Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nazareth - bigger than we think?

USA Today had a very interesting article about Nazareth recently, including reference to the discovery of an ancient Roman bathhouse from the time of Jesus that leads some experts to believe the town was bigger than most people imagine.

As the author mentions, most tourists - and myself included from my visit last Fall - don't spend too much time in Nazareth - just enough to see the Church of the Annunciation.

This is an interesting read.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu

If your travel plans entail going to Mexico in the next month, many travel operators are waiving their cancellation penalties and allowing travelers to make alternate arrangements. Please contact if you have concerns.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baseball road trip

Wow, what a phenomenal night I just had. I'll explain in a minute, but let me first say that this has got me thinking about a perfect baseball road trip for later this summer or early in the fall.

First, I have to admit to being a huge Kansas City Royals fan since I was a young kid in the 1970s. Tonight I had the chance to go to a game in Kansas City that was absolutely perfect.
The weather was great - a bit breezy, but 79 degrees at gametime. The ballpark is almost 40 years old but underwent some renovations in the offseason that make it truly sparkle.

The Royals widened the concourses and added concessions stands. (I had the chili cheese fries at the sports bar in RF - wow) They also added seats and activities in the outfield. Don't worry, the beautiful waterfalls are still there. There's a children's area that features miniature golf, a carousel, baserunning, playground and a miniature baseball diamond. In July, a Royals Hall of Fame is set to open in left field.

As a Royals fan, the game itself was outstanding. I had seats in the second row behind the dugout. Every pitch popped in the mitt, and the crack of the bat as the Royals hit two home runs early in the game was awesome. On the mound, the Royals pitcher struck out 10.

So, driving back to my hotel from the game I started brainstorming about a perfect three-day weekend for later this year.

Starting in Indianapolis, drive four hours to St. Louis on the first day - probably a Friday. Stop in downtown St. Louis to visit the Arch and see the Mississippi River as well as do other things downtown. After dinner drive a couple more hours west.

On Saturday morning, finish the drive to Kansas City and fill the day with activities on the Plaza, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and cap it off with a night at the ballpark.

Any other ideas for filling a couple of hours in St. Louis and Kansas City for a young family of four?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Salvador Dali Museum - St. Petersburg, Florida

With a free evening in St. Petersburg, I decided to visit the Salvador Dali Museum on the edge of downtown. As you might expect if you know anything about Dali, it was interesting and a bit strange.

The museum itself is located near the campus of the University of South Florida next to a marina. A couple that was friends with Dali and his wife started collecting his works in the 1940s, assembling the largest private collection of his works in the world.

When the collection became too large, the couple looked for a museum that would keep the works. The waterfront location in St. Petersburg was their top pick.

I happened to visit on a Thursday night when hours are extended until 8 p.m. and after 5:00 the admission price drops to $5.

The museum is divided into a number of galleries that display Dali’s work chronologically. It was interesting to learn that Dali began painting and drawing as a young child and some of the works displayed are from his early teen years.

Some of Dali’s first works were Impressionist, and he made a brief foray into cubism ala Pablo Picasso.

The bulk of his work though is Surrealism, and as the name suggests, some of it is very different. He uses a lot of waterfront scenes, and some have very sexual content.

I was lucky enough to hear the final few moments of a presentation by one of the staff members in the Masterworks gallery. This area features 8-10 wall-sized pieces. The woman intricately explained the many hidden elements in some of his works, including The Hallucenogenic Toreador, which features numerous depictions of Venus de Milo, a hidden bullfighter and much more.

That piece and two others really caught my eye. I enjoyed Portrait of My Dead Brother, which was comprised mostly of dots, and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

On the way out of the gallery to the gift shop, the final exhibit is a gallery of surrealist art from are middle and high school students. That too was fascinating.
The exhibit is changed three to four times per year. Regular adult admission is $17.