Thursday, June 17, 2010

ready to leave the nest

ready to leave the nest, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and so am I. These precious little hummingbirds hatched 2 weeks ago while I was in Italy. Each day I watched them "get a little taller" in their nest until I could see that they were no longer able to fit. Monday evening my neighborhood children and I were watching them when one of them was brave enough to try his first flight right in front of our eyes. We were all so thrilled with gave him a round of applause and a gallery of cheers. He looked like a child taking first steps and not sure of which way he was headed. He left his sibling alone in the nest at night. Tuesday morning I left for my walk at 6:45 and when I returned at 7:30 the other hummer was gone although I could hear the young family in the nearby bushes which was the destination the night before.
So these little guys were ready to take flight and leave their little nest and so am I. Ryan arrived today and we are ready to pack the truck tomorrow. Saturday morning we are headed to Colorado, my new home. I feel like the little fledglings from my garden but trust that I will land in a safe and happy place.
I'll check in on the other side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Arrivederci, Italia!

last morning in Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

My last day in Orvieto started at 5:30 with this lovely pink light cast on the home across the convent courtyard from my room. It was peaceful reminding me of the week I had spent within these walls meeting new friends, being an eager student, venturing out to unknown areas of Orvieto each day never knowing what adventures I would have or what I would write in my journal each night before bed.
Ok then let's write an ending to this fabulous trip....

my portfolio cover

my portfolio cover, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and it was time to place my week's work of watercolors and sketches in my folder and head back to California.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh and the fabulous wine!

grape vines, Palazzoni, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Where wine is less expensive than water. Well of course I had wine every day..sometimes with lunch as well as dinner. Often just by itself. Kristi and Bill arranged for 2 wine excursions. The first was at Il Palazzo del Gusto where we learned about the qualities of all the Orvieto wines and tasted quite a few. We also were introduced to the philosophy of cittaslow, or slow food. Olive oil of course is fabulous in Italy so we had a little tutorial on OO as well.
Then one afternoon we went as the only guest party to Palazzoni winery where the owner, Giovanni educated us and entertained us. Of all the wine tours I have been on in California this afternoon surpassed them all. The ambiance of the winery and the countryside simply begs you to return. I am not sure I will have the opportunity to return to this lovely spot but I will cherish my memories and search for Orvieto's fine wines here at home. Doesn't this post whet your appetite for a nice glass of wine?

IMG_0740, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The glasses are ready

Giovanni, wine, Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

A few words from Giovanni

wine, color, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Check out the ruby color reflected on the napkin, Sangiovese

and you've got to taste it

Judy and Ruth, wine tasting, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Our group, Judy and Ruth, enjoying the Orvieto classico

Orvieto wine

wine label, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Orvieto is famous for its dry white wines. I found this bottle in Whole Foods

bottled and boxed, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

bottled and boxed

wine cave, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The caves below Orvieto's current city are a great way to store wine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And yes, there were all of the classic Italian sights

The Coliseum, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

When I arrived in Rome I studied the map for the famous sights and headed out on foot. The first night I stayed in Tretevere, on the west of the Tiber River. Then the next morning I started out to do as much of Rome as I could squeeze in in one day. I started out for ancient Rome which except for the Coliseum is mostly underground. I passed many buildings I felt I should have known but didn't. After a few hours I hitched a bus to the Vatican. After a long wait in the square I was able to go in. Breathtakingly rich in art and marble but almost too rich. Then I headed south passed historical churches and landmarks, across the bridge of the Tiber and into other areas of Rome, all on cobblestone streets which are so charming. I had dinner in the Piazza Navona, the largest piazza in Rome, and rumored never to be occupied by locals. The piazza claims 3 lovely fountains, a 13th century church and a boatload of piazza entertainers and vendors with little kiosks, all with metal buckets out for your Euros. While I sat having wine and dinner huge gusts of wind came threatening to also bring a storm. The piazza was cleared in an instant, the waiters in my trattoria held on dearly to the umbrella poles to keep them from ruining their chances for any clientele and I just sat and watched it all, pulling out my sketchbook to catch a few scenes. In the evening I was in search of the Trevi fountain, not to easy to find even with a map. And at the end of the day with all of my favorite sights documented I headed home. 14 hours of walking and enjoying Rome. I even had time to be sidetracked by an art exhibit featuring impressionist art and was tickled to find 3 of Monet's waterlilies on display. Oh yes and there was a gelato after my visit to the Vatican. Rome in a day. You can do it with a good pair of shoes, a good map and feet that do not fail you. Here are some classic Italian stops.

Piazza Navona, fountain, Rome

Piazza Navona, fountain, Rome, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

cobblestone street, Rome

cobblestone street, Rome, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The Vatican

The Vatican, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

St Peter's Cathedral, inside

St Peter's Cathedral, inside, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Trevi fountain, Rome

Trevi fountain, Rome, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

12th century architecture

12th century architecture, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Orvieto from the winery

Orvieto from the winery, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

brick roof and iceberg roses, Palazzone winery, Orvieto, Umbria, Italy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And there was food, food, food, Slow Food

boar head, cinghiale, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

This is a cinghiale, or a wild boar. They are nuisances in Italy. With no natural predators the are growing in number and can wipe out your entire garden (orti) overnight. So the best thing to do in eat the suckers. Many sauces include cinghiale. I avoided it for a couple of meals but then gave in....quite tasty really

Slow food

cittaslow, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and slow it conte, per favore! and that still won't get you the check. Europe in general is traditionally a slow food society. Italy forces you to comply. I myself love the whole slow food movement for growing, gathering, preparing and enjoying dinner. But lunch? Really, we don't need 1.5 hours at the table for lunch.....especially if you are eating alone.
But slow it is..........

trattoria in Trestevere, Rome, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

My first meal in Rome was a cute little stop in Trestevere. I had to order pizza. And I wanted a white one. The gorgonzola sounded perfect. The crust here is super thin...just thick enough to hold the goods.

pizza bianco Gorgonzola, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Zeppelin, butcher, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

pork tenderloin, Zeppelin, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

the finished result: pork tenderloin stuffed with herbs and dried fruit, sides: cannallini beans and arugula

white chocolate Napoleon cake, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kristi's birthday cake

Farmers Markets

Farmers Market, Rome, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Part of all of the slow food movement is the farmers markets around the world. I can't miss the fm in Aliso Viejo on sundays. While walking Rome I ran into this inside market in the Circus Maximus area. It was artistically laid out.,,,beautiful yellows!. The market day in Orvieto was typically outside in the Piazza Popolor and included meats, cheeses, nuts and housewares,,,,,,even clothes but the clothing goods looked like a flea market.....snob that I am.
All in all the market days are great inspiration for drawing.

Artichokes in the fm Rome

market day, Orvieto

market day, Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

What a fabulous cheese and meat vendor. Tony bought a kilo of Parmesean and a kilo of panchetta. I hope they didn't steal it from him at customs

farmers market finds, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Borlotti beans, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Farmers market finds,Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and food in its slow form is always good inspiration for me!

peach and fennel, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And there were many very narrow streets

OK No Cadillac Escalades on these streets. The streets in Italy can be very narrow. Some are marked pedestrians only but most of them are traveled by Vespas, cars and trash trucks, as well. We Americans like our big cars but it is amazing that yes you can haul your sports equipment, your baby strollers and your family in smaller cars. Popular cars are Fiats and the Smart car. When you share these corridors with vehicles Yield! to them and hug the wall

IMG_0594, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

IMG_0595, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

in Rome

narrow street, Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Orvieto across from the Duomo

Our convent B & B was in the piazza between this narrow street and the next

Monday, June 7, 2010

My inspiration for my Italy trip was an art workshop

My art teacher and friend, Jane LaFazio, taught a 5 day workshop on " sketching and watercolor: journal style" offered through Adventures in Italy. So I went to paint. The first morning we met in the convent courtyard with our gear and listened as Jane gave us inspiration and direction.

IMG_0642, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Demonstration: paint what you see

IMG_0641, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Our whole group out in the convent courtyard.

Magnolia blossom, Orvieto, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Magnolia blossom

next assignment: the Duomo

IMG_0625, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

The Duomo is one of Italy's most beautiful churches. It has exquisite detail both inside and out. The Renaissance artist: Luca Signorelli did some of his finest frescos in one of the chapels. You can read about it in "Every Day in Tuscany" by Frances Mayes. Or you can just get a book on Signorelli. I had forgotten the process of a fresco but we were fortunate to have a guest lecturer the evening before who was an art history expert and just happened to sit with me at La Paloma restaurant. I got a great education over wine and dinner.

On the Duomo piazza, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

On the Duomo piazza, we arrived 20 minutes early so our teacher made us start on the outside. No cameras inside and only a 20 minute visit inside so we had to sketch fast and furious

Duomo details, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

details of the Duomo with typical Renaissance colors