Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Under the Tuscan Sun version 2.0

In case you were wondering
what happened to the first 'Under the Tuscan Sun' blog,
it was posted by mistake.
My apologies. 
And just so you know, there was no content, only a title.
I could blame the jet-lag but then
stuff happens...

A view from Montepulciano.
For our stay in Tuscany
we rented Palazzo Bracci in Montepulciano
with no idea of the history of the building.
What a grand surprise!
If you are travelling to Tuscany
I highly recommend renting this lovely home
with her faded grandeur,
charming meandering rooms, 
huge terrace and stunning views.
Wonderful to have the main street
just outside our front door,
for wandering up and down
the picturesque cobbled lanes
or popping in to one of the small groceries
for vegis, olive oil, wine or pasta.
We had many fine restaurants to choose from
within walking distance.
European restaurants frequently start the meal
with an amuse-bouche,
something to tantalize the taste buds.
Imagine my surprise 
when our first dinner in Tuscany
began with a jello slider!

Mind you it was a chic Italian jello slider!
They must train Italian waiters to flirt
along with the fine service.
Every one who served us was charming
warm and funny without a speck of smarm.
Makes that tasty Italian food even more delicious.

We took some day trips and
I really enjoyed being in Siena.
It was raining when we got there
which was a good thing
as the (other) 'tourists' stayed away
until the sun came out.

Looking over Siena at the Duomo.
My favorite thing was climbing to the Panorama 
atop the Duomo (Cathedral) museum.
After I caught my breath it was 
spectacular views in every direction.
The black and white stripe stone is distinctive
and wonderfully over the top!

Because Siena was not considered 'important'
it wasn't bombed  during the war
so the beautiful architecture
remains intact.
 We can all be thankful for that.

Marcy in the wine cellar.

 Tuscany would be nothing without the local wines.

Each of the wineries we visited in Montepulcino
had Etruscan ruins deep in the earth
where the temperature never changes
and the wine ages in massive casks.

Etruscan well.
The ancient energy is palpable
when I'm in these old sites.
I love it.

Entrance to an Etruscan tomb from the 6-5th century BCE.

The best tasting wines came from 

Old bottles lend ambiance in the Frattoria della Talosa wine tasting room.

So good in fact that we ordered a case.
 (We'll see how it travels...)
Not only did they have the best wine,
but they were knowledgeable and friendly.
Not the case everywhere...

Cemetery at La Foce.
More tombs.
I find them peaceful.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

48 hours in Rome

The oculus in the Pantheon.
Pantheon in Rome.

I walked around the corner,
chatting away, and there it was.
Absolutely took my breath away.
Huge, dirty, wearing down,
and so very beautiful!
Even the hordes of people couldn't take away
a speck of her grandeur.

Inside, more multitudes.
Quiet speakers asking for 'silence please'
in six different languages
were routinely ignored,
but the roar and excitement of the crowd
was easily absorbed in the harmonious form
grace and elegance of the space.

Marcy under the dome.
Excavations on the outside of the Pantheon.
I love these old things!

Music outside the Pantheon adding to the ambiance.

I am so glad to have come to the Pantheon
first as everything else seem to pale in comparison.

The Colosseum.

We drove by the Colosseum and the Forum
on the way in from the airport.
I found myself feeling a sense of disbelief
that the taxi was so casually passing through
all this beauty and history with nary a word.

Even after only two days
I have to stay super vigilant
to keep my sense of awe and wonder
at the history, beauty and daily life
that are the layers of Rome.

Trevi Fountain.

You might not know it from this photo
but the legions are still in Rome,
now with the name of 'tourist'.
I could hardly get near the Trevi Fountain
and didn't really want to with the crowds.

Lost in translation.

I'm against the tourist menu too!
Food here is just as fabulous as I've been told.
I'm enjoying every bite.

Dusk on the Ponte Garabaldi

Hot, gorgeous and jam-packed in May,
I can't imagine what the city is like in high season...

No doubt she still dazzles.

Monday, May 19, 2014

ParisTilton Complet

An amazingly fabulous group of women
wandering Paris,
The waiters are consistently entertaining. Do they go to school for this?

Giverny -- always dazzling beauty.

San Sulplice, at the end of our street. Parisdise...
Theresa and Marcy on the Seine -- or is it the roller coaster?
Marika in Ostrich feathers.
Donna boa's us over...
Dominique delights the group.
Dries Van Noten window.

Let's go in and look.

Gorgeous interior at Dries.
A tiny peek at the Dries Van Noten exhibit. Stunning perfection.
Vanessa and Mary at Le Sâotico. 
Brenda takes a selfie and relaxes at Musée d'Orsay.
This must be heaven!

La fois prochaine!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Painting by Meghan Keane

Les outils et les matériaux.

It is a privilege and and honor to sit for a painting.

Especially a sitting with the talented Meghan Keane
from New York, who is spending some time with us in Paris.
This morning Marcy and I were fortunate to be Meghan's 
subjects for the first in a series of what I am calling her
'Portraits on the Road',
sittings in Paris and Barcelona,
for one of Meghan's
marvelous paintings in form, color and relationships.

The artist at work.

Most of Meghan's carry-on was filled with art supplies
(she travels much lighter than I do!).
She found the stretched linen canvas in Paris.
 (We will be taking the canvas off the stretchers
and rolling it up to take home.)

The subjects with the work.

I love the unexpectedness
(Not sure what I expected of course...)
 and the ambiguity.

Not sure exactly who we are,
where we are, or
 what we are doing.

If you know us you might recognize us
but would you if I hadn't told you?

A bit of the cauldron perhaps --
creating the world
stirring the pot
seeing the future
sparking up life
shifting the paradigm
igniting creativity
disturbing the status quo.

 So much green living space to work with!

Untitled, 8 May, 2014

Feel free to contact Meghan
to work with her on a painting 
of you,
with a loved one,
or your family.

Getting married?
New parents?
Old parents?

Monday, May 5, 2014

May in Paris - Trains and Tattoos

The Orient Express.

My days have been so jam-packed 
with grand and fun adventures
I hardly know where to begin...

Blue sky Sunday on Ile Saint Louis.
Two days of blue skies and 72 degrees on Monday!

Compartment for lovers.
Train travel was a regular occurrence when I was a child
as my Dad worked for the Great Northern railroad.
We traveled back and forth to and from Minnesota often to visit family
and I grew up loving to ride on trains.
This made it especially fun to visit The Orient Express train
Three train cars totally restored to their original grandeur.
The tables and chairs were strewn with glasses, ashtrays,
coats, playing cards, books and other detritus,
as if the occupants had just stepped out to the WC.

Harry Potter on the Orient Express.
I especially loved the contemporary touch to the newspapers
which had electronic tablets inside running old newsreels.

Ma Soeur.

Glass panels by Lalique.
Everything was handcrafted with perfection 
from the Lalique light fixtures, windows, panels and inlays
to the beautifully fitted wood doors, bars and cupboards.
So many fond memories of train rides as a little girl!

Marcy and Martine in the passageway.

At Le Train Bleu.
Le Train Bleu had to be the perfect place for lunch!
Terrifically Rocco.

Scallops with sauteed fennel, spinach and orange rind.
The quality of the food is grand and the prices are just as high
as you've heard...

Salted carmel millefuille.

Coffee with a meringue and financier.
Oh la la! Fou de fa fa!

In front of Mademoisielle Chapeaux.
Discovered a very new hat shop on rue de Tournelles
between rue de la Bastille and rue du Pas de la Mule.
Owned by five very creative women Mademoiselle Chapeaux 
is a little gem if you love hats or need something for a special occasion.

Sur le Pont...
A gorgeous bartender with lovely tattoos.
We were fortunate enough to be invited to the opening night
of a marvelous tattoo exhibition at the Museé du Quai Branley,

All the Bartenders and most of the attendees had amazing tattoos.

Love the tattoos on his arm...

The poster.
Ed Hardy represented the USA 
and I loved viewing a range of his work in person.

Paris is always a joy.