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My studio gallery is ready to visit  for your holiday shopping!  Just drop me an email, and we can set up a time for your visit.

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I have a good assortment of prints as well as original art.  Also in stock is our children’s book, “Little Hen Lost” that Carol and I wrote and illustrated.20161129_113515

New this year is “Color Me Up North”, an adult coloring set.20161028_173213

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Amy has had much fun coloring them!20161128_100057

I also have greeting cards available with the same scenes.  Carol colored this one.20161127_120921

Coloring sets also available at Lisa Musgrave dental office in downtown Beulah, Century 21 office in Frankfort, and Oliver Art Center.

So drop me a line if you wish to stop by my studio, and I do take credit cards!

Enjoy the Season!   Julie

 

We left Greve and headed to Volpai, another castello (fortified town) dating back to the 1170’s.  The artist whose shop we visited in Greve suggested we stop there as it was the reported home of the woman who posed for the Mona Lisa.20160927_131105

We walked around the medieval fortress taking in the sights.20160927_132946

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We decided to stop for lunch at a delightful open-aired restaurant called Bar Ucci.20160927_132208

No room outside, so we opted for the quaint and ancient rooms inside that opened out.20160927_140211

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As we were leaving, we ran into our Tuscan hikers from England, George and Bridget.  They had hiked their way up that day, if I remember correctly, about 14 kilometers!

We left there and headed toward Sant’ Appiano.  Our agritourismo also had a winery, which was closed by the time we got there.20160927_122128

So we sat on the terrace of the former barn, and wrote in our journals, etc.

 

Love castello nearby.

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We had chosen this spot as they advertised a restaurant within, but it was closed that day…..go figure!  So we ventured out and came to La Sosta di Pio VII.

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The stone plaque marks the spot where a Pope had stopped to relieve himself at this very old barn, complete with troughs still in tact!  Delightful spot literally in the middle on nowhere.

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Cinghiale (wild boar) stew and homemade ribbons of pasta were hits.20160927_202047

We got up early the next morning and left as there was no in-house coffee or tea, and headed for San Gimignano in provence of Siena. 20160928_080623

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We found a very nice cafe just outside the city walls.

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We got our coffee, tea, croissants and fruit in this eclectic spot, which also provided paper and crayon for any artistic urge you might have.  You can see the brown paper renderings in the background.

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Mom and I added to the menagerie.20160928_101044

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View from the cafe window.

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Interesting modern fountain in the square made from regional stone.20160928_103100

We entered the city walls for a day of shopping and sight-seeing.20160928_103731

Apparently, we weren’t alone!  Interesting leather shops, I found Burt some shoes!  LOL20160928_113452

Something for everyone……

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Some are resting at the central well.

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Even the lamps were interesting in the morning light……20160928_114643

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Central cathedral20160928_114753

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We stopped for lunch at a tiny bruschetta shop.20160928_115206

Good thing we’re all skinny!  Puts a new twist on “cozy”.

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A walk around the outer edge of city after lunch was in order.

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Well behaved dogs are always welcome!
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We booked our agritourismo at town center, and headed out to the countryside.

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We checked in, bought a bottle of their wine, and headed for a relaxing cocktail hour.

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Building with our rooms.

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Heading to dinner.

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Always wanted to know how pomegranates grew!20160929_083746

Early morning on the “farm”.

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Up early and leaving for Voltaire and the Etruscan Museum!20160928_131729

Another hilltop town, we had to park at the bottom…..

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The Etruscan civilization (/ᵻˈtrʌskən/) is the modern name given to a powerful, wealthy and refined civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio.  Their  civilization influenced the Romans, who had suppressed them by about 200 bc. 20160929_112500

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As you can tell, I especially liked the pottery.  There was much more, but lighting was tough on some of the other displays.

Here is view from museum balcony…20160929_114518

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We hit the winding road again, and head to Pisa. This was of particular interest to Amy, as we tried to go and see it 16 years ago, but traffic was so crazy, and parking impossible, so the best we could do was see it from a distance.  This time the girls had a parking spot all scoped out, and we actually got to park and see it!20160929_073422

We entered the walled piazza, and passed the army guards with machine guns.  The piazza was packed with tourists from all over the world. 20160929_075457It is actually a bell tower behind the baptistery and cathedral.

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The must-have selfie!  Same in any language as we watched all do it as well.20160929_134224

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Amy has this finally off her bucket list!  We had wonderful veal scallopini at a street cafe.20160929_141148

Heading toward the west coast and our final leg of the journey:  Cinque Terra, the Italian Riviera!20160929_095614

We are getting close as we pass through and by La Spezia.  You can take a train or a ferry boat from here if you wish to Cinque Terra.  We drove the steep and winding way, sometimes afraid to look down from the road as we edged around rocky cliffs.20160929_100858

We finally arrived at Riomaggiore, the southern most village of Cinque Terra.  To quote Lonely Planet:

“Set amid some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, these five ingeniously constructed fishing villages can bolster the most jaded of spirits. A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, Cinque Terre isn’t the undiscovered Eden it once was but, frankly, who cares? Sinuous paths traverse seemingly impregnable cliffsides, while a 19th-century railway line cut through a series of coastal tunnels ferries the footsore from village to village. Thankfully cars were banned over a decade ago.

Rooted in antiquity, Cinque Terre’s five villages date from the early medieval period. Monterosso, the oldest, was founded in AD 643, when beleaguered hill dwellers moved down to the coast to escape from invading barbarians. Riomaggiore came next, purportedly established in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium. The others are Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola. Much of what remains in the villages today dates from the late High Middle Ages, including several castles and a quintet of illustrious parish churches.

Fetching vernacular architecture aside, Cinque Terre’s unique historical feature are the steeply terraced cliffs bisected by a complicated system of fields and gardens that have been hacked, chiselled, shaped and layered over the course of nearly two millennia.”
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre/introduction#ixzz4Pomfh5Ol

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We parked our car here, and walked down into the village to find our lodging.  Downhill all the way, we weaved our way down intricate steps and pathways around ancient, warmly painted buildings onto the main street of commerce.20160930_101147

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Down at the very bottom was the fishing harbor.20160930_101010

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No ugly blue tarps here!  Many were blanketed with stately blue-and-white striped covers, adding to the already fun colors going on.  Great eye candy!20160930_100855

We decided to eat harbor-side, and of course tried the house specialty, fresh calamari.20160929_202756

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We checked out the port in the evening light before turning in.20160929_153158

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The next day we decided to take the ferry and see the other four villages.20160930_042008

May as well take a picture of the village in daylight as we wait for the boat to arrive.20160930_101309

We climb up and around the steep cliff to board the ferry.20160930_101545

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We were on a ferry with a family of five who were going to hike the ancient paths back. ” Lots of steps” the dad said.  We stayed aboard until Monterosso, but much enjoyed the smaller cliff-hanging villages in between.20160930_150939-pano

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We deported at the harbor and headed for town.20160930_113030

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I spotted our hiking family eating sandwiches on a bench.20160930_115946

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Winding through the town, we came upon a very interesting church.20160930_141710

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Adjacent to the church was a small Oratory built during reformation and run by a fraternal organization that was dedicated to care for poor widows and orphans and to see that funeral arrangements are made, with special emphasis on care for shipwrecked and fisherman.  It’s strange skeletal decor was fascinating.20160930_142254

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We had an awesome lunch at a small cafe.  The big hit was fresh marinated white anchovies….Yummo!dscn1085

We ferried back to Riomaggiore for our last night.  We made reservations at Grottino.20160930_144827

It is literally a restaurant in a grotto.20160930_203401

Our final Italian feast was indescribably delicious, and we walked to see the last of the evening (and walk off the meal!).20160930_191601

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The Nonnas are out socializing after supper, which seems to be an Italian custom as families come out and enjoy the last of the day together.  It’s a wonderful custom!20160930_191155

I hope you enjoyed our trip!  We enjoyed sharing it with you.

Until our next adventure……..Live every moment!  Julie

 

 

After landing in Milan, we rented a car and headed straight for Lake Garda (with a slight detour getting directions right!).  We stayed inside the walls at Sirmione at the Hotel Grifone, directly on the lake, and across from the castle.20160924_114824

The castle was surrounded by a mote.20160923_173611

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We had dinner at the Piazza, castle side, followed by our first of many gelatos.  We then meandered around the town through the ancient streets, it had just turned dusk.  It was Friday night, and there was beautiful choir music coming from a small 15th century church.  Amy peeked in to see if there was a wedding or such, and was invited in to hear the chorale concert.  As we moved quietly into the Gothic-arched church, the acoustics were fabulous.  We were moved by the exquisite sound coming from this small group of parishioners, and the understated simplicity of the chapel.  I noticed Jessie was brought to tears with the emotions created by the scene, a true Italian experience!

We slept hard with our window open to the lake, and the gentle waves lulling us to sleep.  We awoke at first light, and watched the sun come up.20160924_065446

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We went down to breakfast that came with our room.  Unbelievable spread!20160924_073117

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With full bellies, we started our ascent through the town up to the Roman Ruins, past olive trees and 4-foot high Rosemary hedges.20160924_090218

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20160924_093445It was still early, just before 9 am., and we were some of the first to enter the ruins.20160924_094518

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By the time we were ready to leave, the crowds were arriving.  We loaded up and said goodbye to beautiful Sirmione!20160923_173555

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We headed south toward Tuscany, stopped for lunch at Modena – famous for their balsamic vinegar. We didn’t have any luck booking an agritourismo (working farm with rooms to stay, many offering home-cooked meals from whatever is fresh) through the tourist office, so the girls chased down a wifi connection, and booked one online near Calcara. calcara-1

Good job, girls!

We arrived close to 5 pm., made reservations for dinner at the farm for 7:30, which is when most restaurants open for dinner, and headed back to the small hamlet that had a tavern/gelato cafe.  We were conspicuously the only women there accept for one.  We ordered house wine at 3 euros each, and relaxed and unwound on the patio out front.  We were not seated long, when the tattooed lady cook, possibly owner, placed a huge plate of bruschetta topped with chunked tuna, green olives, and pearl onions in front of us.  We tried to explain we didn’t order it, but she waved us off.  The waitress also brought us bowls of olives, nuts, and some other goodies as well.  It was Saturday night, and all we could figure is it came with happy hour, or a weekend special.  We tried the tuna bruschetta, not wanting to be rude, and were very pleasantly surprised at the wonderful mix of flavors.  We ate it all!  We got another round of house wine, and the cook brought out a different bruschetta!  What a treat!

We returned to the agritourismo, Borgo del Taglio in Crespellano.  We had a wonderful gourmet meal in their cozy and beautiful dining area, and the service was impeccable!

We left Sunday morning and headed for Greve in Chianti.

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We were lucky as we hit the once-a-month market day in town center!

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We went to the tourist information office, and booked rooms in the Antique Pasta Factory.  Such an interesting building with nice deck areas, and a pool.20160925_150520

Across the way was a wine tasting store.

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Nona watches market day from above.20160925_162924

We walked up to a higher viewing point near our Pasta factory.20160925_163753

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Love the laundry hanging from up high windows.

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Happy hour with local chianti on the deck.

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Up at first light to see the sun come out.  Very different in the quiet morning compared to market day!

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Tea waiting for the sun.

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Carol and I head for the cafe for hot drinks, and maybe a croissant.  Amy and Jessie go take hot showers as the dawn was a little chilly…….

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It seems many of the locals stand, drink their espresso like shots, and eat their pastries.  Carol and I watched from the comfort of a table in the back.

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The light is caressing the town now.

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We peek in the bread bakery…..busy with production!

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The neighbors have hung their laundry and we can see it from our room.

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Doesn’t Carol look spiffy with her new “pocket” scarf?

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We hit the local butcher, and got some goodies for breakfast on the deck.

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We decide to trek up to a nearby castle, and do lunch.

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Greve starts to diminish as we climb steadily up hill.

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We pass vineyards and olive groves.20160926_121351

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We made it!  Montefioralle is where Amerigo Vespucci’s family is from.

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Ahhhh, lunch at Taverna del Guerrino, spectacular views!  We got here just in front of the lunch rush.

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We stroll around the rest of the sights inside the castle walls.

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We decide to take the “scenic route” back, completing a circle.

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West side of the castle.

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We pass a wine tasting in a nearby vineyard.

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Olive grove in foreground.

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Luckily, we met Bridget and George from northern England.  They had much better maps than we did, thank goodness.  They were on a walking holiday, and did 14-22 kilometers a day!

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Our total trip, according to Amy’s app that marked her steps, was about 6.5 miles.  I’m thinking 4 miles up hill, and 2.5 down!

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Tuesday morning at the cafe.  We decide to shop the town today.

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We met this artist in a very interesting gallery. His name was Khosrow Salehi.  We all bought prints, and Carol bought a painting.  Like we need more art…….but his was special.20160927_111145

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We walked across the river, and paid homage to the statue depicting Gallo, the symbol of Chianti.

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We are leaving beautiful Greve, and will be heading south deep into Tuscany next.  Part 2 coming up next, as time allows, so stay tuned!

Julie

 

Carol's Wine and Cheese reception

Come see Carol on display starting August 15th to Sept. 15th.  Come hang out with her in person on Thurs., Aug. 18 from 5 pm to 7 pm.  Here is a sneak preview:

Fall Birch

Floral impressions

 

Sailor's Sunset

Poppies

 

Verdent storefront

Hope to see you Thursday……Enjoy!    Julie

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Hope to see you Sunday!  Julie

L’Chayim Delicatessen to reopen this week for the first time since a kitchen fire in August of last year.  After extensive repairs and upgrades, the deli is open again, and Julie is the first to “Hit the Wall” in the newly refurbished Beulah favorite

Panoramic of L'Chayim art wall with Julie hanging

Panoramic of L’Chayim art wall with Julie hanging

Some of the new paintings featured include:

"Why I'm Here" acrylic

“Why I’m Here” acrylic by Julie Bowman Williams

 

"Boneyard, #1" Pastel by Julie Bowman Williams

“Boneyard, #1” Pastel by Julie Bowman Williams

The Art Show will be up until June 14th, with an artist’s reception Memorial Weekend Sunday, the 29th, from 2-4 pm.  I will keep you posted!

Julie Hitting the wall

Come on out and celebrate at L’Chayim!    Julie

"Old American" by Carol

“Old American” by Carol

As we got closer to the end of the boot camp, our wall looked like this:

2016 boot camp wall

2016 boot camp wall

We have stretched and pushed ourselves, and tried new techniques.

 

 

Waiting for sunset at the Tiki Hut

“Waiting for Sunset at the Tiki Hut” by Julie

We looked for fun reflections to paint.

"A Nesting Home" by Carol

“A Nesting Home” by Carol

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“Still Reflections” by Julie

Enjoyed observing the families and all the birds everywhere.

"Wading In" by Julie

“Wading In” by Julie

"Osprey Haven" by Julie

“Osprey Haven” by Julie

Hope you enjoyed the “camping” experience!

Julie