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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.

Castles, Temples and Sacred Monuments

How can you pick just one reason to visit a destination? It’s each of the distinct, cultural attributes of any new land that really makes traveling such a rich experience. Often, some of the most compelling features of our biking and walking vacations here at VBT are the tours of historic castles, temples and sacred monuments that we come upon in our journeys. These architectural highlights give us just one more reason to visit, adding unique insight into the countries we have come so far to see.

Spain—Mezquita de Cordoba

Mosque of Cordoba

Sometimes a change of tune is a good thing. Perhaps the perfect example of the adage is Cordoba’s Mezquita. Originally constructed in the 7th century, the denomination of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been adapted several times over by its governing inhabitants. And, yet the combination of Christian and Moorish influence upon the cathedral’s design only adds to its aesthetic appeal. Take a guided tour of Cordoba de Mezquita on our Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky biking vacation.

Puglia—Cattedrale di Monopoli

Monopoli

Attractive from afar, and intoxicating from within, is the fortified town of Monopoli. The port village’s location has drawn many invaders historically, and much of the architecture has been built and rebuilt by its flux of inhabitants. Restored in the 17th century, the Cattedrale di Monopoli is one of the most noteworthy structures in the small town. At almost 200 feet high, the cathedral’s soaring tower is visible from quite a distance. Yet the baroque cathedral offers an even more stunning view at its base. Enjoy a close-up of the historic Catterale di Monopoli on our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast bicycling vacation.

Portugal—São Jorge Castle

St. George's Castle

Europe’s western-most capital, Lisbon, boasts a collage of architectural styles. For a classic example of Lisbon’s hodgepodge of building styles, peer up at São Jorge Castle from the Baixa neighborhood of the coastal city. Atop Lisbon’s tallest hill, the Moorish castle rests like an ancient crown, capping off an elegant blend of Roman, Celtic, and even French architectural styles. Explore São Jorge Castle on an extension after our Walking Portugal’s Douro River Valley vacation.

Thailand—Wat Rong Khun

White Temple

Just outside of Chiang Rai, Thailand, travelers will find the unorthodox and absolutely striking Buddhist temple, Wat Rong Khun. In a land known for its vibrant natural colors, Wat Rong Khun truly stands out as much for its pristine white appearance, as its incredibly intricate façade. Though the White Temple is just over a decade old, it is certain to remain among one of the world’s sacred masterpieces for centuries to come. Marvel at Wat Rong Khun on our Exploring Northern Thailand biking vacation.

Vietnam—Hien Nhan Gate

Forbidden City

Park your bike and take some time to explore the Purple Forbidden City, the former headquarters of the Nguyen dynasty. Located in Hue, Vietnam, the Imperial City was once surrounded by a moat and a large stone wall, and outsiders could only peer upon its enclosure. Admittedly, it was quite a view. Admire it yourself, and as you enter into the Purple forbidden City, enjoy a moment examining the detail of the massive stone entryway, the Hien Nhan Gate. Visit the Hien Nhan Gate on our Journey through Vietnam biking vacation.

Peru—Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

What can be said about Machu Picchu to relay the wonder and awe of the “Lost City of the Incas”? We can merely echo our predecessors’ sentiments. Since its construction in the 14th and 15th century, the centerpiece of the Sacred Valley has simply amazed visitors from the Spanish conquistadors and Hiram Bingham to the ardent travelers that make their way along the Inca trail each year. Their conclusions? The journey astounds beyond words. Experience it for yourself and visit Machu Picchu on our Peru: Machu Picchu & The Sacred Valley walking tour.