Are you a Winner of the Happy Losar Competition? ๐ŸŽ‰ My Personal Travel Tips for Tuscany ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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Dear {{ subscriber.first_name }},

Hope you enjoyed the Tibetan New Year celebrations online or with your sangha! In this email I’m letting you know who won the competitions that were in the Happy Losar 2024 Gift Pack.

As a lover of Italy I’m also sharing with you my favorite places in Tuscany, that you could combine with the Thangka Art Retreat that I’ll be offering there in April.

Ciao ciao for now,

A few spaces left for the Thangka Art Retreat in Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

April 12-19, 2024, near Florence

Retreat is offered in English, translations can be provided on request.

Join me for a wonderful trip in drawing and painting Buddhas and Mandalas on an amazing location (see pics above) near Florence. Suitable for everybody from beginners to advanced. All lodging and meals included.

My personal favorites โค๏ธ to combine the Thangka Art Retreat with other places in Tuscany:

Visiting Italy for the โ€‹Thangka Art Retreatโ€‹ itself is more than worth it of course, but if you have some extra days to spend before or after the retreat I would love to share a few of my personal favorite spots with you, each of which are super easy to reach by public transport:

1) Florence and the Uffizi Museum
There’s not enough space here in the newsletter to describe the beauty and the arts of Florence, the place where the Renaissance was born, so I suggest you to explore more on this โ€‹onlineโ€‹.


Florence is just a short, direct bus ride from the Thangka Retreat location. If you don’t have time to visit Florence before or after the retreat, you can do that with me during our time off during the course.

The Uffizi Museum

THE BEST museum in Florence is the โ€‹Uffizi Museumโ€‹, not to be missed during your visit as it home of ALL of your favorite famous paintings from Italian masters such as Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Bronzino, Raphael, Caravaggio and Michelangelo to name a few.

During the โ€‹Thangka Retreatโ€‹, on Tue Apr 16th, there’s time off to visit Florence (and the Uffizi museum) with me, or to explore other parts of Tuscany by yourself or with other students.

2) Lucca
When arriving at Pisa airport -flights to Pisa are often cheaper than to Florence- you can take a โ€‹trainโ€‹ from that same airport that brings you in just 8min to Pisa (worth a โ€‹visitโ€‹ in itself!) or in 45min to my absolute favorite place in Tuscany: โ€‹Luccaโ€‹.

This small city is known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cobblestone streets, and its distinct oval shaped piazza:

The great opera composer Puccini was born here too, and you can visit his house that’s now a museum. You could visit Lucca on a day trip but I really recommend to stay there for a few nights (always stay within the city walls for the best experience!). I’ve been staying in Lucca for three times over the years, and as I can never get enough of this place this year it wil be my fourth.

3) Siena
and Volterra and San Gimignano

A bus and a train ride (or two bus rides) from the Thangka Retreat location brings you to Siena.
Siena was one of the most important cities in medieval Europe, and its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains several buildings from the 13th and 14th centuries. The city is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, and medieval cityscape and its famous Piazza del Campo:

Piazza del Campo, Siena

From both Florence and Siena you can make a day trip to the villages of Volterra and San Gimignano:

Volterra (in Etruscan Velรกthri)

โ€‹Volterraโ€‹ is famous for its Etruscan origins from the thirteenth-century and for the many remains belonging to this era. With its double walls, it’s a medieval-looking city, where you can still enjoy the atmosphere of a historic village. It’s also known for the manufacture of alabaster.

San Gimignano

โ€‹San Gimignanoโ€‹ is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town. About 40km / 25 miles from both Florence and Siena, San Gimignano is beloved because of its skyline of medieval towers. Pointy skylines were the norm in Tuscany in the Middle Ages, when feuding noble families ran the hill towns. Each family had its own private army that would periodically battle things out from the protection of its respective family towers.

Winners of the Happy Losar 2024 competitions ๐ŸŽ‰

Losar -Tibetan New Tear- was celebrated on Feb 11, and as has become a tradition in the past few years, my School for Tibetan Buddhist Art offers a โ€‹Happy Losar Gift Packโ€‹ with all kinds of gifts during this time, such as lectures, mantras, downloads and things to win. Here are the winners of this year’s competitions:

Winner of the Buddha Face Thangka Art Course Laurie Halbe from the US

Winner of the Medicine Notebook + accessories pack Eszter Kareszter-Kapitรกny from Hungary

Both winners were personally informed about it last week. Everybody who joined the competition(s) but did not win also received an email about it. If you didn’t see this mail please check your spam folder (and mark the sender as safe).

Any questions? Just contact me by replying to this email.


If you won’t be able to make it to one of the thangka retreats in โ€‹Italyโ€‹, the โ€‹USโ€‹ or the โ€‹Netherlandsโ€‹ this year, you can also join the online โ€‹Buddha Face course from Apr 26-May 5โ€‹ and/or the โ€‹Medicine Buddha course from May 11-July 14