Friday, March 31, 2023


The beauty, the art, the architecture, the water, the lagoons, the bridges, the gondolas, and the popolo - The ancient city of Venice, built March 25, 0421, shows all Vagabonds the passion, romance, and joy of life and love.

"To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius." - Alexander Herzen

Take everything you have ever heard or read about Venice and multiply it by your telephone number and you'll be close to the amazing, insanely gorgeous, ancient city of Venice Italy. It will mesmerize you. It will make you laugh and cry. The vibe of this place is unfiltered. The colors are never beige. They are red, yellow, purple, green, and on and on. You will see magnificent buildings that appear to have been scrubbed by wind, rain, and sunshine - old but always new. Here are some thoughts on our trip to this place of beauty and romance:

After spending two nights in the boutique Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, we found out that a train strike was coming, so we cut our stay one night. We checked out and went to the train station. As we were sitting on a bench waiting for our train to arrive, I heard this group of young girls talking with distinctly American accents. I walked over to them and asked where they were from. Small world indeed - They were all students from Florida State University, the school from which I graduated in my hometown on summer vacation. We had a short little chat as they told us where all they were going.  I have said many times, young people should travel to Europe. It changes your thinking about the world. And it changes your mind about yourself. 

As we boarded and settled into our first-class seats for a few dollars more, we were excited about seeing the grand city of Venice. Train travel in Italy, in my humble opinion, is simply the best in Europe. It's not very expensive, the trains are immaculate and the seats are very comfortable. Plus, they provide service for snacks you can purchase on the train. A little over three hours later we arrived at Saint Lucia Station just outside of Venice. We took a vaparetto (a waterbus) and were dropped close to our small boutique Hotel Flora and walked a few minutes to check-in. One side note - Currently, prices for high-quality hotels in Venice have gone up. However, they are worth every penny. In addition, Venice has many hotels for lower prices.

Our first night in the very hip Hotel Flora was interesting. We joke all the time about that first night. We slept in the smallest hotel room we've ever slept in with each of us in a single bed on opposite ends of the room. LOL! However, the next morning, as we were enjoying our breakfast in the lush courtyard, the concierge informed us that he had moved our luggage to a much better room. All was good, as we enjoyed this small hotel and the sites, sounds, and cibo in this amazing 1,600-year-old magical place. 

Cibo Indeed

As the world knows, Italian food is simply the best food to enjoy with family and friends. The Italians are the original purveyors of the romantic and passionate enjoyment of great victuals. Here are a few quotes from well-informed diners:

" Life is a combination of magic and pasta." Federico Fellini - Italian Film Maker

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." George Miller - Australian Film Maker

"There's nothing more romantic than Italian food." Elisha Cuthbert - Canadian Actress

"In Italy, they add work and life onto their food and wine." Robin Leach - Entertainment Reporter 

All of the food we had in Italy was simply delicioso, particularly in Venice. At the top of your dining bucket list in this grand city must be one of the most famous restaurants in all of Venice, Italy, and the world - Harry's Bar. To give you some insight into this famous culinary palace, her is a quote from the Travel Web Site Trip Advisor:

This landmark bar in Venice has been around since the 1930s
and has seen the likes of celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway
and Charlie Chaplin. It's known as the birthplace of the Bellini cocktail, so don't miss the chance to try it out, along with their famous carpaccio. The dry martini is also a favorite. With its storied history, it's a good idea to have a chat with the friendly bartenders to learn more.

For dinner, try some delicious Venetian specialties like creamed cod. This spot can get pretty crowded, so it’s best to get there early. – Tripadvisor

And before dinner, it is imperative that you have a Bellini. You will not forget it. You will also enjoy the exceptional service. We were served by two smiling, English-speaking waiters who took care of us in a professional, yet friendly manner. You will enjoy a culinary experience like no other.

Another experience that must be on your bucket list is Opera. Since the Italians basically invented the music of love, romance, death, and intrigue, any opera in Italy will be exemplary. We attended an opera in Venice and it was amazing - The singing, the orchestra, the set, and the story. Unfortunately, I cannot locate my journal for that event, so all I can say is - Find an opera and go! It is mesmerizing.

That is just a short summary of some of the things we enjoyed in this grand city of history, art, architecture, and love. I will be posting more adventures we enjoyed in and around Venice. 

A Presto


To get you in the mood for Italy - Enjoy the power and passion of one of the greatest operatic tenors in history - Luciano Pavarotti performing "Nessun dorma" from Turandot.

Saturday, March 4, 2023



Salvador Dali, born May 1904, is one of the most innovative, provocative artist to ever paint a canvas or weld a sculpture. His name at birth was actually Salvador Dimingo Felip Jacinto Dali Domenech. To say he was a surrealist would be a preposterous understatement. His work is considered by most art critics to be the most striking art of the surrealist movement with amazing technical skill and bizarre images.

And, during our three-week trip to the beautiful and art filled country of Spain, our kids joined us for a week of laughter, great food and amazing sightseeing. While in Barcelona, we saw many architectural wonders and great art in this beautiful city.
And of course - the food. Tapas is the only way to enjoy delicioso chow in this art filled country. 

One morning, we all piled in the car and drove the roughly two hours to see the Dali Musem Theatre and the Dali House - Portilligot. With five of us in the car, we had plenty to discuss on the road. LOL!

It's virtually impossible to explain and  
show the diversity and amazing work produced by Dali. You really must be there, in person, to experience all of its vivid, often bizarre colors, angles and other surreal images and physical artworks. One of the most surreal pieces is known as the Rain Car. The vintage car of the forties is always wet inside due to the never-ending rain. Ok. Yes, it's weird, but also provocative. According to the experts, Dali was enamored of his first automobile, a 1941 Cadillac, his entire art filled life.

According to the Dali Universe, a website completely devoted to the history and display of Dali's works online, he first created the Rain Taxi in 1938. Here is a partial quote from 
Dali Universe:

"According to Robert Descharnes, Dalí’s personal secretary, General Motors of America had asked Dalí to create a new model for a car they planned on producing; it would be called Cadillac de Gala. Dalí made a sketch and sent it to the company, he heard nothing back. Much to his surprise, the following year General Motors produced a new model called the Cadillac de Gala.  Dalí, never one to be hoodwinked, demanded $10,000  compensation else he would begin a lawsuit. General Motors sent him a cheque for the same amount the very next day!

Rainy Taxi (1938), Dalí’s famous art installation first premiered at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris, part of the‘ Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme,’ organized by André Breton and Paul Éluard. Two mannequins sit in a taxi which has a water system integrated, so that it appears, bizarrely, to rain inside the car.

The Cadillac that Gala used to drive, which the couple drove from coast to coast during their stay in the United States is now on display at the Museo Teatro at Figueras, it is a replica of the original Rainy Taxi installation."

So - let me encourage all Vagabonds, if you have never been to Spain, just get up and go! In Barcelona you will see one of the greatest architectural achievements of the Spanish Architect Antonio Gaudi, who managed the design and construction of Sagrada Familia from 1882 until his death in 1926. This magnificent church is still not finished. However, visiting this architectural marvel is an amazing venture for any Vagabond. It is projected to be complete in 2026. Then, after enjoying a tour of this edifice head to one of the hundreds of Tapas Restaurant/Bars for some great food. For more blog posts for other places, hotels and sights just enter SPAIN in the GO AHEAD ASK BOX on my Travel Blog thenomadarchitect.

If you can't get to Spain just now, just jump in the car and venture down to Saint Petersburg to see the largest collection of Dali Works in the world, except for his home in Spain. We lived in St. Pete for five years and visited the Dali many times. His work is now displayed in a seriously modern and fantastical museum - The Dali St. Pete. If you want to read my post on this amazing building and collection, then check out - Nomad Architect - Dal

Please accept my regalo to all my Vagabonds, Wanderers, Travelers, Lovers and Friends for this soon coming Spring to enjoy life and go somewhere.



And just to get you in the mood here is a very cool little ditty from the great Texas Troubadour Lyle Lovett and His Large Band - That's Right You're No from Texas!

‘The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it.’ – Christopher Columbus