Take a Holiday in Spain

img_2667
Time for some fun in the sun

One of the tricks to managing Moscow is to get to sunshine whenever possible. With temps dipping below 30F and light snow falling, it was clearly time for a breather from this northern clime.

img_2458
Spain was calling…

I began searching for direct flights from Moscow on SkyScanner. For those who haven’t used it before, SkyScanner finds affordable flight options from your home port. When seeking vacation inspiration, it’s a great place to start.

img_2507
Downtown Port de Pollença

Around the same time, I read about a company called VAWAA (Vacation with an Artist) on Artsy.net. The concept was intriguing to me as I strive to make time for my own art practice. Via the VAWAA listings, I found an artist named Cloe who practices the art of Tibetan mandala weaving. She lives on Mallorca, a beautiful Spanish island in the Balearic Sea and – voila – also a SkyScanner deal from Moscow! I contacted VAWAA and booked my flight.

img_2493
View from the Formentor overlook – “the meeting place of the winds”

While I didn’t hesitate to book this solo trip, I wanted to ensure I wouldn’t be bored or lonely. I booked a room within a shared apartment on Airbnb. Having done this in Paris last year and really enjoyed the experience, I had confidence in the process. Reading many positive reviews about my hosts took away any qualms I might have had. From a safety standpoint, I knew someone would be keeping an eye out for me. I also kept the vacation short – 5 days in total – so not to go too long without people. Turns out, I needn’t have worried at all.

img_2497
A gorgeous Mallorcan sunset from 384m above sea level

My hosts had the loveliest apartment in downtown Port de Pollença. Josep, who grew up in the place, proved a wonderful guide to the local food scene. I spent mornings out on the back porch, watching the sun fall over the terracotta tiled roofs. With weather in the 70s and nary a cloud in sight, I set myself a goal of eating every meal outside. Challenge accepted!

img_2669
View from my Airbnb deck

Happily, I arrived at the tail end of tourist season so the crowds had died down. Whereas Ibiza is the party island, Mallorca (also written Majorca) is very popular with the British retiree set and those looking for outdoor adventures.

img_2454
The harbor at Port de Pollença

With my mornings free, I explored the Port de Pollença but quickly moved on to local beaches recommended by my host artist. Crystal clear water and exquisite views quickly dissolved my Moscow blues. I spent time sketching from the shoreline and swimming each day.

img_2637
My favorite swimming spot – Playa de Sant Joan

Upon Cloe’s recommendation, I avoided the touristy markets of the Port towns and drove inland to the hilltop town of Sineu for the Wednesday market. The artisans did not disappoint and I was treated to a feast for the eyes and ears, with a local band playing in the square.

img_2587

Even more intriguing were the back streets of Sineu. Adorable, authentic, and unpretentious, the narrow streets brought back visions of Sienna from my first trip to Italy.

img_2591

img_2605

The gorgeous sunlight cast intricate shadows on the walls of the abutting houses.

img_2606

img_2595

My wandering curiosity satisfied, I made my way over to Cloe’s homestead, perched on the edge of a natural reserve. Olive trees lined the gravel drive and migrating birds danced symphonies in the sky above, en route to Africa for the winter.

img_2614

Cloe welcomed me with open arms, showering me with delicious local fare and stories of her years traveling in India and Nepal as we sat out on her back porchway.

img_2541

img_2639

Her studio, filled with rainbows of yarn, inspired me immediately, and I set to meditating on the origin story for my mandala.

img_2484

img_2546
One of Cloe’s recent projects – for a client in Shanghai

Over the course of my time in workshop, I learned 6 different wrapping techniques and created my own mandala which now hangs triumphantly on the wall of my Moscow apartment. We shared our artistic processes, philosophies on artmaking, and advised each other as each afternoon sailed past.

img_2568

img_2644

img_2666
Yuki the dog kept me company

img_2664

IMG_2635

Now back in Moscow, I’m feeling rested and energized. I look forward to sharing this process with my students and feel ready for the 7-week home stretch until the winter break. I would love to do another vacation with an artist in the future and highly recommend VAWAA to travelers of all abilities. Exploring a place through the eyes of locals cannot be matched and with artmaking to boot, it was a experience I will never forget.

For more information on Vacationing with an Artist, visit vawaa.com. To see more gorgeous works by Cloe, visit artbycloe.com.

img_2650

5 thoughts on “Take a Holiday in Spain

  1. I’m so glad this trip worked out so well and cannot wait to hear more when you’re back!

    Some of your pics here make me think of the doors you captured on tour Italian adventures.

    Keep up the great work! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see we should have you as our guide if we ever get off our duffs and go anywhere again! You make me savor each pictured and narrative while my brain says “THEN WHAT? C’MON! THEN WHAT???” That’s the way it should be done. Not that I’m grading you, mind you, just admiring your ability. Thanks again for including us via your dad, Mark & Donna.
    Grid

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to haiheydoart Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s