My Iceland trip culminated in a very magical journey. I made a new friend through Facebook who lives in Arkansas. She was going to be there at the same time as me, and we planned an excursion by car to Vik. Melanie was the perfect travel mate. Since we made our plans so far in advance, we had an opportunity to meet in New York when she came here on business, and I also accepted her invitation to visit Bentonville right before Christmas. We have visited each other a few times since then and I hope to be able to celebrate her upcoming wedding to Joe later on this summer.
Let me say that Vik, where Melanie and I did our excursion in Iceland, is one of the most charming places I have ever visited. Apparently it has a population of 200 people that swells to 2000 tourists during the high season. Our hosts at the B&B, Mani and Andrew and the dog they looked after were intriguing characters. The black sand beaches and volcanic outcroppings made the place otherworldly. The disgusting fermented fish delicacy we tried were a good excuse to drink the alcohol provided afterwards.
At Vik’s “Knitting and Games” night (the only thing going on in the town at that time) we met a few other colorful local characters, one of whom invited us to go ice climbing on a nearby glacier the following day. I had already booked the glacier trip the day after, so I ultimately did it twice. The first time, I took loads of photographs. The second time, I just enjoyed the journey and the amazing experience of eating ice that was millions of years old. Sadly, we were informed that the glacier is melting at a very rapid rate. The parking lot was a very long half-hour dry walk to the get there as it had melted so much since they built it.
After Iceland, I flew to my home town (London) for a few days, and one of the highlights was a family brunch where I got to meet more cousins and their children and grandchildren. This trip was closely followed by a 4 day visit to join Robert (my Dad’s cousin) and his wife Dorothy at their house in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). They took me to see the landscape, and we enjoyed the delicious fish restaurants, played scrabble and enjoyed watching the sun rise and set from their beach view hideaway. Lanzarote actually reminded me a bit of Iceland because of its volcanic origins.
The rest of the winter and spring are a bit of a blur, but last summer I had the very good fortune to be able to rent a place in Lorgues, South of France for three weeks. The plan, which I would say was 100% successful, was to paint. I brought with me 20 9×12″ hardboard panels and a suitcase of acrylic paint, and the plan was to complete all these pieces during the visit. The place was glorious — a swimming pool, and good friends in the main house to hang out with – Katia and John. I got to meet their friends around the area, and Katia (who I’ve known for decades) and I took several trips, including day trips to Nice, local villages, walks in the forest, Lorgues market, Marseilles and a few very enjoyable swimming trips to lovely destinations.
Upon my return to NY, the only thing I could think about was to plan my next trip. With Iceland off my list, I realized that I actually completed my list of all the places I wanted to go. So I simply started a new list.
Top of the new list is Zanzibar (Tanzania). And so after some research, I have booked a flight and will be heading there in July, 2018. The trip will be for six weeks, and I have yet to plan it all, but I hope to meet the Masaai people, do some volunteering, visit some animal sanctuaries, attend the Zanzibar film festival, go on a camping safari, and will also visit Kenya before returning to NYC mid August.
One project I’ve taken on is producing a TV show entitled “Live Life Your Way” featuring a friend of mine who is a Personal Life Coach. Noreen is a very wise person, who loves to share her knowledge and wisdom and hysterically funny and poignant stories, to move people beyond their potential. The show appears once in a while on the local access station Manhattan Neighborhood Network. I also have been throwing in my original music for the intro and outro, and using my South of France paintings as backdrops. I will be recording a new show next week.