After all the years of enjoying some wine from France, I made my way through the wine country of Bordeaux.
Why is it that nobody talks much about Berlin? Well, I’m have to say that it is one of the most amazing places of my journeys. Traffic is not bad even though it is spread out. There are young people scattered about with older people that appear young and hip. Neat cafe’s all around, fine dining that is affordable, and art galleries from one end of town to the other. Miles and miles of canals, remnants of the wall, modern architecture mixed with old, safe taxi’s, and most everyone speaks English. In fact, at the new SoHo House bar, English was the basic language as people from all parts of the globe united with one common language.
This famous Berlin bunker is now the residence of a nice couple that invited us to dinner. Their modern (often wild) art collection fills the building and they live on the beautiful addition to the roof.
Sebastiaan showing off his art in the studio. www.cultofsebastiaan.com Art galleries are trying to get these guys to temper the art to make it more salable….hmmm. The contrarian investor in me pays attention.
There are only a few places in the world that I have experienced awe the second visit as much as the first. This second visit to Venice was as powerful as the first. I’m hoping to find a place to rent for a month there. There is yet another island to blame for my love of travel.
A friend had a concert at La Cigale on Saturday night, a very old theater at the foot of Montmartre in Paris and a bunch of us decided that was enough of an excuse to show up. But, why not hang around a few extra days, after all, it is Paris…so walking around, eating too much, touring the Louvre to see Lisa, L’Orangerie to see Claude, and being hosted for a fabulous dinner at a beautiful home right on the Champs D’Elysse kept me moving around enough to once again overdose on the passion of this great city.
So when my friend called to invite me to spend a few days in France at his Chateau, I of course began to rearrange the calendar to make it work out. The countryside of France in May is beautiful, and not very crowded. The trip to the American Cemetary at Omaha Beach provoked once again the notion that those of us that were born have some responsibility to those that had their potential parents lives cut short in battle, and never were born.
Straight to the facts. Reporting from Paris. I walked into a small cute shirt/tie shop in the Marais called “Nodus”. They have beautiful stuff. I’m successful enough, I think to myself. I don’t need to ask the price of a shirt! 200 Euros, $300 USD later I leave in shock. Yesterday, I wander into the Hemmingway Bar, Ritz Hotel for a Mohito where they make it with Havana Club rum. Now you do know Havana is in Cuba, a third wold economy so remember Havana Club is not expensive! ONE Mohito cost me $44.00….this is not a mistake. I’m not making this up. For Real. And this AM, a Vente Coffee at Starbucks cost me $6.00, it is $2.10 at my local Starbucks. Forget the weak dollar for a minute, this cost 3.40 euros.
Rumors of the demise of the middle class in America are gaining momentum in my thinking. We have overspent on housing for many years now, (Geo W. didn’t cause this) and our ability to use the house as our cultural and social economic engine are over. Living below ones means is impossible for many in the US now, and that is the only way to climb up the ladder. Wealthy Europeans will come to America and purchase back their art and antiques we bought from them over the past 50 years. They will own the best properties they don’t already have. And when the dollar recovers, they will benefit from their investments here.
I can’t wait to get back to the US of A and buy American products. I’ll save the soap box, but when I was visiting a friend a month ago in Jacksonville, FL we went into a Stein Mart. (The company is based there). I bought a nice dress shirt for $14.00 after the discounts on discounts.
BUY AMERICAN!!! The next President will likely win with that platform.
Changing of the guard at the Kremlin at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.