The Friendliest Gallery in St. Augustine

Travel, St. Augustine, Aviles Street, Florida, travel, vacation, Georgia Nick Gallery, art, painting

Aviles Street in St. Augustine.

Aviles in St. Augustine is a quaint cobblestone, pedestrian friendly street with historic buildings, art galleries and restaurants. Art Walk on First Fridays is a perfect time to emerge in the creative atmosphere, grab a few munchies and pick up a few pieces of art.

Outside Georgia Nick Gallery

Georgia Nick Gallery

I visited a few galleries during Art Walk and ended up at the Georgia Nick Gallery, 11 Aviles Street. A variety of affordable art, cordial staff and generous hors d’oeuvres beckoned me. Inside the gallery, there’s art for any wallet. You’ll find helpful and knowledgeable staff.

Inside the gallery

Art of all shapes and sizes to fit your decor and budget.

The gallery owner, Georgia Nick, is a photographer and available to assist you as you browse. An article in Old City Life, hailed the Georgia Nick Gallery as “The Friendliest Gallery in Town.” You’ll agree!


“A Terrible Beauty” Exhibit at the Hunt Museum

The History Lesson

“The History Lesson” and other thought provoking paintings on display.

Limerick was a perfect place to begin my lighthouse tour of Ireland. I learned about the history of the Irish people at the Hunt Museum’s exhibit “A Terrible Beauty.” It gave me valuable insight into the culture and the history behind the formation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Silver coin Judas received to betray Jesus.

A silver coin thought to be the coin Judas received to betray Jesus.

The Hunt has a collection of 2,000 original works of art. I was fascinated by a coin said to be one of the silver coins Judas was given to betray Christ. There were modest works by Renoir and Picasso I admired.

I enjoyed the special exhibit “Terrible Beauty” by Robert Ballagh. It is a centennial reflection on the Irish uprising. Ballagh revisits paintings like Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading  the People”, Goya’s “Third of May” and other reinterpretations to bring to light the universal struggle for social justice. They provide a powerful backdrop to Ballagh’s other paintings that are a personal narrative about the courageous leaders of the uprising. I was especially intrigued by “The History Lesson.”

View of the Shannon River from the Hunt Museum.

View of the Shannon River from the Hunt Museum.

After touring with a docent, I stopped by the Museum cafe for tea and a light bite. I walked along a walkway outside the Museum to catch a glimpse of the Shannon River and King John’s Castle to complete my visit.



Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod


The Templo de Debod is one of the few complete architectonic structures located outside Egypt and the only one in Spain.

At the request of Egypt and Sudan, UNESCO made an international appeal for help to save the temples and monuments that were in danger. In 1968 Spain received the Templo de Depod in gratitude for its help in saving the temple of Abu Simbel.

At the Templo de Debod.

At the Templo de Debod.

This temple was located in the south of Egypt, in the Lower Nubia, very close to the first cataract and to the religious center dedicated to the Goddess Isis, on the Philae Island. Construction of the Temple was started by Adikhalamani, King of Meroe, at the beginning of the 2nd Century BC. This chapel, decorated with reliefs, is one of the few monuments that makes reference to this monarch.

City of Madrid

A Night At the Museum

Museo Nacional del Prado.

Museo Nacional del Prado.

It is said if you really want to see the best of a city ask a local. I did one better, I asked a relative.

My daughter had been raving on about the palace in Madrid and asked if I wanted her to take me to see the palace and a few historical sights in Madrid. On my final day in Madrid, I decided to take her advice and I’m glad I did.

Palacio Real de Madrid.

Palacio Real de Madrid.

She took me to Palacio Real de Madrid —-The largest palace in western Europe. Walking toward the palace from Plaza de Orient was breathtaking.

Plaza de Orient Square.

Plaza de Orient Square.

Afterwards we to Santa Maria la Real de la Almidena.


Cupola of the Santa Maria la Real de la Almedina.

It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid.

A view of Madrid.

A beautiful view of Madrid at Parque de la Montana.

Next I got a bird’s eye view of eastern Madrid at Parque de la Montana.

At the Templo de Debod.

At the Templo de Debod.

Then we visited the Templo de Debod. In 1968 Spain received Templo de Debod in appreciation for helping to save Egyptian temples.

Back of Museo Nacional del Prado.

Back of Museo Nacional del Prado advertising an upcoming rotating exhibit by Ingres.

Later I visited the Museo Nacional del Prado at night because it is free from 6-8 pm. There is so much to see at the Prado. It has an out standing collection of European artists. The museum closes at 8 pm and because of the crowd I did not get inside until 6:15 pm.

I decided to focus on some of the most famous paintings and then narrowed my visit to my favorite artists. I’ve admired the art of El Greco since high school and draughtsmanship of Albretch Durer. I’d seen Durer’s prints and was delighted to now see his paintings. I also wanted to see paintings by Carravagiio but the gallery with Baroque art was closed.

I saw paintings by European masters: Rembrandt. Rubens, Velazquez, Titian and Goya. My favorite paintings were Velazquez’ masterpiece Las Meninas,La Trinidad by El Greco, Albrecht Durer’s self portrait and Adam and Eve.

With my map and art knowledge in hand, I was able to see all that I planned. A couple of times I asked for help to ensure that I did not miss anything. The museum is very large so if you want to take a leisurely stroll to see most of the collection, two hours won’t do. To see a few highlights with select artists, check out Prado’s Night at the Museum.

A Pleasant Retreat at Madrid

Monument to King Alfonso XII.

Monument to King Alfonso XII.

I lost all track of time and caused my daughter needless worry at this glorious park. It’s called Parque de Bueno de Retro or Park of the Pleasant Retreat for good reason .

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The park alone is reason enough to visit Madrid. Once a retreat for the royal class this public park is home to events, monuments, fountains and more.

The Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace

Inside the Crystal Palace.

Inside the Crystal Palace.

I got off my Madrid City Tour Bus to romp through the park instead stopping to visit a museum.


I’ve never made the conscious choice to visit a park instead of a museum. As an artist—that says a lot!


Walking the Plank in Madrid

Palacio de Comunicaciones

I saw a sign welcoming refugees at the Palacio de Comunicaciones.

My trip to Madrid was supposed to be a drive by.

With four days in London and one day and two halves in Madrid, I felt their would be little time to really enjoy and see Madrid. My daughter asked me to arrive on a Thursday and leave the following Thursday. She was taking business classes and had fit me in during her down time.

With so little time in Madrid, I gave more thought to my trip to London. I downloaded the app VisitaCity and planned our London trip. My son advised me to at least research Madrid. Sure that it would only frustrate me, I ignored his advise. My daughter offered to take me sightseeing in Madrid, I still said a firm no. With no plans for Madrid, I boarded the plane.

After a pleasant flight on American Airlines, I arrived at Madrid. I walked on what seemed like an endless plank and followed the crowd to customs, an elevator and caught a train to the baggage area.


I walked over to a Cabifly stand where a nice lady helped me make arrangements to catch a cab to Madrid.

I was supposed to tour the city—but I decided to rest. Later that evening we had tapas and Churros. Friday, I was refreshed and ready to catch a tour bus to see the city, visit the Museo del Prado, meet my daughter at Museo Reina Sophia then have dinner.

My daughter had classes. So she downloaded Google maps to guide me to the tour bus stop. After getting lost once, I caught the tour bus.

Museo Arquelogico

Museo Arquelogico

In the middle of the Madrid City Tour, I jumped off amazed at all the beautiful architecture.

Puerto de Alcala

I got off the bus when seeing Puerto de Alcala.

I walked through Parque del Retiro and decided to forego the Prado. Losing track of time and not checking in with my daughter, I wandered throughout the Park and city captivated by the marvels of Madrid.

Monument to King Alfonso XII.

At Parque del Retiro, I changed my plans after seeing the lake and monument to King Alfonso XII.


I left Parque del Retiro, to walk through Madrid.

I finally caught a cab to Museo Reina Sophia and waited an hour in the lobby for my daughter. She had gone into the museum and wasn’t happy to find my in the lobby. Worried because I hadn’t checked in, I think she would have asked me to walk a plank if she could have.

The Best Guide in Europe

A view of Madrid.

The most distinctive geographical feature of Spain is its mountains. Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe besides Switzerland.

I dreamed of painting picturesque lighthouses on mountains in Spain but found no guide to take me there. Like most of my life, my plan to paint European lighthouses did not materialize.

In Great Britain, Trinity House, overseer of most of Britain’s lighthouses, had no organized guides for tours to all of their lighthouses.

Disappointed, I scratched my plans and settled for two lighthouses. Trinity Lighthouse in London and St. Catherine’s a few hours away from London.

St. Catherine’s Lighthouse at the Isle of Wight soars above the British shore poetically. Day trips are only $100. With that in mind I made plans.

To my dismay, two weeks before my trip, the ferry port for the Isle of Wright caught fire. All trips were cancelled. I considered that a spiritual red flag and reluctantly made plans to just paint the Trinity Lighthouse.

My daughter who made the discovery about the fire consoled me and said “Maybe things will change by the time we get to London.” However, when we arrived in London, things changed from bad to worse. The storm Imogene was brewing off the coast of Isle of Wright making the day trip impossible.

Thankful I could at least visit one European lighthouse, we caught the London Tube to the hamlet of West India.

Sign for Trinity buoy wharf.

Trinity Buoy Wharf awaits.

My heart raced as we walked a few blocks to Trinity Buoy Wharf to the lighthouse.

Trinity Lighthouse

Trinity Lighthouse.

While I sketched, my daughter sipped hot chocolate at a quaint diner nearby. Reading the lighthouse signage, I glanced at another one about a lightship. Funny I had not even noticed the lightship behind until I read it. “Wow, two lighthouses,” I thought. God had quietly guided my steps.

Signage for Lightship.

Signage for Lightship.

He has a better plan if we allow only allow Him to unfold it. I did not have to travel far and wide to find two European lighthouses.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Lightship at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

God guides and orders our steps even when we are unaware of it. When pass we pass through the fire and the storm, He is with us.

Later, leaving London and grasping my bible, I heard a Brit say “you’re following the right guide.” I gave him a hug and agreed I was.