Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Barcelona, España

La Despedida. Muchisimas Gracias a mis amigos, Los Panscrapers, especialmente a Carles! Ese Tio es un Crack!! Gracias por todo y pasandola a puta madre conmigo. Mi visita a Cataluyna era la Ostia. Joder!!  No vemos pronto en el Pais Vasco de California. Venga.

After spending some serious time in Spain, it's time to say LAYDO! I'd like to give mad props to all my friends who put me up and showed me around. I am a firm believer that a travel experience is much better when you know someone at the destination. And this was the case. Soccer games, Paella, beaches, wine, pintxos and this list goes on, Endless, was an awesome experience.

Any of you first time visitors to Europe want a good experience........Go to Spain!!

Any hoot, this was my last day and all the guys threw me a farewell fiesta at Jordi's house, while we watched Barcelona play. I went out with a bang because we got SUPER POLLO to go. I said it was a catered fiesta. It was kinda sad but allot of fun knowing I made more friends for life.  The main guys where there: Carles, his girl Gisela, Mark Eastwood, Xavi, Smooth, Jordi, Rey and Ferran ( The Everett Barnes of Spain ).

Good Times.

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The croquettes was the SHIT!!!!

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Here I am pretending to be Linda giving these guys a lecture on color charts Volkswagen offered during the early 50's.

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 Mark Eastwood doing the honors with the pizza.

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Check out Ferran, the Everett Barnes of Spain, giving Carles the evil look. 

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Hey!  Who ate all the Croquettes!!!

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01:00 Posted in Général | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bilbao, The Basque Country, España

Ahi va la Ostia!!! JODER!!!

Regrese al Pais Vasco!!!! 

After spending some time in both Cantabria and Asturias, I went back to where I left my heart. Or I should say my stomach.  Since this journey started, Spain without a doubt has the best food!!! Now this is just my opinion. The food in Cataluyna was the bomb! But I have to come clean and just say the food in the Basque Country is to die for. I did not have one single bad food incident. I must have gained easily 5 lbs while here.  Add another 5 while in Cataluyna. YIKES!! I know, I know ............you are all saying how is this possible to know, especially if you haven't been to Spain!!??  All I can say is take my word for it. Or you can watch the Anthony Bordain : No Reservation's episode of eating in Spain.  I just happened to catch that episode and came to the conclusion that I wasn't making this up in my head. Before the episode he spoke to his crew about how Spain being the best in Europe. Through out the entire episode he was raving about all his meals. He only visited The Basque Country and Cataluyna regions, but he spent more time with the Vascos. Joder!!

Any hoot, talknig about food is just making hungry, so I will leave after writing this for some pintxos. Joder.!!

I also came back because I missed Borja, Bea and Juanmi. (los estrañe)

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Look!!! @ @ ......... A Gaudi building.

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Here is something cool I discovered while in the Basque Country. KUKUSUMUSU. It will take some time to explain what this little place is all about. It's basically a t-shirt company with some funny ass stuff on them. They also make other stuff. They started out by making t-shirts making fun of The running of the Bulls in Pamplona. The correct pronounciation is: Koo Koo Shu Muuh Shu. Which means in BasqueThe Kiss of a flea!!??  It's as silly as it's name. Check it out for yourselves.  (http://www.kukuxumusu.com/web/index_eng.php)

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Look at the look on my face. Clin d'oeil

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AGUR!!!!  ( Good Bye in Basque )

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Friday, December 25, 2009

FELIZ NAVIDAD !!!!

Merry Christmas to all of you and your loved ones.

 

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oviedo, Asturias, España

Hung out with my Asturias posse before heading back to El Pais Basco! Fer and I went to Oviedo for the day. Lots of stuff to see there. Especially the giant JC on the top of the hill and the Roman building on the way up!!

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This giant JC statue over looks the city of Oviedo.  It's really big!!

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This is the view from way up here!!

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Yes, this is a statue of Woody Allen, for the few films he's done in España. If you haven't seen his latest film: VICKY, CHRISTINA, BARCELONA!!??? Go see it!!

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Later that night Santi, Fer and a few other buddies went over to Gijon for some Mexican food and beers. My farewell fiesta from Asturias.

Fer y Santi.......muchas gracias por pasando tiempo conmigo y por los Helados. Sourire   JODER!!!! 

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, España, Day - 3

The fun continues..............

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 I found this Sidra mechanism in the city center..............

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So I put it to use!!!!!!  OKAY!!! Sourire 

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 Here is the farewell luncheon. Awesome seafood!!!

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Here is my posse. OSTIA!!!!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, España

A week prior to arriving here, the Basque's coordinated a weekend get together with the Asturiano's in the Medieval Village of  Santillana del Mar. Santillana del Mar is located in the western coast of the Cantabria region.  It was about a 2 hour drive from Bilbao to our destination and we were to all meet up at a campsite right outside of the village which also had small cabins on the property. Very cool. Our posse ended taking up all 5 cabins. And the walk into the village was less then a 2 minute walk. Also on the way to town was an Irish pub! Gee, what a surprise!!!

Once we all met up, sorted everything out.....off we went  for some Tapas then to the pub!!  There is an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana) and has no sea (Mar) as implied by the town's name.  (http://www.santillana-del-mar.com/english/guide.htm)

Here is Borja & Bea at the entrance to the village in their original paint 57 Kombi!! OSTIA!!!

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Here we are sorting out who gets what cabin!!?? Guess who ended up with the first one with the best view!!?? Clin d'oeil

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Here is one of my Cabin mates, Gorkah, after winning the drawing of the straws!! 

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Here is the view from our little porch.

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Here is a shot of the rest of the Cabins and all our buses lined up against them.

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 Here is another shot of our view.

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Here are a few shots of the inside. Very tiny, yet comfortable. Sleeps 3 just fine. These are the bunk beds, there is a tiny room on the other side with a double bed.

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Here is the tiny kitchen. That mechanism on the top right is the heating unit!!  Out side at night it got to as low as 23 degrees!!  YIKES!!!

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Here is Javi twisting one up! But it's not whacky tobacky! Apparently smoking cigarettes is a very expensive habit out in Europe!? A pack of cigs will cost you $8.00!!!! FUCK THAT!!!  Well, it's supposebly cheaper in Spain?? But it is still expensvie for the Spaniards. They say it is allot cheaper to buy a bag of tobacco and roll them up yourselves.  I'd have to say that most of them do this. There is nothing sexier seeing a hot Spanish chick twist up a cig and suck it!!! Sourire

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Guernica, The Basque Country, España

This morning Borja tells me that he was taking me to the most import town of The Basque Country, Guernica,  which also happens to be the historical capital of the Basque's. The town of Guernica is well known for a few reasons. The first was the bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War (Apirl 26th, 1937) carried out by the German Luftwaffe and the Italian air force as well.  The Basque Government reported that 1,654 people were killed.  The bombing was also the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso. Rumor has it that Franco was the guy who gave out the location and gave it the go, due to the strong Basque resistance during this era.

What was interesting was after the smoke cleared, after the Germans turned this town into an empty parking lot, the only thing standing was an Oak Tree.  Which is still there and the Basque's refer to it as "Gernikako Arbola".  So much sad history there. But on a good note, this is a very beautiful and now full of life town full of proud Basque's.  The really neat thing about Guernica is EVERYONE spoke Basque!!

This is Pablo Picasso's GUERNICA (1937),  the original oil on canvas is on permanent display at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

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Here is "Gernikako Arbola".  

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mundaka, The Basque Coast, España

Off we went to the world famous surfing spot of Mundaka! Just a 20 minute drive east of Bilbao. The drive there was beautiful. The down side of Mundaka ............. The water was FREEZING cold and it was flat. No waves.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

San Sebastián, The Basque Country, España

Borja tells me that he is taking me to the jewel of the Basque Country. San Sebastián, which is the capital of the province of Guipuscoa, in the Basque Country, Spain. There was nothing to prepare me for what I was to see and to eat.

San Sebastián is truly a gem. Borja wasn't kidding either.  I didn't hear many people speaking Castillano out in the streets, folks were speaking Vasco. Basque. Proud men wearing their Txapela's (barret's), while their women held on to their arms with pride. The Basque's are very proud people. These people suffered the most during Franco's reign and were punished severly for their resistance. On an interesting note, the Basque's do not consider nor call themselves Spaniards,  but rather, Basque's. One day while having dinner with his family, his sister mentioned to me that she was leaving for Spain in a few days. She was actually going to Madrid, but for them, that is Spain. Very interesting.

Any hoot, I had some of the best Pintxo's (Tapas) ever!! Borja took me to a bar where an endless display of pintxo's were waiting for me.  It was also a treat watch Athletic Club Bilbao give Valencia a beating. (soccer)  After wolfing down all of that food, we went to walk it off.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

I've had the opportunity of visiting other Guggenheim buildings: Berlin, Germany; Venice, Italy and New York City, US. The Bilbao building is by far the most impressive of them and the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. Mad props to the architect, Frank Gehry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Gehry). The Guggenheim Museuam (http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao) is definetly a site to visit while in The Basque Country.

FYI, Frank Gehry is also responsible for the Disney Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.

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One of the coolest sculptures I have ever seen outside of a museum was Louise Bourgeois' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Bourgeois), Maman. Bourgeois is a French artist and sculptor famous for her Spider Sculptures.

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Behind the Museum is the huge "Puppy," a dog flower sculpture by Jeff Koons.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Koons) Puppy is completely covered by living flowering plants set into its mesh-covered sod. It was due to be moved after its initial showing, but petitions by local school children made Bilbao its permanent home.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bilbao, The Basque Country, España

Ahí va la ostia ......JODER!!!!!

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Let me start off that The Basque Country has lived up to everything people have been telling me about!! Bilbao is a treat.

OKAY. While in the United Kingdom back in July, I met up with my Pikey buddy Martin, whom he was there with two of his friends from Spain. But they had to correct Martin that they did NOT come from Spain! But rather, El Pais Vasco! The Basque Country! I'm talking about Borja & Bea. They both tripped out on me and invited me to their country.  I ended up running into them again in Asturias. Again, they invited me over.  It wasn't until recent that I decided to leave Cataluyna, because I loved it so much, and head over to El Pais Vasco.

Aside from the Paella of Cataluyna, the food in EL Pais Vasco is LA OSTIA!!! I was taken to nothing but excellent eating establishments. The pintxos are to die for. Oh, Pintxos is what the Basque's call Tapas.  Both Borja & Bea treated me the same way Carles has............AWESOME!!!!

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This place had some really good fresh seafood. JODER!!!

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03:00 Posted in Général | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Encamp, Andorra

Boy, was I in for a MAJOR surprise.  A few days before heading up here, Carles asks me if I wanted to go visit his aunt in the country of Andorra for 3 days? HELL YES I said. Andorra was never part of the plan nor have I ever thought of visiting this tiny country. What a treat!!

Andorra is a tiny mini country which sits right above northern Spain and Southern France. You can literally drive through this country within 20 minutes!!!  It's situated within a valley surrounded my mountains. Big ass mountains. Being there felt as if I were in the Alps!? Or some where in Germany or Switzerland!? This place is a ski haven and full of peeps. Apparently the taxes in Andorra aren't crazy like the rest of Europe.

While visiting we went to a giant indoor swimming pool theme park. WOW!!  It was pretty crazy in there. Tons of people and crazy themes as well.  I was also able to swim outside. That was knarly, because it being like 20 degrees outside. People say its pretty radical being there when it snows.

Any hoot, wish you guys were here. Enjoy these pictures. 

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Saw this in the parking lot of the lodge. JODER!!!

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This is the inside of the lodge. What a site!!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sitges, España

The beautiful seaside town of Sitges is a 5 minute train ride south of Vilanova i la Geltrú  and 25 minutes north of Barcelona. Well worth the trip.  This place is crawling with English and German tourists during the summer time. Very scenic and relaxing town.  There is also a SUPER POLLO location there as well. Got my grub on!!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Vilanova i la Geltrú, España

Not only is Vilanova i la Geltrú the home base/town of Los Panscrapers ( www.panscrapers.com), but it is also home to Carles' and mine's favorite Eatery. EL SUPER POLLO. JODER!!  It is la OSTIA!!!! I have to admit that both of us eat here at least 4 times a week. YES, I'M ADDICTED!!!  The best part is Carles lives about 4 blocks away from this gem.

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On the way to the best restaurant in Cataluyna, we stopped by one of Carles' homies house to pick something up.  We were greeted by the guy's dogs, as they were super excited for some reason?  He shows us his latest project, the F.C. BARCELONA crest right smack in the middle of his swimming pool!!!! Is this guy a fan or WHAT!!!  JODER!!!  On another note, as we were about to leave, the dogs came outside for a bit, jumping with excitement when all of a sudden they scram into the hills and this guy ran up there chasing them and after a 20 minute struggle, he got them back home. Any hoot, it was allot funnier witnessing it in person rather then me writing it up in here.

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Carles: Hombre, te recuerdas de los Txakurra's de tu amigo!! Me cago en la ostia!!! ha ha ha ha

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Park Güell, Barcelona, España

Off I went to the hills of El Carmel in the Gracia district of Barcelona to visit one of Antoni Guadi's greatest works, Park Güell. The park was originally the site of an unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. Count Güell sold the property to Gaudi in 1906 then the imagination went to work!!!   

This place was truly an amazing site, very colorful, full of energy and it was very obvious this guy was WAY ahead of his time.  The views from up there were impressive as well.

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 This is Gaudi's house, La Torre Rosa.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

La Sagrada Família, Barcelona, España

The church of La Sagrada Família began it's construction on March 19th, 1882 which was started by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to finish the church, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.


So far 125 years in the works, it's still not completed. It has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." The building is still going on and could be finished some time in 2026??  A very impressive structure in the heart of Barcelona.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hanukkah

 

~ Yossl

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03:28 Posted in Général | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barcelona, España

Borja: antes de mi aventura y un poco cansado de comer SUPER POLLO. Encuentre este restaurant, LA TXAPELA - EUSKAL TABERNA, de nuestra gente en el pais de los Catalans.  HOMBRE!!!

Before I ventured out I went to LA TXAPELA - EUSKAL TABERNA for some really good Basque food. Txapela is Basque for Barrett. Euskal Taberna is Basque Tavern. Good Pintxos and no Yanks in there too! OKAY! Sourire

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Today I decided to venture around town and see the works of art by the great architect, Antoni Gaudi. This guy was way ahead of his time! His works were truly amazing. One can't help but stand in front of one of his icons and stare for hours!! He as definetly a pioneer in the Art Nouveau movement. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud%C3%AD) He was also Catalan.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

BBQ at Smooth's House

The guys from the Panscrapers decided to get together and have a bbq. For me it was an excuse for Barca's victory. JODER!!!  These guys went all out!!  Though I told them we tend to get pretty crazy too when it comes to a bbq. OKAY.  We all met up at a giant mall parking lot and headed up to Smooth's house up in the hills over looking the city of Barcelona.  Let me tell you, as the the Spaniards say.......era la ostia!!!

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There's Carles going at it with his camera.  Hombre Tio!!  Clin d'oeil

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Here is the chef, Rey, schooling the guests: Ferran, Carles and Mark 44.

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 This is my homie, Rocco.  He belongs to Smooth. Cool dog.

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Here is Rocco trying to be sneaky.

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 Bonding session.

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06:54 Posted in Général | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Barcelona, España

While in Chimey, Belgium, back in June, I met up with my buddies Carles and Mark Eastwood (yes, he is related to Clint) of THE PANSCRAPERS. (www.panscrapers.com) Hung out and chatted about the car scene. They had mentioned that if I come to Barcelona to give them a gingle. Which I did. Hands down these guys are AWESOME!! I stayed with Carles, his girl and their mascot, Pepper.

The Cataluyna region of Spain is very beautiful, rich with Catalan culture, food, atmosphere, etc. I can't really get into the details as to why the Catalans never refer to Barcelona being part of Spain. It's history goes way back and it would take for me forever to write this all down for you guys. They even have their own language which pretty everyone speaks. Catalan. Being a Yank I knew very little about this scenario, just the same with the Basque's. What I did know they are both separatist. Very interesting.

Barcelona is a very beautiful city.  One can spend an entire week and not see it all. Fortunately for me, I will be here for a while. OKAY. You can't beat the tapas here, and a nice cold beer to wash it down.

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One of the main attractions I wanted to see and visit was the MUSEO PICASSO. But unfortunetly like all museums in Europe, cameras are not allowed inside! Bummer! I wanted to come to this museum to see Picasso's interpertation of  Diego Velázquez's 1656 painting of "Las Meninas".  Between August and December 1957, Pablo Picasso painted a series of 58 interpretations of Las Meninas.  Very cool.  This is probably the most well known painting of the 58 paintings.

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Here is the court yard of the museum.

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Found this random art work of Joan Miro in town.

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Yet another Joan Miro work of art in town!  It took me about a 10 minute wait to get this shot.

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When I arrived at Barcelona, these guys were on my flight. They wanted to take a picture with me when they found out I won VALE TUDO couple of years back. OKAY!!  Clin d'oeil

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22:04 Posted in Général | Permalink | Comments (2)