Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Dollar for your thoughts...

The MillionDollarBuilding - we stumbled upon this find and it intrigued me so much - I guess I would have Googled it but we didn't have great comms but after sharing it on Instagram - a friend shared some information about it.  It is actually called "A Dollar for your Thoughts" .... Apparently this abandoned building has been a problem for Florence... because the aesthetically perfect city with incredible architecture and  then there is this derelict building, which is an eye-sore.  It was an old Convent which later was turned into a University but it has been since abandoned for decades.  They have been excavating this site because it was believed the remains of the woman who sat for the Mona Lisa was buried here... but apparently now the owner has plans to renovate it.  An artist covered this building with one dollar bills - apparently he believed that art is the language that can overcome culture and religious barriers!

Hmmm - I think I like this artist!

Visually beautiful!

Zecchi Love...

We knew before we left home that we would be making a turn at the infamous Zecchi Artshop to buy their incredible Honey-based Watercolors.  We had been dreaming about it since 2012!  It's a small little shop - but seriously - it's like a candy store for artists!

Renee was is heaven and she was so precious!
Capturing her in this store was so thrilling for me because I knew how important it was for her.

As you can see... art supplies stacked to the roof.
Regret - that I didn't buy a Zecchi bag or a Zecchi journal.
I will have to go back...

Being here - was honestly such a treat - we don't get art supply shops like this.
I didn't go mad but I did do a few spoils...
I'm not going to mention how much this cost me... {totally cringing inside}!

Arrivederci Venice - Ciao Florence

We arrived in Florence - to a very tense city!
And immediately we were on edge!!! What we didn't know was we had arrived just after the worst hail storm ever and people were frantic!  Kind of scary arriving in city to feel that when you are already nervous.

We found our incredible Monastery with the remarkable 13th Century front door.
We settled in and rushed to the Zecchi Art Shop and to meet sweet Dot!

With our map in hand we navigated our way to find the artshop and stumbled upon this...
Are you serious - incredible!!!!!
Walking back from Zecchi's

After our incredibly successful trip to the art shop where Dottie found us and Renee was completely adorable - we sat at a little coffee shop with this as our view - the bells ringing in the background, carriages, wet cobble streets with this incredible Duomo in front of us- man alive - I was thrilled!

Where we stood waiting for Beautiful Misty and her family to arrive - 
outside the Florence Duomo

Dot, Renee and Me

We had a lovely dinner together with Misty, her mom and aunt, Dottie, Renee and me!
It was perfect.  I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures!
Renee and I literally had to run back to the Monastery because we had a curfew!
Too funny!

Still taking in Venice and Burano.... a beautiful day

We had a pretty good nights sleep... and a good breakfast.
We were struggling to connect to our convent's Wifi - so we were starting to feel a bit desperate.  But other than that - we were good!!

I didn't have an agenda about Venice - partly because I didn't have any time before I left to research anything about anything - also for me sometimes the best way to take in new place is by exploring and discovering and researching on the go.  And I was delighted at every turn!  However, that being said - it's left me needing to go back to explore some more because there is so much more I need to discover!  And the art museums, enough said - I need to go back!
Today we decided to leave Venice by boat and head to the small Island of Burano, a small fishing village which is famous for it's brightly colored buildings - folklore explains that they are brightly colored so that the fisherman could find their way home after their nightly drunken escapades.  I love that.  Burano is also known for their lace and Venetian glass.

We left via St Marks Square - and I'm so glad we did.
It was breathtaking.

This may be one of my favorite pictures - a tapestry of buildings overlapping each other with completely different textures, styles and colors.  I'm in heaven!

Venice from afar...

We had a long boat trip - about 2 hours.
It was a good time to chat and really get to know about each others lives.
These connecting moments were some of the hightlights of my whole trip!
I love deep connection - it's definitely one of my love languages!
So I was one happy girl!

We were so chilled after taking in this beautiful little village.
We were more than ready to take in a healthy lunch, cuppa and some Wifi - we were in heaven!  I think we sat blissfully for almost 2.5 hours and the most amazing thing is that we were both so happy doing this.  I loved how like-minded we were about travelling.

Because these little house entrances face directly onto the streets - each front door had this shade cloth covering - so they could open their doors for the fresh air to flow through - but also have their privacy from the prying tourists desperate to steal sneak-peaks into their sweet homes.

You can find water fountains through-out Italy... apparently spring water.
Apparently safe to fill your bottles.  Brilliant engineering and foresight from ancient times.

Back in Venice again...

Back in Venice and slowly ambling the streets and alleyways.
The thing I love most about being in Italy - is the walking!
This way you discover beautiful gems... and glimpses of this ancient world.

Beautiful finds from the day!
Lace from Burano and a beautiful painting of the village.
And ancient photos and postcards!

On the way home to our Monastery - we came across the sweetest printing press place... a little business tucked away and possibly easily missed - that seems to have been in existences for a very long time, based on the antiques in store and possibly past through the generations.  Printing off business cards and images in an etching style {the cards in the top right corner}.  The owner - a delightful man telling us stories of all the famous people he's made personal cards for... that a character!

I loved this day so much!
It was more than perfect!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Pinch me please... I'm in Venice...

My flights were smooth going all the way...  I think it might have been one of the smoothest long-haul trips I have ever done in terms of my connections etc!  Flying over and into Amsterdam was amazing and heading towards Venice, I went over the Alps!  A delightful surprise.  Arriving in Venice and finding Renee there waiting for me - was such a joy and hearing her sweet accent felt so comforting!  I just immediately felt the stress leave my body!  I had a travel buddy and 2 is always better than 1... I have to say Renee was just the best travel companion, I could have asked for!  She was kind, generous and so thoughtful and we were evenly matched in temperament and character!  I can't tell you how grateful I was to have not only had this precious time with such a special person but also that I had someone to travel these ancient cities with!

You know you are in Italy when...

this is your view....

We booked a two day pass on the Water Taxi - which was the best advice we were given by Carolyn, who ventured to Venice, just before us... Thanks Caro!  We arrived in Venice and braved the hot crowded streets and eventually found our Monastery... 

I'm already inlove!!!! 
The entrance to our Monastery - seriously! - picture courtesy of Monastery

It felt like victory arriving...
Even when greeted by this rather stressful looking lady door knocker!!!
 I want her on my front door!

Seriously - somebody pinch me!!!
I can't believe I'm here - dreams do come true!

We showered and wasted no time hitting the streets, we both hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we took in an early supper - which was a 5Euro Pizza each!

Fatigue and jet-lag was settling in and we were both starting to feeling a bit floaty!
We were literally floating through the streets of Venice.  We quickly picked up some supplies from the grocer and headed back to the Monastery and climbed into bed... it was almost 9pm and it was still light out and the streets still full of people!

It was instant for sure - I fell hopelessly and completely in love with Venice!
I know I will need to take Digby and the girls back one day!
It felt almost surreal to be here

Renee took this picture in monochromatic by mistake...
Happy Mistake - I say!

We stopped to admire this street artist's pieces... not a bad studio space...
painting in the streets of Venice!

     I do believe this may be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Where do I even begin...

Oh my goodness...
Where do I even begin!
My emotions are huge from this trip, this time.
And my inadequate words seem to minimize the whole experience.
I keep going back to look at my pictures... but I'm totally overwhelmed.

Let me first start by saying how deep this trip felt for me this time!
Maybe because I knew what to expect.
Maybe because my heart was more open to everything.
Maybe - I'm just 2 years older and in a completely different space.
Maybe it was many things but whatever it was - I feel something has changed inside of me.  Deep inside.
I am struggling to share it because I don't want to make it small.

It was interesting for me to see the difference between this time and last time... it made me realize and understand so much about myself, where I was then, where I am now and hopefully where I'm going.
Photo Credit - Misty Mawn
Our group felt deeply connected this year - so special!

Besides being in this incredible part of the world again... I know for sure, that I have completely fallen in love with Italy!  I was warned that this would happen!  Maybe we will never be finished with each other.

Well there's that!  But it was also these incredible people... painting together again, for some of us and for the first time, others... that demands vulnerability!  And that's always deep.  But I am also sure of this... we have 2 common threads running through all of us that connects us... our love for painting and painting in this incredible setting... but also our complete adoration for Misty Mawn, our teacher and getting to sit along side her for a whole week, while she shares parts of her gifting, her skills and her creative life with us!!

Make no mistake - it's what we have traveled across the world for!