Greetings from Robbi and Jim

A warm welcome to all of the members of our Aroma Tours Newsletter in over 30 countries around the world.

Aroma Tours in Provence with Robbi Zeck and Jim Llewellyn

Robbi and I are looking forward to the beginning of another wonderful season of Aroma Tours adventures this May in the beautiful Spanish spring with our Flavours of Spain Tour and Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage and it always delights us to share in the excitement building up for our guests as we all begin the mental journey that leads up to our actual departure.

After 24 wonderful years, as we contemplate throttling back on the number of tours that we will be offering, Robbi and I feel truly blessed to once again be sharing our passion for the fabulous places and experiences that we love, with delightful people from around the world.

This year is all set to be another fabulous tour season with all of our tours either sold out or down to the last few places! As always, it is our returning guests and their friends who are leading this fabulous response.

We look forward to welcoming the last few Aroma Travellers to our thong this year and hope that you will be able to join us.

  • There are still a few places available in Provence and Italy and if you would like to "seize the day" and journey with us this year, we invite you to visit our tour information page for more details or our make a reservation page to reserve your place.

Aroma Travellers Our Thanks

Without doubt, the main reason that we have grown and flourished over the years, is the on-going support we have received from our past Aroma Travellers and we are thrilled to see that they continue to make up over 65% of our guests!

We would also like to give our heart-felt thanks to all of you who continue to support us with your kind words and referrals.

Robbi and I also greatly appreciate the wonderful words of thanks we have received over the years and have added a new compilation of Guest Comments to our site.

Italy in Autumn - Bellissimo!

Italy in autumn is a magnificent kaleidoscope of colourful landscapes, beautiful hilltop villages, ripe grape vines, celebration and joy for life.

During our Aromas of Tuscany and Flavours of Italy tours we absorb the passion of the Italian lifestyle and savour the delightful flavours of the land's bounty, along with the rich cultural heritage evident in the art, architecture, historical sites, festivals, fashion, design, craftsmanship and unique approach to living.

Those of us who journey here are all destined to be transformed by the magic of Italy - feeling more joyful by the moment, speaking more enthusiastically, smiling broadly and even indulging in a bit of emphatic arm waving!

Our Current Booking Status

Reservations for our 2018 season are continuing to go wonderfully well with all of our tours either sold out or down to the last few places.

The current booking status for our 2018 season at the time of this newsletter is:-

List of Tours for 2018
Flavours of Spain 21 - 28 May 2018 SOLD OUT
Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage 28 May - 4 June 2018 SOLD OUT
Treasures of Provence
(ladies only special event)
15 - 22 June 2018 SOLD OUT
Heart of Provence 25 June - 2 July 2018 2 vacancies
(due to a cancellation)
Essential Provence 2 - 9 July 2018 2 vacancies
(due to a cancellation)
Aromas of Provence 13 - 20 July 2018 2 vacancies
Flavours of France (invite only) 23 - 30 July 2018 SOLD OUT
Aromas of Tuscany 4 - 11 September 2018 3 vacancies
Flavours of Italy 11 - 18 September 2018 3 vacancies
Bali Women's Retreat 8 - 15 September 2018 SOLD OUT
Bali 30th Anniversary Retreat (invite only) 17 - 24 September 2018 SOLD OUT
  • For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our tour information page and if you would like to join us for a lovely adventure in 2018 please visit our make a reservation page.
  • If you would like us to hold your place(s) so that you have time to comfortably make your other arrangements please let us know at jim@aroma-tours.com
  • It is our pleasure to assist you with any questions you may have and we invite you to get in touch with us at info@aroma-tours.com.

Please note

  • Our up-to-the-minute booking status is available via our calendar page
  • If the tour you would like to attend becomes fully booked, please let us know if you would like us to add you to the waiting list for that tour in case a place becomes available due to a cancellation.

Summer in Provence

Robbi Zeck in a beautiful lavender field in Provence

YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN PROVENCE IF…

The sky is blue and cloud free because of gusts of wind called le Mistral

The perfume of lavender, thyme and rosemary fills the air

The cicadas sing their mating song as soon as the weather turns warmer

The open markets teem with exquisitely beautiful things and delicious fare

You feel beckoned to sit under the shade of a majestic plane tree

Musicians play in the squares and narrow cobblestone streets

Café terraces fill with groups of friends at aperitif time

The incomparable light spills into your heart

And the exuberant beauty of summer fills you with joy…

Van Gogh in Arles

Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were first introduced to one another in Paris by Vincent's brother Theo, who was both Vincent's patron and Gauguin's art agent in Paris.
Gauguin, already a successful painter in his own right, was enthralled when he was introduced to Vincent's painting of two sunflowers which revealed to him the genius lurking within Vincent's complex and often gruff character.

Both artists increasingly found the Parisian art scene overwhelming and full of egos and criticism, although they both benefited from the influences of the Impressionists, Pointillists and neo-Impressionists during that time.

As a result of these tensions, Vincent decided to relocate to the south in February 1888, away from the darkness of Paris and into the luminous light of Provence.

It was Vincent's dream to create an artist's community - a "Studio of the South" - to attract other innovative artists in order to share skills and inspiration and influence each another's artistic growth. For this artist's utopia he enigmatically chose a small yellow house in the seedy district of the unremarkable ( from an artists point of view ) and rather conservative town of Arles on the Rhone river.

On his arrival, Van Gogh was immediately inspired by the beauty of the Provencale countryside and started painting at break-neck speed, experimenting with strong, contrasting colours ( yellow was his favourite ) and creating his own vibrant images of reality.

February 1888

March / April 1888

May 1888 

June / July 1888 

August 1888 

September 1888

With Theo's prompting, Gauguin agreed to join Vincent in Arles that October and initially it seemed that Vincent's dream of an artist's commune was coming to fruition.

In the beginning they worked closely together, painting the scenes and people around them, sharing portrait sessions and communing at length. As a result their styles began moving closer together: Gauguin encouraged Vincent to paint more from memory rather than his usual spontaneous "in-the-moment" fashion and Vincent helped Gauguin to explore new colour possibilities and apply his paint with more intensity.

October 1888

November 1888

As the weeks passed, Vincent's erratic nature and personal intensity, as well as Gauguin's egoism and reluctance to praise Vincent's work, coupled with their fundamentally different philosophies and constant close proximity, led inevitably to friction and quarrels.

Gauguin's paintings began to sell and gain celebrity in Paris ( unlike Vincent who considered his work too primitive and undeveloped to exhibit ) and he began to question the wisdom of remaining so far from the action, with a man whose mental unraveling was becoming more pronounced by the day.

December 1888

Vincent responded to Gauguin's increasing fretfulness by working with fierce intensity, producing 25 pictures during what was to be a very eventful December. He was often drunk and exhausted and constantly fearful that Gauguin was going to abandon him.

On 23 December 1888, frustrated and ill, Van Gogh confronted Gauguin with a cutthroat razor, then afterwards, full of remorse and in panic, he fled to a local brothel where he cut off part of his ear.

Gauguin left Arles on Christmas Day and the two painters never saw each other again.

January 1888

Vincent continued to deteriorate and spent his time in and out of hospital, eventually being driven out of Arles by the townsfolk.

April 1888

Not long afterwards he admitted himself to the mental asylum of St Paul de Mausole where he continued to paint prolifically and produced some of his greatest works.

Beyond Arles

To walk in Vincent's footsteps and stand in the actual places where he created some of the world's most famous artworks is a very moving experience. One can almost imagine the easel and peasant's chair with Vincent's gaunt form shaded by his painter's straw hat intently capturing the "true reality" around him.

Vincent's amazing legacy is part of several of our tours in Provence: we walk in his footsteps and visit St Paul de Mausole during our Aromas of Provence  and Heart of Provence tours.

Travelling Solo in a Group

As well as couples and friends travelling together, we are regularly joined by solo travellers - mostly women, who appreciate being able to journey with liked minded people from around the world, without the need to do all the planning and take on the daunting task of touring by themselves.

Joining one of our small group tours is easy and we have already made all of the arrangements on your behalf to ensure that you have a delightful, stress-free holiday with the focus on having fun.

Having a ready-made group of friends to travel with, and us to take wonderful care of you is the way to go!

  • There is no extra charge for solo travellers who are willing to share a room with another same gender guest from our group.

We have carefully crafted off-the-beaten-path itineraries that are the perfect balance of structure, experiences, details and free time to enjoy in your own way.

There have been a significant number of guests over the years who and have joined us multiple times, some of whom have become dear friends.

  • Mona Smith, pictured at the beginning of this snippet, holds the record for the most tours attended by a solo traveller - she has journeyed with us 10 times and this year will be her 11th!
  • Susan Troxell from NYC is a close second and has joined us 9 times with a 10th coming next year.

Our Invitation

Robbi and I look forward to welcoming you to one of our delightful tours or retreats as we continue moving towards our retirement in the next few years.

Glorious lavender flowers in Provence France

  • For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our tour information page and if you would like to join us please visit our make a reservation page.
  • As always if you have any questions or if you would like us to assist you personally with advice about your travel arrangements or with any other details please contact us at info@aroma-tours.com

Warmest regards,

Jim and Robbi


Detailed Tour Information
Make a Reservation
© 1997-2018 Aroma Tours ® | P.O. Box 55N Ballarat 3350 Victoria Australia | p: +61 3 5331 3254 | e: info@aroma-tours.com