Monday, January 23, 2017


If You Wanna Dance and Eat Well - Head for Seville

As we boarded the train bound for Seville, the small capital of one of the most endearing regions of Spain, Andalucia, I was taken back to my memories of train travel in Italy and France. I said, at the time, and I still say - These Europeans got this train thing figured out. Immaculate, comfortable and very fast, train travel in Europe, Spain included, is the best way to go from any point A to any point B. And it's very reasonably priced. The web site for RAIL EUROPE is easy to use to procure reasonably priced tickets, and, there are many other ticket sellers at various prices, higher and lower. As we pulled away from our three days in Europe's second coolest capital, we were so looking forward to more adventures, expected and unexpected. And, as expected, the trip via train was like riding on air - fabulosas!

A Quick 2+ Hours On The Train And An Interesting Cab Ride To Another AIRBNB Winner

We collected our luggage and hailed a cab. After getting in the cab, with his English and our Spanish, he entered the address of our AIRBNB in his I-phone. As usual, in most European cities, unless a place is on a central or main street, it doesn't really comply with Google Map requirements for specific locations not on a beaten path. As we are winding our way through narrow lanes, our driver is asking people for help in finding our place. After a few enquiries and several turns, we found the AIRBNB we would be in for the next three nights. Just a note for Interesting Vagabonds - If you are traveling in a country or region for a couple of weeks, I highly recommend staying in each place or city you visit a minimum of three days to get the feel and vibe of the place and truly enjoy what it has to offer.

We entered the access code and walked into the contemporary studio the yellowBox and, as with every AIRBNB we have stayed in, were highly impressed with the design and location  of the place and its surroundings. It was thoroughly modern, comfortable and aesthetically unique in every respect. It had all the basics covered - comfortable bed, great shower/bath and ample room to relax and read or plan our next venture out. In addition  to the interior design of original brick walls, modern furnishings and a complete kitchen, the neighborhood was in the middle of everything, yet very private. Another unexpected weekly happening every Friday was an open market in the small square which the studio borders. And, because its in Spain, there were many things for sale that you just don't find at home. We even bought some tiles which we plan to install in a small courtyard in our own house.

Not long after arriving, I texted the owner, who came by with goodies, cookies, fruit, o.j. etc. and showed us the many places and things we could enjoy in the area. Our time spent in this unique rental unit from AIRBNB was excellent in every way. And the price was $80 - $120, depending on when you go. As an architect and a demanding vagabond, it exceeded every expectation we had for a great, comfortable and low cost place to lay our heads and hang out between trips around town.
So - It's only January - get busy. With great exchange rates and economical options for everything in this great modern and history filled country, Seville is one place you don't want to miss. Next post - The Flamenco Experience in Detail.
Comer Tapas Un Poco - You'll Thank Me !

Lamata 24

Wednesday, January 11, 2017



That's right. The people of Spain throughout are friendly, helpful and seem to truly enjoy their lives. AND - they generally either speak English or give it their best college try. OK - I will admit a certain digression in my recounting of one of the truly great adventures this Nomad, his Mrs. Nomad and his Nomad Kids in one of the greatest countries on the planet - Spain. To bring all of my favorite readers up to speed, please click on the following links to read the first three posts about our 2015 trip to The Land of The Conquistadors: 
Museum Day In Madrid - Guernica And Tapas

Next Step - La Mancha - A Bucket List Must

It was our third and last day in the urban metropolis of Madrid. So what are a boy and girl to do in Ispania, the land of  rabbits, as the Carthaginians named it in 300 B.C.? After picking up a sweet little Volvo number, we struck out for the land of La Mancha and the storied windmills of Señor Don Quixote & his loyal squire Sancho Panza. With our I-phones and Google Maps directing us - we are after all conversant with all the latest in vagabond technology - we arrived in the land made famous by the the first modern novel - Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

As Exploradors, we took in completely an area of Spain that has become the physical embodiment of the myths so poetically written about in the great novel by Cervantes. The area, and, more specifically, the windmills must be seen on any trip to Western Spain. It is, at most,  a relaxing two hour drive from Madrid through the plains to an area and the small town of Consuegra nearby that feels almost medieval. There are several restored windmills. Four are still usable with the machinery still working so you may, if you desire, see how these ancient structures used to work. It is said that these windmills were passed down from generation to generation and the primary purpose of them was to grind grain.  There is also a tenth century castle to enjoy.

One thing that must be experienced, no matter how many books or pamphlets you read about the area, is the vibe. With the windmills standing strong on a long rise against flat plains surrounding these vigilant structures, it feels like you have truly stepped back in time. This was a great, inexpensive, relaxing day trip from Madrid.

So, check your New Year's Resolutions AND your Bucket List, and get busy making plans to travel to one of Europe's truly great countries with great hotels, great food and some of the most amazing architecture on the planet. Any country that produced the master of modern art Pablo Picasso and one of the world's greatest architects, Antonio Gaudi, must be on every Nomad's Bucket List. With the Euro at an all time low against the Dollar, there is no better time to go than 2017.

Disfrute del paseo !!


Video Artist of The Week - The Avett Brothers - OK - I am a new fan of this pop/rock/folk band from North Carolina. This band of two brothers and other great players and singers dishes out an entirely new take on pop, blues, country, honky tonk and ragtime. Take a listen of a cut off their latest CD - Ain't No Man.

Monday, January 2, 2017



Let's be honest. Unless you have unlimited funds and unfettered time, you have to look at those things that you have always dreamed of doing or places to which you have always dreamed of traveling with a discerning eye to planning and budgeting. But - and this is very important - do not forsake your responsibility as a wild and crazy NOMAD to write down your very own list for you and yours of the places, best hotels and ultimate vacays you just gotta take in 2017.
Nothing Changes You Like Travel
Whether you go to your favorite place at the beach just down the road or you make that long awaited trip  to a faraway place, nothing will have the impact on you that travel does. Travel allows you to unfetter your head and your soul. When you see other cultures, other people living their lives in another part of the world or a landscape you have never experienced, travel makes indelible marks that you will always go back to throughout out your life.
You may even have a "Damascus Road Moment" when something is so amazing or unexpected that it changes your entire reference point about life. That happened to me when we went to Italy. America, in my humble opinion, is the greatest country on earth, but, I saw things and people in Italy that changed my outlook on people and culture in other parts of the world. And don't get me started on the food!
And For All of You Cheapies - There Is Good News
The Dollar is very strong against the Euro and the Pound for 2017. That means you can go a lot cheaper than you could five years ago. The dollar is at record highs against foreign currencies right now. You could save up to twenty five percent on flights, hotels, food and other travel expenditures. So, get on line and make those reservations today! There's nothing that warms the cockles of your travel heart like staying in a five star at three star prices. That admonition does not include the west coast of the US, which hasn't seen three star prices in years.
For the budget conscious among my friendly NOMADS, here are some thoughts on places to go and places to sleep  for a song:
Hola Espana!
If you are one of those travelers that have a need to get the most bang for your buck, then it never rains on the plain in Spain. The weather is good and the prices are low. You can find amazing boutique hotels and some of the best AIRBNB places to lay your head for pennies compared to similar joints in the UK, France or Italy. And Spain has it all - great architecture and art, friendly people, excellent rail travel and fabulous food. Do not miss The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Web Sites With Cool Places To Sleep
I highly recommend the following hotel web site links for well priced, upscale boutique hotels.
I-Escape - Excellent place for poor and rich NOMADS to choose a choice hotel. If you are going to Paris, try The Hotel Mayet. It's easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and its latest rate is $71.00 per night. We stayed there. Great little place. And have dinner at the little café next door. You'll thank me.
Epoque Hotels - Same as I-Escape, except edgier. You can find a great place to sleep for a song with excellent, cutting edge design.
Avante Garde Hotels - Its name says it all. This site features hotels that have cutting edge design features at reasonable prices.
Tablet Hotels - Great web site with great places to lay your weary head from low price to high. All hotels are high end designed with great beds and amenities.
Design Hotels - Another hotels web site featuring high end designed hotels by some of the most innovative architects and designers.
And Then There Is AIRBNB
I have sung the praises of this peer to peer vacation rental service since we stayed in our first AIRBNB in Eugene, Oregon several years ago. If you are budget conscious then AIRBNB is the place to look. That is especially true if you have a family or a larger group that needs a great place to stay. The web site has improved exponentially and provides one of the most sophisticated search engines for locating that perfect spot. The only caveat is this - With over 800,000 properties to choose from, you must do your homework with time spent searching for the perfect place. And read the reviews. I was told by an AIRBNB owner that reviews cannot be removed. That means that you are reading unedited reviews and thoughts on each place. From Seattle to Barcelona, we have never had a bad experience or disappointment with this great service.
So there you have it. Get busy planning and dreaming and going to that place or places you have always dreamed about. And go in the knowledge and assurance that it will be life affirming and possibly life changing. Watching old men play bocce ball in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or seeing the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City or attending a real Flamenco dance in Andalucia, the place of its birth, will give you memories and points of reference you will always cherish.

Happy Trails / Buen Camino / Bonne Randonnee / Buon Viaggio  - In any language it is my fervent hope that your 2017 travels will take you far and wide to places yet unseen for new experiences that will last a lifetime.