Departing Cinque Terre

Tonight is the farewell dinner for our sketching tour. The time has flown by. This has been a dream crew. Everyone gets along great. There are no complainers or kvetchers. A few food issues, but no one makes it the center of attention and just makes do. The “while in Rome” analogy. In fact the entire group there is only one smoker and even though it is a smoking country and people smoke in restaurants, on the street, in lobby’s and there has been a lot of smoke I have not heard a single complaint. Just to say, this group gets that we are in a foreign country and it is up to us to get along and not up to them to make it easier on us.

Today was pretty low key. We went and got our train tickets for tomorrow and just to see where we needed to go in the morning. We also took ALL of our laundry except what we wore today to a local woman who does laundry for those visiting. It seems like such a luxury to head on the rest of this trip with everything clean and not needing to think about it. Since this is such a small local economy we were also completely happy to pay the money to support her. We picked it up and everything is repacked for departure tomorrow.

Yesterday we took a boat to the other islands and walked around. Lori and I had a beverage and shared an anchovy and caper pizza that was pretty darn good. Today we just sketched and relaxed.

We are about to go meet up for the farewell dinner. So I am just including a bunch of photos. Tomorrow we train back to Florence and the next day fly to Lisbon.


Today we are meeting and taking the ferry to visit the other four islands.

Yesterday we mostly stayed put, not just at Monterosso but a lot on the terrace of our hotel.

We started the day off with a sketching group. We ventured off for lunch but many of us ended up back there sketching the scenery for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening Richard Collins, (Char who is putting the adventure together, her brother) had driven over from Verona and he gave a poetry reading.

Here, but there

We are already in Cinque Terre which is beautiful. But I really need to wrap up Siena first.

We had a pretty easy bus ride to Siena from Florence. Stopping at an auto grill for lunch. Think Italian “fast food” on the highways. You can get gasoline and a sit down lunch. Lori and I had sandwiches and were good to go.

We got in and settled into our room. Lori and I wondered down to the pool and sketched. Later in the day we ended up on the terrace drinking and visiting with most of the group. Everyone made a reservation for dinner at the hotel. The maitre d of the hotel restaurant was a kick and did not appreciate some in our group laissez-faire attitude about reservations and gave them some grief.

The next day we all had a walking tour through the main walled city of Siena. Our guide was born and raised in Siena and had a ton of history for us. Focusing on the 17 districts and Il Campo with wonderful personal stories of the horse races and competing districts. Because she is from the porcine district I will always route for them.

We also went to the hospital museum. It is not a museum of a hospital, but hospital meaning hospitality and it is were travelers would stop and babies where left like an orphanage. There was just so much to see.

There were a few more days in Siena, we mostly spent them sketching and of course eating and drinking. The joke being meet you at the next meal.

And with that we are off to breakfast here in Cinque Terre and then the sketching workshop. Tomorrow we have a ferry tour of the five cities and lots of exploring.

Florence Round Up

It has been a packed few days here in Florence. We got in from our crazy day of travel, took a quick nap, showered and met up with the group for dinner. The group totals 14 people total. Ten total that are sketching.

The first full day we had both a 2 which ended up being 3 hour walking tour with a FABULOUS guide, She walked us around and talked about Florence history in an awesome both historical and cultural way. Her voice wasn’t super loud and she also repeated the different points from just about every spot we stopped. But the result from her pointing out how the Medici family both moved through the city and were the banking and political dynasty of Florence. In the ways she pointed back to the spot we just were and repeated herself it really tied everything together. I was struck with at the end and how many times I heard similar stories that they were familiar in that I actually knew these things kind of way.

After the walking tour we were on our own for several hours. Walking around and seeing some sites. Some in the group far more energetic and checking all the things off their list. We ended up with another nap because we were still recouping from the days travel.

That night the group walked to a cooking class. This was when the groups dynamic really came through and this will be a great group too travel with. We all had so much fun and then all sat down to enjoy the four course dinner WE HAD MADE.

Yesterday we started with the sketching class, the hotel has a lovely little courtyard and the perspective I ended up drawing was of our room. I have a photo looking down from the room from the day we got here.

Once we drew for a few hours we had some choices. Before meeting the group at the Galleria dell ‘Accademia where David is on display. Lori and I headed out to get some lunch and site see. Lunch started with Prosecco and some fabulous food. We went from there to the Museum of Natural History and then the botanical Garden of the same. The prosecco, the heat, the quiet garden equaled another quick nap on the lovely bench. One napping while the other sketched or read. It was divine.

Then off to meat the group again. We had reserved tickets and once in we split up and enjoyed the museum on our own.

Today we are leaving for Siena after breakfast and the sketching class. We are already packed and ready for today’s adventure.

Saturday painting class

I’ll back up a bit to the road trip business trip this week. I headed to La Jolla just after noon on Thursday. The goal being to be in my hotel room and on my daily 2:40 conference call.

The drive was pretty easy and luckily my car makes and takes calls so I was able to take and make calls to the realtor, escrow office and bank. Multi tasking at its finest.

I checked into the hotel, got my lap top set up and had ten minutes to catch up on project notes before taking turn from first shift. I worked in the hotel for the next four hours before walking over to the clients office for my 6:30 shift, I was off work about 2:00am. The clients were done for the day and my co-worker stayed behind to close things up.

All of that to get me to Friday that really it still feels like Friday. I slept from about 3:00 am to 8:30 and hit the road by 9:00 to get home. Made it by noon and had a couple hours to do things like pick up and drop off drying cleaning, go get cash for the electrician going to the house today to install GFCI outlets in the kitchen, wrapping up all of the items from the inspection.

My actual Friday shift started at 2:30 and although I was working from home I was quite busy. About the time my shift was ending at 11:00 I ran into a problem with files that were in pre-press for a blue line. After HOURS of working through those and getting the job recleared I clocked out at 4:00 a.m. The alarm had already been set for 6:00.

I got about 90 minutes of sleep before Lori got up and into the shower, I slept for an extra 30 minutes giving me a full two hours of sleep last night after five the night before.

But today was a day Lori was teaching a community ed class on water color painting. The class started at 9:00 but we left the house about 7:00 to get to school and get setup. It was fun being her assistant today. It was a blast painting with new painters and heck it was the most I got to see Lori this week.

It’s now 8:00 pm. I can’t imaging I’ll be up much longer, an early night could very well mean an early morning tomorrow. We might head out to the house to go through things and pack up. But who know’s…….I’m not even sure what I’m typing at this point. Two hours of sleep is much different at 54 then it used to be when I started this job in my 20’s.

Back to work

Today I am back to work.  I did have an 80 minute massage before work today which left me very relaxed and mellow as I went into work.  He also worked out the hamstring tie-in on my right side that was tweaked from the long flights.  It was the perfect ending to my vacation.

The last couple of days were a nice slow return to life after vacation.  We still had company for a couple of days.  Although I didn’t sleep much on the plane and fell right to sleep when we got home I was still awake super early.  We made it a full day, visiting with Vivian, going out to breakfast and then went out to get groceries and wash that were covered in pitch from being parked under the tree for two weeks.

Friday I was still waking up around 4:00 am.  We went to Seal beach on Friday and had breakfast before walking on along the beach and enjoying the ocean sounds.  Capped off the day with dinner with Kathi.

Saturday was another early morning as we were up at 4:00 to take our company to the airport.  After that we stopped for breakfast, picked up cat food, picked up e-waste from a friend about 8 in the morning and then went to a recycle event.  All seemed perfectly normal, we had been running errands for 5 hours and it was only 9:00 a.m.

We also saw Vicki and Emily for dinner and a little Farkle on Saturday night.  They made us yummy chicken tacos and Vicki easily won,  I couldn’t stay awake for another game so home we went and straight to bed.

Sunday although I woke early I forced myself back to sleep.  Trying to sleep in as much as possible but we were still up before 7:00.  It was a very very low key day.  We both worked on our sketchbooks.  I had a few sketches I added color to and we both glued some tickets and things in from the trip.  There is still more to add and I have some things I still want to draw in from photos that I just couldn’t draw on the spot.



Sketching in Bath

The sketching exercise today was on tone values, dark, medium and light.

Today we walked down to Bath to gather and sketch.  We met at the Abby and most of us got in line for the Roman Baths.  After we walked through and took a ton of photos there was no meeting up to sketch.

Lori and I walked down to a little tea shop, had tea and both sketched the scene across from us.  My focus was the bookstore across the street, Lori focused on the tree.

1) where we sat.  2) tea.  3) across from us,  4) my sketch. 5) Lori’s sketch