Ron Esplin Paints Europe - 14th Oct 2012

Ron paints Europe:

As you can see in the photographs on the website, I have already started painting Europe. I made a start on the Colosseum in Rome and the beautiful town of Portovenere on the North West coast of Italy

Twelve day cruise on Celebrity Equinox:

We started our Europe sojourn with a twelve day cruise on the Celebrity Equinox which was outstanding. The cruise took us from Rome to Mykonos, Istanbul, Athens, Ephesus, Santorini, Naples, and back to Rome. We met lots of people, most of them very interested especially in New Zealand saying it was reputed to be beautiful and friendly. The only disappointment was missing the Amalfi Coast because of bad weather conditions, but we were taken to Sorrento and Salerno instead.

An Artist's Dream:

Santorini was an artist’s dream although I will have to buy more Cobalt blue paint.
Ephesus was the Turkish highlight, and it was special to sail past the Gallipoli monument in the Dardanelles. We bought Turkish delight from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

Northern Italy by Rail:

When we disembarked in Rome we went by rail to Venice, Florence, and Cinque Terre. We visited the Colosseum in Rome, and we believe Venice should be named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Cinque Terre was fantastic, again an artist’s dream, and taking the boat round the coast afforded the best views of the picturesque towns spilling into the Mediterranean. Portovenere was lovely, but a little out of the way and the bus turned out to be a bit of a hassle. Florence deserves it's reputation as the Art Capital of the World, and how we enjoyed Italian dinners at authentic Italian Restaurants, favourite dishes were spaghetti with clams, and veal and mushrooms.

Piazza de Michelangelo Worth the Climb:

It was worth the uphill walk for the great views of Florence from the Piazza de Michelangelo and the photos should make great painting subjects. The train network in Italy, Trenitalia was fantastic, we were travelling at 260 km an hour between Florence and Rome.

From Rome to Split for a seven day cruise:

The last leg of our journey was to fly to Split in Croatia to join a seven day cruise of the Dalmatian coast.
We stayed in the most astonishing and stylish hotel room in Split, Trends and House and Garden all rolled into one, and we had the cheapest and tastiest Croatian burgers from the fast food place next to the hotel, plus a bottle of Sprite and four cans of beer for 9 Euros, $18NZ!

Like a Floating Backpackers:

The Croatian cruise was like a floating backpackers, but every day was 30 degrees, we swam in the Adriatic daily, and visited many beautiful towns on the islands of the Dalmatian coast. Dubrovnik, the spectacular walled city did not disappoint, terracotta roofs crammed into the confines of the walls, and the houses of the 1,000 residents separated by narrow winding streets. We enjoyed our succulent fish meal with wine in an alley in old Dubrovnik. We walked the one and a half hour trek around the walls and rewarded ourselves with a gelato which we devoured after climbing 800 steps to the top of the highest fortress.

The local buses were packed:

We survived the ride back to the boat in the bus which was jam packed with locals and tourists, having to squeeze our way out before the bus drove off. There were 43 other people of many Nationalities who bonded on the cruise, a few less than the 2,500 on Celebrity Equinox, but we have made many new friends on both.

The next job is to pick through 6,333 photographs for art subjects, not at all an unpleasant task, watch this space!

Photographs on the Website:

See some photographs on

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