Two weeks ago, I boarded a plane in Albuquerque, New Mexico and arrived relatively rested the next day in Rome, where I got on a train to Poggio Mirteto, an hour north. I was then met by one of the owners of the B&B La Torretta, located in the small village of Casperia where there are no cars. Casperia is all up and down walking on cobblestones. It is 1,000 years old and feels like it. Every day I walked up and down numerous narrow walkways trying to walk them all. It was a lovely experience.
One week ago, I arrived in France. As soon as I stepped off the plane in Toulouse, I felt a change. Although Italy was lovely, I did not feel at home there as I do in France. Even in the countryside, it just feels different although much of it looks the same. I was immediately greeted by the ubiquitous sunflowers that are everywhere in southwestern France. There are not just acres of them, there are miles, and they are huge. There are so many that to paint them seems to me to be a cliché. I have just started painting now that I am settled in a lovely home in the medieval village of Sorèze.
With its challenges and marvels, its exquisite food and menus, and trying to speak French, being away from home for a while makes me feel marvelously refreshed and renewed.