Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm back from Europe!

Hi, everybody!
I'm finally back from my month-long trip across Europe, and so thrilled to be home again and blogging. I found it impossible to contribute to my blog while I was away, in part because all the computers I was using at the Internet cafes were somewhat difficult, and also because I didn't know how to download my photos on foreign computers.
So, I reluctantly gave up the idea of a travel blog and focused instead on having a great time and taking lots of photos.
I'll be blogging in the future about upcoming workshops and retreats (such as the Wild Wire Women retreat that begins this Thursday) but from time to time I'll reach into my photo files for an image of Italy, Greece, or the Czech Republic and share stories about my amazing trip.
It all started with a terrific weekend workshop that I taught at Art in the Loft in beautiful Alpena, Michigan last September. If you ever have a chance to visit this part of the country and take a workshop at Art in the Loft, DO it. The Loft is big, gorgeous, and filled with natural light and lots of inspiration. Many thanks to Nan Katzenberger for organizing my weekend workshop series! I hope to return sometime next year to teach more fun techniques to the talented students who frequent the Loft.
On the Monday morning following my workshops, I departed Michigan for Milan, Italy. My destination was the tiny village of Varenna on Lake Como, just a one-hour train ride from Milan but truly a world away from the big city. I loved my accommodations at the Hotel Olivedo, which is situated right on the lake. I had a sweet little room at the top of the hotel, which is located near the ferry landing. This made it easy to hop on the ferry every day to explore Mennagio, Bellagio, Como, and other towns in this area.
Every day, I walked and walked and walked, up hills and stairs, and I also took a few tours such as an Italian cooking class, a tour of Bergamo, and a day on the Bernina Express train to St. Moritz, Switzerland. Magical!
Of course, my primary purpose for my latest European trip was the wire jewelry workshop I taught in Santorini, Greece. After eight memorable days on Lake Como, I departed Milan for Athens and then took an Aegean Airlines flight to the island of Santorini. Patrick Mahoney of Toscana Americana took care of all the arrangements, providing hotel accommodations, a wonderful studio workshop, and fabulous restaurant choices every day for lunch and dinner. Thank you, Patrick!
So by now you're wondering, so what's with the bones (pictured)? Well, after spending about eight days in Santorini, I departed for Prague, Czech Republic, where I met with my dear friend Robin Harsh who is a YWAM missionary there along with her husband and two children. I had asked Robin if she wouldn't mind taking a day-trip from her home in Plzen to the town of Kutna Hora, which is famous for its "bone church." She agreed somewhat reluctantly, and we had an amazing opportunity to see and photograph this strangely beautiful and moving monument to the transient nature of life. If you ever have the chance to travel to Prague, do it—for the best bead shopping in Europe, gorgeous architecture, art-nouveau murals and other art, terrific food, and excellent coffee (besides the best beer in Europe)—and take a side trip to Kutna Hora to see the bone church!
I'll be blogging in the future with more photos of my trip, and I appreciate everyone who has waited so patiently for me to return home and continue my blog. I've really missed sharing my experiences with you and look forward to reading your comments in the future.

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