by Elinor Hanschke
Traveling around Europe, I was struck by the array of beautiful colours I discovered. Colour combinations that I would not have thought to put together, yet when seen painted on these hundreds of years old buildings, looked so stunning. Europe is definitely a place to be inspired!
London was an exciting and energetic city, vibrant with culture. I loved the Old Ochre coloured facades of the buildings in the city, which were highlighted by splashes of red, Emperor Silk telephone booths and double decker buses. The British flag with it’s contrasting colours, a proud scene against the cloudy grey sky. I was impressed by how well-dressed Londoners were. I giggled with delight at the sight of women in high heels and skirts, and men in suits riding bicycles, their everyday normal mode of transportation. I had to laugh out loud, as we hustled through the Tube next to people rushing to work. We were all like ants in the underground!
My day in Versailles was the highlight of my time in France. The Chateau’s mirrors, chandeliers, and ornate furniture were a breathtaking display of unthinkable wealth. Our day spent riding bikes in the Chateau gardens took us to Marie Antoinette’s Village. Delightful English cottages set in a rural countryside, with pink climbing roses and Hens and Chicks growing on thatched roofs, captured all the charm of England that I’d seen in magazines. I determined that afternoon that I really must travel to England again, next time spending more time in the country!
In Italy I strolled along worn out, uneven Graphite coloured cobblestone streets. The weathered Primer Red toned brick of the buildings, with fallen away plaster in colours of Barcelona, Cream and Arles, contrasted by the once brightly painted window shutters now chipping and cracking away, put a smile on my face. These buildings, so much older than anything we have at home in Canada, had shifted and fallen creating a fairy tale landscape for my eyes to enjoy.
Pure White laundry hung out to dry overhead in a narrow Venetian passageway, made we wonder if I’d ever get my laundry so clean and bright. Napoleon Blue and white striped sun umbrellas shaded hot tourists drinking Prosecco, a crisp sparking wine made in Italy, that I discovered was wonderfully refreshing. Hues of Scandinavian Pink coloured villas with Florence or Antibes green sunshades made the perfect back drop for handsome Gondola drivers on the Grand Canal. My favourite part of every day in Italy was standing in front of mounds of delicious Gelato in an array of pastel colours, a visual sensation and a feast for my taste buds, ….if only I could decide which one to try!
Switzerland was a natural delight, the Alpine meadows alive with every possible imaginable colour. Enzian, a blue flower, literally glowed royal blue in the afternoon sun. I was amazed that every Swiss home was proudly decorated with window baskets billowing with red and pink Geraniums, it didn’t matter if you only had a small balcony, it was a mass of flowers. “Veranda Wohnen”, a fabulous store with a lovely mix of vintage and new treasures, left me feeling like I was in a European Passionate Home. And I was delighted when the owner offered to allow me to peak into her storage garage! I also found a Chalk Paint TM decorative paint stockest , www.madcowinterlaken.com Kim had just three months ago become part of Annie Sloan’s family. I felt instantly at home!
Germany truly was like going home, as its people are part of my heritage. It is where I first fell in love with Europe 30 years ago. I visited family and reconnected with friends that I had not seen for many years. I walked through the streets of the city my mom grew up in, I saw her school and the first two houses where she lived and I was so blessed to be able to go into the church she had been confirmed in. It was an emotionally moving time to go back to places I had been as a teenager and to see elderly family members that I may not see again.
I completely enjoyed wandering through the pedestrian only areas in old town centres, where the half-timbered buildings are artfully painted and the storefronts have amazing iron signage. And more often than once I had to stop to take photos of the hardware on the doors. I was particularly delighted to come across a medieval home being reconstructed, the original walls were mud and straw between timbers! It made me think of Annie’s summerhouse in Normandy and the stories she told us in New Orleans.
Europe is a visual delight. I could not help myself, but see my surroundings through the Chalk Paint TM colour palette that I love to work with. If like me you are a lover of old, it is a place to be inspired!