Category Archives: River cruises

Lake Como and a week cruising the Rhine. Kinderdijk Update

Hi everyone

We have just retuned from a great 10 days with some very good friends from a Viking cruise of the Rhine that started with 3 days at Lake Como in Italy.

We enjoyed really great weather and mostly blue skies and nice white clouds.

It was a trip that we had been looking forward to for quite a while and it was very good with the most spectacular views at Lake Come and on the Rhine.

Many photos were taken and each day I managed to find time to paint some watercolours of scenes we had seen as we travelled on the Viking Longship and on a smaller boat around Lake Como.

Most of these watercolours were sketch book size pen and ink studies which I hope will prove to be subjects for larger studio paintings in the future.

3 were larger 14 inch by 10 watercolours more traditionally painted with a few ink highlights. I have titled each one with their details.

The sparking water of Lake Como and the Rhine made the scenes really great and the Rhine Gorge area was spectacular with it’s many Castles and lovely towns by the river. Our lake  trip around Lake Como was wonderful too with time at Bellagio and stops  at many interesting vistas around the lake.

So here are my Watercolours of the trip, I do hope you like them as they were all fun to paint.


In Como itself we ascended the funicular to Brunate for Great Lake views but Como Town itself is a very nice and ancient place.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, better know as Como Cathedral, caught my eye and so this is the first watercolour.

The Cathedral in Como, Italy. Watercolour ,Pen and wash. 10 inches by 7.5, on Arches Rough Paper.

A view of a lakeside residence from the Como to Cernobbio ferry is the subject of this next painting with a water fountain being enjoyed by some local boys.

From the Ferry. Watercolour sketch in Pen and Wash.10 by 7.5 inches.

On our way to Bellagio we paused at some great vistas. This very tiny town of Nesso with a waterfall cascading through it to the lake was just one of many.

Here is my interpretation of the scene

Nesso  by the lake. Pen and Wash, 9 by 7.5 inches.

Bellagio is very nice lakeside town to wander around ,enjoy  a coffee and the stunning views. From there you can see and visit Varenna

Varenna from Bellagio

i have also painted these two larger watercolours of Varenna

They are both 14 by 10 inches on Arches NOT watercolour paper.

Here they are

Varenna, Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches NOT paper

Varenna,Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches NOT paper

Lastly while on Lake Como I painted this watercolour of a lovely town as seen from our tour boat. It is called San Giovanni. Really a lovely looking town but so far only seen from the water. Maybe on the next visit….

San Giovanni on Lake Como. Pen and wash sketch 10 by 7.5 inches

We eventually left Lake Como and were driven across the Alps to Lucerne. A truly spectacular drive over the passes and not through the tunnels.


We boarded the ship at Basel, itself a very lovely town but no paintings from there as yet

We  traversed 600 miles of the Rhine to Amsterdam and the passage through the Rhine Gorge was terrific with many castles and towns to see.

These two painting are of Kaub Castle, Pfalz. This was once a tollgate on the Rhine and dates back many hundreds of years.

Kaub Castle sketch 10 by 7.5

Kaub  Castle PFalz on the Rhine. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches on Arches NOT paper

On the way to the Rhine Gorge we stopped at Strasbourg and took a detour to Heidelberg on the River Neckar. I managed a quick sketch of the impressive bridge at Heidelberg with its towers.

The Bridge at Heidelberg.Pen and Wash sketch 10 by 7.5 inches.

From the Rhine Gorge we travelled to Amsterdam and stopped at Kinderdijk to see the lovely windmills there. That painting and some others are now awaiting action in the studio so another Rhine post should be coming soon.There were so many wonderful scenes to paint that I may be busy for while!

And so here is an update. This watercolour was painted today. October 1st.

This is Kinderdijk in The Netherlands. Our final stop before Amsterdam

This watercolour is 14 by 10 inches on Rough watercolour paper.

Title : “Kinderdijk Windmills on a blustery evening”

Kinderdijk Windmills on a Blustery evening.

Happy Travelling


The Blue Danube, Update 2



Hi Everbody

Well, here we are at the end of September with Autumn fast approaching, at least it is here in the UK.

We have just returned from a river cruise with great friends along the Danube, starting in Budapest and finishing after a coach journey in Prague.

My plan is to start this blog off with some quick watercolours painted on the cruise and then add some more as updates later on. For those interested in the technical side of the watercolours, the originals are mostly are about 12  by 7 inches, and are painted on Arches 300lb cold pressed paper.

Alas, the weather wasn’t brilliant but the sights along the way and in the cities we visited were lovely. Of course the Danube is not at all blue but my watercolours do show the area with finer weather and a nice blue tinge to the water.  At least watercolours can improve the weather, unlike the photos!

Budapest is always a fine city,with Pest on side of the river and old Buda rising above on the other bank. Visit the market if you are there as well as the old parts on the towns. To get up to Buda always use the funicular railway from the end of the Chain bridge. It is great ride.

Budapest (2)

The view across to the Pest portion of Budapest from the Buda castle.

Old Buda and the Chain bridge (1)

Old Buda and the Chain bridge, viewed from the Pest side of the City.

This time we also spent a morning at a little riverside town about 12 miles away called Zentendre, (Saint Andrews). This is delightful spot well worth the visit with is incredible marzipan museum and lovely Churches and streets.Szentendre (1)

The Danube was quite high when were on it but thankfully not flooding as it had in June of this year.

From Budapest our first major City visited was Bratislava. Unlike Budapest we had not visited Bratislava before. It is a delightful, compact city with interesting buildings and palaces to visit. The city is dominated by a huge castle, very visible from the river as shown in this next painting. I regret I didn’t walk right up to the castle, as from there the views of the city must be great.

Bratislava (1)

Bratislava Castle viewed from the Danube

From Bratislave our next stop was at Vienna. Vienna is such a magnificent City. Everwhere you go there are tremendous houses, Palaces and Museums. My paintings of Vienna will be part of the update to this blog so I hope you will see them in while. However while in Vienna do eat the wonderful cakes and, as we did, find some great Wiener Schnitzel !

From Vienna the Danube passes many pleasant towns and villages and soon we were at Durnstein, a “Chocolate Box” town right on the bank of the river. It has a beautiful Church and Monastery and a ruined castle above the town where Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart) was held captive in 1193.

Durnstein (1)After Durnstein the Danube passes through the beautiful Wachau valley with it’s Churches, towns and castles. Often these are  perched high above the river, where they have commanding views of the river. The Wachau valley is the Danube as one might imagine it and soon Melk Abbey comes into view. Regrettably we didn’t have time to stop and visit it on this cruise but I do believe it is magnificent. It is certainly huge and can be seen for some distance as you pass along the river.

From the large locks near Melk the journey to Linz is quite short. Linz, the town famous for the creation of Linzer torte, we took a side tour to Cesky krumlov in the Czech republic. An alternative would have been a trip to Salzburg, but as we had visited there before (painting done some time ago below)  we decided on Cesky Krumlov. We were not dissappointed. Cesky Krumlov turned out to be gem of a town, located on an ox bow bend of the river Vitava with huge and very original castle and delightful town around it. If you are in this area do visit Cesky, you will really enjoy it.Ceski Krumlov (1)

Salzburg at night  from the Salzach river

Salzburg at night from the Salzach river

From Linz we then departed Austria for Passua in Germany. Passau is at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube from the west, the Inn from the south and the Liz from the north.  As a result it has seen a number of severe floods with this year in June being the worst ever recorded. It is amazing how quickly the city has recovered, no doubt through much hard work.

In St Stephen’s Cathedral is the world’s largest cathedral organ with over 17000 pipes. Every day at 12 noon a 30 minute concert is played and is well worth going to,the sounds are amazing. Paintings of Passau too will be the subject of part 2 of this blog.

From Passau we travelled on to Regensburg, not all the way unfortunately on the Danube as water levels were too high, so the last part had to be by coach. Regensburg,  in Germany is lovely , and again compact city, with a great history. More paintings  to come later on.

From Regensburg we then travelled to Prague for a couple of days. Prague is nowadays a very busy City , and sadly the throngs of people limit the charm of the Old Town Square and the Charles bridge. However it does have great sights to see and the view of the Charles Bridge is always terrific, both in the day and at night.

The Charles bridge in Prague

The Charles bridge in Prague


Evening on the Charles Bridge in Prague

Evening on the Charles Bridge in Prague

I don’t think this quick sketch of Old Town Square does it justice but over the next few months I will have the chance to paint some more views of this fine city.

Old Town Square in Prague

Old Town Square in Prague

And so our holiday came to an end, great time with our great friends, roll on the next one!

I hope you have enjoyed these early watercolours of our trip. They gave me much pleasure painting them and they may recall your own memories of the beautiful river Danube  and the countries it passes through.

Happy travels


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