Back on Track!

Tulips with Vermeer
Firstly, apologies for the three year hiatus all due to Covid!
The pandemic resulted in numerous cruise cancellations and only recently have things started to get back on an even keel. That said, it is now eighteen months since Noble Caledonia came out of Lockdown and asked me to cruise with them down the Douro. Fortunately, due to Caledonia's impressive attention to detail it all went without a hitch and I was delighted at the response to my trio of lectures on Portuguese art and the pleasures of Port! What's not to like?
Just last week I got back from another great cruise with the same tremendous company, this time to the Netherlands, lecturing on Dutch art in the Golden Age. Our excursion to the magnificent tulip gardens at Keukenhof was an early highlight, but what made this so very special was the extraordinary lengths Noble Caledonia had gone to to ensure that we not only visited less well-known places, such as Hoorn, Dordrecht, Veere and Naarden, but also to arrange privileged access to some terrific museums and exhibitions, most notably the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. This brought together for the very first time 28 of the 37 known paintings by this iconic artist about whom so relatively little is known. Then, for the icing on the cake, we enjoyed a private viewing of the Kröller-Müller museum at Arnhem, with its amazing collection of Van Gogh's, Mondrian's and many others, not least its incredible collection of sculptures including Hepworth and Rodin. So entranced was I by the 90+ Van Goghs that I didn't manage to get into the extensive sculpture park, but look forward to a return visit perhaps next year.
Each excursion brought its own special pleasure, whether the wonderful Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem or the Mauritshuis in the Hague, but nothing can quite equal the appreciative comments from the passengers following my three lectures designed to bring a little more insight into what we were so privileged to see. It seems my extensive research was not in vain, and I am thrilled that I have already been invited to cover the same cruise in 2024 also. I really can't wait!