Bringing Europe Home

Quotes from the Masters: Hugo

This summer has sucked out the best of me and left only a stressed-out, irritated lump who is desperate for a nap.  My son returned from nine months of study in Beirut, my daughter just left for six months of study in Santiago, my husband and twins spent a week messing about in boats at a Boy Scout High Adventure trip in the Florida Keys and the boys are now preparing for a week of scout camp, and I am trying to keep everyone fed, organized, and in clean clothes.  Something had to go, and it’s been my blog and the blogosphere.  (So that’s why I haven’t posted much or visited you lately.)

But in the midst of all of the coming and going, my family members managed to collide long enough to take a vacation on the U.S. West Coast.  We went to the Neverland of Monterey and San Francisco, California, where (in a constant prowl for fodder for future posts) I searched for some European connections.  I found those connections in the form of Spanish influences, a Scottish bagpiper, and a Greek named restaurant (a stretch, to be sure, but the post will be worth it).  I learned that European immigrants transformed San Francisco with chocolate, cable cars, and sourdough bread.  I’ll be slowly eking out posts on those topics in the weeks to come, but for now I leave you with some scenes from the glorious Highway 1 and an accompanying quote.

At the urging of one of my twins, we pulled off the road and walked down the trails in the sand dunes to the beach below, where we had a welcome reprieve.

The landscape enveloped us; you can see the white of my husband’s hat as he and the kids disappear into the dunes.

Never before have I felt so nurtured and invigorated by the splendor of nature than on this particular walk.

“Nature, like a kind and smiling mother, lends herself to our dreams and cherishes our fancies.”  Victor Hugo

I’m offering this post as a blogging challenge.  I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post this week and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song, a recipe, a cup of tea –whatever!  Please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Hugo” and please add the link to this page on your post.  I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.


  1. Dear Robin,
    recently you have asked in the Fellini Quote for silence. I get silenced when I watch great landscapes, like the californian coast. In the late 1980ies I spent some weeks there and it touched me to see the coastline.
    When I take pictures of insects, I have patience but my brain is working about what I am seeing.
    I like the moment of emptiness, when I become aware of real greatness (landscapes, oceans, planets).

    • That is beatifully put, Herbstbaum, the moment of emptiness, when I become aware of real greatness. Thank you so much for that lovely comment and insight.

  2. TBM

    I feel for you. This summer has been so busy I don’t know which way is up anymore. And I don’t have kids.Good luck with everything and take it easy as well. I’ll look through my recent travel photos to see what I can come up with for the quote. Hopefully I’ll have something later this week.

    • Thanks, TBM. I’m happy to commiserate with you. 😉
      I’d love to see what you create with this quote–with all of your wonderful travel photos, you’re sure to find something perfect.

  3. A contribution to Quotes from the Masters:Hugo. Thank you for sponsoring this insipiring challenge, Robin. 🙂

    • Your post is terrific, interesting, and an inspired interpretation to the quote. Thanks, Jamie!

      • Thank you for allowing me to share in Quotes From the Masters. I just love it! 🙂

  4. Robin what lovely photos; even though they’re making me homesick! I’m glad you listened to your kids and ventured down to the beach! It really is beautiful. And I’m glad you had a good time in SF and can’t wait to hear all that you learned! Hope your managing to relax a bit more now. 🙂

    • Sorry, Kerry! I visited Big Sur many, many, (many!) years ago, and I even felt a bit homesick for it, myself, so I can imagine your longing. The spectacular weather showcased the scenery perfectly–we were so fortunate!
      And it’s funny, isn’t it, that kids will often point out the obvious. Of course we should pull over and walk into that! I’m so glad we did.
      Thanks for your sweet wishes. I don’t mean to be a whiner–I’m really only trying to explain my lack of posting and visiting, lately. Next year, I’m going to sign-off for the summer!

  5. Gina

    America the Beautiful!!!! what’s prettier than PCH?! glad you were able to get away. gorgeous trip! sure to inspire future posts.

  6. I couldn’t decide upon a single photograph of nature to express this quote, so I interpreted it in a slightly different way…

  7. Robin, you went to one of most beautiful and rugged coast in the US. I hope you didn’t miss to visit two very interesting places: Carmel by Bay, very close to Monterey and Capitola.

    • Thank you, Valentina. Yes, we did go to Carmel by the Sea, but we missed Capitola.
      I’ll be including Carmel in a future post (that keeps moving further and further into the future…!)

      • Those houses in Carmel with little windows and little doors make me think of Hansel and Gretel fable.

  8. What a gorgeous place Robin! Can see why you felt invigorated! The quote seems like it was written for this place.

    • Thank you, Madhu. Yes, the quote and the locale are a match made in Heaven (via the Pacific Coast Highway 😉 ).

  9. Breathtaking views and beautiful landscapes! It sounds as if you had a good vacation. I always feel I need a vacation from vacation. I look forward to your posts connecting your trip to Europe especially to learn about sour dough bread. Until then…Enjoy the day! 🙂

  10. How did you kick everyone off the beach!?

    • It wasn’t hard–they saw us coming. 😉
      Really, there were a few people, but amazingly enough–very few!

      • And to have that kind of weather in the summer is rare. Often the coast is foggy in June and July. Lucky you!

        • Yes, lucky us! Yet, when we drove a few miles north, into the Pebble Beach area, we were engulfed in clouds. It didn’t even feel like the same country, much less the same state. Weird.

  11. Yes but what an exciting life your family lead!!! If my youth had been like this, I might not have been Restlessjo.
    Another good quote, Robin. Don’t think I’ve caught up with the last one yet. Oh for the wings of Lorna! California was unkind to us (nobody ever mentioned “June gloom” till we were there) but I could certainly see the potential.

    • Oh, I don’t know, Jo–I think you might have just begun your restless wanderings a little earlier on. 😉 Once bitten by the Wanderlust Bug, it’s hard to be a Homebody.
      Glad you like the quote, and I’ll be happy to see any posts you might feel inspired to create, whenever you might get to them.
      By the way, do give California one more chance. Start in Monterey. 🙂

  12. Love this pictures – makes me want to race down and into the briny arms of the sea…
    Will give some thought to your challenge too!

    • I’ve got a great vision of you racing into those briny arms, Nicole…and it’s a refreshing one!
      Thanks for giving some thought to the challenge–I’d be delighted to see a post you’d create from this quote.

  13. elisaruland

    Your pictures are beautiful – the first one reminds me of an impressionist painting.

    I hope you are resting this very moment!

    • Thanks for your kind wishes, Elisa…I’m getting there!
      And thanks for your kind comments. I agree, that first photo does look a bit painted, especially in the background. And, I consider it an honor to be complimented by a photographer as fine as you. 🙂 Much appreciated.

  14. Amy

    That’s a beautiful part of CA, nature has been preserved there. The scenes Highway 1 are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

  15. clownonfire

    I thought this post was about master Hugo Weaving and quotes from Guy Fawkes. Sigh.
    Le Clown

    • Maybe next time.
      So sorry to disappoint Le Clown.

      • clownonfire

        Stop that! You make me feel bad for being a clown!!!
        Le Clown

        • Well, put on a happy face, big guy.
          Not trying to make you feel bad–just fanning those flames. 😉

  16. Your photos are fantastic my friend, so full of fun 😀
    As for your challenge give me some time, it is an interesting and beautiful quote for sure 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thank you, Choc Chip Uru! I’d love to see what you create from this quote-something interesting (and delicious!), I’m sure. 😉

  17. Breathtaking!

  18. I hope you’re getting your well-earned nap now, and I’m very glad you had that time in California to refresh yourself with your family. Your photos are utterly glorious – I want to be there right now! I will bend my tiny mind to your challenge and look forward to your forthcoming posts on the topics mentioned.

    • I’ve done one: Thank you, Robin, for a great quote! 🙂

      • My, you’re a speedy one! Great post, Lorna. As always, thanks so much for joining in the challenge!

    • Thank you, Lorna–I’m hitting the hammock this afternoon!
      I’m so glad you like the photos–and your (not so tiny) mind has wrapped itself handily around the quote and produced quite a lovely post. Thank you. 🙂

      • You’re too kind Robin, thank you. I’m very glad to hear you’re hitting the hammock, I hope you sway gently and give it big Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs.

        • I appreciate your good wishes, Lorna. I finally made it to the hammock (for more than five minutes) today and got my Zzzzzzzzzzs in. Yipee for that! Hope all is well in your world of delights. 🙂

          • Hurrah! I’m very pleased that you got a nap at last, and I hope it’s revived you somewhat. Amazingly enough, despite the dire weather forecast for today, the sun is shining this morning and all is right with the world. 🙂

  19. What gorgeous photos and an interesting challenge. I like the quote, so I may even think about doing it, if I do I’ll come back and add the link.

    • Thank you, RoughSeas! I’d love to see what your clever self creates from this quote. 😉

  20. What a gorgeous piece of coast. Lovely!

  21. Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts!

  22. A Nature Mom

    Beautiful! I lived on the California Central Coast for twelve years, and images of it always give me that “ah… home” feeling, even though I didn’t grow up there. If I can figure out an answer to your challenge, I will.

    • When I chose this quote (and these photos), I had you in mind, my dear! So, I would love for you to join in the challenge–if anyone is up to the task, you are! 🙂

      • A Nature Mom

        I was afraid of that! 🙂 Ok … we’re on a mini vacation near Lake Tahoe now. I’ll work on it when we return home!


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