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Ah the Lorien, it has been a while! Since NPS last visited, IHG has done all it can to change the Kimpton chain it acquired into something we don’t recognize. The good news is that many excellent people remain, like Steph Vogel who we count as a friend.

We were assigned little nicely renovated rooms without plastic showers. Just right for this one night extravaganza. NPS was in 414.

arty bed

The shower is OK, not plastic, but who picked out that shower head?!

Thanks for the Negroni Steph!

Negroni with Watershed by Catoctin Creek

Chef prepared us dinner (we didn’t order, just reveled in what arrived). Delicious.

Must say that all of the cocktails are too sweet at the Lorien now.

We called in the usual set of favors to get the booth at the Colimbia Room. Perfect evening for talking, drinking and figuring out life.

Columbia Room menu

Breakfast the next morning was the highlight of the visit! Great to see Steph and catch up.

Then it was off to a day of art at the Hirshhorn, the Phillips, and the Renwick…oh yeah and Richard’;s house too! Just look.

Make sure to go back to the Hirshhorn. It is vastly improved

Lunch at BistrĂ´t du coin. Always French as all getout.

The Phillips is a favorite most anytime

Dinner with Richard was followed by an evening of conversation. Anytime.

All in all, an incredible visit. Life affirming on all counts.

Four showerheads for the Lorien. This IHG thing. Harumph.

Though NPS has been to Austria on multiple occasions, Graz is a new city for us. Of course, Graz is not really new — it has been here since the Copper Age (5000 BCE). So where do you stay when you go to Graz? Hotel Wiesler fits the bill.

Graz

After a fitful trip across the pond (in United Polaris First no less) and a connection made by less than three minutes, we arrived early at the very small Graz airport. A taxi into town took 30 minutes.

Fortunately, our room was ready to go. Boy did we need a long shower after all of that metal tubing! We were assigned room 418.

Like Graz itself, Hotel Wiesler is in an old facade but is quirky and modern inside. 418 reflects its metropolitan surroundings.

One bit room 418

Movable study nook

Sink in the room (mexican pottery?! OK)

The very nice shower indeed is built right into the room. Excellent design, and no plastic in sight.

NPS approved shower

You can see the old coming through in the design, with rough walls exposed. Graz did the same thing with Kuntshaus Graz, a modern museum seemingly dropped from space right into the middle of town. Sadly, the Kuntshaus was full of nothing as they are between exhibitions at the moment. But the architecture is remarkable and remarkably weird.

kunsthaus graz

View from Kuntshaus

Nothing more need be said

One of the most popular old restaurants in a town that likes to eat is just behind hotel Wiesler. In fact, you can see it out the windows of 418.

Gasthaus zur Alten Press

see

Beware the weiner schnitzel, which comes in very delicious but huge servings.

Dinner on top of the hill at Aiola Upstairs was pretty not bad. Getting up there via stairs is the way to do it!

The dreaded stairs

Hotel Wiesler in view

pagota

top castle and armory from 1500s

Cocktails in Graz is a possibility. See Landhaus Keller.

Hote Wiesler makes the grade. Four showerheads and a big thank you for the very early checkin!

Is Chicago Is not Chicago

January 25, 2016

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A man drives a plane
Into the Chrysler building
A man drives a plane
Into the Chrysler building

Saskatoon is in the room
Poulsbo is in the room
Bennetsville is in the room
Palmyra is in the room

Is Chicago
Is not Chicago
Is Chicago
Is not Chicago

A man cuts in half
Just like he snaps a pencil
A man cuts in half
Just like he snaps a pencil

Khartoum is in the room
Phnom Penh is in the room
Pyongyang is in the room
Cairo is in the room

Is Chicago
Is not Chicago
Is Chicago
Is not Chicago

A man drives a plane
Into the Chrysler building
A man drives a plane
Into the Chrysler building
Into the, into the, into the, into the

Mailbox in Virginia

Mailbox in Virginia

Art at the MCA

Art at the MCA

MCA afternoon

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Architecture for a game

up

up

down

down

Mostly we were here for the astounding Eighth Blackbird. Sometimes when I perform my body has the same emotional response. But never when I watch. This is the future.

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This is the future.

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Excellent birds.

Oh, and the Palomar moved us down ten floors. Still a sweet suite.

no plastic showers

no plastic showers

sit

sit

stay

stay

Also of note, Bottlefork is a great place for brunch and Three Dots and a Dash is a nice place for a banana daiquiri. Yeah, I know.

It’s sunny this Sunday in London. We’re sure that is an anomaly.

Nothing but blue sky

Nothing but blue sky

Refreshed from a morning visit to the Zetter, we settled into room 11 at the Zetter Townhouse across the square after a light lunch.

Just like across the street, it is great to be recognized when you walk in!

3rd floor corridor

3rd floor corridor

leads to ...

leads to …

Room 11

Room 11

Zetter townhouse room 11 (according to Fabian has the best shower)

Zetter townhouse room 11 (according to Fabian has the best shower)

There is a glass shower.

No plastic in sight

No plastic in sight

Artsy bathroom quadrangle

Artsy bathroom quadrangle

Then it was off to the British Museum for a few hours. First time visit even though I have lost count of how many I have been to London. Here are some impressions.

The British Musem

The British Musem

Skull

Skull

Ceasar

Ceasar

Skull

Skull

Skull

Skull

People by the stone

People by the stone

Writing

Writing

Timing

Timing

So very British

So very British

An early and truly fantastic dinner was had at the Chiltern Firehouse. Truly exceptional flavors. Followed by too many Liberals and too much ping pong at the Zetter Townhouse living room. Marco served us well.