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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Westville in Rognes....

Visitors from Westville for spring break! Wrapped in Van Gogh, wading thru chalk dust, or posing as a band...watching all our girls entwining themselves (literally) was my personal joy and a salve for all...

sharing limbs on the way into Rognes....

The illuminated quarry, The Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux, projects
massive scale reproductions of Van Gogh's paintings inside a vast empty quarry. Truly brilliant.
I think the next should be all Frank Bruckmann paintings....gotta get to work on the sound track and the merch...
and Frankie!!!!!

Day trip! Took a passenger ferry to the Isle de Porquerolles and walked to the Fondation Carmignac
Who wants to wade, masked, thru chalk dust? talc? in the dark? barefoot? not I.  Fondation Carmignac.
Mirror, mirror in the shape of this island, who's that girl that's fiercely vibing?

JoAnne and Margi. Ilya.

Count not the number of empty wine bottles,
to asses our delight and decadence,
but the empty boxes of camembert and strawberries...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Spring Break!! Exploring Italy and Receiving Westville...Part I

Besides the obvious, numerous benefits of living with Frank, we get to accompany him while he seeks out beauty to paint. Say hello (ciao!) to Italy.....Cinque Terre, Florence, Pietrasanta, Pisa (don't park in a restricted zone-or you'll get a fine as large as that leaning tower) and finally, the highlight of our week long road trip, the enchanting, crumbly, improbable, oozing and bustling VENICE!!!!

And while the first week of vacation, roaming thru the Northern Italy hot spots served my desire to explore more of Europe, the arrival of our peeps from New Haven for the 2nd week of vacay served another type of longing....thank you Margi, JoAnne, Riley, Maya and Elina for getting yourselves over here for a week of cozy coastal and cultural exploration! 

Driving into Italy

Most direct route! Frank, to me, his copilot...
"why are we going west to go east...,?"

Border, looking back at Menton, France as we cross into Italy.
I had to jump out to catch this momentous crossing over into new territory

We found an amazing place set in the hills near the coast of Cinque Terre, run by a Dutch woman who relocated in Italy first for the love of a man and second for a ruin...together they renovated into the "B&B Il Tulipano" in Polverara, Italy.  The people we meet are sometimes even more that the places we go and being in her hand restored home/inn in some random small town that didn't look like a tourist destination from the outset was an important stop along the way for me. 
Cinque Terre was experienced by us minimally and through the rain and our ailing we skipped thru it rather quickly because Arlo was feeling lousy (later test results confirmed mono and pneumonia-can you imagine being a teenager and walking with your family in the rain with that double burden?) BUT, we did LOVE the teaser of Portovenere, still gorgeous with the misty mantle....

Below are pics of our swift tour of Portovenere, the port town which sits at the end of the national park of Cinque Terre, known as the "6th Cinque Terre"



Helloooo, David!
David welcomed us with open arms and stuff on the evening of our arrival....grazie for that, it sort of set the tone for our nighttime stroll thru a mysterious place, making me realize how cool it is to experience a place in the dark, meandering through and past places you've always or never heard of and then really feeling it....we ate on a plaza watching crowds thin, kids playing with a toy that spiraled up high with lights and crashed down with a backsplash of centuries old architectural masterpieces, all the while street musicians adding soundtrack to my own personal movie.
The next day Florence was revealed as a mash up of old traditions (leather markets abounding) and hustle and bustle of tourists as Frank set out to paint that famous bridge while I gagged at seeing the color of the water in the river. 


We just had to see this marble quarry paradise for our neighbors Thea and Gar who have spent years sourcing marble for Gar's stone was a bit quiet on the plaza, it was Sunday afternoon, which Gar explained via video call was the time of day everyone was inside having their family Sunday many inviting storefronts, chapels and cafes along the main drag.

Giant American kid vs. small Italian portions


You know what it looks like...that leaning I will just show you my least favorable sights in Pisa...the parking ticket for a whopping 125 euros and the sore sight in the otherwise amazing food landscape of Italy...


Ok, on to the magical miraculous VENICE!!! We stayed in a spacious apartment not far from the entrance to this bizarre and meandering place. I'll resist captioning each photo as this blog template is crashing over and over again as I try to create this post.....
Vaporettos, workboats, traghettos, gondolas, weave and get their jobs done...
I don't know how he chose.....soooo much subject matter!

Walking thru narrow, even claustrophobic  streets....and then happening upon this wide open Adriatic seascape!



Above: Venice markets living up to their reputation
Below: Jorgie, Hazel and I water taxi-ed to the Isle of Murano... We watched a glass blowing demo and then jumped on a water taxi to return to Venice. Surrounded by gorgeous views, the water taxi paused and we stole a glimpse of the cemetery island....



I snuck away alone and found this dock (below) jutting out into the Grand Canal and sketched while life happened around me....speedboat deliveries, kissing Italians, German family with the littlest one catching my eye as I worked, solo Brazilian woman taking selfies to document her 30th and my plastic bottle of Prosecco freshly tapped out from a keg from a store with no name, just one old guy and 50 kegs of whatever wine you want....bliss.

I have soooo many more pictures of this trip and so much to say, but frankly, the internet connection here in Rognes absolutely SUCKS and what normally takes minutes to compose has taken me hours today.... I have to get this posted so I can get outside with the dog! When my patience returns, Part II of Spring Break will be written.....

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Alphabetically Speaking in Images


Gorgeous city on a Sunday afternoon visit


Stunned, but recovered and flew away


Obviously found Frank's oil palette before decorating the
front seat of Frank's car...


Hazel hiking with me!


Extreme Easter decorating in our little village!
Office Furniture


Bullfighting family in Arles serves up scrumptious Paella
Who has a  title suggestion for this painting???


Haircut!  Introducing Jorgie's Kool Look

Atop the village of Cucuron at it's hermitage, the tips of pines are bent from the Mistral

The Mistral

It is a ripping wind that comes thru the south of France and sends laundry spiraling on the clothesline until the damp serviettes appear like a roll of paper towels and the dog has sought the smallest space in the house to cower. Sometimes, it is predicted on the weather report and never comes, and you are so busy being delighted by the cool temps coupled with the brilliant sunshine in March that you forget the Mistral wind was forecasted at all. Conversely, maybe you've set out to paint because the weather report looked perfect, and the next thing you know, that Mistral whips up suddenly and your canvas becomes a sail....threatening to carry the whole easel and palette over to the next village. Or it flattens the palette against your shirt, blows the painting face down into the sandy dirt or just spins you into chaos.  Though unfortunate, such forces of nature are pretty incredible so respect is given, we make our peace and then carry on, what else is there to do???


Naples, one of the many cities visited by Arlo in the past few months....Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Prague, Rome, Venice, Vienna....his bus pulls into Aix-en-Provence tomorrow and I'll be the mom waiting with the big ear-to-ear grin. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I Think it's a Sign....(photo essay)

...that a coffee at 4am that looks like this is worth getting out of bed for...

...that you REALLY need to find another place to pee...

...that great beauty is possible with simplest of materials....
Bottle cap mosaic by Ghanian artist El Anatsui
...that this is not the hiking route to take, perhaps....
(I took it anyway)
...that Londoners don't treat dogs like the French...

...that it is spring in Provence...
...that Arlo is all over the place...

...well, yes, exactly...
...that Frank's got some work to do...
...that Picasso made enough money while he was a living artist to buy a castle...(I find that reassuring)

...that we won't ever find a cooler cafe in which to wait for Jorgie's school bus...
...that I'm almost back to Marseille...
...that London (Tower) Bridge is NOT falling down...

...that he's an international star...
...that crashing with the Thier/Gould family in London was a total delight!

...that that isn't just a shower....