What an epic trip this has been! I've been on the road for over 7 weeks, and now am sitting on the plane back home, trying to make some sense of it all before we get home and the details of trying to catch up with everything overwhelm me. I never believed Marianne when she first said I should stay out until July 8th, and yet here it is and here I am, still alive and writing too.
|Marianne and our friend's daughter Xanthe on the first day of the trip in Rome.|
Beginning in Italy to stay with our friends in Rome, then down to Lecce for the Salon Conference of Decorative Painters, staying a week or so afterwards while Marianne went home to finish up the school year (she's the school nurse at our local junior high), meeting back up with her in London, going out to Bath area for a reunion of old friends, splitting up again while she and her friend Heather went off to explore ancient stone circles and wells while I had a good dose of London and a good dose of friends I stayed with, traveling up to Leeds to see a couple grand houses, then flying to Ireland to meet M. once again, staying in Dublin with her family connection, driving around the southwestern end of the country up to Galway area, then finally flying back to London for a wrap up week of museums, houses, and another great friend reunion.
|Old friends in Froome.|
So many new experiences and places; I hadn't been to London in 35 years, and Ireland in 42 years! Southern Italy was unexpectedly different, Caserta was jaw dropping, London was unrecognizable, same for Dublin, Leeds was unexpectedly pleasant (other than driving!) and rural Ireland was a whole new cup of fresh tea (ditto for driving there-- Yikes!!)
|Stacks of peat drying in Western Ireland|
I could definitely keep going like this for a while if I had the budget, but responsibilities call, and of course I look forward to seeing the family, and dogs, and cats, and bike, and surfboard, and getting back into the studio to try to assemble and react to all the amazing input I've had over the past 52 days!
|Superfast one day mural done with a couple of scenic painters in London. Each panel is 10'x10'!|
I can see from this how celebrities must need to take lots of photos and keep diaries- it does tend to blur and the distances of time seem immense- the Salon experience seems like a year ago already. Definitely had our trials on this trip, as probably always happens and will happen, especially when one is traveling on the cheap, But it makes for such a great time, and some of the most random moments end up being the most memorable. I will continue to post the chronological diary entries of the trip as I go back through the photos and remember the days, but I wanted to try to catch the moment while it is still fresh.
|Bubbles in Trafalgar Square|
Hello "real life"!