Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun; so much so that it is...
The world is better for eccentrics; the artists, entertainers, scientists and imaginers who see things no one before ever did and, by virtue of their vision, take the world in a direction it never previously knew existed. Eccentricity is also the reason you can tour an authentic 12th-century Tuscan castle in California’s Napa Valley.
Quibblers will no doubt deem the previous sentence a non sequitur. A Tuscan castle cannot, by definition, exist in California. Nor can this particular castle, completed in 2007, be described as 12th century. Yet, in important ways, it is both those things, and authentically so.
So what gives?
Sticker shock greeted us on our third and most recent visit to the Napa Valley. We remember when tasting rooms were economical places to discover wine. These days they can quickly become a budget buster, with tastings running about $20 a pop for a few thin pours. Now it’s often cheaper to bypass the samplings altogether and just buy a bottle instead.
The good news is that California wine country isn’t exclusively about the wine. Many vineyards are also competing for tourist attention by building lavish grounds and offering other attractions that are often completely gratis.
For as long as I’ve known of their existence I have longed to see them. Forever after I assumed that meant going to China and, given our travel plans, China always seemed forever away. It never really occurred to me that they might actually come here. You see, they don’t get around much and I can’t really blame them, being clay and all.
A collection of travel-related magnets on a friend’s refrigerator in Seattle recently inspired a guessing game; one of our newfound favorites, actually. It’s the same game we played to an audience of salespeople at a Peter Lik photography gallery in Las Vegas. To their great annoyance (and our great amusement) we showed far less interest in spending thousands of dollars on glossy, wall-sized landscapes than we did in guessing their location.