Greetings from Robbi and Jim

A warm welcome to all of the members of our Aroma Tours Newsletter from around the world.

Robbi and I are starting to get excited about our upcoming adventures this year which begin in a little less than a month with our delightful Flavours of Spain Tour.

We are greatly looking forward to sharing the places and experiences that we love with our Aroma Travellers and we are thrilled to see that 2013 is still on track to be our most successful year ever.

We look forward to sharing many lovely new photos of our 2013 adventures in the coming months and in the meantime we invite you to visit our Photo Gallery Pages where you can browse through some of the thousands of photos we have taken during our past aromatic adventures.

For the latest details of our tours and retreats, please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us this year for one of our delightful aromatic journeys, please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

Aroma Travellers Our Thanks

Without doubt, the main reason that we continue to grow and flourish, is the on-going support we receive from our past Aroma Travellers.

We are continuing to see an outstanding number of returning Aroma Travellers and new guests who are joining us because of direct referrals - currently over 55% of our guests!

For Robbi and myself, it is such a great delight to be welcoming back so many good friends and to see our Aroma Tours continuing to flourish.

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 as you spread news of our tours and retreats amongst your friends.

Robbi and I also greatly appreciate your wonderful words of thanks, it means so much to us to know that we have shared a special time with you during our journey together.

If you have not already done so, please take a peek at our Guest Comments from 2012

Celebration of Flavour

In all of our journeys we love to share with our guests the joy of experiencing the cuisine and gastronomic traditions of the regions we visit.

The tastes and aromas of fresh seasonal ingredients prepared with practiced skill, care and pride in preparation, combine in a myriad of ways to bring us moments to savour.

It is a challenge to express the delectable moments we share but hopefully your eyes have enjoyed nibbling along with us.

For those hearty souls wishing to embark on a gastronomic adventure this year there are still a few places left in two of our most foodie oriented tours Flavours of Provence and Aromas of Tuscany

Our Current Booking Status

Robbi and I are thrilled to see the enthusiastic response to our offerings this year, with most of our tours now fully booked and those remaining now down to the last few places.

Our booking status at the time of this newsletter is:-


Robbi and I hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to one of our delightful aromatic adventures and to sharing a wonderful and memorable time with you.

For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

It is our pleasure to assist you with any questions you may have and we invite you to get in touch with us either by email at or by phone on: +613 5331 3254 (afternoon/evening USA time zones, mornings from other countries). 

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 you may like us to add you to that tour's waiting list as sometimes we receive late cancellations or transfers.

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 in Arles during Aromas of Provence and visit St Paul de Mausole as part of our Heart of Provence and Flavours of Provence tours.

Tuscany in Autumn Anyone? ( repeat )

Tuscany 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 Tour we absorb the passion of the Tuscan lifestyle and savour the 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.

It is important when visiting Tuscany to experience the stories and historical background woven into the fabric of the places we visit. To bring these stories to life, we are accompanied throughout the tour by our Aroma Tours associate Carol, who will share her wealth of knowledge as a guide, art historian and archeology enthusiast, nicely balanced by her charm, enthusiasm and sense of fun.

During our time together we will delight your senses with the wonderful cuisine and wines of Tuscany, enjoyed in authentic trattorias, colourful osterias and fine restaurants, as well as a private degustation of finest wines and produce in one of the most renowned enotecas in Italy.

We are all destined to be transformed by the magic of Tuscany - feeling more joyful by the moment, speaking more enthusiastically, smiling broadly and even display a bit of emphatic arm waving!

If you would like to join us this year as we explore Tuscany's perched villages, rolling hills, delicious food and wines, rich culture and joy of life we invite you visit our information request page for more details.

We have assembled a page of photos of our Aromas of Tuscany Tour as part of our memorable photos pages and if you haven't already done so we invite you to take a peek

Arranging Your Travel

Once you have reserved your place via our tour booking page, all your need to do is make your travel arrangements to meet us at the tour rendezvous point. You can either ask your travel agent to assist you, or for the more adventurous you can book your flights and connections yourselves. All of our rendezvous are easily achieved and naturally we provide all of the information and assistance that you will need.

Just a reminder that we have a frequently asked questions page to help answer the most common questions including how to book, travel arrangements, group sizes etc.

Previous Newsletters and Stories of Interest

Our past newsletters contain a lot of interesting stories and are well worth a read. You can find them by visiting our newsletter archives

You may also enjoy reading a few of the stories that we have compiled over the years on our stories of interest page

Our Invitation

Robbi and I look forward to welcoming you to one of our delightful tours or retreats in the near future and invite you to take a peek at the latest photos of our travels in our photo galleries

For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

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 either by email at or by phone on +61 3 5331 3254 ( afternoon/evening USA time zones, mornings from other countries ).

Please note you need to replace the '+' in our phone number with your country's international dialing prefix: from the USA/Canada it is 011 from most other countries it is 00.

Warmest regards,

Jim and Robbi

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