Athens was a wonderful, vibrant, busy, loud city full of great people, delicious food, and wonderful hospitality. I visited the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the Temple of Zeus, the Benaki Museum & more. We also day tripped out to Delphi and Hydra.
Check out some of my restaurant recommendations on Trip Advisor.
Perhaps this is obvious, but Paris is awesome! It seems that is a city done the way a city should be done. The food was always perfect, everyone you looked there was beautiful architecture and well groomed gardens. One of my favorite things is wandering the streets and stopping everytime I see something worth drawing (which means I don't get very far!)
Part 2: Paris in paint
Interpretations based on my sketches, some done while I was in France, some back in the States.
This is the location of CAMAC, (Centre d'Art Marnay Art Centre) an artist residence I was lucky enough to get to spend a sunny June living at. This tiny community in western France has only a few hundred people living in it (no restaurants or even a bakery, all bread delivered by van each morning) and is on the Seine River in the middle of beaufiful fields and farmland.
My usual routine was to spend much of my days outside. I got to know the best paths around town and through the fields, I rode my bike to nearby towns such at Villenauxe-la-Grande, Barbuise, Villeneuve and to the nearest major town with a train station, post office and grocery store Nogent-sur-Seine (I was also pretty obsessed with it's nuclear power plant.) I sketched everywhere I went.
Then in the evenings, after our wonderful communal dinners, I would translate what I had seen and sketched into paintings.
Provins, is known as a town of medieval fairs & fortifications in northeast France and I was lucky enough to visit during a real renaissance festival. Now I've been to a few Ren fairs here in the US, usually in a random field someplace, but experiencing all the fun pageantry of a festival within the actual medieval walls of a city dating back to the middle ages was so amazing. People got really into it, in costume, in amazing crafts and products, and delicious food!
I had a wonderful off season time in Sicily. I flew into Catania and spent most of the trip in Siracusa, in the ancient part of Ortigia in a converted church overlooking the Ionian Sea. With my little Fiat we turned the nearby ruins, as well as the Baroque towns of Ragusa, Noto and Modica. We discovered the delights of Nero D'Avola wine (from neighboring Avola), saw the "grand canyon of Sicily". I headed north in the shadow of Mt. Edna (which was smoking the whole time we were there) to Taormina. Then, west across the island to Agrigento, who's roads were clearly designed by MC Escher, but had wonderful ancient Greek temples, stopping on the way to see the Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina.