Continuing Travels


Barga to Pisa. September 30 ’14

Oh why does it have to be such an utterly magical day as I look through the shutters to the lilac hills in the distance. How can I leave you?

The Sketchers are all pretty well packed and have time to enjoy the beautiful breakfasts Krysia prepares each morning.  She bakes fresh brown bread which is a favourite with our groups, particularly with the fruit jams or local honey.

Off we go, so fare thee well all. Enjoy your continuing travels and keep on sketching.

For us we’d spend the day in Pisa till we go by train to Milan.  Pisa feels very familiar by now, and we start with a coffee and time for me to sketch.

Cafe Pisa

We keep seeing Chris and Krysia as we pass through this street or that, discovering even more locations we’d not found before. They on their mission, we on ours.

Our final passing happened as a girl on a bicycle decided not to go round me. Oops that was close. I live to tell the tale!

We looked for somewhere away from the main Piazzas to have a light lunch. The tiny one we found on a small local street was just right.

The owner was quite excited that we came from Australia, and rushed inside to get his guest book and show us other Australians who’d dined there. Only 3 that I could see. To be honest you wouldn’t notice this little place.

He was keen for us to write something, but I it suddenly came over me to do a sketch instead.

On the very last page he now has an original of the doorway to his inside part of the cafe. He was so amazed that I’d done it, and I imagine every other guest is going to be made to look at this book and the sketch- and feel in awe!!!

Love that sketching can be shared this way and bring such pleasure to others.

Il Capodaglio Pisa

The train left late afternoon and we sank into our seats and relaxed.

What a wonderful 4 1/2 hours it was. Felt like watching travel docos of the Italian coast –  including Portofino –  alternating with country pasture, rolling past our window. Mesmerising.

Tonight we’d be in Milan and another adventure.


Milan. Sept 30 – Oct 3 ’14

We have 3 whole days in this very lovely city with no particular thing to do but take it all in.

Gracious architecture lines every street and Piazza. Little boutiques are tucked inside with  beautifully designed contemporary interiors. Design influences all parts of life in Milan. The lines of bikes, the multi different motorcycle designs. Tiny plug-in cars which are so darned cute – and practical. Cafe chairs. Cakes in windows. Everyone seems to have an eye for design. Can’t stop seeing examples everywhere.

Bar overlooking Duomo Milan

We enjoyed just looking. But finally I was tempted. Every Italian woman wears a jacket of some sort, with well cut pants and smart shoes. The scarves thrown around the neck are worn by both men and women. And they do it superbly.

New problem. What to do with extra clothing which will not fit in our cases.  Easy. Into a beautiful bag shop till you decide on something for extras.  A daggy ol’ bag will not cut it here.  So with 2 flat little leather shoulder bags, we could now take these as cabin luggage. Very cool.

We only had time to look at one Museo although we had planned to visit the Galleria D’Arte Moderna, but you know how time goes!  We kept getting distracted on the way. However we did pass the Museum of Science and Technology, where there is a room of Leonardo da Vinci’s teaching books and models of his inventions. We really enjoyed the smaller and more intimate displays as opposed to booking 6 months ahead to see the ‘Last Supper’. In fact there was a perfectly acceptable copy of it here anyway.


The highlight was to meet for lunch with my little cousin. As a little girl she’d listen in awe to my teenage adventures. Now we could share a beautiful afternoon catching up, swapping stories and filling in the gaps. She’s still a bubble and she’s had her own adventures since those childhood years.

She and her family have lived in Crema, another glorious small Italian town for several years now. Have you heard of Rocket coffee machines? That’s them. Fab product. Very trendy with cyclists who are all coffee addicts. Guess what, sketchers are coffee addicts too! Heaps in common. They can’t sketch and we can’t race bikes. I’m sure we can fix that!

Where better place to meet than Terrazzo Aperol balcony, with the famous Duomo as backdrop. Very stylish and away from the madding crowds.

We said our farewells in good time to get to Malpensa for our flight to Munich and on to HongKong. Milan has enchanted me once again.




  1. Inese Poga Art Gallery

    So great to be able to travel! I also love warm weather, it’s so cold here in Canada at the moment! Your sketches sparkle with life and color! Great works!


  2. Your travel blog and sketches are so enjoyable. You would be such an excellent travelling companion. Maybe on one of your future tours we can catch up, or maybe just in local travel. I love the fact you drew in the owners guest book – very special for them and a simple thing to do for you !


  3. Janice Pilbrow

    Loved following the remainder of your trip. It was very special to join you on part of it. I’ve learned so much, but looking at your sketches still have lots to learn about simplifying and making it ping with colour. AND wash my brush between colour. What a wonderful week we had, great tutor, great hosts, great food! and great weather thankyou soooo much Kiwi Janice xx


  4. janiceap

    Hi Erin

    Arrived home yesterday, up too early!! It’s  been a great chance to catch up on your travels.

    Please put me down for the March getaway. Will talk to the others. Have left a comment on your travel blog. I still have heaps to learn.

    Thankyou Janice

    Sent from Samsung table


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