Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dublin Castle

A 'brilliant' quartet of urinals at Dublin Castle
Now that's a urinal! What it lacks in privacy, it makes up for in eye appeal. They've even got a chap guarding the door for you outside. Dublin Castle was pretty locked down when we visited, since Queen Elizabeth was due in a day or so. But St Patrick's was wide open and stunning.  Sadly, a picture won't tell this tale very well at all.

Standing Guard

St Patrick's

You can't not love this place

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

One of my favorite museums. It has everything from mammals to orchids to the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond from India. Dinosaurs were a big hit as well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wrigley Mansion - Phoenix

The house that gum built is pretty impressive with Moroccan-inspired architectural themes detailing the ceilings and tile work. The 16,000 sq ft home looks over the Arizona Biltmore, and sits on about 15 acres in a beautiful area of Phoenix. The Wrigley's considered it their winter cottage.

The 1920's era Steinway piano is one of two privately-owned player pianos in existence and is currently worth something like $18M. It plays 12 different Gershwin classics, including Rhapsody in Blue which we got to listen to. Mr. Hormel (the potted meat guy) saved the mansion from the wrecking ball when he purchased the mansion in 1991 for $2.1M. Mr. Wrigley was so fond of the piano that his will stipulated it could never be separated from the home (Liberace had given his son a blank check to try and buy it from Wrigley's son at one point).  At the time of his purchase of the mansion, Hormel knew full-well that the piano alone was worth more than the purchase price for the entire estate (William Wrigley spent $1.2M to build it in 1931). 

All the tiles were brought in from Catalina Island, 99% of which Mr Wrigley owned. Bathrooms are beautifully tiled--the pictures are rather uninspiring and simply don't do them justice. 

Moroccan-themed ceiling over the entrance with gold-leaf detailing