My Great Art Adventure


Some people go to Europe for the food. Some people go for the shopping. Some go to see famous sights or with no particular goal. My upcoming trip to Europe will be focused on seeing as much of the world’s greatest art as I can.

Shortly after Christmas I’ll arrive in Paris where (bien sûr!) I’ll have lots of time for the Louvre, the Orsay and other lesser-known art museums. When I made my plans I was looking forward to an extended stay in winter, when the city isn’t so full of tourists. Unfortunately, after the attacks of November 13, there probably won’t be as many tourists as there should be but I’ll be there.

Next I’ll move on to Belgium where I’ll enjoy seeing great works by my favorite artists: Van Eyck, Campin, van der Weyden, Memling. At the top of my list is visiting St. Bavo’s cathedral in Ghent Belgium to see the painting known as the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” (shown above). It was painted ca. 1420 by Hubert Van Eyck and his brother, Jan Van Eyck.

I plan to go to Amsterdam to see the newly renovated Rijksmuseum and to Den Haag to return to the Mauritshuis. If I can find a way there I’ll also go to the Koller-Muller museum located in a large park in the center of Holland. It contains more than 100 paintings by Vincent Van Gogh as well as works by other famous artists.

Later in my journey I’ll be in Madrid for a day at the Prado and for my first visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum and the Reina Sofia. Some critics call the Prado collection the greatest in the world. Perhaps, perhaps not. There certainly are many great works of art to be found there.

My love of early art extends farther back in time than the 15th century. In France I love exploring some of the many churches constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries. They often contain primitive sculpture, particularly at the tops of the columns supporting a roof and cloisters. When my journey continues to Sicily I expect to find even older artworks in the archaeological museums there.

In Ireland I’ll enjoy again the fine National Art Museum and the treasures to be found in the National Museum of Ireland. I’m looking forward to visiting for the first time the Decorative Arts & History museum in Dublin as well. And then to London and the great collection at the National Gallery.

From there, who knows? Maybe I’ll stay longer and add Vienna, Frankfurt …

As I travel I’ll update this blog regularly with stories of my explorations as well as photos. I hope you’ll follow along. We’ll see some fabulous art!



A New Beginning

New Beginning: sunrise over Venice

New Beginning: sunrise over Venice

I believe it’s time now to begin this blog again. Last October I returned home from a wonderful trip to Greece, Turkey and the Mediterranean, ready to write about my adventures. Four weeks later my life changed completely when my beloved husband, George, died.

George gave me a precious gift: the opportunity to pursue my many interests. The best of these occurred in 2001-02 when we traveled around Europe for eleven months! We sailed to England on the old QE2. We traveled from Ireland to Russia, from Norway to Spain. My life was changed forever.

A few months after George’s death I bought a small cottage in the town of New Bern, North Carolina. We had been living in a golf-course community outside New Bern since 2001 but I wanted an older, smaller home in town.  I found the perfect place. Moving and settling in has taken months! Then I spent more months planning a gathering of family and friends to honor George’s memory in our Massachusetts home town. Shortly after that I was made a member of a jury for a trial that lasted for weeks.  Then I was asked to create a slide presentation for my 50th high school reunion. When I returned from the reunion a few days ago my head was filled with ideas for my future travels and for this blog. I’m ready to begin again.

I hope my blog will encourage others to explore the world. Get off the bus! Skip the cruise! As a retired travel agent I’ve often helped clients spend $12,000 for a two-week European vacation for two people. With that budget I could travel around Europe for three or four months!

Here’s my advice to those who want to be travelers, not tourists: Invest your time and money in really discovering new places. This blog was begun to share little-known places that I’ve enjoyed. On this blog I’ll create pages filled with ideas and suggestions to help you make traveling more interesting, more comfortable and more affordable. I’ll share with you links to websites and blogs that I find very useful.  Please share your “finds” with me in the “Comments” section below.

I hope you’ll want to come along with me!

Who Am I?


I’m retiring!  I’ve been working for the past several years as an independent travel agent and occasional tour guide. That’s enabled me to travel to Alaska, to Canada, through the Panama Canal and to much of Europe as well as to great American cities such as Seattle and Charleston. It’s been fun but I’m an original Boomer. The time has come to pursue my own interests — interests such as developing this blog.

At the age of 18 I traveled from Ohio to the California coast in a ‘62 Ford with my new husband. I’ll never forget places with exotic names like Tucumcari – or the mechanic in Barstow who convinced two kids that they’d die crossing the dessert if they didn’t buy new tires from him! Life’s lessons learned. My life’s travels begun.

Since then I’ve lived in many places: California (three times), Texas (twice), Massachusetts (for a long time), Maine (not long enough), Ohio (which has always been “home”), New Jersey (where I married for the second time) and for two years during the Vietnam War in Okinawa (where my son was born).  I’ve traveled to 46 of the US states and to many countries of Europe. Now I live in Eastern North Carolina and travel as often as possible.

Suitcases, Mom and Me

My mother said the first thing I ever did was pack a suitcase.  I was two years old when someone gave me a tiny valise intended for doll clothes.  I still remember it: a little gray box around 12 inches square.  Mom said I would pack it endlessly with things to take on my imaginary trips.  It seems I was born with a love of travel.

When I was 14 Mom gave me a very stylish white Samsonite “train case” for Christmas. It was the beginning of a set of four pieces of matched luggage that I would own by the time I graduated from high school.  Mom used S&H Green Stamps, saved all year, to purchase that luggage for me.  (Those stamps, popular in the 1960s, each stamp representing ten cents spent, were one way homemakers had of “earning” money for their own use.)  That luggage traveled with me through a too-early marriage to California and Texas and Okinawa.  Although I no longer use it, I still have it.

In 1943, when she boarded a train in Charleston, West Virginia to meet and marry my sailor father in Ames, Iowa, my mother brought along the suitcase shown at the top of this blog.  During World War 2 she used it each time she traveled to meet my dad: for a few weeks in Iowa, in New Orleans, in Brooklyn.  I’ve carried Mom’s suitcase with me through several moves.  My mother died much too early of a terrible disease that slowly took her from us, and I treasure the few things she left us that were important to her.  When I brought her old suitcase down from the attic to photograph it for this blog I found it contained a wadded up nest of my old doll clothes.