London then home. Au revoir, arrivederci, ta ta

It’s been a wonderful five weeks in Italy, France and England.  So much fun to see old friends and make new ones while having an incredible journey! I’m grateful to my core!  Thanks for joining me.

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Our Delta Captain’s last flight before retirement….38 years and here are the water cannons salute for his return home to Atlanta! Double rainbows…fantastic!  Obviously this photo is out of sequence…bet you figured that out for yourself 🙄
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Great London window display!
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How sweet…Alison captured my spirit so well! This is her sketch from last year in Cortona! LUV!
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Collage around Shakespeare Globe Theater. Alison with the orange bag waiting on me….again 😃!
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Collage from our walk along the river Thames.
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This young man actually jumped his bike onto that wall! Boredom creates amazing feats!
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Neat bench along the Thames walk. Raining, yes, but we only had one out of 4 rain days!
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Tower of London with modern tourist cruise vessel.
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Battleships on view in front of London Bridge.
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The cool old buildings around the site of the Sheakpeare Globe Theater.
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Mark Rothko in Tate Modern – hugely wonderful!
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Alison and I walked across the Millennium Bridge from our side to the Tate Modern! Great day!
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Close up to check hair, teeth, eyes, skin tone, etc! What a silly selfie in Covent Garden!
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Covent Garden, as it looks today….tourist waste land, pretty much. Once was stalls of local merchandise and produce.
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Yeow!….what find! FIVE, count’em!
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How cool…Kings College London!
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Alison in front of our building on The Kings Wardrobe buildings. Before the Great Fire (1666) which destroyed the pre-existing warehouses, the clothing and costumes of the King were stored and administered and maintained here.
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The Barrister is recording history, obviously! Or getting ready to enter the pub more likely!
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Charging Cross…had to add if only for the famous name! Of course the curious car is interesting too.
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Now does this gentle-looking soul appear as though he might use that automatic gun on anyone?!?
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Horse Guard….picture of patience and anachronism!
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Royal Horse Guards Parade, I think! Skies looking soooo London-ish!
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Compare Sargent to this David Hockney….what a difference! Like them both!
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A John Singer Sargent at Tate Britain! YUM!
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Getting closer look at a Rodin….don’t want to get toooo close, might reach out and grab him!
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One of the Barristers glaming for the papparazzi!
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Royal Court of Justice…impressive building and title.
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Neat night shot with moon, London Bridge, modern buildings, lighted bridge in foreground.  Thanks to Alison for this great snap.
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Dinner our first night in London….again, Alison nails it! Yummy lobster!
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Enjoy that sunset over the City!
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Beautiful shot of the Cathedral by Alison!
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Partying in the street ’cause they smoke when they drink and no smoking inside. Going to get reeeeal uncomfortable as winter approaches!
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Two Official guides around The Cathedral – neither of whom spoke English as first language! They love their jobs and love their new country!
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St. Paul’s Cathedral with double decker bus – our neighborhood ! Great location…well done Alison!
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Roberto is buying an Alpha Romeo and so excited he is! Found this sign for him….”ALPHA ROMEO PARKING ONLY”
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Me with my chic Desaquales scarf…sooo soooo! 😆😜❣️In front of our Kings Wardrobe unit.
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Me with the “Button Society” representatives outside Covent Garden.  The society collects for charities. Quite the get-ups they had each made from buttons! What a hoot!
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High tea and hiding! What a feast overlooking the Thames!
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Group photo from our delish tea!
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Guess who?

Night Tour of Paris in Citroen Convertible!

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This is the 1980s convertible for our incredible Paris tour which Breda gave us… So very generous and very creative!
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Paris parties in the streets in some of the neighborhoods we toured.
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Famous cafe we briefly visited to see the art and dried paint palettes left decades ago by painter patrons.
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Centuries old buildings which is what many of the limestone exteriors hide. Ferret told us the buildings in Paris slant slightly back so that when they catch fire and burn, they will fall in on themselves rather than into the street. Help protect the fire fighters supposedly .You can see a ceiling timber in the lit room. This looks so medieval! Saw very few of these.
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Another unique building but I don’t recall what it is. Of course, that little bit of red caught my eye. Saw so much on this tour… Really a special guide!
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Beautiful Sacre Coeur on Montmatre overlooking the City.
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View of Paris from Montmatre steps. So many small and large groups enjoyed the spectacular night.
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Sacre Coeur
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Champs-Elysées and the Arche de Triomphe
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Closeup of Arche thanks to convertible. I unintentionally caught a bit of Breda in the backseat.
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Again, thanks to the convertible top for a fun photo!
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Ferret got us to the tower at just the right moment, 11pm, when the tower lights begin to sparkle up and down for ten minutes… What a sight Suzanne, Breda and I shared!

Next stop….Paris!

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In Paris and time for our first meal… Lunch!. Fresh, fresh and yummy!. BTW, this was also the bistro I chose for my last meal in Paris. Mmmmmm
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First meal in Paris…Suzanne enjoys toast with goat cheese and fresh greens with vegs.
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Salad nicoise… Best yet! GREAT food and beautiful colors!
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Icon French waiter! We’re definitely in Paris! And of course the ubiquitous canine slips into the snap.
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The left anchor building of the Louvre as seen au rive gauche! Gorgeous!
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Le tourquois doors 😋
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Night view from my Paris hotel room. Not dramatic but pleasant and quiet and very comfortable…really lovely!
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The architecture and scene grabbed me as I walked by.
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Paris awnings are so attractive to me. Want one!
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This sculpture is depiction of the WWI Xmas momentary truce achieved and during which the troops of the two sides could play soccer/football. Heart-wrentching!
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See statue
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Another fabulous glass awning…train station?
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Inside D’Orsay museum looking through gigantic clock.
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Clock close up
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One of my favorite Degas
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D’Orsay central…very impressive!
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Don’t quote me but I think this is mausoleum where Napoleon is interred….museum of the army.
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First sighting this trip….what a beautiful monument!!!!
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Can’t recall ever seeing such an extravagant shop…Galleries Lafayette is a marvelous multi story retailer on the right bank…had to leave a few Euros there 😇😜🤑!
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The loveliest tower as seen from Suzanne’s hotel room!
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Afternoon snack….so much walking!

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Exceptional bead and gem work on necklace in window of a fashion house whose name I forget.
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Marvelous sculpture head in plaza!
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Egyptian monument
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Another amazing head avec sexy hat!
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Tuileries carousel!
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Toiletries early evening strollers…how nice!

Touring and painting in Provence

It was a truly wonderful week in Provence with Nancy Franke and 7 other painters! See for yourself….

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Sun bathers on beach of Cassis…. No one topless that we saw.

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Cassis harbour…. Beautiful day!
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Breda waiting for the parfum shoppers!

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Breda, Lyn, Suzanne, Kristy, Connie, Sally Ann, Nancy and Ria on the mountain above Cassis.
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Ack…. Not a great portrait photo but look at the gorgeous scenery behind our backlit group. This was part of our day in beautiful Cassis on the Mediterranean.
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Dinner in the villa and our chef has prepared a sumptuous meal including this composed salad plate! Excellent meal…. another.
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More spices… Wow colors!
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Spices galore… Market day!
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Linens on market day…. Color, color colors!
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That incredible azure Provence sky is even more amazing in limited amount against the dusky ancient buildings.
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Street Band… Excellent!
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Market day and waiting for the full complement of the group to arrive. Lots of smiles!
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Breda and Sally Ann share a laugh or fifteen!. They had a great time together!
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More French SWAG!
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Fab dessert with melted caramel and separately melted chocolate beneath cold creme topping ice cream, I think. Egads good!
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Had lovely lunch here.  I noticed the intriguing partial photograph on the wall above our umbrellas…. I think it’s the ancestors of this chef/bistro owner.
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And we’re touring up and down side streets and through narrow lanes. Always laughing!
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I don’t think there were as many flowers in France as we’ve seen in Italy’s. Still beautiful… With or without flowers.
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Very very old building somewhere in Provence. Cool, eh?
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Once again Nancy laughingly confronts Christoph…. He’s down to his last nerve but laughs with/at us. Breda joins in the joy.
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Saying goodbye to Christoph 😘
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Christoph performs minor miracle and loads all our gear for the last drive to train station! He’s very special and we appreciated everything he did to make our week unforgettable.

Be awed, be jealous, be bored, be happy…

Side note: OK!. I switched cell service and now my phone data service is phenomenal.   Take my advice and always avoid SFR cell and data service!!!! I’m using Orange since yesterday afternoon and no glitches, so far! Maybe I can get caught up with the posts now…. Yaayy.  I’ll do  my best.

Below are pix of the Less Murets villa in Provence…. Our home and bare camp for painting in that lovely area.

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Early morning view from Les Murets villa in Gourdes. Mmmm, so nice to wake up to this!
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Villa evening view…ahhhh. Another gorgeous day ends on a sweet note as we dine on the terrace.
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One more view from villa terrace. Large saltwater pool is on the other side of the hedge. Dip in the pool was almost mandatory each afternoon. It was very hot while we were in Provence.

Finally …..Provence in France!

Bonjour!

I know it’s been a loooong time since my last post and you’re probably wondering what happened to her.  Well, it’s a very long story/stories!  This has been a definite INTENSE trip and I don’t have time right now to tell you what all has been going on but promise, I will get posts out in future to bring you up to speed.

For now, please enjoy a few photos from our amazingly grand and fun painting tour in Provence.  Wait till you see the pix of our villa….soon to be posted but not here…sorry!

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French swag!

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We are a merry band of painters plus our FAB guide, Christoph!
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Intent cafe cat
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Yum, yum….porc
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Almost didn’t get a snap of this beautiful chilled fresh pea soup. Sooo good!
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Taking afternoon break….great still resource to paint!
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L to R…Ria, Breda, Cathy, Instructor Nancy Franke, Lynn & Connie ….missing Suzanne, Sally Ann and Kristy.
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Lavender fields that Van Gogh saw from his hospital room.
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Van Gogh Sanitorium where doctors tried to cure his mental illness with strange methods.
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Instructor Nancy explains something to expert driver/guide/’mr everything’.. Christoph. Can you see Christoph is doubtful?

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Wow….great market day!
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Sanitorium lavender fields!
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Van Gogh Santorium hall in the clinique (mental facility).
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No room for a shade tree? No problem, grow a vine of wisteria like so!
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Portion of Avignon town wall and turret

Turin and Lyon…

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Just a fun photo of two adorable pets…
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Never seen this creative solution… Notice the notch in the upper shelf to accommodate the tall wine bottle with cork! Clever!
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I enjoy the architecture of Italy and France whether old or new.

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On the train from Turin, Italy to Lyon, France.
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This is too cute not too share…  this is Sparkle and  she  lives in England with friend Robert and partner, Carol,  their new rescue.  Is she’s ready to play or what??
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Train from Turin, Italy to Lyon, France 
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The garden in my Turin hotel has this huge fun, unique lamp which begins glowing  as  the sun sets.
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Scene in the NH Longitto Hotel garden in Turin.
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Ancient olive tree in the Longitto hotel garden
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Museum atop the Longitto which unfortunately was closed the one day I was in town.
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Fab bath in the NH Longitto Hotel in Turin!
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Heated bars stay hot all the time….hmmmm!
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Yes, still in the Longitto bath…felt so pampered for one night!
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Yep, still stuck on the Longitto…wanted to stay longer but time for Lyon train!
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Yep, it’s on the wall of my Longitto room….the building was originally a very unique factory. And yes, that is an auto testing track on the roof!

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 In Lyon, love the turret over the fancy building.
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These several photos from the Lyon are fantastic view but a wicked climb!

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Graffiti on my way down the steps
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If you make it up and back, you get to stop asst the Irish pub!
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A friend explained this metal fan’s function… Keeps the drunks from urinating in the corner!
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Perfect French lunch in Lyon!

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Really like all these impressive doors.

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Very impressed with the varieties of transportation… Notice the electric car refueling above and the bike rental site.  Bikes are huge in Lyon!
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Due to train schedules and the dates of my next workshop  in France, I spent 4 days traversing Italy by train to get to Avignon….from Lake Garda to one night each  in Verona and Turin and two in Lyon.  I got quick impressions of these three cities and I think I’d go back for more time in Turin because it seems to have a more drastic contrast between old architecture and the bold beautiful contemporary Italian style.  Of course my quick visit may have given me the wrong impression but it was a pleasant visit.  Actually they all have their special vibes and glad I could be there even for one or two nights!

More from Lake Garda

Hope I haven’t duplicated too many pix.  Enjoy!

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Ferry leaves Torri while resident saw observes departure.

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Our hotel is on the right…over the Carabineri boat 
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Castle that watches over the tiny harbor.
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Italian men are crazy for cycling!

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Tent !!!! Installed right behind my painting spot… We  were hoping to see a wedding but it ended up being underwhelming modern dance competition.
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Front view of cattle with requisite white swan paddling luxuriously.

In case you haven’t heard, swans are MEAN… I tried to help one and got a wicked Hiiiiiissssss!

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Our happy little group at dinner.  Instructor, Charles Mitchell, sits all the way at the end… He’s a fabulous teacher!

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Lake Garda

It’s been more than a week since my last post and I’ve missed you but just couldn’t break away from painting, trips around the lake, languid lunches over rosè and/or Priseco then naps followed by slow stroll around town and possibly a gelato.  

Don’t believe everything I say 😉. That days description is partially true but the real reason I haven’t written is tech issues which I think are finally fixed so here I’m posting a slew of pix with limited descriptions.  Hope that doesn’t disappoint 😍

Mmmmmm…. Some of these are from Lake Como but who’s counting😃😃😃😃

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FUN, FUN, FUN Nancy from DC. Great traveler and artist

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Last 5 photos are by Ricardo because I forgot my camera on this trip to an island villa …thanks Richard!!!!

The DUCATI‼️‼️‼️

But above photo is how Friday August 19 started…. Deluge! My motorcycle-driving tour guide, Mauro, texted that we would start a few minutes late to let the storm move through.  That was fine with me of course… On the back of a motorcycle in a driving rain doesn’t entice😋.

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Mauro picked me up at my hotel in Bellagio and we got on the ferry to cross Lake Como for a better ride down to the town of Como at the base of the Lake.  That was a very quick boat ride!

 


So we’re on the road but the following photos aren’t exactly in chronological order.  The house above is supposedly owned by George Clooney which Breda says he purchased when he was shooting Oceans 11 in the area….sounds plausible to me!  Would be grand to own such a property on Lake Como.

Mussolini was on his way to escaping into Austria across Lake Como when he was caught and shot on this spot.  Yep, people are leaving flowers there!


The Como Duomo (cathedral). Very nice but pales when compared against the majestic Milan Duomo.

The above and below are our meanderings around the really lovely town of Como where Mauro, my guide, was born and raised.  He’s got so much love and appreciation for his home town!  Very special 😃

Mauro at our lunch cafe in Como.  Great meal he bought for us!

Eager to get back on the bike and take more of those mountain curves!


I’m all decked out in back brace/protector, jacket with various strategic padding, gloves and of course helmet.  Mauro had asked about my size and he nailed it like seasoned tailor!

It was an amazing 7+ hours with Mauro and the beautiful red Ducati! I had a great time sitting behind a very good driver who judiciously gave me a wee taste of motorcycle speed in the curves….wwoweeee! Great fun! Just as well I didn’t have my first Ducati experience till now otherwise I might be in the next life instead! Mauro says I should just get a Vespa 😂😂😂…hmmmm – not very sexy.  No motorbikes for me… Too late in life😝😜😳🤔. But not too late to enjoy a ride or two!