Monet in Giverny

From the train window on the way from Paris, fields of brilliant yellow bordered by ones of deep green unfurled along the landscape. I could picture Vincent or his cronies sitting out with their easels and paints, feeling the color fill them up and overflow onto the canvas. This post is continued from Cézanne inContinue reading “Monet in Giverny”

Rouen and Le Havre

Rouen It was a gray day with intermittent drizzle when I visited Rouen. That wonderful, vibrant Impressionist sunlight remained hidden behind blanketing clouds, elusive. As I wandered dark cobblestoned streets with crooked Tudor painted-wood framed houses, outlined in deep colors with light between borders, I pictured shadowy figures slipping in between doorways. This post continuesContinue reading “Rouen and Le Havre”

Van Gogh in Auvers

Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch artist and probably the best known of the Impressionists today, came to Auvers-sur-Oise in the last year of his life, yet he painted seventy-seven paintings there before he died of a gunshot wound. Debate still continues as to whether his death was a suicide or murder. This post is continuedContinue reading “Van Gogh in Auvers”

Paris as a base

Paris was my base for visiting towns that inspired the Impressionist painters in the north of France. Each of the sites I chose were within a day’s round trip by train. This post is continued from Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence. The taxi from the train station climbed the steep street to my little studio apartment inContinue reading “Paris as a base”

Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence

 “I was thinking of you while I stood in Cézanne’s studio, looking at all the little things on his shelf that appeared in his still life paintings… it felt kind of spiritual being there. Thank you for encouraging me to do this journey,” I wrote to my artist friend, who helped me decide what citiesContinue reading “Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence”

The silence of Iceland: Wildlife

We had booked a stay at a horse ranch up north, west of Akureyri, ahead of time but were disappointed to learn that the owners were not opening for rides for a few weeks. While we soaked in a hot springs pool nearby that evening, my son, in conversation with friendly locals, got a recommendationContinue reading “The silence of Iceland: Wildlife”

The silence of Iceland: Nature

As one might expect from an island nation, water is the stuff of which nature and landscape is formed, but in Iceland it tends toward the extreme and dramatic. Massive glaciers blanket the mountain ranges of the inland center. Geothermal mudpots bubble and steaming geysers reach to the sky. Icebergs float in frigid lakes surroundedContinue reading “The silence of Iceland: Nature”

The silence of Iceland: City

Stenciled on a sidewalk in Reykjavik: “On the far side of the mountain the silence is more tangible” Infibjörg Haraldsdöttir: from Answer One would think, changing planes at the airport via Icelandic Airlines, on the way to or from European cities, that Iceland is a crowded place. But that’s just the airport. It’s a landContinue reading “The silence of Iceland: City”

Pamplona: Bulls and elegant dinners

I have just learned that one of my favorite restaurants ever, anywhere in the world, is closing after thirty-two years: Restaurante San Ignacio. A wonderful indulgence on a memorable trip, and I never paid a cent for dinner because the owner, a dear friend, wouldn’t let me.  Most summers, I have spent a week inContinue reading “Pamplona: Bulls and elegant dinners”

Festivals of Scotland

Who knew there were so many festivals in Scotland? A few years ago, my brother, son, and I took part in unique, fascinating celebrations all over that northern stretch of Great Britain in just two weeks. Years before, when I was teaching in Guatemala, I took an end-of-year holiday jaunt around the British Isles withContinue reading “Festivals of Scotland”