So it's been a while as it’s been such a busy summer! I thought I should update for those who don't subscribe to the newsletter. (which you can subscribe to here!) I wrote this on route back home from travels in Slovenia and Croatia in August
and what a magical adventure it has been. I teach as well as
illustrate, make and create so I was teaching along the way (online) but
still had time for lots of wanderings. We went over to Tolmin via beautiful Ljubljana to go to Punk Rock Holiday, a 5 day festival by the river with music, food and plenty of inflatable flamingoes! The highlights of the festival were Frank Turner,
Pennywise and also a fab Spanish band called Wild Animals. (But there
were so many more amazing bands, too many to mention!) We stayed in a moomin house, walked up mountains, ogled at beautiful gorges, chatted with cats, cows and donkeys and ate far too much stodgy yellow food! My skin and waistline is not thanking me for it!
After Tolmin we got the train to Zagreb, an amazing city with so many quirky museums and places to eat and drink. The Museum of Broken Relationships
was the highlight. Poignant and so moving from giggling over bitter
toaster rows and pizza abstention to the deep sadness over lost parents
and children. Tears of sadness and tears of joy, all human emotion laid
out raw and burnt but ready to heal.
On a lighter note we also went to the 80’s museum,
dressed up in apparently daft outfits and went a bit Wes Anderson with
the pics! It was all based around an 80’s apartment decked out as it
would’ve been at the time in Zagreb. I’d happily live in it now, it was
gorgeous if a little brown and itchy! I heard there was also a mushroom museum but sadly it was closed!
Next up the night train from Zagreb to Split.
I had read that it can be impossible to sleep on it with marauding
travellers, noise and furnace like temperatures. But... we were lucky
enough to have nobody else in our compartment of 6 bunks so we got first
choice on the middle bunks, a cool breeze from the window and I will
never forget the magic of pulling away from Zagreb,
head out of the window, mother moon smiling down and ushering us on our
way. There was no bedding and the carpet style covers of the bunks were
itchy but the rocking of the train, gentle squeals as we banked around
the corners and low barking of dogs at the odd train stop all provided
the feeling of being in a strange dream and sleep was not as hard as
expected. We awoke to the sun burning it’s way up over the mountains, oh
my it was a pure tingly joy to watch. Honestly, the excitement of every
detail of that journey made it worth the itchy beds and hot carriages
and even the odd marauding traveller had there been any. Laying in my
bunk being rocked around and flying along just made me feel I never
wanted to stop moving. I do struggle with itchy feet and wanderlust
anyway but that really cemented it in a way that felt it was the only
thing to do. Keep going. As in the words of Alain de Botton -
“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to
internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train"
(apologies for ridiculous picture of the moon below, haha! She was amazing... but we were moving very fast!)
Luckily we did stop though! We got to Split,
immediately submerged into tourists and swaying souvenir stalls lining
the road up from the station to the town. The town is very pretty but so
very touristy and it was clear that the locals really don’t like
tourists going by the odd service at coffee shops and pastry places.
(We’d been forewarned of this by a Croatian friend of Gary’s too). So,
we were more than happy to get straight on a bus up the coast to
beautiful Kastel Stari, a small town where we’d booked a cheap Airbnb
for a few days of relaxy time. There’s not much to tell here as we
actually did just that for once. Ate more food, had drinks on the
harbour, swam in the sea, walked around the old streets, talked to more
cats and had confusing conversations about a brain with a local man. The
locals here were lovely, really welcoming. On the last night I sat on
the harbour to do some drawing whilst Gary was in the Airbnb. I felt a
gentle push from behind as a furry beast had decided to say hello! Ahh
he was absolutely lovely, sat beside me and we had a mutual happy moment
watching the bobbing boats and sunset. I was really pleased when Gary
happened to pop over to the harbour just at this moment and capture a
pic. Then we stayed there for the most fairytale giant pink moon rise opposite a smouldering orange sunset
on the other side of the mountains. It felt like Mother Nature was
bringing all her best paintings out to show off so we applauded her and
said our thank you's on a magical last evening in Kastel Stari.
The pictures really haven't captured it so you will just have to go and see it for yourself!
Having landed back in a very chilly, windy and grey old Blighty it is time to get my head back into work with
a commission to complete, new stockists to organise packages for and
new products to start developing from my sketchbook scribblings! And I
also shall be eating some greenery after eating enough
bread to sink a small ship as well as get some proper sleep as I sit
here feeling bedraggled, sleepy and very snug in my clothes, perhaps
they have simply shrunk :)
I am about to embark on more travels (around Italy) in a couple of weeks so shall report back soon! After that when I return in November it will be full steam ahead on creating all the new work fizzling in my sketchbooks!