Wednesday, May 22, 2024



To give my legions of fans a break from my erudite offerings and opinions on where to go, where to sleep, and where to eat (LOL), I thought I would share some funny, often hilarious takes and scenes on travel. 

Here Goes!

1 - One of the most popular comics performing today - Jim Gaffigan on Disney and other thoughts on travel!

2 - The crankiest comedian in America - his take on traveling in Canada!

3 - A comic that really understands - K-von - Air Travel isn't what it used to be!

4 - Another comic that tells the truth we all know - Kevin Bozeman on Air Tavel!

5 - Something we can all relate to - a classic scene from Seinfeld!

6 - Traveling with five kids - Jim Gaffigan!

7- A scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - he's not happy and needs a taxi!

Always remember my Fellow Vagabonds - Travel will always bring things into your world on the road, on the train, on the boat, or in the air that are funny!



Today's tune is from one of the most unique Texas Troubadours to ever write and perform great music. Someone once said - "Texas is like a whole other country". We've been to Texas numerous times, and that statement is the perfect description of the second-largest state in America. Here's a song about travel and Texas by one of the greats - LYLE LOVETTE & HIS LARGE BAND performing THAT'S RIGHT YOU'RE NOT FROM TEXAS.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Today is a quick invite to all 
lovers of travel to see the only skyscraper designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building is located in the old oil town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, a quick 45 minutes from Tulsa International Airport. We only stayed two nights to enjoy this unique place - there's not a lot to do in Bartlesville. LOL! However, like all Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, this restored boutique hotel will be a great place to experience. You can listen and view the history and current-day standing of this one-of-a-kind place to repose at your leisure. Just click on the video.

Then we drove a pleasant 2-1/2 hours to the ninth-largest town in Arkansas. Its claim to fame is the location of the headquarters of WALMART. Bentonville has been the home of Walmart since 1950, now the largest private employer in the world. Because of Walmart's location just outside the small quaint downtown of Bentonville, there are many things to see and enjoy. Number one on the list of things to do - CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART established by Alice Walton, the daughter of the late Sam Walton. There is a beautiful nature trail you can walk to this amazing museum from the boutique 21C Hotel downtown. This hotel, in addition to great rooms with comfortable beds and huge showers, has over 12,000 square feet of modern art space within the hotel. And, depending on when you go, the prices are not too high. 

One last place to see, only a short drive from Bentonville, is THORNCROWN CHAPEL. This beautiful wood and glass chapel, built in the forests of Northwest Arkansas, is truly amazing. It was designed by E. Faye Jones, the most famous architect in Arkansas. This ingenious architect studied under Wright. I had the distinct pleasure of attending a lecture by Jones in architecture school. One of the most memorable experiences we had when we visited this chapel - an older gentleman, in a wheelchair,  rolled into the chapel from behind a screen and sang several religious hymns acapella as about forty people sat and listened intently.

So, if you and your favorite Travel Vagabond are venturing west, The Nomad Architect highly recommends these places.


Since today's post is all about cutting-edge architecture and art, this week's music features one of the most cutting-edge jazz artists to ever sit down at a piano. We had the pleasure of seeing this innovative pianist and his quartet twice - 1969 at The First Atlanta Pop/Rock Festival and 2006 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida at the age of 86 - Never missed a beat! This tune - TAKE FIVE - features his quartet with Dave Brubeck-piano, Paul Desmond-alto sax, Joe Morello-drums & Eugene Wright-bass recorded live in 1964. This song is the highest-selling jazz recording of all time.


Wednesday, May 8, 2024


Today's post will continue to explore the work of master architect Frank Lloyd Wright - his masterful creation of a house built in 1936 that showed the world the power and grace of brilliant design for a weekend pleasure house built over a waterfall. Click the following heading to see the details and history of this amazing house.


This incredible home should be 
on every Vagabond's Bucket List. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built from 1936 - 1938, it is listed in Smithsonian's "Life List of 28 Places to See Before you Die". It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. In 1991, the American Institute of Architects named Fallingwater the "best all-time work of American Architecture". When we visited this amazing "weekend house", we were mesmerized by the beauty, the details, and the energy of this incredible structure. As its cantilevers spread out over the stream and waterfall below, we didn't want to leave this place of power and grace. For those who are interested in the details and history of this amazing work of design, just click on the video below.

Just fly into Pittsburgh and check into a hotel or AIRBNB. The Pittsburgh Airport is about an hour and half from Falling Water. We stayed at the Falling Rock Resort when we visited. However, like all hotels in America, its price has increased substantially. 

Other places can be found close to Fallingwater:

The Historic Summit Inn is a genuinely nice place with excellent reviews for prices starting at $170 per night. It's only twenty-four minutes from Fallingwater.

Polymath Park has four houses designed by Wright you can reserve only thirty minutes from Fallingwater. They are not cheap. Prices start at $475/night, but they are much lower than Falling Rock and they are all designated as Usonian Houses, a term used by Wright to describe the design of smaller middle-class residences.

Shipping Container In Acme Pennsylvania is a very cool AIRBNB only 30 minutes from Fallingwater. It has excellent reviews and is only $96 per night in May. As always, The Nomad Architect is looking out for fellow Vagabonds to stay in great places on the cheap.

If you're a real Vagabond just find a place to your liking that likes your pocketbook. They're everywhere!

This amazing home designed by the master is a mere twelve minutes from Falling Water. A descriptive quote from the website for this amazing house:

"Both dramatic and serene, Kentuck Knob is situated just below the crest of a great hill and appears part of the landscape itself. An organic floor plan, cantilevered overhangs, and imaginative expanses of glass effortlessly integrate the interior of the house with its stunning surroundings. On a tour of Kentuck Knob, visitors will learn about the Hagan family, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the architect's vision for the house. Our experienced staff of tour guides share stories, historical information, and offer unique insights into this wonderful house". In addition to the house, designed and built 1953-1956, there are a number of sculptures placed in a sculpture meadow on the eighty-acre site around the house. It's a must see for all Vagabonds.

Seeing great architecture as designed by America's greatest architect was an absolute pleasure. The landscapes of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands are perfect for some of the greatest design ever created. I hope all Vagabonds will go and see these amazing works of architectural art.


For this week's video, enjoy this interesting song by Simon & Garfunkel. The video shows many examples of work accomplished by Wright - As someone once said - "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright can be interpreted as a tribute to a revered artist and a reflection on the lasting impact of artistic relationships. It underscores the power of creative connections to shape our lives and leave a lasting impression even after those connections have faded."

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


Before leaving the Windy City, there are several buildings you can experience designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - The Robie House, The Rookery, Frank Lloyd Wright House & Studio and Unity Temple just to name a few. Just click the link below for tour information.

Guide to Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago | Tours and Events | Choose Chicago

 Places to See and Rest Your Weary Head Just Outside Chicago

After a few days enjoying America's Second City hop in your rental car and make your way west to an amazing house with insane views where you can rest your tired body and brain after a day of walking and exploring. Then head on over to tour one of the greatest modern homes in America.

Seth Peterson Cottage - It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny. The drive from Chicago is around three hours. When we visited, we stayed a couple of nights in Madison, Wisconsin at the Concourse Hotel. It's only about an hour from Madison to the cottage and reasonably priced. Or you can just drive to the cottage and enjoy the scenery. There are things to enjoy in Madison such as several Frank Lloyd Wright Houses and other structures. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is worth a visit as well.

This intimate small villa, one of the last houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the tender young age of ninety, is a completely refurbished cottage immersed deep in the woods of Mirror Lake State Park, Wisconsin. With magnificent views high above Mirror Lake, this place is full of design as only Wright could provide. At only 800 square feet, built in 1958, it was a tiny house long before tiny houses became the thing. The cottage is a quick one-hour drive from Madison. Be prepared to enjoy your culinary skills. Buy some groceries in nearby Lake Delton and prepare meals at your leisure. You can also find numerous restaurants in Delton just a few minutes away. It's also one of the most romantic places you could ever enjoy. If you want to see some of the details of the cottage and read more about this unique place, just click - AMAZING HISTORY

A Perfect Day TripTaliesin

A short one hour from the cottage is Frank Lloyd Wright's second home and studio - TaliesinJust click on Taliesin above to read the story behind this famous house by America's greatest architect. This house/studio has a long history of design and building of many structures from 1911 to 1955. It also has tragedy in its long-complicated life. As an architecture student, I studied Wright in architecture school. But, like all great works of design and art, when you see them up close and personal it completely affects you. This house of powerful design with grace for living a life of purpose is truly one of a kind. I highly recommend the Estate Tour (just click for tickets) to see this extraordinary masterpiece of architecture started in 1911. 

After the Estate Tour, grab some lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants in Lake Delton a quick 45 minutes from Taliesen and only 5-10 minutes from the cottage.

From Chicago, this trip is easy and comfortable. A great, romantic place to stay. A lot of things to do - boating, kayaking and canoeing on the lake plus experiencing one of the greatest works of residential architecture ever designed and built and immaculately restored. And of course, touring Wright's second house and studio is a must for all Vagabonds.


Today's tune/video for the week features a compelling romantic tune with an interesting video featuring the multiple award-winning Norah Jones in a song released in 2002 - Come Away With Me. A perfect tune to inspire all Vagabonds to just go somewhere with the one you love!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Today's post and a few others to follow will attempt to show my fellow Vagabonds the many interesting places for travel in the greatest country on earth. The good old USA! In addition, I will give many suggestions on hotels, restaurants, things to experience and places to go. I will also show how to get creative when finding those places that won't max out your American Express. In over five hundred posts on this blog, I have been an unabashed champion of travel to Europe. Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece are all different from our beloved USA. Even the United Kingdom has interesting places and things that won't break the bank. Just get out of London as quickly as possible. 

Unless you just like spending your hard-earned cash, the first thing to consider when traveling in the USA is money, money, money! Unlike Europe, typically, 5 stars here tend to be very expensive. However, as always, that depends on when and where you go. Mid-summer is usually expensive. Cheapest times tend to be early Spring and mid Fall. Obviously, if you go late Fall or Winter, it can be cold, unless you visit a place in the South. 

If you don't believe that the US is more expensive read on. 

The Post Ranch Inn - Big Sur - Insane beauty overlooking the Pacific. Every amenity you can imagine. Price - Early September - Cliff House Room with views over the Pacific- $3,875 or Middle Butterfly Room with "mountain" views - $1,825. We had the pleasure of eating at their five-star restaurant Sierra Mar several years ago. 

Bottom line - You can fly to Italy for a week and spend less than those prices in some of the finest, inexpensive hotels anywhere.

Obviously, that's an extreme example of insane pricing for a place to lay your head after a busy day sightseeing, no matter the view. But if money is no object - The Post Ranch Inn is the place. 


Today's post is about, IMHO, the greatest city in America. Songs have been written about this great city. Great architects have lived and designed great buildings in this city. True American architecture came from the likes of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and many others in this city - Chicago


Chicago has it all - great museums, impressive buildings, and Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago River Architecture Boat Tour is a must.

Places to Sleep in The Windy City

If you are a wandering soul just get busy online and find a place you can afford and enjoy. Here are a few recommendations from The Nomad Architect.

Hotel Allegro - Reasonably priced hotel with excellent reviews in downtown.

21 C Hotel - A very small hotel chain with great rooms and amenities for reasonable prices. We stayed in this nice boutique hotel when it was called The James Hotel - Outstanding!

Lovely Garden Studio in Chicago - If you're a Vagabond that follows this blog, you just gotta' know that I'm a firm believer in AIRBNB. This very cool loft studio is downright cheap and near everything with outstanding reviews - $161 per night. 

Places to Eat in Chicago

Great restaurants are everywhere in Chicago -every culinary delight you could  imagine - prices are from cheap to insane. Here are a couple of links to check out various places you might want to take a look at.

Great Steaks - EATER CHICAGO

Great Seafood - TIMEOUT


Great Buildings, Museums, Great Restaurants, Lake Shore Drive, Architecture Boat Tour, Etc., Etc., Etc. Enjoy this great city with your favorite Vagabonds! Next week we'll pick up on some great places to enjoy yourself near the great city of Chicago. STay tuned for more travel information on the 3rd largest city in AMerica.


Here is a pretty good crew (LOL!) - Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, Jeff Beck and Beth Hart performing the great song Sweet Home Chicago in honor of the multiple Grammy winning blues artist, guitarist and singer Buddy Guy at The Kennedy Center Honors.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Barcelona is the  birthplace of many renowned creatives - Antonio Gaudi Architect, Joan Miro painter and sculptor, Antoni Tapies painter and sculptor and many others. Picasso grew up there and Salvador Dali was born in the small town of Figueres close by. So Barcelona has serious street cred when it comes to creative natives. Upon visiting this beautiful city, you will see the evidence of architecture, art and creative energy around every corner. And if you want to read about a very cool AIRBNB we stayed in just check out one of my former posts HERE. All five of us, my entire family, before grand kids, stayed in this reasonably priced three bedroom/two bath in the heart of Barcelona.

IMHO - the best way to travel in Spain is via train. Like the rest of Europe, the trains in Spain are immaculate, fast, comfortable and cheap. Upon arrival in the capital of Catalonia, you will immediately get a sense of the great art and architecture. Not only that. It is truly one of the cleanest cities I have ever visited.

To make things simple, here is my list of the museums, buildings and other things you should see and do in the "City of Gaudi".

First and foremost - The Sagrada Familia

This masterwork of architecture and art was designed by the modernist architect Antonio Gaudi. In the opinion of the architectural world, Gaudi was Spain's greatest modern architect. Some would even say he was Europe's greatest modernist. That issue has been discussed and written about since 1883 when he took over the design of the magnificent work of religious architecture. He worked on this project for forty three years until his death in 1926. Even though I studied this building in architecture school and had seen hundreds of photographs, I was not prepared for the experience of walking in, sitting in and observing this amazing work of beauty and power. And it is still under construction! The main tower will be 557 feet tall - the tallest religious building in Europe. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026. My suggestion is to go as early in the morning as you can. It is less crowded and the light coming through the stained glass windows is truly something to see.

Park Güell

Park Güell is a truly inspired work of architecture and design also design by Gaudi, it was built from 1900 - 1914 and opened as a public park in 1926. It was also named a World Heritage Site in 1984. The tiled roof terrace of this profoundly creative public place will give you many places to sit and enjoy the views over Barcelona. 

The Father of Surrealism is the one and only Salvador Dali. Dali’s house in Portlligat is where the artist lived for over forty years. He first bought a small fisherman’s cottage in the 1930s. Later, he purchased some nearby homes, enlarging his property. Today, Salvador Dali’s House in Portlligat is a museum where you can see his former home, studio, and library. To say that Dali was a unique artist would be a colossal understatement.  

For an enjoyable daytrip we piled in our rental, kids and all, and drove to Dali's incredible place to see his work up close. You can see more of Dali's work as well as other artists in and around Barcelona in such places as the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary ArtBarcelona is never boring. Just click this link to see all the things you can do in this art filled city - THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA.

If you can't get to Spain right now and you want to see some of Dali's work, just head to Saint Petersburg, Florida to see the Dali Museum in downtown Saint Pete. It contains the largest collection of Dali works outside of his home in Spain. To read the fascinating story of how the Dali Museum ended up in Saint Petersburg just click Mr. Dali below.

Salvador Dalí

“I do not understand why, when I ask for grilled lobster in a restaurant, I'm never served a cooked telephone.”
― Salvador Dalí
All Vagabonds will enjoy the food in Spain, particularly Barcelona. There are Tapas restaurants everywhere. Typically, small bites of great food are served as you order. The only country that has better food than Spain is Italy.
‘Any reasonable, sentient person who looks at Spain, comes to Spain, eats in Spain, drinks in Spain, they’re going to fall in love. Otherwise, there’s something deeply wrong with you. This is the dream of all the world.’ – Anthony Bourdain

So, as I always say - Just GO! You will not regret it I promise.
Here is a great performance from a great movie -  Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I realize it has nothing to do with Dali or Spain, but you could argue that it has a definite surreal quality! LOL! THE PARADE SCENE - FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


In 2005, we took our first  
trip ever to the continent. I wrote in 2012 about our trip to the land that invented romance. As Mark Twain said - "The Creator made Italy by designs from Michelangelo". Nothing truer was ever said. So, today's post is a remembrance of our first trip to the amazing, beautiful, grand country of Italy. If you have never been to Italy, and you want to travel to Europe, Italy is the first place you should go. Our experiences traveling there for three weeks changed my opinions, perceptions, and thoughts about the world. It is my hope that today's post will motivate you to Just Go! Take a look at some recent posts before this one for some tips on planning any trip, using your own Bucket Lists and desire for things yet unseen and experienced. And the most amazing thing, after a lot of research on current day hotels, restaurants, spas, and things to do and see, IMHO, the prices in The Most Romantic Place In The World are still reasonable.

Milan - Leonardo & Armani Slept Here - Life Imitates Art & Vice Versa

Planes, Trains & The Last Supper

As we settled into our seats at Tampa International for the nine-hour flight to one of the world's great fashion centers, Milan, we had read all the books, listened to the Italian language CDs for hours on end, researched late into many nights and planned our first trip abroad at a level of detail exceeded only by the Allied Invasion on D-Day. The excitement I felt was like Christmas morning, my first real date and seeing The Beatles in concert in '64 all rolled into one. Even my fellow Nomad and wife, Susie, demure though she may be, was unusually talkative and animated as she began to realize that we were actually doing something we had dreamed about for years.

As Americans traveling to the country that gave us opera, the Lamborghini, and Spaghetti, we had committed ourselves early on to learn everything we could about the history, traditions, and people of one of the great cultural building blocks of western civilization. Italy's architecture, music, art, and culinary contributions to the civilized world are well documented. But we were now taxiing to lift off to experience firsthand all of the things we had only read about in travel and history books, seen in Italian films, or heard on a Pavarotti recording.

No discussion of travel to Europe would be complete without the mandatory acknowledgement that flying for nine hours, even to Italy, is simply one of the least enjoyable experiences any human being willingly agrees to subject himself or herself to. There is no component of air travel, particularly to Europe, which can be described as pleasant, tolerable, or even slightly uncomfortable. In a word - it sucks! From the ergonomically masochistic design of the seating to the bland microwaved food to the C movies provided to help get your mind off your misery, flying on any commercial airliner for nine hours is proof positive that they just don't like you or care about you in any way. But in a world which is growing increasingly less civil by the day, it's the price one must pay to experience the joys of travel to the continent. And without hesitation, I can say it was worth every uncomfortable second spent with Delta to experience one of the truly great cultures of the western world.
After our uneventful flight  & arrival at Milan's Malpensa Airport, we made our way through customs and boarded a quick train to Cordona Station. As per travel guru Rick Steveswe planned to store our luggage in a locker at the train station as we had reservations to view one of the great paintings of Leonardo Da VinciThe Last Supper, which was within walking distance of Cordona Station. Alas, this was not to be, as the lockers were closed for repairs. Since there was no plan B, we headed out foSanta Maria Delle Grazie Church with our luggage in tow. Then we got lost. As strangers in a strange land, we were at the mercy of various people on the street to give us directions to the church. After finally finding our destination late, the very nice English-speaking docent allowed us to view the great painting with the next reserved group.
With our luggage still in tow, exhausted from a nine-hour flight, we stood in awe of one of the most compelling works of art ever created. As we studied the great mural created by the original Renaissance Man, the first sparks of the paradigm shift hit us. We knew we were in a different time and in the presence of divine inspiration from another time at this place. Davinci painted The Last Supper around 1495. As with all great ancient paintings, the painting suffered extreme deterioration over five centuries. Fortunately for weary pilgrims and art lovers alike, the painting went through a major restoration started in 1978 and completed in 1999. Because of the popularity of this priceless 
work of art, viewing is only allowed by small groups 
in fifteen-minute intervals.

Just as Leonardo himself was obsessed with his mode of dress (many historians consider him to be the first real fashion conscience genius), any account of a visit to Milan would not be complete without a discussion of its position as one of the fashion centers of the world. Armani, Versace, Chanel, Prada and Gucci are just a few on the endless roster of world renown and less famous designers who have boutiques all over The City of Fashion. They even have outlet malls. And you thought outlet malls were only on I-75 between Atlanta and Tampa. No sir. Milan is the place for fashion conscience shopaholics, rich and fiscally challenged alike.

Pizza, Coca Cola, and The Duomo
Upon leaving The Last Supper and the Santa Maria Delle Grazie with our first real memory of Italy, we headed for the famed Piazzo del Duomo, the main city square of Milan. Getting more exhausted by the minute, we snagged an outside table at a small cafe right on the piazza, ordered pizza and a coke (cut me some slack, it's my first day) and marveled at the most important work of Gothic architecture in Italy, the Cathedral Duomo. This majestic work of art took over five centuries to build. At over 500 feet in length, 300 feet in width and 350 feet in height, this massive church features five naves constructed of white Candoglia marble. Though thoroughly exhausted from our flight and first day activities, we enjoyed our first meal in Italy in plain view of one of the greatest works of religious architecture ever created. As we sat and took in the beautiful day in our new temporary home, we gathered up our luggage and headed to the train station for a connecting train to Lake Como and a little hotel on a mountain.


After settling into our first-class seats for about $90 Euro for two, we headed out for the three-hour train ride to the small resort town of Varenna on Lake Como and The Hotel Eremo Gaudio, a small boutique number in a re-purposed former monastery built on the side of a mountain in the 1400's. One note - Sadly - The Eremo Gaudio is now closed. However, there are countless other reasonably priced hotels and AIRBNB's on the shores of Lake Como and other nearby villages.  As we began to speedily make our way through the countryside to Lake Como, I thought to myself, these Italians have this train thing down. We were traveling the way human beings were meant to travel in what has to be one of the most amazing countries on earth. And we had only been there a few short hours. As we emerged from a long tunnel, the train sped around a curve and Lake Como came into view. I gently squeezed my favorite Nomad's hand and smiled. Sorpreddente (Surprising)! Next up, Varenna and Lake Como. 

So, get busy. Find places to stay and things to see and do in this great land of romance and beauty. As Giuseppe Verdi said - "You may have the universe if I may have Italy". 

Italy - you'll never forget it if you go!


Travel Quote of The Week.
 "A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what is expected a man should see". Samuel Johnson 

Video Artists of The Week.  Even if you are not an opera fan, you will be moved by this classic - The Three Tenors performing O Sole Mio 1994.