We were very excited to finally visit Jamaica on our recent cruise on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. Despite this being our 13th cruise, we had never visited this island. Unfortunately our previously-booked excursion to the Blue Hole was canceled (literally the day we boarded the ship), so we had to choose another excursion for our port stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

We chose the excursion to Bamboo Beach because it gave us the opportunity to visit a beach and samples of Jamaican food would be served as part of the excursion. It also wasn't an all-day excursion so we would have some time (not enough!) to walk around the cruise port terminal and do some shopping.

It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from Falmouth to Bamboo Beach. This allowed us to see some of the beautiful countryside scenery of Jamaica...
Bamboo Beach is a really nice beach with lots of sugary sand and turquoise water.
Comfortable beach loungers were available for us under swaying coconut palm and almond trees just steps from the water.
We laid out our beach towels on our loungers and immediately headed into the water. I'm not much of a swimmer, and I am very cautious about burning in the Caribbean sun so I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit along with a hat and sunglasses. But I absolutely love just wading out in the cool Caribbean water as far as I can. My husband loves laying in the sand and having the waves pummel him. We had so much fun.
I wanted to taste some real Jamaican food and part of this excursion included tapas-size portions of different types of the local dishes. The young women who worked at the beach club served us the food and drinks right at our beach chairs. We were able to sample several different dishes including jerk chicken, cole slaw, spicy sausage, flavorful fried dough, rice and vegetables in a spicy sauce. All were delicious.

We were entertained with some Jamaican dancing by young men and women in traditional costumes.
We really enjoyed our time at the Bamboo Beach Club. It has a really nice beach...
Jamaican reggae music playing under the shade trees...
Souvenirs for sale...
A walk-up bar...
Plenty of beach chairs with great views...
And friendly people...
We would highly recommend it for anyone sailing to Jamaica. 

All photos were taken by my husband and me during our visit to Jamaica in November, 2017. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



We sailed on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas back in June. One of the port stops was St. Maarten, my favorite Caribbean island, and the one we have cruised to the most. Since we had visited the island five previous times, we decided to be adventurous, visit a new country and take the ferry over to the island of Anguilla.

From the cruise port terminal it took several legs of transportation to arrive in Anguilla: 

Water Taxi from cruise pier to Philipsburg ($7 roundtrip);
Taxi from Philipsburg to Marigot ($25);
Ferry from Marigot to Anguilla ($53 each roundtrip);
Taxi from Anguilla cruise pier to Rendezvous Bay Beach ($34 roundtrip).
Taxi from Marigot back to Philipsburg ($25).

But it was so worth it!

Anguilla has so many beautiful beaches to choose from. I had researched a couple of them, but as we went through customs, I asked the official which beach she recommended since we only wanted to stay for a couple of hours. She recommended Rendezvous Bay Beach: it was close by and tended to be less crowded. So we took her advice (thank you Ms. Customs Official for the perfect choice!) and hired a taxi driver for the round trip to and from the beach.

Rendezvous Bay Beach is located in front of the Anguilla Great House Beach Resort. Note: if you are interested in actually visiting Anguilla instead of a day-trip, their accommodations are these cute West Indian style cottages.

After the taxi dropped us off we just had to walk directly through the main office building and straight down the sidewalk to the beach. No fees or charges to visit the beach.
WOW!  Here is our first view...can it be any more perfect?
Since it was low season (mid-June) the beach was nearly empty!  A look to our left...


To the right there were just a handful of tourists. The catamaran sailed into that spot about a half-hour after we arrived but the passengers stayed near the boat to snorkel.

This was definitely the highlight of our cruise. When have you ever been nearly the only people on a spectacular white-sand beach?


If you want to research ferry schedules from St. Martin to Anguilla, you can click here and here.

All photos were taken by my husband and me during our visit to Anguilla in June, 2017. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



If Frédéric Bazille had not been killed in 1870 at age 28 in the Franco-Prussian war, he would have equaled Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir in fame as an Impressionist painter. He was that good.

The painting below is the famous A Studio in Les Batignolles by Henri Fantin-Latour. Along with Édouard Manet (the painter), Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Émile Zola and others, the very tall man on the far right of the painting is Frédéric Bazille. This shows that Bazille was part of the main Impressionist group in the 1860s and 1870s. He only fell out of the group because he died so young.
Artists often painted their studios and Frédéric Bazille was no different. Note Bazille really liked his green upholstered chair because he included it in both of these paintings.

The Studio on the Rue la Condamine (1869-1870): In this painting Édouard Manet actually painted the figure of Bazille (Bazille is the tall gentleman in the middle; Manet is in front of him.) Monet and Renoir are on the stairs but who is who has never been determined. All of the paintings Bazille included in this work had all been rejected by the Paris Salon art exhibition jury.
The Artist's Studio on the Rue de Furstenberg (1865): Bazille shared this studio with Monet. Note that this painting is all about Monet: many of the paintings that Bazille included in this painting are actually of Monet himself or paintings by Monet. None of the works on display can actually be attributed to Bazille himself.

Improvised Field Hospital (1865): Bazille painted a bed-ridden Claude Monet recuperating after injurying his leg. This painting is one of the first works which shows Bazille's genius as an artist. Bazille incorporated a variety of patterns and textures in this painting from the floral wallpaper, geometric tiles, textured wood of the bed and the plaid of the mattress. Amazingly x-rays show all this was painted with no significant changes to the composition.

La Toilette (1870): Another work where Bazille shows his attention to detail. The young, nude courtesan is the least interesting thing in the painting compared to the brilliant colors and patterns detailed in the fur on the sofa, the black woman's skirt, the kimono robe and Turkish rug in the background.  NOTE: In the painting above, The Studio on the Rue la Condamine, Bazille includes a study of this painting right above the sofa.

Oleanders (1867): In this painting Bazille experiments with the effects of sunlight and shadow in a landscape scene; here Bazille shows a succession of shadow, then bright sunshine, then back to shadow. The odd thing is Bazille later went back and started to add a green bench with a woman seated. He was never able to finish the painting before he was killed.

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse (1865): Bazille learned so much from his friendship with Claude Monet who was much more advanced in painting skills than Bazille at this time. In May 1864, Bazille and Monet traveled to Normandy (where Monet grew up). However, feeling a little intimated by Monet's superior skills at outdoor (en plein air) painting, this was the only Normandy coast painting by Bazille. And he actually painted it in his studio over a year later, actually copying a similar painting by Monet.
Note the similarities to Monet's masterpiece, The Beach at Sainte-Adresse (1864), below. (Photo courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art). However, Monet's painting appears to have been painted in a short period of time (literally painted right there on the beach), Bazille, unfamiliar and not as experienced painting directly outdoors, painted and reworked his version inside his studio.

Fisherman With a Net (1868): Here Bazille expresses his beauty of the male nude. Studies of this painting also show no major alterations during its creation. It's a wonderful painting showing the juxtaposition of the bright colors in the background and the darker shades in the foreground.

Summer Scene: Bathers (1869-1870): This big painting (over 5 feet square) was Bazille's masterpiece. Much more experienced in en plein air painting at this point in his career, Bazille not only continues his interest in the *figure in the landscape*, but he also continued to experiment with the contrast between sunlight and shadow.

No one understood the reason why Frédéric Bazille felt compelled to volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War, a war France was doomed to lose from the beginning against a much more powerful Prussia. But Bazille felt himself in no danger: on November 27, 1870, while celebrating the promotion to sergeant-major, he stated, "I know for myself I won't get killed; I have too many things to do in life." Unfortunately the very next day he was killed in his first battle. Being over six feet tall probably didn't help (in the 1860s and 1870s, the average height for men was 5' 7" or 5' 8"). During his short life he only painted around 60 paintings. Despite missing success as an Impressionist painter, his work was not unknown at the time of his death, but it took some time for his work to be rediscovered (in a 1950 exhibition). Critics then and now all agree that Bazille certainly belongs with Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Degas and Morisot as one of the major founding artists of the Impressionist period.

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets NW along Constitution Avenue. The entrance to the East Building is on 4th Street NW.
  • Admission is ALWAYS free (even for exhibitions).
  • Open Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Open Sunday: 11 a,m, - 6 p.m.
  • Closed December 25 and January 1.
All photos (unless noted) were taken by me. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.  



During the early years of their careers the Impressionists painted many still life paintings. Still life paintings were easy and inexpensive: no need to pay a model to pose. One of the Impressionists' favorite still life subjects was flowers. All of these paintings were part of the exhibition I recently saw at the National Gallery of Art, Frédéric Bazille and The Birth of Impressionism. The flowers are so beautiful you just want to pick them out of the paintings and smell them!

Claude Monet: Spring Flowers (1864)

Henri Fantin-Latour: Pansies (1874)

Gustave Courbet: Vase of Flowers (1862)

Édouard Manet: Peony Stem and Shears (1864)

Auguste Renoir: Still Life with Spring Flowers (1864)

And all these by Bazille himself:

Flowers (1870)

Vase of Flowers on a Console (1867-1868)

Potted Flowers or Flower Study (1866)

Young Woman with Peonies (1870)

In the next post I'll show more masterpieces from the exhibition Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism, specifically more of the paintings by Bazille himself. 

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets NW along Constitution Avenue. The entrance to the East Building is on 4th Street NW.
  • Admission is always FREE.
  • Open Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Open Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Closed on December 25 and January 1. 
All photos in this blog post were taken by me.  Unauthorized use is prohibited.