To escape the winter this year I went to Europe to embark on a river cruise from Passau, Germany to Budapest. The first stop was Paris.

Swing dancing at the ‘Place De La Republique’

As I was only away for a few weeks, I decided not to take the easel and treated the trip as pure reconnaissance. Apart from being a tad cliche, setting up the French easel on the streets of Paris would no doubt attract a few tourists and would have been rather distracting, as I am a Plein air painter and not a street performer, taking notes and doing small thumbnail sketches sufficed.

As an artist, one gets the feeling you would have to spend a few seasons in Paris to get a feel for the city. Plus learning to speak french does help. “Bonjour” and “Merci” alone won’t cut it. I should know, they are the only two words I know. Walking around the streets of Paris for a week was a delight and as days turned slowly into balmy nights, one can experience people swing dancing around the ‘Place De La Republique’ where outdoor diners drink wine on the pathways outside cafes and restaurants taking in the stars and the warm open air.

From Paris it was off to Passau, Germany, where I hooked up with an old friend for a river cruise on the Danube River to Budapest, visiting the cities of Linz, Vienna, and Bratislava along the way, where we finally disembarked in Budapest, Hungary, the Birthplace of my mother almost eighty nine years ago. Budapest for me had a ‘softer edge’ than a lot of the other European cities I had visited in the past. My companion and I walked the ‘ruined bar’ district at night , strolling for hours discovering old brick underground bars and restaurants along narrow alleyways, taking in the food , wine and atmosphere as we enjoyed the live music on offer. I will defiantly return one day to paint this Beautiful city.

Parliament House on the Danube, Budapest.

Small sketch pad for watercolour thumbnails.

Try getting away with this on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Wildflowers along the Danube.