In just a few weeks, I’ll be hosting my twelfth workshop abroad. Time flies when you wake up to a plate of fresh chocolate croissants every day, mon amie! The best way to learn the ropes of taking a journey art workshop to Europe is to dive in, feet first, and take the trip. I will say that organized painting groups are often the best way to experience Europe in a safe setting, since most are turn key, pick you up at the airport (NOT the train station), take you on all the tours, and ensure you are in a safe location through the whole trip.
There are a few momentous teachable moments that come to mind, however, from my past trips, and I’ve shared them with you here:
1 – Chances are, your blow dryer WILL blow up the first time you use it in Europe. Just because you have a converter/adapter, may not mean your fav blow dryer can handle the higher currents in Europe. Your best bet is to travel with dual voltage hair appliances rated safe for using abroad. You can find these by googling “blow dryers for European travel”.
2 – Not everything is as fast paced in Europe as it is in the US. Remember, when something unexpected happens, take a deep breath and be bendy like Gumby! I recall on one of my Italian tours, when the driver picked up two of the students, they could not understand why he took a 45-minute break while they waited near the van, instead of taking them straight to the hotel. There is a law in Italy that commercial drivers are required to take a 45-minute break for each set number of kilometers they travel, and it’s strictly enforced.
3 – Your Internet connection might not be super speedy. Brace yourself, not all electronic services are going to perform the same in Europe as they do in your home zone. Some of the older locations have “shared” bandwidth. This means it could take over 10 minutes for you to connect to Facebook. Here’s a tip – set your alarm for 3 am when fewer people are online – yes, it’s annoying, but everyone at home will be wide awake at this time, so you can share your best photos (not to mention those yummy meal pictures!) and your images may actually upload. The best tip, though, is to disconnect completely and enjoy the incomparable sights and history around you. After all, you traveled all the way across the world to be in this place at this moment!
4 – Air conditioners in Europe don’t give you a lovely chill, instead, they go “le poof” with just a bit of cool air. Let’s face it, a historic heat wave is hitting Southern Europe every summer now. All of my tours going forward are hosted in air conditioned hotels with air conditioned studios and transportation to accommodate this new reality. If you’re on a trip where your room, art studio, or ride has no AC, packing a small battery-operated fan can help, especially at night. Layering, sunscreen, wearing lightweight hats, and staying out of the sun during the hottest time of day is good practice.
5 – Most European tours will require some walking, and some of that walking will be on hills. Months before your trip, get in the habit of taking an early morning walk, or ramp up your treadmill game at the gym. Better yet, try that scary stair climber machine in the corner. It’s kind of embarrassing to get left in the dusty by a 90-year-old lady walking briskly up a hill in Italy while she’s pushing her bicycle.
Finally, it’s customary overseas to greet someone before asking for a price or asking a question. Get in the habit of saying “Bonjour” and smiling, before you point to that absolutely awesome scarf and ask if it is really only 5E. Always carry Euros for the older village shops, since many don’t take credit cards. And the best news yet, shopping there is SO CHEAP you won’t believe it. Bring an extra bag, you’ll have lots of great goodies to take home for friends.
June 2020 ~ Your summer escape awaits!
You are invited to join Nancy for a summer getaway to the magnificent French Alps. There is no more beautiful escape from the summer heat than spending 10 days in the heart of the lovely medieval village of Annecy, known as “The Venice of France” with its canals, flower gardens, cafes and shops.
After flying into Geneva, Switzerland, we’ll make our home in The Splendid Hotel near the shores of historic Lake Annecy. Your journey begins with a tour of Col de la Forclaz with lunch on the terrace of a dairy farm in the mountains. We’ll sample slices of charcuterie, cheeses, potato beignets, and fresh blueberry tarts with cream. We’ll tour the Chateau de Menthon St Bernard, a castle filled with 13th century furnishings, tapestries and a library of ancient manuscripts painted with illuminations from the monks of the Middle Ages. And this is all just Day 1!
During your journey workshop, you’ll have plenty of painting time with Nancy in the indoor studio at your hotel in Annecy. Nonpainters will enjoy additional tours and excursions while the painters are busy in the studio. This tour is filling quickly! Contact [email protected] for registration details.