Meeting Seattle’s “senior nomads” in Florence

Airbnb hopping around the world

Imagine leaving your hometown, selling your belongings, and setting out on a never-ending adventure around the globe, with no end in sight to your travels. It sounds like the stuff of dreams, but it is what ordinary life looks like for Michael and Debbie Campbell, the self-dubbed “Senior Nomads” from Seattle.

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They have been travelling the world since Summer 2013, having retired, sold their car and sailboat, reduced their possessionsand they are staying in Airbnbs each time to feel like locals and get a feel of every place they choose to visit.  Continue reading

Mapping Monet: an art alphabet

“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.”

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Claude Monet, famously among the leaders of the French Impressionist movement of the 1870s and 1880s, was one of the movement’s most prolific artists. His 1873 painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) gave the movement its name, and he played a crucial role in bringing its adherents together. Particularly inspired in the 1860s by the Realists’ willingness to pain en plein air, Monet made his painting technique one of his most important traits – painting different places at different times, often directly in front of the subject, rather than from memory, and became distinguished for his remarkable colouring and depiction of light.

What makes Monet stand out for me, other than all of his artistic techniques and the landscapes he chooses, is the way these move across Europe. Hence, following his footsteps beyond just the gardens of well-known Giverny is fascinating – most are there today, making it possible to step into one of his paintings. Let’s step into his artwork and embark on a journey across the continent.  Continue reading

9×9: nine Florence plans for September

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If I’ve not been particularly active lately, know this: I despise summer. I’ve been lying in cool, fanned rooms when in Germany and regretting having ever gotten out of cooling seawater when I’ve been in Italy. I really can’t think of any advantage to hot, sticky, mosquito-infested, humid weather other than the the pleasant side effect of a tan.

But September – that’s a whole different story. As leaves crinkle and turn golden, and the relief of cold weather make its way towards us, September is a time to wrap up the past season, but at the same time, (even for summer Scrooges like me) make the most of the last snatches of hot air. Florence has so much going on  this month – take a look.  Continue reading