My wife Sharon and I have just recently returned from eight enjoyable weeks spent in France & Italy. We began our trip in Paris where we rented an apartment for 2 weeks and then we headed south through Burgundy to Provence, and then on to Tuscany, Venice and Rome. We had an amazing trip, we saw some of the world's best art, we enjoyed many, very good meals and we walked ourselves into a happy state of exhaustion almost every day.
We also did a lot of photography. I came back with over 3,600 images on my laptop and it'll take months to go through them all. But already I know I have some "keepers". For those of you who were following our trip, you have already seen some of the images that I posted on my website every few days, internet permitting.
What city did we enjoy the most? Well, I think Paris is at the top of our list of places to return to. The range and quality of art available there is hard to match, even when compared to Florence or Rome. The food in Paris is very good, as is the general ambiance, but it's the people who make Paris a great city.
Venice is also a very interesting place to visit, especially since it's the best preserved medieval city in the world, but the immense pressure of global tourism makes it hard to enjoy even Venice for more than a few days. Unfortunately, the reality in a crowded world is that many interesting places worth visiting are now almost always busy.
This was quite in contrast to our last trip to Europe 25 years ago, or the winter I spent hitchhiking around Europe as a student 40 years ago. A lot has changed, both in Europe and in me, and it's hard to say which has changed more. But never the less, Europe has changed beyond recognition during my lifetime.
Our best memories? Well, it might be enjoying the impressionistic paintings in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, or viewing Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, or wine tasting and driving through the medieval stone villages of Burgundy, or hiking along the coastal trails in Cinque Terre, Italy, or enjoying some of the great meals we had in France or Italy? It's impossible to say which was best, they were all good.
There will be many images posted here over the upcoming year as I work through these happy memories.