Built between 1928-30, Villa Tungendhat stands today as a perfect assimilation of the creative genius, craftsmanship and design aesthetic of the architect Mies Van der Rohe. Long before he left for Chicago, this man was given creative freedom to create a home using all his then modern bauhaus ideas.
This Villa was the reason for my visit to Brno, Czech Republic. About 206 km southeast from Prague, this amazing property stands among other comparatively ordinary but lovely homes in a nice neighborhood in the hills above the City. And as with trains, planes and automobile's, I arrived late at the close of the day and the Director allowed me a private tour. As a former architecture student at Berkeley, I had written a paper on the Villa. I had written the director to make the visit. But to walk it without visitors, was a dream come true.
The home feels as modern today, as it certainly must have then. From automated retracting glass windows, to walls of ebony wood and other precious materials, no detail was overlooked. Even the finishes on something as mundane as closet drawers, window coverings and use of linoleum for floors in the main space all serve to create a perfect union of form and function.
And the furniture! Everyone knows I covet a Barcelona Chair. Designed for this home by Lilly Reich.
The home implemented a steel load bearing structure allowing for open design, hot air heating and cooling system, electric windows, and a photocell at the entrance.
This is unique today, but in 1928? A marvel.
More Info: http://www.tugendhat.eu/en/villa-tugendhat/the-architect.html
HOTEL: We stayed in the K+K Hotel Picasso 4* Superior, Passeig de Picasso, 26-30 Ciutat Vella 08003 Barcelona. 3 nights ran @ $492 which was a great deal.
Pluses: It's in the Borne District (quieter than Gotic with charm and convenience), easy to get to from the airport (it's right between Estacio de Franca train station and Arc de Triomf Line 1 metro stop), close to one of Barcelona’s best bars El Bar de l’Antic Teatre. It has a fantastic buffet breakfast ( important if you're an early riser and want more than coffee and a pastry. Why? Breakfasts aren't a big deal in Spain, and most cafes open after 10 am). The hotel is right across from the Parc de la Ciutadella, and easy walk to everything. The public rooms at the hotel are lovely, even a guitar for your use.
Minuses: Don't expect big rooms, but great staff and public spaces make up for it.
WHAT'S the WHAT: Restaurants: Lunch is between 1 and 4 pm. Dinner is between 8 pm and midnight.
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Thanks to Norwegian Airlines I found some ridiculously cheap tickets from Oakland, California to Barcelona and out of Malaga for the return. Perfect. The plan was Spain from one coast to the other! I convinced my oldest son to join me. Here is an overview of the trip. For details on specific cities, click on the links below.
From Barcelona to Malaga hitting 3 separate parts of the coastline in 14 days. We rented a car on our last day in Barcelona and drove it to Granada. Then we took the bus to Malaga (An easy trip, buses depart every half hour). It gave us more flexibility in our travel, but was quite expensive compared to train or bus travel. Your choice!
BARCELONA 3 days
Day Trip to Montserrat Option
BILBAO 1 day
MADRID 2 days
TOLEDO 1 Day
CORDOBA 1 day
SEVILLE 2 days
Ronda - Day Trip
GRANADA 2 days
MALAGA 2 days
Go before they are on the €uro, or members in the EU and the prices skyrocket. Go while they have not burned out on tourists - who despite our best behavior, can wear down the most hospitable of hosts. To me, it has the best of Italy and Greece combined. Go, Go , Go.
Croatia has got so many things going for it, I can't even begin to list them all.
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We drove from Barcelona to Bilbao via Pamplona. You could just as easily fly, but the road was easy and the views were beautiful.
We rented a Hertz - Compact 4/5-Door Car Manual. and picked it up at Calle Viriat 45, Barcelona, It was $167 with $88 in additional comprehensive insurance. Barcelona to Pamplona took about 5 hours and we arrived @1 pm. We had lunch and a walkabout. We left Pamplona around 3 pm and arrived in Bilbao @ 5pm. The terrain changes dramatically when you head over the mountains into Bilbao. It is green and lush and beautiful. Down down you head into the City of Bilbao along The Nervión river (Basque: Nerbioi) which runs through the city of Bilbao into the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay).
Turn on sound. The start features a singer we listened to in Dubrovnik. There is music in every city at night. The first waterfalls are in Krka National Park. Bring a suit ... you can take a refreshing dip. The second and much larger park is further North in Plitvice National Park. No swimming here. But worth the trek to this magical place.
"A travel gene? Who knew genes can compel some of us to wander the earth, seek new adventure and hate to sit still? In my family we referred to it as "ants-in-the-pants". Well now new science and migratory history explains that some of the human population is just naturally coded to "get up and go". All thanks to ADD and long alleles.
This is possibly the best news ever ... for me.
Who Goes There?
I have circumnavigated the globe a few times. I don't do backpacks. And I don't like tour groups.
Boulogne Billancourt Apartment
Barcelona - 3 Days in Catalonia
Spain - 14 days Barcelona to Malaga
Discovering Croatia - Itinerary
Villa Tugendhat: Mies Van der Rohe
Basque Country - Bilbao, Spain
Croatia Waterfalls amazing
Do you have the Travel Gene?
Dining in Paris
Visiting France for the First Time
Paris, France - in 3 Days