festival de Flamenco de Jerez is considered the best in the world​ by many and including the prestigious Flamenco magazine, Flamenco magazine

Jerez de la  Frontera

Domecq and the horse Casimiro in the patio of the house

Jerez de la Frontera

Gonzalez Byass bodega los Apostoles barrel aging

There you go a full version on Jerez de la Frontera, Province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia, Kingdom of Spain. Enjoy your visit here, it is all worth it; happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!! and Weekend is here again lol!

April 19, 2018

In Aranjuez there was a Prince, Palacio de Aranjuez!

Reading about palaces, another blogger mentioned liking Aranjuez. It gave me an inspiration to write something about the town which is the palace. I know about Aranjuez since a small enfant, my mother would sing sing to me the concerto of Aranjuez, that has been even turns into operas and zarzuelas in my beloved Spain. The best I heard was played by Paco de Lucia ,the great Flamenco guitarist. This concerto song was composed in Paris (always love) by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939 on his last year living there. He was inspired by the love to his wife Victoria. Many versions tells of a love between a Prince and a lady that was not possible to be, this one I like it better but both are not proving yet.

Aranjuez is about 44 km from Madrid on the left bank of the Tajo river. Here at the palace were signed many treaties over the years, my two favorite ones were the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1779 between France and Spain where Spain entered the War of Independance of the United States as an ally of France; and the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1793 , a protective defense between Spain and the United Kingdom in face of the defeat and execution of king Louis XVI during the French revolution.

The National Heritage sites of Spain has a bit on it in English : Patrimonio Nacional on Aranjuez

The tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid, region of Madrid where Aranjuez is located. Turismo Madrid region on Aranjuez

On the city in general and a bit on the Palace I wrote before in my blog here: Aranjuez more than a concerto

Now, let me give you more on the palace. The place is big and right in city center, easy parking up the main street for free was easy to find along Calle de la Florida; we always walk all over town and into the garden and forest. We found the best places to eat away from the center around the palace, less authentic, lot of tourist influences, best to walk away  like by Calle Postas after the covered market, if you want the real taste of Aranjuez.

On my last trip here we just wandered about without going into the Palace. Well seen it before and so many of them; better be more nostalgic next time. However, for all visitors to Spain and especially from Madrid, it is a must to visit me think.  The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the King of Spain located in the town of Aranjuez, part of the Comunidad de Madrid autonomous region.

Aranjuez

arriving under Arch Calle de la Florida NIV Aranjuez

A bit of history I like.

When Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V or King Carlos III became interested in developing Aranjuez as a Royal site for hunting came to used as in 1501 was already done by Felipe the Beautiful on the old masters palace of Santiago. It eventually was ordered built by king Felipe II to architect Juan Bautista de Toledo ,he died during the construction and it was finished by Juan de Herrera. During the 17C the work was completely stop until the times of king Fernando VI and enlarged during king Carlos III that ordered built the wings on back as you can see today.  a smaller Palace was done called Casa del Labrador or house of the labrador outside the limits of the castle and forming part of the Prince’s gardens or Jardin del Principe. The huge gardens were done to create bigness in the palace and were irrigated with the waters of the Tajo and Jarama rivers, been the most important gardens of the Habsburgs period.

In 1808, the ceremony held in the Royal Chapel of the Palace the Supreme central council and kingdom government was created; been part the deputies from the supremes council of the main capital cities of the old kingdoms. In 1971, the lower level of the palace was created the Historical Court Costume museum. In 1997 ,the museum reopened as the Palace lifestyle museum that included the uniform of the King Juan Carlos I from the date of his proclamation in 1975 as well as the dress of queen Sofia of the same day; you can see her dress as bride as well as those of queen Letizia, infanta Elena and Cristina. From 1977 to 1983 it served as residence of the foreign chief of States visiting Spain by 1983 this function was transfered to the Palacio Real de El Pardo.

The Palace of Aranjuez is exactly located between the avenida del Palacio, and the plaza de las Parejas on the south, garden or jardín del Parterre by the east, stream of water by the north and the plaza del Raso de la Estrella by the west.

Some of the best from inside are:

The dining room  (Comedor) is the center of the Palace and decorated as conversation piece since 1748 under king Fernando VI and later dining room per se under king Carlos IV. You will see lots of decorations here , meaning several dictums such as justice, prudence and charity, faith etc in rococco style, and the four corners of the world . You have several paintings here , as well as huge clocks from the times of Carlos IV, furniture, from Fernando VII and porcelains.

The Arab office or Gabinete Arabe; was inspired by the room of the two sisters in the Alhambra of Granada, and built between 1848 and 1850 by the same architect that restored the  Nazari palace in Granada, Rafael Contreras.  It is decorated in ceramic tiles walls and sculpture chalk polichrome with arabic symbols. The Andalucian decoration is completed by a transparency of the Lions patio of French making done with damascus of silk and candles in bronze and porcelain plaques painted in 1835 created at the manufacture of Sévres , France as a gift of king of the French Louis Philippe of Orléans to the regent queen Maria Cristina de Borbon Dos Sicilias of Spain.  There is a huge neo gothic lamp in golden bronze with 81 lights in two levels gift of infante Don Francisco de Paula to his consort king Francisco de Asis de Borbon.

The Porcelain office or Gabinete de Porcelana (my favorite);  was the first work of the Royal Factory of Porcelain in the Buen Retiro Palace finished in 1765 here. Later it was the inspiration for the homogenous stand on the  Royal Palace of Madrid on a style closer to the neo gothic.  You have around seven big mirrors and other portraits with a oriental figures, dragons, monkeys, fruits, and diverse objects . There is a porcelain lamp resembling a palm tree with open arms and a Chinese holding its edge with a monkey doing the same.  The work is with golden painting on the windows, glass enclosures and doors to match the decoration of the office. There are six chairs in ceramic lacquer on the English model of queen Anne. This office served as a room for the office of king Carlos III and later as a music hall for the queen Isabel II with a piano of Collard & Collard, now in the bedroom of the queen.

And the gardens are wonderful indeed. I think the best.

Next to the facade of the Royal Palace there is the lawn garden or Jardin del Parterre ordered built by king Felipe V to the French gardener Bouteloul in 1727 and done in 1746.  On the northern  part you will see the Tajo river and from the bridge or Puente Barcas you see the arches of the Royal Palace that are divided from view by  jars of  flowers , a well, created in 1762 by king Carlos III.

This garden has several fountains amongst them the Fountain of Hercules and Anteo and Ceres and Nereidas. The fountain of Hércules and Anteo, is the most espectacular ordered built by King Fernando VII in 1827.  On the extreme western of the garden you have a small square facing the Royal Palace and you have there the Statues garden or Jardín de las Estatuas, due to its fourteen busts in marble of roman emperors, kings of Spain, and personages from antiquity place in niches on the wall. It is also, known as Kings garden or Jardín del Rey as it was king Felipe II who ordered it built in the second half of the 16C , the garden is enclosed on the south side of the Royal Palace next to the Clock tower  on the renaissance style.  The garden of islands or jardin de las Islas was called as such for been surrounded on three sides by the Tajo river and on the south by an artificial stream, and it is on the north of the Royal Palace.  Its origins go back to the order of Santiago between 1387 and 1409 that was a masters palace build here before the Royal Palace.  When in 1487, king Fernando the Catholic became Master of the Order, the Queen Isabel the Catholic took it for her and became known as the queens garden or Jardín de la Reina. Later on, kings Carlos I and Felipe II decided to change the area into a natural priviledge forested area.

Aranjuez

Jardin de las Islas

You only need to enter the garden over the ramp bridge and you see the fountain of the pharmacist or Fuente de la Boticaria, a circular glass with children with shells and rocks figures . At the back there is the room of the Catholic Kings or Salon de los Reyes Catolicos, a promenade of 300 meters with plantains trees next to the levy of the Tajo river. The fountain or Fuente de Hercules e Hidra is the first to find here after crossing the stream by a small stairs on a pedestal you see the figure of Hercules killing the Hydra. The fountain was ordered built by king Felipe IV  to replace a former fountain dedicated to Diana in the times of king Felipe II. The sculptures on the pedestal around the fountain were purchase by king Felipe V and originally located in the gardens of La Granja (Segovia).  Later moved to the columns at the entrance to the Jardin del Principe by ordered of king Carlos IV and finally are now resting in the Prado museum of Madrid.

The fountain of Apollo or Fuente de Apolo  from the 16C is just next to that of Hercules on a marble pedestal on which center there is a cup with the figure of Apollo with the foot on a dragon; the small square was called previously Puerta del Sol de Aranjuez next to the street or Calle de la Galeria with water  pumps reaching hip high call the Burladero (sort of the barrier where the torero hides in the arena). This walk takes you to the Fuente del Réloj or Watch fountain also known as hours or rings that is in square flank by six benches in stone and the fountain in the middle. When is working the shadows of the water spouts marks the hours of the day! We moved on to the Spines Children fountain or Fuente del Nino de la Espina also known as the spines or witches ordered created by king Felipe III with a round stone and corinthian column in each corner ;in the center there is  there a personnage in stone trying to take a spine out from his left foot.  In each corner of the fountain there is a column on which top there is a figure of an witch throwing water to the center of the fountain of a witch.  The Fountain of Venus or Fuente de Venus is also known as the Fuente de Don Juan de Austria as it is believed the stone was taken from the battle of Lepanto.  It is located in the center of a square with a figure of Venus in bronce trying to dry its hair with the hands; it was sent to Spain from Florence in 1571.

Deeper into the garden you come to the Fuente de Baco, or Bacchus fountain; located in a hexagonal square with stone benches and at the center you see the god Baco, crown with grape branches sitting on a barrel with a wine cup in his right hand. The main body of this fountain was a gift of king Felipe III to the Duke of Florence and designed in marble by Giambologna. It was originally designed to house the Fountain or Fuente de Sanson el Filibustero giving by king Felipe IV to king Charles I of England in 1623 and today it is at the Victoria and Albert museum of London. Since 1656 it is crown by the figure of Baco done by Jacobo Jonglinck. Continue on the walk with the Fountain or Fuente de Neptuno located far from the entrance to the garden, representing god of Neptune done in a shell type thrown by the right hand on two marine horses, around it in four pedestals you have the goddess of Cibeles, and Ceres each with a crown in the form of a castle and carriages thrown by lions held by children. On the third pedestal you have god Jupiter on an eagle over a globe of the world held by titans with the legend written as ” The king his majesty Felipe II ordered made this fountain while governor Don Francisco Brizuela, year MDCXXI = 1621.”
 This jardin de Narciso garden is the most extensive on the Tajo river and Calle de la Reina, in Aranjuez. A perimeter of 7 km and over 150 hectares of which only about half are to be visited. Great varieties of trees, and a dam of stone call Malecon de Solera. It has a port or fortified embarcadero ordered done by king Carlos IV , and very much used during the kings visit to Aranjuez.  It shows a fountain or Fuente de Narciso next to his dog almost fallen off while holding on are four Hercules. It was damaged during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in 1827. Continue to the fountain of the swans or Fuente de los Cisnes inspired by the one at La Granja palace (Segovia). It has a stone with two children figures in marble holding a swan from which the peak water comes out. It was damaged in the War of independance (c 1808) partially destroyed but in 2009 there is a renovation done on the figures of the Children and swan. The Apolo fountain or Fuente de Apolo in carrara marble shows the god on the high of the pedestal, ordered by king Carlos IV was not finished until his son king Fernando VII reign. It has a semicircular shape with six columns crown with guardians ducks; on each side two square columns and the statue of Apollo purchased by king Felipe V and located at La Granja (Segovai), king Carlos IV ordered brought to Aranjuez. The current statue in the Jardin del Principe is a replica as the original was sent back to La Granja in 2000.
Aranjuez

jardin del Principe fuente de Apollo

Aranjuez

jardin del principe Fuente de Narciso

The lake or estanque de los Chinescos or shadow plays is an artificial lake with small fence around it on three isles on which there is a temple or kiosk of greek style, other shadow plays and an Egyptian mausoleum in granite. The Greek pavillion is the work of Juan de Villanueva (escorial) with eight columns of ionic order holding the ceiling crown with an pineapple in bronce painted like marble color.  The shadow plays temple was heavily damaged during the War of independance (C 1808) and rebuilt by king Fernando VII as a kiosk on the Turkish style with colorful greens, red, and golden colors. Nearby there is a rollercoaster or Montana Rusa even if the true name is Swiss mountain crowned by a temple in wood from where you have great views of the garden. Finally, on the extreme western part of the garden you have the Casa del Labrador ordered built by king Carlos IV and a great collection of statues and clocks. In this garden , you have pheasants and royal turkeys as well as squirrels and other animals.

The Isabel II garden or Jardin de Isabel II is the last garden to be built in Aranjuez from the 19C when queen Isabel II was still a girl. It is a square garden located next to the Plaza de San Antonio and the Paseo del Brillante,created in 1830, while four years later it was put in the middle on a marble pedestal a bronce statue of the girl queen; it has eight benches in stone and eight flower pots. It is very nice as a last stop before leaving the city.

Aranjuez

jardin Isabel II and statue

 

There you go a nice castle in a nice town of old Madrid, maybe not a love story for you or me but nevertheless its a very romantic place especially in the gardens. Enjoy the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

Tags: , ,
April 19, 2018

Another bloody dandy square ,Trafalgar in London!

Ok so we went to London, we have been there a few time , couple times with the family on vacation and several other by me on business trips. London is more as like going back over the pond, but a bit more aristocratic. We love the night life and the free museums but walk so wonderful to walk.

In walking nothing tops going over the big squares and my favorite there is Trafalgar ,so therefore, here is a bit of honor on Mr Nelson.

Trafalgar Square in the neighborhood of Westminster in London is name after the battle of Trafalgar by Cape Trafalgar opposing the French-Spanish navy vs the British in 1805. The square is very lively and we like it. Trafalgar Square is at the intersection of Charing Cross where it connects with  Whitehall (in turns connecting to Parliament Square), The Strand, The Mall (connecting to Buckingham Palace via Admiralty Arch), Cockspur Street ,and  Northumberland Avenue, while on the north the square ends on the Pall Mall extension, and  Duncannon Street.

Other than several embassies  there , you have the National Gallery, one of the most important museum in London and the Anglican Church St Martin-in-the-Fields  built in the 18C on the spot of an earlier Church built in the 13C that was in a field between the City and Westminster.  Many famous people have been buried at St Martin’s including Nell Gwynn, mistress of Charles II , the painters William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds and the renowned craftsman Thomas Chippendale. There is a statue of king James II in costume of an emperor. In the center of the square there are two fountains one with LED colors. The fountains reduced the open space available for public gatherings and reduced the risk of riotous assembly.

The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13C and originally contained the King’s Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash in 1820 designed, but progress was slow after his death, work started in 1829 and the square did not open until 1844, when the northern terrace of the National Gallery was done.  It was in 1842 when Nelson’s Column was erected at 52 meters high and a pedestal of granite, a chapter in bronze and the statue itself of 4.50 meters high representing Admiral Horatio Nelson that lost his life in the battle of Trafalgar.  Nelson faces south, towards Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames. South west is Admiralty Arch, the entrance to the wide ceremonial drive to Buckingham Palace called The Mall. The monument is surrounded by four sculptures of lions protecting the statue that were added in 1867.  Legend says the lions were done from the metal of the French navy that was defeated by Admiral Nelson and on a high that he can see his navy anchored in Portsmouth.

London

Adm Horatio Nelson column in Trafalgar Square side statue of king Charles I ,National Gallery in back

Anecdotes are a few here are my favorites in this square has the smallest police station in London, a cylindrical building in the southeast corner of the square; these days the police phone box is used as a storage room by the cleaners. Norway always sends a huge Christmas tree that stands in the square, as a token of gratitude for Britain’s help during the Second World war. The tree given is between 60-70 feet tall and is decorated with approximately 500 white lights. If you want to see the lights on the tree switched on, this always happens on the first Thursday in December. In 1876 the Imperial Measures were set into the north terrace wall. Surveyors can still check ‘Perches’, ‘Chains’ and other archaic measures against feet and yards. When the central staircase leading to the National Gallery was added, the measures were relocated to the bottom steps.

In the square there are two plinths for sculptures on the north side of the square. A bronze equestrian statue of George IV originally intended to be placed on top of the Marble Arch was installed on the eastern plinth in 1844, while the other remained empty until the late-20C. There are two other statues on plinths, both installed during the 19C that were later removed. The Gift Horse was installed on the fourth plinth in 2015. It is a model of a horse’s skeleton with a live display of the London Stock Exchange. There are three busts of admirals against the north wall of the square. Those of Lord Jellicoe by Sir Charles Wheeler and Lord Beatty, by William MacMillan were installed in 1948 in conjunction with the square’s fountains, which also commemorate them. The third, of the Second World War First Sea Lord Admiral Cunningham was unveiled alongside them in 1967.  On the south side on the site of the original Charing Cross, is a bronze equestrian statue of Charles I ;it was cast in 1633, and placed in its present position in 1678. The two statues on the lawn in front of the National Gallery are the statue of James II to the west of the portico, and of one George Washington, a replica of a work by Jean-Antoine Houdon, to the east  that was a gift from the Commonwealth of Virginia installed in 1921. For over 150 years the plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square, commonly known as the ‘Fourth Plinth’, remained empty. It was intended to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV. A failure to gather sufficient funds for its construction meant it was never realized. In 1999 it was decided to use the plinth for the temporary display of modern sculpture.

Nowdays, the square holds several events some of these were used for two sketch portions from BBC’s comedy series named as ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. ‘Olympic Hide and Seek’ sketch also starts here. It is featured in ‘V for Vendetta’ comic version as the location where V’s met the army and defeated them, without a single fired shot. The Square was also the location of the successful ‘World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra’ on 23 April 2007.  In May 2007, for the campaign by London authorities to promote “green spaces” in the city, the square was grassed over with the 2,000 square meters of turf for two days. In July 2007, a parade was held on the square and concert was arranged for the 60th independence of Pakistan from the British. Besides all these activities every year the Sea Cadet Corps holds a parade in honor of Admiral Lord Nelson and the British victory on the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October), over the combined fleets of Spain and France at Trafalgar.

London Underground’s  (subway/metro) Charing Cross station on the Northern and Bakerloo lines has an exit in the square. The lines had separate stations, of which the Bakerloo line one was called Trafalgar Square until they were linked and renamed in 1979 as part of the construction of the Jubilee line, which was rerouted to Westminster in 1999. Other nearby tube/metro/subway  stations are Embankment connecting the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines, and Leicester Square on the Northern and Piccadilly lines. London bus routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 all pass through Trafalgar Square.

We came by car , parked by Earl’s Court, and take the tube or double decker buses in, and walk walk a lot with a pint you go further lol!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and more on Trafalgar square to follow:

Webcam of Trafalgar Square: http://www.camvista.com/england/london/trafsq.php3

More info on Trafalgar Square in the City of London webpage: https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/our-building-and-squares/trafalgar-square?source=vanityurl

Tourist office of London : https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/283774-trafalgar-square

And if you still need more of London, then read this London enthusiast site, many interesting facts are here: https://londontopia.net/

Hope you enjoy the ride on Trafalgar, and do count as seeing it on your next visit to London. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

Tags: , ,
April 18, 2018

The Ducal Palace of Luxembourg!

Another of our favorite countries of Europe, small , pretty , quaint, historical and nice Luxembourg. We have come so many times, and each time we leave wanting to come back.  There, the nostalgic walk over of a palace always brings the best in me. The Ducal Palace of Luxembourg even has a non European as Heads of State in Europe! And the country will surprise many.

The quaint small but very nice Ducal Palace of Luxembourg. I have come here often first back in 1991 , and then very often while living in Versailles, even for lunch runs lol! Now out west much less often , missed it. While vacationing in Germany needed to stop by again in 2015. I love it there, and who knows when back but will dare to say would try harder, it is worth the visit. The city, the country and of course the Ducal Palace are all worth it.  The Grand Ducal Palace, excuse me, is done in the renaissance style of the 16C and its the official residence of the duke of Luxembourg ,chief of State since 1890. It is located not far from the Place Guillaume II.

A bit of history I like:

It was in 1572 that the governor of the Netherlands Spanish ordered the construction of the city hall and it was done in 1573. By 1683 and 1684 the palace had damages due to the bombings of the siege of Vauban. In 1713, Luxembourg becomes an Austrian possession, and work of repairs were done in 1728.  The building call the Balance was added in 1741 and the city hall becomes the seat of the Three States. In 1795, Luxembourg is under French control and the city hall becomes the seat of the prefecture or regional government building of the department of the forest or Département des Forêts. By 1814, it had already become a Grand Duchy and was trusted to the king of the Netherlands, by 1817, the city hall becomes the government house where the governor of the king works. Thanks to the purchase of nearby houses  an annex is added to house the chamber of deputies in 1859.

In 1890 the death without male heir of the king of Netherlands give the Grand Duchy to a distant cousin Grand Duke Adolph, he uses the palace as the resident of the ruler or of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg . To our days the Grand Duke uses the palace as a place of work and rarely as a residence.  It is here that he welcomes the heads of governments or receptions of dinners for the national day when it is welcome about 300 persons.  The Nazis occupied the palace during WWII for cultural and concerts as well as a private club called Schlosschenke. The furniture, jewelry ,and other works of arts were sent to Germany. IN April 14 1945, the Grand Duchesse Charlotte was welcome back by the Luxembourgian from a balcony in the palace. From 1992 to 1996 ,the palace went thru a complete renovation to give it the splendor of the original.

Guided visits are carried out between July and early September every day except Wednesdays from 10h to 17h, it last about 45 minutes. Reservations  and information to be found at the tourist office of Luxembourg LCTO in the place Guillaume II.

 Luxembourg

front entrance Ducal Palace

Luxembourg

Ducal Palace back side

Luxembourg

Ducal Palace walking up to it

 

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here , always a must to read before the trip.

The city of Luxembourg on the Ducal Palace: https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en/place/monuments/grand-ducal-palace

The Tourist office of Luxembourg on the Ducal Palace: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/castle/palace-of-the-grand-dukes

The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg constitutes the House of Luxembourg-Nassau, headed by the sovereign Grand Duke,  and in which the throne of the Grand Duchy is hereditary. It consists of heirs and descendants of the House of Nassau-Weilburg,  whose sovereign territories passed cognatically from the Nassau dynasty to a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon-Parma itself a branch of the Spanish Royal House which is agnatically a cadet branch of the House of Capet that originated in France. On 28 July 1987, by grand ducal decree, members of the dynasty assumed the surname “de Nassau” and discontinued use of the princely title and in escutcheon of the House of Bourbon-Parma(the Dukes of which had not consented to the marriages to commoners of the dynasty of their Luxembourg  cadet branch, Prince Charles in 1967 and  hereditary Grand Duke Henri in 1981,  while retaining the style  of Royal Highness. Since the grand ducal decree of 21 September 1995, dynasts who are the children of a Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duke hold the titles Prince/Princess of Luxembourg and Prince/Princess of Nassau with the style of Royal Highness.

Shortly after his accession to the throne in October 2000, Grand Duke Henri issued a grand ducal decree conferring upon his eldest son and heir, Prince Guillaume, the title of “Hereditary Grand Duke” and restoring to him the title “Prince of Bourbon-Parma”.  Male line descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte who are not the children of a Grand Duke or Hereditary Grand Duke are Prince/Princess of Nassau with the style of His/Her Royal Highness. The Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg is the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg. He was born on April 16, 1955. He was married on February 14, 1981 to Maria Teresa Mestre (born in Havana , Cuba) and became Grand Duke when his father, Jean, abdicated on October 7, 2000. Their children are: Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Guillaume born in 1981 ,also Prince of Nassau, and Prince of Bourbon-Parma, married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy in 2012.  Prince Félix of Luxembourg Prince of Nassau born in 1984, and married in 2013 to Claire Margareta Lademacher of which they have a daughter (Amalia b 2014) and son Liam b 2016). Prince Louis de Luxembourg born in 1986 married 2006 to Tessy Antony, he renounced before marriage to succession and later divorced in 2017. Their sons was out of wedlock Prince Gabriel born in 2006 and Prince Noah in 2007 . Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg born in 1991 and Prince Sebastian of Luxembourg born in 1992.

Grand Duchy family in French : http://www.monarchie.lu/fr/famille/index.html

Enjoy the Cinderella country dukedom ,duchy of Luxembourg. I have cruise on it north to south ,west to east by car; lovely. Have a great week you all, happy travels, good health and many cheers!!!

 

 

Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: