Friday, September 22, 2017

PLACES WHERE I WOULD LOVE TO RETURN TO.

There are a number of places in the world I have visited and would love to return to.  I really have to ramp up my salesmanship to convince Marla to go back to some of my favorites because she likes new adventures.  Krabi in Southern Thailand is such a place for me. I loved the Amari Vogue Krabi resort. Marla is chilling with a cocktail at their wonderful Italian restaurant looking out at the beautiful Andaman Sea.

This is a spectacular Krabi sunset. 

On of my favorite islands in Thailand is Koh Samui. We've stayed at various places here over the years but Tongsai Bay Resort just might be on my list for the future.


Bangkok always beckons even if it is for a quick stopover. The glittering temples always fascinate and the activity on the Chao Phraya River is really interesting. Taking a "long-tail boat" taxi is fun and a fast way to get around.

And then there is Bali! Even after 23 trips, I will still return.

There are many fabulously interesting places to stay, especially outside of Ubud in the Bali Highlands. This is a view of the Ayung River at the Royal Pita Maha. We'll probably try something new on our next trip.

You never know when you'll spot a procession to a neighborhood temple in Bali. Our favorite time is during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year.


Luang Prabang in Laos is a very special place. We used Diethelm Travel as our in-country guides. I told them where I wanted to go, how long in each city, our travel style, and the hotels. They built a custom package for us. We've used them in Cambodia and in Myanmar as well. I would really like to visit some new area of Laos next time.


We LOVED Morocco on our first visit. Marrakech is very special but next time we must add Fez as well. One of my Facebook friends has almost completed her own riad in Marrakech.


We have not been up to the Mendocino Coast for years and it's time to return! The Agate Cove Inn looks perfect!

My grandparents first took me to the Russian River when I was a little boy. I think kayaking would be fun! The wines of Sonoma County and the Russian River region are wonderful!


There is something magical about Montalcino in Tuscany! I first explored this area on a bike tour. Next time I will bring Marla. Look at these views! I could just stare out at the vista with wine, bread & salami, and some Pecorino Toscano cheese. 

I stayed in Bellagio on Lake Como on a bike trip last year. Marla and I first went to Lake Como together many years ago in January for business. Next time it will be in summer.

Corsica is another one of those amazing places which the French would like to keep a secret. We stayed in the North last time but Bonifacio in the South looks fabulous!

I stayed at Lac Annecy on three separate bike trips in the past. I know Marla would love Annecy town.

Croatia was a real discovery for us on our first trip! Next time, somewhere new like Korcula.

We had dinner at two Michelin star La Chevre d'Or in Eze with our friends Kathy & Philippe Auzas. I think it would be fabulous to stay overnight sometime!

Cannes is one of our special places for lots of reasons! For me, there is nothing better than shopping at the market, buying bread and wine,....and having Marla, our master chef, prepare dinner. I would love to return!


Sark is one of my very favorite islands! We always ride bikes to the Hotel Sablonnerie for lunch as they don't allow cars. Love their Sark lobster. Our grandson, Paxton, went there on the back of his dad's bike when he was one year old.

The Isle of Guernsey is another one of those very special places in my heart. We've visited over 30 times over the years to see my sister Patty.  Marla even went there before we were married without me to visit my sister. We will return soon! My niece Suzanne and her husband Chris, and my brother-in-law Vic still live there.

I NEVER tire of visiting the Hawaiian Islands! The Big Island is my favorite and it is always special when I can spend some time with my brother!

Images: Dick Gentry, Azamarclub Cruise, AARP travel

Friday, September 15, 2017

THE DANCER'S ISLAND...WHICH BECAME RUDOLF NUREYEV'S FABULOUS RETREAT

A few years ago while staying at the wonderful Hotel Buca di Bacco in Positano I looked over the railing of our terrace as workers were setting up a performance stage on the beach.

That night I watched the dancers rehearse on the stage. There was a warm wind blowing off the ocean. The sounds of the waves below and the lilting music made for an enchanting evening. The performance was for POSITANO PREMIA LA DANZA LEONIDE MASSINE. Massine worked with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as principal dancer and as a choreographer in the early 20th century.  I researched  Leonide Massine and found he once owned an island right offshore from Portofino. The story and the island fascinated me.

From Positano, you can see Li Galli (also known as Le Sirenuse) off to the upper left.

I took this photo of the island on my first trip to Capri from Positano. The stone tower on the hill was part of an early Amalfi Coast defensive system to spot Saracen raiders. 

From the air, the island looks like a dolphin.

Leonide Massine first fell in love with Li Galli while staying with a friend in Positano. He visited the island and was enchanted by the rough-hewn paradise. "I knew that here I could find the solitude I had been seeking, a refuge from the exhausting pressure of my chosen career." He bought the island in 1922. Massine spent many years renovating the island even working with famed architect Le Corbusier. He wanted to establish an arts center on the island but his busy work schedule prevented it. He died in 1979.
The image above shows him working with his dancers on the island.

Rudolf Nureyev, one of the world's greatest dancers, visited IL Galli and fell in love with it immediately. Greta Garbo, Princess Margaret, Sophia Loren, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and many other cultural icons were enchanted by this magical place.
The Nureyev purchase of Li Galli from the Massine estate for $2.4 million was finalized in 1988. He was totally engaged in putting his creative signature on the interiors. In Julie Kavanagh's biography, Nureyev: The Life, she talks about Nureyev's obsession with tiles, the search for furniture and textiles. The image above was in one of the rooms he had decorated at IL Galli. His battle with AIDS limited how much he could accomplish on the island.

Nureyev loved excess as you can see in this bedroom. He died in Paris in 1993.  IL Galli and its contents were donated to a foundation Nureyev had created in his name. A year later the foundation sold the islands for about $3 million to Italian hotelier, Giovanni Russo.


Russo allows paying guests an opportunity to rent the island for up to 12 guests at certain times of the year. Prices for a week run from 55,000 to 150,000 Euros! 

One of the living rooms.

The dramatic kitchen has a yellow La Cornue stove.

The chapel has been used for weddings.

I love the Burmese offering containers in this bedroom.

The bathroom windows look out to the amazing azure sea.

Black and white tiled music room.

Fabulous accessories!

Nureyev had his mother's name painted on the tiles above the door in Arabic.

"Yes,...I would LOVE to join you for dinner!"

The salt water pool.

The steps lead up to the chapel.

Images: Dick Gentry, Departures, Fiorucci Art Trust, Discover Positano, Vladi Private Island, Wimp News, New Yorker, Luxury Italian Island