Vacation and the Guggenheim – Bilboa – the museum building is art itself

Vacation in Basque Country 

and a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

I just came back from a wonderful vacation aboard the National Geographic Orion.  The trip was titled Cultural and Culinary Adventure in Basque Country….    and it did not disappoint.  We ate and drank our way along the coastline of France, Spain, and Portugal while learning about the culture of the area.  And for me the highlight of the trip was our private morning tour of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.  You cannot take photographs inside of the museum except in the foyer.  So I will just dazzle you with some photos of the outside….

Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao

Bridge over the Nervion River, Bilbao Spain


Foyer – entrance – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain


Elevator, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain


Tulip Sculpture, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain


me, taking a closeup photo of the tulip sculpture reflection


Steam Experience at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

These are just a few of the photos I took.  You can walk all around the perimeter of the museum and each angle of the building is more beautiful than the last.  And the last photo shows steam being released.  It hangs over the water and creates quite an atmosphere…..  What an experience.

But I am back in Tucson now and the studio is calling

new tag


Traveling – our trip to Great Britain


We have made it a point to enjoy traveling in our retirement.

And we like tours especially with Tauck and Lindblad

They think of EVERYTHING and take you places you would never go on your own

So this 3 week journey of Great Britain was planned over a year ago….

We started in Scotland

traveling - Great Britain

tasted a little Scotch

traveling - Great Britain

sipped on an Edinburg mist at St Giles cafe

traveling - Great Britain

visited Holyrood House just before the Queen’s annual visit

traveling - Great Britain

we even had delightful weather

traveling - Great Britain

The Lake District was spectacular ;  below is a photo taken at Hadrian’s wall

traveling - Great Britain

stopped for a private lunch at a private estate and toured their gardens

traveling - Great Britain

Visited an estate with an awesome topiary garden

traveling - Great Britain

Wales….  the language is interesting…  the weather not so much

traveling - Great Britain

a visit to Blenheim castle – relatives of Winston Churchill – and saw his grave

sat in the awesome gardens

traveling - Great Britain

Stonehenge…  what is the real story?

traveling - Great Britain

Windsor Castle

traveling - Great Britain

and London…. staying at the Savoy – what a treat

traveling - Great Britain

the art deco – so inspiring

traveling - Great Britain

traveling - Great Britain

traveling - Great Britain

traveling - Great Britain

traveling - Great Britain

traveling - Great Britain

The trip was everything I had hoped it would be.

Tauck did not disappoint

creating the desert in glass and metal

When you have champagne at home why go looking for beer?….  Micky Donovan

Aurevoir Provence


Literally it means til seeing again.  And I definitely want to visit Provence again.

On our last day we started out by visiting St Paul de Mausole, the asylum where Vincent van Gogh spent a year late in his life.  We walked the grounds, saw his chambre, and our guide shared insights into his tormented life.  It’s still a working asylum.

aurevoir - vangogh

vangogh statue

For our farewell dinner we headed to the St Remy  winery in Chateauneuf du Pape and saw the remains of the papal summer residence which had been destroyed by the Nazis in World War 2.

papal summer home

We had a wonderful wine tasting in their cellars

wine cellar

And a wonderful meal

the next morning it was off to Marseille airport.

A wonderful trip, but it’s always good to go home…

Cooking Class in Avignon

cooking class

A cooking class – Day 6 in Provence

We started today with a trip to a farm at the outskirts of Avignon where we met our chef instructors and helped to pick out some fresh vegetables.

cooking class

cooking class - farm

We also met some residents


Then off to La Mirande Restaurant and Cooking School

cooking class

We prepared a 4 course lunch and had a wine tasting.

cooking class

cooking class

After lunch we toured the Pope’s residence.


The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1377, during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon (then in the Kingdom of Arles, part of the Holy Roman Empire, and now in today’s France) rather than in Rome.

Vacation – Day 5

vacation at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse


Our trip in Provence included a stop at the quaint village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.  The Sorgue river is nicknamed the emerald river because of it’s brilliant green color.  It’s source is at Fontaine-deVaucluse and is the 5th largest spring in the world.  Last night for dinner I had the trout which was caught fresh here.  Visited a paper mill and an artist’s co-op where I visited with a glass blower.  He was impressed with some of my hollow beads.  🙂

After lunch and shopping we headed to Pont du Gard – a Roman marvel of engineering.  The three level aqueduct was built around 50AD by Romans who needed water for their baths in nearby Nimes.  Very impressive.

vacation aqueduct

Then off to our last hotel in Avignon

More in Provence

Provence abbaye

Day 4

The highlight today was our climb to the Abbaye de Senanque home to the Cistercian monks.  We climbed on a rocky path through cedar forests and gorges once used by the monks to bring their wares to the village of Gordes.  The lavender fields were not in bloom but the gift shop was filled with all things lavender.

But I must tell you about our lovely hotel in Joucas – the Hostellerie Le Phebus.  Home to a lovely spa and a 1 star Michelin restaurant.

Le Phebus

We got to relax a little here and we even learned the French ball game called petanque – and I proved to be the star of the game….  who knew!


The village of Joucas is quaint and small

Joucas village

Our guide was always adding special additions to the itinerary and in Joucas we got to visit the working studio of 2 artists who worked in stone and wood.  Their sculptures were amazing


The afternoon was spent in the village of Roussillon.  We toured the quarries there where ochre stone has been remove for centuries. – yes the ochre used as pigment for artists


 I have not been mentioning the superb food that we have been eating but feast your eyes on the duck confit we had for lunch


more later…………………

Provence – continued

Provence - gordes village

Provence – Day 3

Today we went to the hilltop village of Gordes.  There is a weekly market in Gordes and we had a visit.  But a visit with a purpose…  each of us was given an envelope with an item to purchase for our picnic lunch.

olive bread in Provence

Ashley and I had to buy olive bread

But we shopped for other things too….  look at the great spices and salts

Provence - market

Then on to our picnic lunch

Provence - picnic

In the afternoon we climbed high to see the abbey

Provence abbey

And then on to a new hotel…. in Joucas

Stay tuned…..

A Week in Provence

While I have been to France multiple times I have never been to the South of France, specifically Provence.  I wanted a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting with good food and a little history and culture.  I was not disappointed.  This journey was exactly what I was looking for…  glorious landscapes, a walk in the footsteps of Cezanne, a market to plate cooking class, a glimpse at the last years of Van Gogh, a visit to a Roman aqueduct built over 2000 years ago and lots of good food and wine.  The trip was with Tauck Tours and yes it was extraordinary.  Our group was small – just 15 of us.  So come along with me as I highlight the trip.  You just might want to visit too.


Days 1 -2 Aix-en-Provence

This trip was my biannual mother-daughter trip with my 2 daughters – except that one daughter had to stay home because of her new job.  So Ashley and I flew in to Marseille a day early to try to beat the jet lag.

Ashley and me in Provence

On the first day we met our wonderful guide and took a walk around the city.

Provence guide

Provence Markets

Lovely open air markets with flowers, soap (of course), and produce

The city center had a roundabout….  one of many

Aix en Provence fountain

and the view from our hotel window was exceptional

Provence hotel garden

On day 2 in Aix-en-Provence we visited the last studio used by Cezanne.  What a treat.

Cezanne studio in Provence

Inside the studio we saw some of the original props used by Cezanne

Cezanne studio

See the plaster cherub?  Here’s one painting with it

painting by cezanne

After the studio visit, we had lunch at a winery and a walk in a sculpture garden.

A great two days.  Stay tuned for more…..


Vacation…. American Old West

  • Vacation 2014 photo
  • Vacation Mt Rushmore
    Mount Rushmore
  • Buffalo Bill Cody photo
    Buffalo Bill Cody
  • Vacation Wyoming
  • Buffalo
  • Refreshing
  • Old Faithful
    Old Faithful
  • Hot Springs
    Hot Springs
  • Elk
  • Hot Springs
    Hot Springs
  • Tetons
  • Indian Paintbrush
    Indian Paintbrush



This year we took our vacation in the US and visited the great plains of the old west and visited National Parks and Lodges. Wonderful part of our beautiful country. Enjoy some of the photos I took.