A warm welcome to all of the members of our Aroma Tours Newsletter in over 30 countries around the world.
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.
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 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!
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|
(ladies only special event)
|15 - 22 June 2018||SOLD OUT|
|Heart of Provence||25 June - 2 July 2018||SOLD OUT|
|Essential Provence||2 - 9 July 2018||2 vacancies|
|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|
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…
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.
March / April 1888
June / July 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.
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.
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.
Vincent continued to deteriorate and spent his time in and out of hospital, eventually being driven out of Arles by the townsfolk.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Jim and Robbi