Our recent trip to the Loire Valley included a special side trip in the small town of Amboise – a trip to Leonardo da Vinci’s house! This house, where he spent the last 3 years of his life, is also the place where he died. I have to say, it was pretty cool to be in the place where the legend slept. And unlike Graceland, where another legend slept, this legend painted the Mona Lisa. For me, this was off the charts on the “cool-things to see” scale.
Even cooler, were the designs that Leo built. He was not only a painter, but an inventor and very deep thinker. Apparently, he was invited to live in Amboise by Francois I because the minions needed entertainment and Leo was the man for the job. For many of Francois’ parties, Leo would build a machine to entertain the crowd – some machines pumped water, others showed the power of centrifugal force and one was what we would consider a paddleboat by modern standards. Can I mention here how much I love paddleboats?!
In order to bring the machine’s of Leo’s mind to life, a group of IBM engineers recently got together and built a set of the machines which you can see in operation all around the park that surrounds his house. It is really amazing to think about how people’s minds work. It’s clear that in idle times (like when he’s not painting the Mona Lisa or something) Leo’s mind went to machines. I wish I were like that, but sadly, in idle times my mind goes to the almighty baguette. And to paddleboats. Sigh…………..