How is everyone? I hope you're all magnificent! We just came back from our delicious Italian adventure (gelato! pasta! pesto! gelato!) and you'll be glad to know I spent a lot of time drawing this trip.
The drive to Italy is quite long, so we decided to stop over in Annecy, France on our way there. The weather was terrible, but Annecy is a lovely little town and I definitely want to come back for a weekend and explore it further. Next day we set up camp in Tellaro, Italy, on the Gulf of Poets. Sounds so romantic right? I thought so too, until I read this story about Shelley drowning and being eaten by fish before his body was dug up from the sand and burned on the beach in a brain-fizzling fire. This detail was in our guidebook. Wtf, folks. Anyway, our campsite overlooked the Mediterranean and it in fact was quite idyllic.
Our first day in Tellaro, we spent on the 'beach' (mostly rocks) and thought about languages and they way they sound.
The Gulf of Poets is near the Cinque Terre, so we had planned to go there and do some hiking, but once we got to Lerici where we wanted to catch the boat there, the weather had turned dreadful. We turned back and drove to Genua instead. Pretty city, but a little dirty and very busy, so after visiting some palaces and having lunch, we decided to picknick in Portofino for dinner. Portofino is supposedly one of the most picturesque harbors in the world and is dominated by big yachts and tan people in white clothes and loafers. We watched the sun go down behind the multicolored houses while eating ciabatta bread with artichoke and pistache pesto. Heaven.
The sun was back on the 25th and we decided to grab the boat to the Cinque Terre and do some hiking. The Cinque Terre are five adorable little villages on the rugged Italian Riviera. The surrounding area is a Unesco-protected national park, and officially the villages are not reachable by car (although it doesn't seem like this is true any longer). You can tour the villages by boat or train, but you can also walk the journey. Or so we thought. Apparently a flash-flood took out half of the paths a couple years ago and instead of 5 hours, the new trail (which was much steeper and longer) would take almost twice as long. Because we depended on the boat to take us back home before dusk and because my knees were not loving all the steps, we did about 5 hours of the trail (3 out of 5 villages) and did the boat/train route for the rest. It was a sizzling hot day with some amazing views, rewarding mountain tops, and a glass of local wine at the end of it.
Camping just wouldn't be the same without the tent flooding, of course. During the night, our (borrowed) tent gave up the will to live and broke in the heavy rain. Everything was wet and in the morning we evacuated everything in garbage bags and fled to nearby Sarzana, where we walked around, had some coffee, enjoyed the sunshine, and eventually bought a new tent. It was a blessing in disguise, as the new tent was much bigger and so much more comfortable.
Venezia! Jochem had never been, so we had to make a stop here. The city was lovely as ever, but the camp site was terrible. Even though I had been there before and hadn't remembered the camp site as such, it was dirty and swampy and the mosquito's were killing me. I was quite miserable for a little bit, but Venice was worth it.
The camp site was so terrible that for some reason we left a day too early - by accident! We had the whole journey planned out and camp sites reserved everywhere, so our next stop actually wasn't available for the night and we decided to drive towards Verona and see what was available. We ended up staying at a farmhouse (or 'agriculturismo') called Alle Torricelle, which was just amazing. It was just the most gorgeous place, with an impressive 'certified' herb garden. All the snacks and food were home made by the matron of the house, and we were shown around the herb garden by her. Verona was also a pleasant surprise. Such a pretty place and definitely worth a visit.
The last week was spent on Lake Garda where we took three days of windsurfing classes. It was much easier than we anticipated, and so much fun. We also visited some little towns and ancient ruins while there, as the area surrounding Lake Garda is just gorgeous. I didn't do much drawing because we were out on the water all day, and I was working on some watercolor post cards (more on those later).
And then we got home. We did stop over in Strassbourg on our way back, but I didn't do any drawing then either, as I had to get back to work the morning after.
I'm happy that I got to do quite a lot of drawing on this trip. I think usually my trips are a lot shorter and I feel like I would rather spend time doing things than drawing them, but this vacation had a nice mix. I'll write another post on my travel art kit and how to work outside, but in general let me say it was great to draw 'in the moment' more than usual.
Have you been drawing on your trip? Please share, I LOVE travel journals!