The Traveling Artist

Inspired By: Coventry, England

When Birgit Koopsen and I taught our Workshop in Coventry, we took a little trip to the city center to check it out.

The city was founded in 1043 with some beautiful medieval houses still intact.

Love the lines and those beautiful windows.

And I love old doors and door knobs- aren’t those cool?

And the timber wood house facades.

The crest of Coventry shows an elephant carrying the castle- as you can imagine I love that :)

You can find the Elephant everywhere

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city.

It is a haunting experience and yet there is so much beauty in this place!

“Coventry Cathedral is one of the world’s oldest religious-based centres for reconciliation. Following the destruction of the Cathedral in 1940, Provost Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”


“Today the medieval ruins of Coventry Cathedral continue to remind us of our human capacity both to destroy and to reach out to our enemies in friendship and reconciliation. In 2011, the ruins were designated as a memorial to all civilians killed, injured or traumatized by war and violent conflict world-wide.” (from the Coventry Cathedral Website)

“The Charred Cross and the Cross of Nails were created after the cathedral was bombed. The cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, saw two wooden beams lying in the shape of a cross and tied them together.

It has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation across the world. There are over 330 Cross of Nails Centres all over the world, all of them bearing a cross made of three nails from the ruins, similar to the original one. When there were no more of these nails, a continuing supply have come from a prison in Germany. They are co-ordinated by the International Centre for Reconciliation.”

Shadow and Light and a lot of amazing and touching statues.

The artist Josefina de Vasconcellos about her statue above: “The sculpture was originally conceived in the aftermath of the War. Europe was in shock, people were stunned. I read in a newspaper about a woman who crossed Europe on foot to find her husband, and I was so moved that I made the sculpture. Then I thought that it wasn’t only about the reunion of two people but hopefully a reunion of nations which had been fighting.”

For someone born in Germany visiting places like these are always very emotional and a reminder that anyone in our country – and actually in any country is responsible to work towards that none of this can happen again !

Birgit and I also visited the Herbert Art & Gallery next to the Cathedral – the painting below was created after the painter visited the ruins a day after it got destroyed.

It was a beautiful yet solemn time and yet again there is something so soothing knowing that 70 years later a German with a Dutch friend visits this place and talks about all that happened and all that hopefully never happens. To see that Coventry after all this became a city of reconciliation is inspiring.

I hope that despite the sad topic this post was inspiring to you too. My blog is about my creative journey and life as an artist, and this is part of it. Peace and Love to all of you!

Comments (4)

  • Zoe Gregg


    Did you have time to go into the new cathedral as well. There are some incredible pieces of art in there too.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Zoe- I wil go def. next year when I am back- we didn’t manage this time but this sounds wonderful! Thank you for the tip!


  • Deb


    Kudos to you Natalie for yet another touching, inspiring and thoughtful post with amazing photography. Blessings to you. Keep doing all that you do with your sense of Love and Artful Adventure. Now that you are American….Happy Thanksgiving!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      thank you Deb- I am glad you liked the article. Have a wonderful and special weekend!


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Inspired by: Birmingham, England Part 2

Now- are you ready for my favorite part of the trip with Birgit Koopsen to Birmingham? Well ….lemme show you :)

this awesome fox put together with different parts of plywood was around the corner of our AirBnB. We went one of the two days we spent in Birmingham to explore the neighborhood of Digbeth, which we had heard was fun.

We entered Streetart and Graffiti Heaven – we couldn’t believe the many many awesome and different inspiring walls !

Loving the colors here and the lettering

Look at Birgit going :)

Wherever we turned there was something

This one was ne of my favorites – the colors the background- LOOOOOVEEEE

The patchwork fish – such a great inspiration to use collage paper

The colors again!

Look at the amazing giant stencil below


More awesome stencil work!

And this one …another patchwork- so so so amazing!!!!

Funky stuff – also very inspiring colorwise

I mean come on…..stooooooopppp it

This one in different grey tones and pink and magenta- LOVE

weird attempt of a selfie- but there you go ;)

old warehouses and parking lots

This one is funny

These were everywhere

Loe the color blocking and the face

Hilarious with the open door

Can you tell we already had fun …but wait

We found this little graffiti store and they offered workshops – so we went in and asked how long in advance you have to book to take a graffiti workshop. The answer was one week. We made a very sad face and told them we were leaving the next day …and so they took pity on us and arranged for us to come back a couple hours later and we slipped into these painting overalls and learned lettering with a spray can ….

Look at me…I look like a bumble bee hahahaahaha- it was hilarious and so much fun!

We learned a lot- including that we need a LOOOOOOOOTTT of practice – and that working on a large scale with your spray paint can and trying to control it makes your hands hurt.

Our teacher had us battle too – we had to both write color in 10 Minutes – we almost lost it laughing because he would yell out “POLICE” every couple minutes. Be assured though, this wasn’t an illegal action, we were in a little outside shop that belongs to the store.

OH man – look how sad this looks LOL

But I still love it

BTW …Birgit cheated she sprayed with two cans – -hahahha- just kidding.

It was such a fun and great afternoon with this spontaneous workshop – I will never forget it. I think you can easily see why this was my favorite day in Birmingham.

Thanks so much for joining me on this little Inspiration trip- hope you enjoyed it :)

Comments (6)

  • Textile Ranger


    Last year I got to go to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and they are starting to build up a collection of murals. I think they want to be Birmingham when they grow up! :) I was sad this wasn’t about Birmingham, Alabama, because that would be easier for me to visit. But I was glad to see so much great art. Thanks for putting them together in this post.


  • Sue Clarke


    Love the tie one as it made me smile. How fun to get to do the workshop at the last minute. POLICE!
    The Native American one is my favorite as well. I can reach in and feel the rocks.


  • Jill


    Wow! So much fun. Looks like the two of you had a great time. Amazing place.


  • Joanne Howard


    Wow! So much to look at! The two of you were hilarious! Nat you look like a gansta with your arms folded in your red coveralls! So cute!

    I have to go back and look at the pictures again since there was so much to see in the details. Thanks for posting these!


  • Laura Weed


    WOW! There are some serious artists in Birmingham! Some of those just blew me away! This has definitely become a “must see” vacation spot now! The graffiti class looks like the MOST fun! That writing style is so unique and those pieces just always look like so much work. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pieces with us!


  • Bea


    I enjoyed this a lot. Creepy, hairy hand spider…


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Inspired By: Birmingham, England Part I

Before teaching in Coventry, my sweet friend Birgit Koopsen and I met in Birmingham to spend a couple days there and hash out some fun plans :)

We had rented an airBnB in China Town and we made good use of being so close to many wonderful restaurants.

Some fun street art around on our way to the Birmingham Art Museum

I loved the statues in front of the museum

It was an interesting museum for sure – small section with different themes and we were looking for things that would inspire us.I mostly saw patterns and texture that day -but see yourself

Loved the black and white drawing of the city.

And those little Pharao figurines as well

as the remains of this beading- how cool is that.

The hieroglyphs  – I am thinking of incorporating some of those symbols into my art journaling and then

check out this amazing frame! Isn’t it a piece of art by itself?

This was from a wooden wall- if I recall right -loved the bright and happy painting on it.

The industrial part of the museum – look at those chandelier fixtures- so cool.

The museum has a wonderful tearoom in which we enjoyed a really yummie High Tea

Wonderful tea, sandwiches etc. and we spent quite some time in there

Look at the funky modern High Tea display- loved that going along the industrial theme.

The mosaic on the floor was gorgeous but

looking up revealed a not so shabby view as well.

We walked to the Birmingham Library and we loved the facade –

Can you say stencil?

We also loved the inside of the library

and spent some time in the so called “Knowledge Lounge” in which you could hang out and read papers etc.

But look at this foyer

I thought it was beautifully done

We also followed this advice below…

although when walking downstairs ;)

On the top floor we found the Shakespeare room, which was lovely

and we enjoyed some modern architecture views of the city as well.

This is such a cool facade as well. Hope you enjoyed the little stint to Birmingham – more to come soon :)


Comments (2)

  • Joanne Howard


    Wow! What inspiration! Every picture had something to drool over! Speaking of drooling, love the red Coach saddle bag! Lol Excellent choice!

    Hmmm high tea, one of my favorite things. Thank you for sharing your journey!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      LOL- it is my fave bag…well- besides a small floral bag that I just got- Love bags :)


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Tour of the American Ancients Part #3

This is part #3 of our road trip through mostly the South West of the U.S driving about 2,300 Miles which called Tour of the American Ancients because we visited many historical sites. Now this part is leading through some newer …not so ancient sights, but it was still super fun. I am sharing some highlights,You can find Part #1 here. And Part #2 here.

Coming from Petrified Forrest National Park we drove to Sedona where we stayed two days in a beautiful airBnB.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most beautiful modern chapels I have ever seen. It was completed in 1956.

On the way up to the chapel in the garden – Love this!

We continued our ride often times on the old Route 66

I am loving those old motel signs and of course the Roadkill cafe always makes me laugh with their slogan “you kill it, we grill it”

We took a little detour to this ghost town …well…is it still a ghost town if 10 people seem to live there?…and

how often do they get their mail? I know, I know but these are the questions that run through your mind when you see this.

As we were on our way to Joshua Tree National Park we decided to stop at Roy’s cafe again – we were there 10 years ago and this abandoned motel with the gas station in the middle of nowhere is just too cool.

The old lobby is still intact, preserved….

Played a lot with my camera – and really love this shot.

We stayed in a nice cottage near Joshua Tree National Park – we had a good time sitting in these chairs outside, until one morning a Tarantula Hawk came flying by like on a mission and I knew this bugger was dangerous and then I looked it up and got even more scared about it. It has the second most painful sting in the world …ahhh- no thank you.

Loved hiking around in Joshua Tree NP although everything screamed “yow , I survived here and that means I am able to kill you if you are not careful and watch your step”

An abandoned car in the park

And then the trip was almost over

And we finished in Santa Monica, had a nice last dinner together and then my husband dropped me off for my workshops in West Village. It was an amazing trip – so inspiring, relaxing, educational and beautiful. I am still processing a lot of the things I saw there and I cannot wait to turn it into my artwork. I hope you enjoyed the little trip :) Thank you for joining me!


Comments (4)

  • Karen Bearse


    Wow the pics and story make me want to check out the SW! Looks like you had an amazing time. Thanks for sharing your adventure!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Oh Karen, I hope you get to go to the SW- I really loved it and I think you would find it as inspiring!


  • Janet


    So glad you were able to cover so much of the Southwest (my neck of the woods) in one trip! And you shared it so beautifully. I’m looking forward to new stamps and stencils from inspiration gained on this trip (hint hint ;) ). You remind me that I must visit Chaco…I will put it on the calendar NOW! We are fortunate to have history of the Ancients all around us here in Arizona…even in the Phoenix area. I am constantly inspired by the beauty. Btw…I have your husband’s hat, but in turquoise.Thank you again for sharing. Come back when you can stay awhile (and when it is cooler!)


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Janet – it was so amazing- you live in an amazing area! Chaco Canyon was just mind blowing! HA- I think I would like my husband’s hat in Turquoise- my favorite color. Thank you so much for joining me :) Have a a wonderful weekend!


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Tour of the American Ancients Part #2

This part #2 of our road trip through mostly the South West of the U.S driving about 2,300 Miles which called Tour of the American Ancients because we visited many historical sites. It was awesome and so inspiring and I am sharing some highlights, spread out over the next couple weeks in three parts :) You can find Part #1 here.

After Hovenweep we drove up to Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado where we already stayed 7 years ago. We took again the ranger lead hiking tour to one of the cliff dwellings- the Cliff Palace and it was yet again awesome. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa top for 600 years, many Ancestral Pueblo people began living in pueblos they built beneath the overhanging cliffs .Cliff Palace contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population of approximately 100 people. By the late 1270s, the population began migrating south into present-day New Mexico and Arizona. By 1300, the Ancestral Puebloan occupation of Mesa Verde ended.

Our Ranger was a Native American and I loved hearing his perspective on archeology and view of history in North America. Even though it was our second time doing this little hike- it was a different experience and opened a different view point.

After two days in Mesa Verde we drove a bit- seeing the most fun Motel signs

and after leaving the Highway at some point we drove a 16 mile long dirt road to get to one of the most amazing park: Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico. This valley was the center of a thriving culture a thousand years ago. Chaco is central to the origins of several Navajo clans and ceremonies. Many Southwest Indian people look upon Chaco as an important stop along their clans’ sacred migration paths-a spiritual place to be honored and respected.

The remains of Pueblo Bonito are just stunning and breathtaking. Researchers found out that the huge city used to be white and was occupied by Ancestral Puebloans between AD 828 and 1126. It must have been an amazing view upon arrival and they found traded goods that came from far south of South America.

some of those structures soared to four or five stories.

They had an air conditioning system and evidence suggests that the Chacoans were expert skywatchers, with a clear knowledge of the cyclic and seasonal patterns of the sun, moon, and stars. This knowledge is reflected over and over again in the architecture of the great houses, and in various observational and ceremonial sites around the canyon.

It is a magic place and I am so glad we went. It is so worth the visit. I can see why this is a sacred place and I am kind of glad it is so out of the way – maybe that will keep it from being destroyed.

A huge Kiva

and of course we saw more petroglyphs while hiking.

and this little dude – smartly staying in the shadow…it was HOT. We drank so much water and basically it all just evaporated right away.

Our next stop was Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Above a photo of the so called painted desert.

The one hundred year old Painted Desert Inn in the park hosts a museum and the skylights in the building were painted by the Civilian Conservation Corps around 1933. So cool!

Beautiful place and scattered all around are those petrified former tree logs- now stones.

Look how gorgeous some of those logs are up close!

Every corner revealed a new look and great area to hike- we liked it a lot.

I feel like some of the textures and colors will make their way into some future artwork. One more post from our trip to come – hope you enjoyed this little adventure so far.

Comments (4)

  • Jan Hill


    Wow, love your journey. I feel lots of stamp inspiration from your photos! Have you been to Monteza Castle? Sedona {My spiritual home} and Phoenix? The ancient homes are cut into a rockface almost as a modern apartment block. The Red Rock canyons and walks around the hippy chic are beautiful x


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Hi Jan, yeah- I think there might be some inspiration coming for new stuff from this trip :) I have not been to Monteza Castle- I have to check it out -sounds amazing. thank you for the tip! Have a gorgeous day!


  • Denise Spillane


    Beautiful, makes mr want to be there


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      I know, right Denise! Thanks for checking in and coming along on the trip :) Have a great day!


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A Tourist in NYC

Two weeks ago when I came back from Germany, I brought my 17 year old godson with me and he stayed here for 8 days for his first trip to the States.

I basically did drop all work and decided to show him as much as he wanted and as we could possible do in this short time and it was fun for me to be a tourist in NYC for a change again.

We arrived midday and to beat the jet lag, after feeding him a real American Hamburger, we went for a short stint into the city taking the Path -which only takes 10 minutes to the WTC station. 17 years ago I called from the station from a pay phone while in the States to learn that my godson was born. We visited the 9/11 Memorial and then took the ferry back from Manhattan to Jersey City.

The next day we went to the Whitney Museum

My godson really loved the architecture of the building.

From there we walked a little bit on the High Line – such a cool place and such different view of the city.

Then we visited The Ink Pad since my godson wanted to get some watercolor paints and fine liners he had tried out in the morning in my studio. He is a really good sketcher- proud auntie here. Funny enough we bumped into Seth Apter, who had just also come from the Whitney and The High Line (you see- this is the way to go ;) ) .

And then we had a nice lunch at my favorite NY-Style pizza places – Village Pizza – and yes- he did it right – no fork and knife :)

On the way to the Washington Square Park we stopped at a party supply store…because seriously guys…nothing screams AMERICA more than a place like that ;) We took some pictures in case he would decide to become a famous rockstar …you never know when you need an album cover ;)

We then spent some time in the park watching street performers and people. It was HOT

A little bit more walking on Broadway to see the Flatiron Building 

And the Empire State Building.

And of course we couldn’t pass this photo option …oh – I love this so much !!!

And then we waited for my husband at Union Square and watched more people …if you are offended by the sign …sorry not sorry !

We took the subway to go to the Mets Stadium in Queens to watch a Mets vs. Yankees Baseball game. Pretty cool – you see the subway in the background, planes are flying over your head and you are just have a good time. Well – the boys did – they both played baseball when they were younger …I …to be honest…well…let’s put it that way…it is a biiiiiiittttt lonnnnnnnnggggg – but ok , my feet were pretty happy to sit for hours and hours- LOL

The third day was a bit tough as it was raining quite bad and it was really humid. We went to the Guggenheim Museum (more later)

and walked from there all the way though the Central Park – my godson loves walking as much as I do and hey- if you want to see NYC – that is the way to GO

typical street sighs …

Oh well and then …I had to do the REAL touristy thing …the thing I HATE …and which probably most New Yorkers hate …walk through Times Square but ok…you see, I really really love my godson, so I suffered through it since he wanted to see it ;)

We went to the movies for the evening- which was also.

On Saturday after the boys did a kayak tour on the Hudson River …yes …you gotta check it out – my husband does it all the time -it is organized by the Park Rangers at Liberty State Park and if you want to do something really cool that most tourists in NYC don’t even know about – there you go ;)

We then took the ferry to go to Ellis Island – which is especially interesting since my godson and I are from Hamburg, where most immigrants embarked from to go to America.

We went to see Lady Liberty

and after a nice dinner we fell to bed. Sunday we went to the Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson and visited friends in the burbs …something different

Monday we had a really late start and we went to the East Village. We spent a lot of time at Strand Book Store – a heaven for book lovers like my godson and me. We also had the most delicious dessert at Eggloo – I am sorry I have no photo – but boy oh boy…yummmmmieee. Watched the partial eclipse, had a drink at Russ & Daughters and did some shopping …you know things teenager want ..sneakers, hoodies…and more ;)

The last day we went to Bryant Park

and the New York Public Library

and stopped at Barnes and Noble on 5th Avenue to discover my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media in the shelf- which made me slight geek out – LOL

And we visited MoMA to see Rauschenberg and the Frank Loyd Wright exhibition as well as the permanent collection. My godson told me he loved MoMA most for the art, the Whitney for outside terraces and gallery representation and Guggenheim for its cool inside architecture – a mixture of all three museums would be his “perfect” museum :)

We topped the day off with the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center .

It was so much fun to have him. I think my favorite part of his visit was seeing him taking the city in for the first time – the wonder and the excitement – untamed and raw – it was so cool . It was an energizing visit- …well – my feet still think differently- LOL. Spending so much time with my favorite teenager was pretty pretty cool ;) Hey and L. if you read this …thanks for the good times – love ya! P.S.- hey- those photos of you were approved by you- no whining ;)

Comments (16)

  • Karen Bearse


    Really enjoyed reading this!! Makes me want to tourist in NY for sure!! Funny thing I was watching Seth’s Insta Live when he went into the Ink Pad & bumped into you. You sure packed a lot in a few days.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      That is so funny karen that you watched Seth’s live Insta while we bumped into each other :)


  • stephanie


    What a great gift to share NYC with him. It looks like you both had a great time!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      It was so much fun! Thanks Stephanie for visiting with us :)


  • Seth


    So much fun running into you both!!


  • Sue Clarke


    I love the Flatiron Building. The shot of your godson with wings and the album cover are very cool!
    Great pic of Lady Liberty as well. Looks like you had a blast and I bet the memories from this trip will be discussed for a lifetime.
    Thanks for sharing your visit with us.


  • Crystal


    Will you be my Godmother? I’m available. :-)

    You showed your godson an amazing time and I am happy for you both–the Flatiron and Ellis Island just do it for me! I still need to visit the New York Public Library, but I have seen photos and heard stories that, as an ex-library operative, left me longing to see it in person. My sister and I used to do New York together and I miss it…


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      LOL- sure why not Crystal ;) Put the New York Public Library on you next visit- it is so beautiful and actually my husband who is a former librarian showed it to me when I was in NYC the very first time- so I guess it is a must visit for any librarian ;)


  • Michelle Hernandez


    This really makes me miss New York. I love those wings! I’m TOTALLY gonna pose in front of those when I visit comes Christmas time! And look how beautiful the High Line looks-waaaah. :) The only more American thing to do while in a party store in front of the picnic paper plates is eat a hotdog while posing in your American flag jacket.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Awe! I forgot to have him eat hot dogs- nooo -I just realized- oh well…next time ;)


  • Donna B.


    Wow Nathalie! Looks like both of you had a wonderful time!!! Loved seeing the pics and hearing about everything you did!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thanks Donna for joining us on the stroll through the city :)


  • Janis Loehr


    Yikes! I’m exhausted just reading this!!! Godson is lucky to have a great personal tour by someone who clearly loves NYC. On his next visit he’ll have to experience a different view of America. Very happy for you!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      LOL- yeah- I am curious myself where a trip to America in the future will lead him :)


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A Tourist in NYC

Having my friend Birgit Koopsen visit me a couple weeks ago brought the opportunity to play tourist in NYC. Living so close to Manhattan (a 10 minute path ride) makes you often just go in for your goals and chores and forget to explore it the way you would if you wouldn’t live to so close. Since Birgit was already here a couple years ago – I was able to show her some different things. Here are some fun highlights :)

Last time Birgit was here the WTC station wasn’t yet finished …I always rush through it …On the first day we went to the Russian Vodka Room for dinner  (it is a fun place – piano player, good food and drinks included- a great place when you are around the Broadway for a show) before

going to a MoMA Party with my friend Kim and we had the galleries almost to ourselves – so cool. It was great to go to the Picabia show for a third time :) I still saw new things and it is always awesome to talk with artsy friends about art.

The party was ok – young rich NYC kids – meh … but you know – look at the gallery above – ALL OURS

On another day we explored the East Village a bit (ok ok …I got lost …but hey…it is the best way to get to know a hood- LOL)

and went to Russ & Daughters – ohhhh yummie. The store exists for over 100 years – the Cafe offering their yummie delicatessen was opened a couple years ago.

We couldn’t stop eating (as we both love pickled fish and fish and pickles and potatoes latkes and dessert)  and we bought loads of their fish in store too which we indulged throughout the week at home …heaven :)

We went to Kremer’s Pigment– oh still my heart. A gem open since 1977 in the middle of a buzzing city- a candy store for artists

you can buy pigments there and they make their own watercolors. But they also offer workshops on how to make your own watercolors and gesso. I heard those classes are fantastic.

We went one day downtown

saw the Fearless Girl facing the Wall Street Bull (tons of people there- CRAZY!- that was the moment I turned back into a Jersey/NY girl and had to contain myself from just pushing through the crowd to be able to walk)

We took a Staten Island Ferry Ride- free and with the best picture opportunities of Manhattan, Jersey City, The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

And just enjoyed the sun and glorious day

Another day we meet a friend of mine in Brooklyn – Bushwick

strolled around

and had Pizza at the Roberta’s – sitting outside in the garden – yummie!

And then went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to visit my friend and artist Adam in his studio to see some of his amazing artwork .

and then walked through Vinegar Hill to the Brooklyn Bridge which we crossed at the perfect time of the day with beautiful light

And who says New Yorkers have now humor ;)

We also did a Cheese Tasting in our local cheese store- all cheeses made by female cheese makers in the U.S. and spent some time in my hood. I really enjoyed having Birgit here and I miss her already :)

Hope you enjoyed the little sightseeing tour, I know we did !

Comments (10)

  • Torsa Saha


    Love the small sightseeing through NYC !! Love you both !! Hugs !!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thanks for joining Torsa! Huge hugs back to you and a wonderful start into the week!


  • susan debourguignon


    oh, thanks so much for my armchair visit! i will get there someday. we will definitely visit Kremer Pigments and then have a lovely meal at Russ & Daughters. i don’t eat fish (just don’t care for it) but i will still have to make tough choices for lunch or dinner. and what a treasure of a trip to MoMA! Nathalie, thanks again for all that you share with us … we appreciate your nourishing art information!!!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you for coming with us Susan :) There are loads of yummie things on the menu at Russ&Daughters – their Potato Latkes- yumm and …hey…their sweets ….delicious :) Have a wonderful rest of your week!


  • Sue Clarke


    Love Fearless Girl and looks like you had a great visit with Birgit. I can’t believe that you are that close to NYC.
    Thanks so much for sharing our pics Nat.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you Sue – yeah it was a fantastic time with her. It pays off to live so close (15min with public transportation) – as I always say ” it is awesome to be quick in and awesome to be quick out” ;)


  • Cindy Langston


    Ohhh…thank you so much for this post Nat! My husband and I will be making our annual trip to NYC in a couple of weeks and we are always on the look out for new things to see. You have definitely added to our list with your post. Would love more off the beaten path ideas if you want to share!



    • Nathalie Kalbach


      thank you Cindy, I am glad you enjoyed the post and wish you and your husband an amazing time in NYC!


  • Joi@RR


    Loved every INCH of this post Nat. The art, the food, the sights and best of all… the story of your time together. Never having been to that part of the country – it’s all just AMAZING. Thanks so much for sharing. Xj.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      thank you Joi – it was a super fun time! NYC is a great place to visit :)


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Art Stroll: Museo De La Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago Chile


While in Santiago de Chile major strikes caused the public museums to be closed for most of my time there. But this fortunately lead me to go to this little gem of a museum a friend of my husband pointed out to me. The Museum of Solidarity for Salvador Allende. It wasn’t just the collection of the museum, it was the history of it, the history of the building, the street and the country that made it so special to learn about! Upon walking towards the museum which is located on a beautiful street with huge and beautiful villas I noticed many were abandoned and boarded up and only later in the museum did I learn the reason – but let’s start the stroll first.


“The Museum of Solidarity was first envisioned in 1971. Mario Pedroza, a Brazilian artist exiled in Chile, and a small group of visiting European cultural leaders approached President Allende with a proposal to ask contemporary international painters and sculptors to donate works for a museum of modern art in Santiago to show support for Allende’s newly elected government.”


By mid-1973, 268 artists from all over the world, including Joan Miro, David Siqueros and Alexander Calder, had contributed paintings or sculptures.


Manuel Espinosa, Blabakhlud, 1969, Oil on Canvas

“But with the military coup of Sept. 11, 1973, works that were on exhibit in the Presidential Palace and many others still crated on the docks simply disappeared. The works that remained, including a 25-by-100-foot painting by Frank Stella, were wrapped and stored for 17 years in the basement of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Chile. Even after the military coup in 1973, the works of art continued to arrive to the curators, now in political exile around Europe and the United States. Under the title of Museums of Resistance exhibitions of the donated artwork were held in cultural centers in Sweden, Spain and France, but eventually the works were all returned. At one point, four or five people were responsible for the care of 200 works. After the dictatorship of Pinochet ended, the artworks were restored, and re-collected and the museum finally opened in 2005. “


Joan Miro, without a title, 1972, oil on canvas


Kazuya Sakai, without a title, ca. 1970-1972


Alexander Calder, without title, 1972



Carol Law, No peace ’til I agree, 1972


Raul Martinez, Repeticiones de Marti, 1068



in the background: Bernard Rancillac, Tour de France, 1965

These artworks were displayed in a room title Pop Critic.


Hanns Karlewski, The Duckpond, 1975, paper mache.


Eduardo Terrazas, 1972


Myra Landau, Ritmo No7, 1970



Helen Escoedo, Rincon para jazz, 1968



Octavio Bajonero, Chalchiutif

Before I left the museum which was set up in Spanish, I talked to the receptionists to find out more about the neighborhood and the museum itself. I was just baffled that many of the buildings next to the museum were boarded up – an area which in other cities, would count as main prime estate. It was at times eerie walking on the street, even though there were many universities sprinkled in between and a lot of young people on the street. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was off. I learned that the building housing the museum was one of the main communication centers to coordinate intelligence and secret police within the country and amongst South American dictatorships. It was used to detain and eliminate citizens beyond their own borders.


The building across the street and many others had been used to torture people during the Pinochet regime and after democracy was established again those properties fell to the new government. They put some universities into the buildings, but a lot of those buildings are hard to keep up with and since they are “haunted” by the terrible things that happened in them it is hard to get people to want to move into them and to restore them. Below another building next to the museum which looks “normal” at first glance, but at second is also unoccupied and boarded up.


The artwork itself in the museum was worth the visit, but the story of the collection made the artwork even more special to look at, the thought behind it, the contribution of so many artists around the world, the hiding of it for several decades, the building housing the museum and it’s context in the street where so many horrible things happened. It made the artwork so much more powerful to know all this and made me appreciate the collection even more. It reminded me that the context of how artwork was created or collected is equally important if not more than the piece itself, and that often artwork so valuable for our society.

I hope you enjoyed this little yet different kind of art stroll.

Comments (2)

  • Madeline Rains


    I too thought about our country and how important art is now even more than usual. And I thought about Isabel Allende, one of my favorite writers. She talks about this period of history in her book about her daughter, Paula.


  • Jean Goza


    Wow! A very powerful story. I couldn’t help but think about the things that are happening in our own country now. Artistic expression is so important.


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Inspired by… Valparaiso, Chile – Exploring Street Art & Colors


Valparaiso was definitely my favorite while in Chile. Big seaport city, a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, colorful and fun to explore. Did you hear: Colorful?!


An amazing amount of street art and painted houses along the winded streets of the hills.


The cables are kind of as crazy as in the U.S.  lol – – but I was smitten by the colorful stairs.


There was just so much to see and take in


Valparaiso was once called “Little San Francisco” and streets like these made me understand why :) As you stop every 2 seconds too look at something colorful and amazing you make your way way up there – good workout to walk off some of the delicious empanadas we had for lunch.


How fun is this lady?


and I so so so loved the colors and imagery and patterns here


And some fun mark making patterns




More beautiful flowers set next to a beautiful blue house – BAM like color explosion


I loved that the hydrants were yellow and not red.


Look at this row of houses all in different colors


and a door bell plate


and the mixture of corrogated metal, wooden door and graphity – I love the texture, the colors and the feel


Some interesting houses – loads of balconies




Inspiration EVERYWHERE


and it was so green too


but I did feel for the gas cartridge delivery guy – ouch!


And so slowly we made our way down – had some seafood close to the harbor and went back to Santiago.


This day in Valparaiso made me super happy – I am smiling writing the post and looking at those photos again. Hope you enjoyed the photos as much :)

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