Sunday walk, and this was a fun one. We went to visit the abandoned house of a wealthy portuguese guy who owned a big property in Sintra, a protected forest area. He owned the company who sold the first personal computers in Portugal. The guy had a lavish house with a huge ballroom made almost entirely of white marble and an indoor pool but that's nothing new. The key feature of the property is the replica of the Disney castle he built for his 5 yr daughter. He asked Disney for permission to build the castle and they did more than that - they sent him the designs of the castle. He eventually went broke and had to abandon the property, which is now being sold for 1.5M€. Sadly, the house and the castle are badly kept and heavily vandalized. Once can only imagine how lavish this house must have been it its glorious days.
Yountville in Napa County, California is in a nice rural area, but for me, it is bad memories. It is where the home for military veterans is and I lived there for a while. But lots of bad things went on there and I took the opportunity to leave as soon as I could.
The best part of the Yountville Veterans Home was the World War II veterans. Those guys are class. The Viet Nam War era veterans and later are troublesome - drug and alcohol abuse and worse, corruption by the home's administration feeding on them. It makes a Veterans retirement home a looney bin.
I have learned - never allow yourself to be in an institution and that means old folks homes too. Having free choice and freedom from mischief is essential. Having somebody dictate your life is an atrocity.