Armchair Traveler ~ Ancient Greece

As an armchair traveler, your only limit is your imagination. You can explore not only contemporary, world-wide destinations, but also different times. Be a time-traveler and let’s journey to Ancient Greece.

You can start your adventure viewing some of the many fascinating videos on YouTube. Search “Ancient Greece” or narrow it down to Delphi or the Acropolis. You may find some so intriguing that you will subscribe. And don’t forget to check out the Ancient Greek language videos on YouTube.

A favorite book when I want to renew my acquaintance with Ancient Greece, plus gaze at modern day photos, is “The Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece” (General Editor: Carlos Gomez). There is a wealth of information that will keep the reader enthralled for many hours. There are photos below to give you an idea of its contents.

Your journeys exploring the ancient world may well lead you to explore and perhaps plan a journey to present day Greece and its islands.

As an aside, my first journey to Europe was to Greece (primarily Athens, Corinth and Delphi) and Rome. This trip with a friend has very special memories, including a terrific dinner in Athens with a spectacular view of the Acropolis and being at Delphi and feeling the presence of the Gods. It is a mystical place, well worth a visit – even if for now, it is only via YouTube or books.

And of course, while you are exploring Ancient Greece online and with reading material, take time to discover Greek food (Moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, as a start), crisp Greek wine, its incredible history, the origins of western philosophy … you get the idea! Immerse yourself in your armchair traveler country of a different era … explore the possibilities.

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things ~ Henry Miller

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man ~ Heraclitus

 True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us ~ Socrates

 Know thyself ~ (inscribed at Temple of Apollo at Delphi over 2,000 years ago)

Armchair Traveler ~ US National Parks ~ Photos

One of my favorite Armchair Traveler books contains gorgeous photos and essays about many of the incredible US National Parks. When I browse the book I remember past journeys (my favorites include Denali, Glacier, Mt Rushmore, Shenandoah and the Grand Canyon) and plan new adventures (Grand Teton, Yosemite, Crater Lake are on my list). 

In addition to books and maps about various National Parks, there is a wealth of information on line: https://www.nps.gov/index.htm  Remember when you plan your trip to a National Park, some are far more crowded than others and going in spring or fall is less crowded than the summer months.

Each park is very special and unique. While there are travelers whose goal is to journey to each park, there are others (like me) who prefer to return to a favorite park. I find that each time, I discover new vistas.

Be creative and have fun as you “armchair travel” using photo books, guidebooks and online sites. You could well be planning your next journey.

Take the time to put the camera away and gaze in wonder at what’s there in front of you ~ Erick Widman

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things ~ Henry Miller

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Armchair Traveler ~ Road Trips

I think now is a perfect time to be an armchair traveler and what’s better than a road trip? You can fantasize about your trip from where to go (nearby or a faraway destination, using a rental vehicle) to your vehicle (your car or rent a motorcycle, an RV, a convertible ~ your dream vehicle ~ this is your armchair travel!). Now, take off, using your maps and guide books as you peruse your armchair journey.

Pick out not only special sights (a national park? an historic area? a mountain top? a city you have always wanted to visit), but also side trips to small towns, secluded beaches, local spots. Read about a hotel you have always wanted to visit or a special restaurant (you can check menus on-line and prepare a special dinner).

Have fun exploring …. be creative as you “journey” using your maps and guidebooks … who knows – you may well be planning your next trip. A road trip ~ where you can be spontaneous, take side trips, explore and enjoy your journey. 

Below are photos from a favorite guidebook which I used last year when planning my road trip to incredible Mount Rushmore. Plus, a photo of my favorite navigator (Shadow) who accompanied me on two road trips when I moved to/from South Carolina.

 Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Armchair Traveler ~ France

Since travel is restricted, an Armchair Traveler journey to a favorite destination, France, is in order. France is a fabulous place to explore, from the Alps (do add Chamonix and Annecy to your bucket list), to Brittany (St Malo is fantastic), to Avignon and of course, to Paris.

“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.”  Ernest Hemingway 

And there are so many other areas for me yet to discover. 

France is both a visual and gastronomic feast. The vistas are magnificent and memorable. Equally memorable is the cuisine from croissants and pain aux raisin at a neighborhood boulangerie to local bistro dining to incredible dinners. And of course, the magnificent wine and cheese. Yes, a journey to France is truly a unique experience.

I hope that this post lets you take a pause, think of memorable past journeys, plan future trips and enjoy your armchair travel. Not only peruse books, but watch favorite movies set where you want to explore, listen to the music of that area, and prepare special meals …. enjoy the journey! 

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas. -Blaise Pascal

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”

 On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We see well only with the heart.”

Le monde est un livre dont chaque pas nous ouvre une page. -Alphonse de Lamartine 

“The world is a book – with each step we open a page.” 

Magnets: Journeys ~ Cats ~Enchanting Phrases

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Magnets are great fun ~ they are marvelous travel mementos, easy to carry and will bring a smile as you recall your adventures to favorite places.

When browsing for your travel magnets, check out other magnets ~ you may find some that appeal to your sense of wonder or whimsy. 

 

And what collection would be complete without a cat or two… 

Since travel is restricted for a while, we armchair travelers have to be creative: photo books, cookbooks, virtual sites on-line, novels or movies set in areas we want to explore, history books, perhaps study a language, listen to music from a different part of the country or world, etc …. 

I wish you all good health (physical and mental) … In these very stressful times, I hope that this email lets you take a pause  …and know that we will all get through this…..

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Armchair Traveler ~ Virtual Sites ~ Worldwide Museums

Since travel is more or less at a standstill, armchair travel is certainly more in vogue. Hopefully, it is a way to relieve stress and transport you for a while to a different place, perhaps a place you have dreamed of visiting.

Below is a fabulous site with Museums — MANY MUSEUMS!!! Some museums have setup a virtual tour while others have photos of their exhibits. Have you dreamt of visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, The Palace of Versailles, The Acropolis Museum in Athens, The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, The White House, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Prague, etc? Now, you can virtually browse and explore numerous museums from all over the world.

In addition, this site also has links to Getty Images and Life Photo Collection. You can easily spend hours exploring the incredible photos.

Enjoy your virtual journey ….. https://artsandculture.google.com/partner

Below are some favorites that I have visited and relive each time I browse these great sites. The only thing missing is the terrific food and wine I remember (including the BEST chocolate brownie at The Louvre)  … I will have to improvise …

The Louvre in Paris

https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne#tabs

The Vatican in Rome  http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/tour-virtuali-elenco.html

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles

https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-j-paul-getty-museum?hl=en

The British Museum in London

https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/

In these very stressful times, I hope that this blog post lets you take a pause — find a museum in an area you want to explore in the future, plan an ethnic meal, listen to music …and know that we will all get through this…..

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual, near or far.

Below are some photos of the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) and some exterior photos of the Getty Museum (LA) ~ Looking forward to visiting them again!

Another favorite spot is the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, CA … a beautiful, serene place to walk about … When this is all over, I think that we will treasure our journeys so much more .. be they a long vacation, a one day excursion or a museum visit, in person!

Photos ~ Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, CA

Armchair Travel ~ Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington

I wrote the post (see below) 2 years ago … Now, you can visit this fabulous Museum virtually!

Check out museumofflight.org for a virtual tour! Enjoy …..

The Museum of Flight, home to more than 150 historic planes, spacecraft and related artifacts, celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015. It offers an interactive experience for aviation enthusiasts and families at each of its main areas: the Great Gallery, the Tower at Boeing Field, the Red Barn, the Personal Courage Wing, the Space Gallery and the Airpark.

Start your adventure with a 30- or 60-minute guided tour of the Great Gallery. Walk among the reproductions and aircraft, ranging from an 1896 biplane glider to the popular M-21 Blackbird spy plane. Indulge your Red Baron fantasies by climbing into the cockpit of an SR-81 Blackbird or an F/A-18 Hornet.

If feeling adventurous, check out the X-Pilot simulator and take the controls. Fly a jet fighter or a WWII combat plane, engage in a dog fight, doing loops and 360 degree rolls. The 13-seat 4D-X simulator is tamer with 3-D graphics and some motion.

Space Exhibit Area 

In the space exhibit areas, marvel at the advances from Sputnik to the Mars Viking Lander, explore a full size replica of the International Space Station’s Destiny Research Lab, pilot a lunar module and try your hand at space docking, using the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

Visit the Tower to learn about flight and air traffic control and listen to real-time communications at King County International Airport, adjacent to the museum.

The Red Barn houses Boeing’s original manufacturing plant and early aircraft designs plus the beginnings of commercial aviation, including early ads from airlines extolling their new aircraft and on-board services.

Walk among 18 WWI aircraft and 10 WWII fighter aircraft, read stories, watch films and enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Personal Courage Wing.

Take the walkway bridge to The Space Gallery where you can climb onto the full-scale mock-up of the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, more than 100 feet long and four stories high. The gallery also houses a Russian Soyuz space capsule plus artifacts from recent space flight ventures.

Two of the most popular exhibits are in the Airpark: the first Air Force One (used by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon) and a Concorde. Stroll down the aisles, sensing their history, and as throughout the museum, there are docents available to answer your questions.

The web site has information about weekend lectures and special events and exhibits  including the acquisition of a 787.      www.museumofflight.org

Savor your journeys… real, imagined or virtual ..  near or far

 

Armchair Traveler ~ Biltmore ~ Cookbook

There are several former residences in the United States that are memorable places to visit: The Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA, The Breakers in Newport, RI and Biltmore in Asheville, NC. I’ve visited each and each is truly magnificent. They transport you to another era and are terrific travel destinations.

Several years ago, I vacationed in the Asheville area and visited Biltmore. It was designed to be a self-sufficient estate, with a working farm and beautiful park and woods. In addition to touring the George Vanderbilt home (completed in 1895) and gardens, I dined at several wonderful restaurants:

  • Cedric’s Tavern is a must visit with a very good menu and outdoor seating. Hint: save room for dessert.
  • Deerpark Restaurant is another must visit if you relish a fabulous, mouth-watering buffet. From egg dishes to appetizers, soups, salads to entrees and incredible desserts. It is THE ideal place to enjoy a leisurely brunch.

Both the beautiful Tour Guide book and the “Biltmore, Our Table to Yours, Cookbook” bring back many great memories of this historic treasure. The cookbook has gorgeous photos, not only of the dishes but also of the home interior. Should you visit, you will also want to go to Biltmore’s winery tasting room. Enjoy!

Next post, I’ll share some photos of the fabulous gardens and home exterior.

When being an armchair traveler, do not limit yourself to a country or city or ethnic food. Think of certain places you’ve always wanted to explore. Check on-line for menu ideas. Dress the part as you dine. Read about the place. Perhaps Versailles? A Castle in Germany? A Village in Nepal? Or Biltmore?

Most important, enjoy planning and be inventive as you “journey” to a favorite spot … even if for now, it is but a dream.

Savor your journeys… real and imagined, near or far.

Fall in the Smoky’s

Armchair Traveler ~ Cookbooks ~ Italian

Cookbooks are a fabulous way to indulge your Armchair Travel dreams. An ethnic cookbook, especially one with travel photos, can transports you to a favorite place or to one where you wish to journey.

Browsing my favorite Italian cookbooks brought back many fabulous memories. 

  • An evening in Roma with a friend, who also loved pasta. We ordered antipasti and pasta, telling the waiter we’d order the main course after the pasta. The pasta (my favorite, Spaghetti Carbonara) was incredible. When the waiter returned, my friend and I looked at each other, laughed and promptly ordered more pasta!
  • A friend (of Italian descent) in California making a marvelous Zabaione (Marsala Custard). We recounted a recent journey to Italy as we indulged.
  • An Italian friend in NYC who makes the most incredible pasta, and other Italian dishes. I am getting hungry thinking of her masterpieces. 
  • Walking with a friend late at night in Roma, getting lost, but eventually finding a favorite restaurant, Tre Scalini, in Piazza Navona and enjoying a magnificent meal. 
  • Having lunch with friends in Bologna where they assured me that Bologna had the very best Italian food and wine. 
  • Enjoying dinner in Venice and discovering that St Mark’s Square was flooded. Walking back to the hotel with friends, climbing on chairs that were set up to walk across the Square .. (cane chairs with arms .. not easy to go from one to another…) I ruined a good pair of boots as several of us finally decided to wade through the water. We had lots of brandy when we finally got back to the hotel. Good lesson — always check weather and local conditions before going out. 
  • Walking about Roma and Venice are always serendipitous … you  encounter hidden courtyards, side-streets to explore and terrific restaurants off the beaten path.

These books capture Italian food and scenery spectacularly. 

Preparing an Italian meal with Italian vino conveys me to a favorite country. Other times, it’s enjoyable to go to a favorite Italian restaurant, appreciating the ambiance and cuisine.

Being an armchair traveler means being creative and enjoying your destination. Pick a country or city — learn a few words of the language, fix a dinner or have a party with that country’s cuisine. Have your guests bring a dish from the country. Play that country’s music.   

Most important, have fun and be inventive as you “journey” to a favorite spot … even if for now, it is but a dream.

Buon Appetito …  

Savor your journeys… real and imagined, near or far.