Last Stop: Udaipur

With many harrowing hours on the bus behind us, we arrived at our final destination, Udaipur said to be the Venice of the East. The bus had to traverse a very narrow street not wide enough for two smaller vehicles much less a big one so our entry was rather dramatic in that we had cars, bicycles and motorbikes backed up in every direction. Talk about some horn honking!

As we navigated our way through traffic, I noticed something very different about Udaipur. It was clean, the sky was clear, there was more green and in the distance could be seen mountains and water meaning we had left the desert behind.

After a nerve wracking ride, we left the bus to board a boat that would take us to our hotel, the Leela Palace. Seeing it in the distance made my heart beat a little faster as it appeared we had saved the best for last.

And so it was. Rooms were sumptuous with a comfortable sitting area

and inviting views in every direction.

At every turn, the hotel was beautifully appointed making me want to stay there for days. It would take days just to learn one’s way around!

As much as I hated to leave the hotel, there were sights to see. Again by boat, we headed toward the City Palace, an enormous complex dominating Pichola Lake.

It is impossible to describe the majesty of this place with its graceful arches and stained Venetian glass,

its stunning works of art done with exacting detail

and breathtaking painted surfaces telling the story of the culture that had existed there. Photographs don’t begin to do the City Palace justice.

Across the way and again accessible only by boat is the Jag Mandir Palace which was used as a summer place by the royal family. Today it is a hotel and a popular site for weddings and other social events.

Having had our fill of sightseeing, we returned to the hotel for a wonderful evening of shared friendship, good food and entertainment.

Some of us even got into the act though we were not nearly as glamorous or graceful as the beautiful performers.

All too soon our stay was over and once again we boarded the bus for the airport and flights that would return us home. For each of us the experience was different, but there is no question that every one of us has memories indelibly inscribed in our heart. That is the gift of travel.

New Look Belfast

Belfast

This is Belfast, not in Ireland but on the midcoast of Maine, so named at the request of an Irish settler around 1770.  With names like Yarmouth, Moscow, Camden, Naples I think many towns in Maine are named for places of early settlers origins.

Not  too long ago Belfast was best known for its chicken packing plant.  That is closed now, and new restaurants, galleries, and shops line the main street making it a very fun place for an outing.

One of the most popular eateries, not only in Belfast but on Maine’s coast, is Chase’s Daily where tasty vegetarian dishes are prepared from produce grown at the family farm.  During the summer months, one can expect a lengthy wait for a table.

Chase's DailyWait time can pass pretty quickly if you venture to the rear of the restaurant where there is a stunning array of vegetables and flowers available for purchase.

 Chase’s is also a venue for local artists to display their work.   How many places do you go and see art and vegetables being complementary?

As good as all the healthy food is, my very favorite thing is this cookie oozing with chocolate and dried cherries.  I’ve been known to have one when I’m waiting in line for a table.

New this year in Belfast is an unbelievable farmers market.   I’d been told it was wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared for just how great it is.

Most Maine farmers markets are outdoors.  Not this one!  It’s in a huge enclosed building, and plans are for it to operate year round.  Hopefully, the full time population of the midcoast will support it as it is a great asset to the area.

In addition to produce and locally made cheeses and meats, there are all kinds of prepared edibles surprisingly representing a number of cultures.  It’s going to take more than one visit to try them all!

It was great to see a variety of handmade items  displayed and getting considerable interest.  It got me to thinking about whether or not some of my handwoven pieces might find a market there. Scarves and shawls just might fit right in.

cupcakesMost of the vendors did a great job displaying their wares.  I tried to pass by the egg carton full of mini cupcakes, but it was impossible to resist!  Not only were the cupcakes cute, they were very tasty.

That’s a quick look at some of what is in Belfast.  Next stop is Coastal Mountain Land Trust’s recently developed rail-trail which follows the route of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, a passenger and freight line which operated from 1871 to 2007 between Belfast and Burnham Junction.  A hike is just the thing to walk off the extra calories ingested at the farmers market.  Let’s get going!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

A Peek Inside

From the minute you enter this home, you know that it’s going to be special.

The walls are neutral backdrops for a world of color gathered in Mexico, Cuba and New Mexico.

No piece appears by accident as I happen to know how much thought has been given to each one.

There are interesting collections throughout,

 all of which have their special place.  Thinking ahead about how to display eliminates the potential for clutter.

Color abounds lending its own energy to every space, 

but it is not used carelessly as the same colors repeat themselves in different ways throughout the house.

There is much to  catch the eye be it the accessories 

or the upholstery fabrics that blend effortlessly into their surroundings.

It goes without saying that the folks who live here are comfortable with color and texture and have used both to their best advantage.  There is something to be said about knowing your style and carrying it off successfully.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

 

Getting It Right

Not only was I bored spending most of my time in bed for 10 weeks, but I began obsessing on things wrong in the bedroom.   The hubby knew that was going to lead to some kind of overhaul, and, indeed, it did.

bedroomSeveral years ago, some walls in the bedroom and study were done with Venetian plaster  that blended more than one color.  The color chosen for the remaining walls was never right, but since I saw them in the dim light of morning and night I let it go.  Not possible after looking at it day after day.

So, the first thing was to choose a new color that would blend a little better.  After sampling several grays, the selection was Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray.  A new color meant new carpet, darker than the one that had shown every little bit of dirt. How much airier the space seemed with those changes!

The hubby thought that was enough, but no, I wasn’t finished.  Every picture was relocated.  I don’t know where the botanicals came from, but I found them in a closet.  What made them a great choice is the frame which picked up the tones in the piece over the bed.

Art that hung over the fireplace was pleasing, but the frames were mismatched. Again I shopped the house, gathering pieces that not only had matching frames but played off the colors dominating the room.  And, note those shelves.  All the clutter is gone and what’s there looks like it belongs.

Now on a roll, I gathered a few other odds and ends as accessories, and they, too, look like they were made for the space.

Though the hubby groaned  thinking the project was unnecessary, he admitted when all was done that the changes were quite an improvement.  That made it all worthwhile, but he’s hoping I don’t have opportunity to obsess over something else in the near future!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

A Little Bit of History

For some time readers have asked about my weaving, so as I am pretty much housebound these days, this seems a good time to write about it and weaving in general.  Let’s begin with some background that I hope you find interesting .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid you know that that the only surviving being that has been weaving longer than man is a spider?  History suggests that man discovered early on that lacing reeds, grasses and twigs together provided items such as clothing, shelter, vessels  and sleep mats that made life more comfortable. So it is that weaving is said to have preceded other skills such as pottery making, metalsmithing or glass blowing he/she eventually developed.  Knowing something of the history of weaving makes me very proud to continue this ages old tradition.

st-petersburg-191As time passed, weaving became not just practical but an art form.  Skilled weavers were held in high regard among royalty who frequently appointed them to court positions.  Here, weavers created beautiful tapestries that were used for decorative purposes as well as taken to battle where they made encampments more like home.  Often tapestries were prized spoils of war.  Thankfully, many survived various ransacks and have been preserved so that we might enjoy and marvel at the work done by hand in another time.

Now, here’s a little tidbit that may be fact or fiction.  Christopher Columbus’s father was one of those court appointed weavers.  As a youngster, Columbus was an apprentice, and it is thought that his dislike of weaving resulted in his going to sea.  The rest is history!

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While weaving is a respected tradition in other cultures and patterns are passed from one generation to another, in America it is less so.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarly on in this country, hand loomed fabrics were for clothing and bed linens made of wool and cotton spun and dyed by the weaver.

FranklinSlaveholders often had an outlying shed where women and children spent their days weaving fabric for necessities.  

Today, much of what was once handwoven is produced by machinery which contributes to the scarcity of weaving in developed countries. However, language is peppered with references to weaving.   We speak of the tapestry/fabric of life, the threads that bind and tales/lives woven together.  A woman who spun yarn and remained unmarried became known as a spinster.  On an on it goes, but I’ll leave it at that today and come back later with a fascinating look at looms.  

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Imagining: the Olson House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo matter how many times I visit the Olson House, I am intrigued by its history, the people who lived there and the art it inspired.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine a young Christina Olson shrieking with delight to the creaking of her rocking horse.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine her sitting in a sunlit kitchen gazing past her red geraniums to the world outside.

Olson HouseI imagine her brother Alvaro walking through the blue door after a day’s work,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAone that may have seen him putting his dory away for the season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine their friend Andrew Wyeth sitting in the kitchen with Christina and Alvaro enjoying their, perhaps, silent company.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine Wyeth looking out a second floor window toward the St. George River and finding subject for his next painting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine him sitting in this room painting Christina’s World, which would  become his most famous work and inspiration for the creative output of many others.

Yes, the Olson House gives birth to many imagined wanderings, but there is a reality here, too.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Olsons

Olson Houseand Andrew Wyeth have left this place for another that they share.  Their presence here together speaks volumes about their relationship, one that I can only imagine but much of which is told through Wyeth’s art.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind