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Art and Travel

An Artist’s Journey with VBT
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Trish W. of Benbrook Texas has painted her way through quite a discourse, Traveling with VBT. For the past three years Trish has been drawing on the inspiration she finds in VBT’s biking vacations to paint vivid landscapes of all the vistas she can capture.

Finding Her Calling and Finding it Again
Trish found her love for art when she was very young. In fact, at only two years of age Trish began drawing and painting on her first canvas, the walls of her home. When it became clear that this was less of a phase and more of a calling, Trish’s parents developed a unique approach to fostering Trish’s creative drive while giving a bit of a break to the walls around the house. She recalls, “My parents eventually decided to put up chalk boards all around the house for me to draw on.”

Trish continued drawing and painting throughout her childhood and eventually received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing at the University of Texas. She followed that degree with a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Texas Women’s University. Though she is proficient in many artistic disciplines, Trish has devoted most of her life’s work to painting portraits. That is, until a friend recommended VBT’s Puglia Vacation. Trish took her friend up on the adventure and discovered an entirely new muse, the outdoors. “On the bike you see things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice and that appeals to me as a painter… and the scenery can be so majestic. I still love to paint faces, but now I really love painting places, too.”

Experiencing the Destination
Trish began traveling with VBT in 2009. Since then, she’s kept up quite a pace, Biking in Ireland in 2010 and California Wine Country in 2011. And she’s already made plans to take two VBT vacations in 2012, Biking Vermont and Cycling Tuscany.

It’s no wonder that she has taken such an interest in traveling with VBT. For Trish, vacations are all about enjoying the experience. “Once I started traveling with VBT by bike I decided that that was the only way to go. I’ve always felt safe, it’s wonderful how well thought out the trips are, and I love it when someone else does all the detail work.” Given her vocation as a painter, Trish also enjoys the flexibility to peel off from the group at any time to snap as many photos as she likes, using the photographs as models for her paintings.

When riding through a new destination, Trish tends to connect with local animals about as much as she does local people. Her work is a testament to how inspired she is by wildlife and nature. But, connecting with fellow travelers also has its benefits. Throughout her journeys, Trish is constantly painting, and she’ll often trade her work for a glass of wine or two. She even got a massage in exchange for one of her pieces. A glass of wine and a massage? What a way to cap off a great day of biking!

Looking Back and Looking Ahead
VBT’s emphasis on connecting travelers with their destination certainly rings true for Trish. “Ireland was my favorite. All my ancestors come from Ireland, and as soon as I got there, it felt like I was coming home. And biking through Ireland was such a wonderful experience. Every turn presented a new vista.”

Where to next? With two biking vacations coming up in 2012, Trish has the coming year pretty well planned out. However, she is still looking ahead to more VBT vacations in the future. She would love to Explore France, perhaps by Biking in Loire Valley or Bicycling Bordeaux. And she may take her first walking vacation with VBT, through Machu Picchu.

Whichever she chooses, it seems clear that through her work, Trish will continue to inspire others just as she is impacted by the myriad of sights and experiences that VBT vacations have to offer. You can view more of Trish’s work on her website.

Sights of Verona

Italy boasts the romantic and historic cities of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples. However, in terms of authentic Italian charm, and even historical architecture, Verona is one of Italy’s wealthiest destinations.

Of course, Verona served as the setting for literature’s most famous romance, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. And you can take part in the centuries-old literary tradition by visiting the House of Juliet, standing in its courtyard and peering up at the balcony where she called to her Romeo. You can even catch a photo op with Juliet’s bronze statue, resting within the courtyard.

Verona Arena

Once you’ve had your fill of star-crossed lovers, move along to some of Verona’s historical sites. You’ll have plenty of options to explore as the small Italian city features a myriad of ancient remains. Its Verona Arena, though smaller than Rome’s Coliseum, is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters. In fact, the venue still hosts operas within its ancient walls to this day.

A stroll across the “Stone Bridge” or Ponte Pietra provides an opportunity to take in the Adige River from above, enjoy an outstanding panoramic view of the city, and appreciate one of its oldest structures. The bridge was initially constructed over two thousand years ago, but don’t let its age deter you. It has been restored many times since it was first built, and today it stands as one of the most prominent, and reliable features of the Verona cityscape.

Any trip to Verona warrants a visit to the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore. The centerpiece of the Piazza San Zeno contains a number of architectural styles all in one building, Built in the 9th century in honor of what was then Verona’s patron saint, the Basilica was restored in the 12th century and later expanded upon in the 13th and 14th centuries. You can admire the Basilica from outside and within, as you explore the grand structure.

Adige River

Finally, when visiting Verona, take advantage of the true charm of the city by ambling along its many great pedestrian walkways in Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe. Enjoy the shops and indulge in a local specialty or two. And be sure to leave room for dessert, as there is sure to be a gellateria nearby, regardless of the neighborhood you’re exploring.

Experience the allure of Verona for yourself on an extension of VBT’s Cycling the Dolomites vacation. Andiamo!

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