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.

Armchair Traveler ~ Cookbooks ~ Irish

Over the years I have bought cookbooks, including French, Italian and Irish. The other day when looking through one of the books, it dawned on me that they are fabulous sources for Armchair Travel.

A cookbook can immediately transport you to a faraway destination. A good cookbook of ethnic foods will have not only marvelous photos of the various dishes but also photos of the country. You can mentally journey to the country or area as you prepare a special dish. 

My memories of Ireland include very good seafood dinners, Irish Mist, marvelous entertainment and great fun. As a child, my Irish grandmother would make the most fantastic Plum Pudding for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a memory that I cherish. 

These books captures the food and scenery of Ireland quite spectacularly.\

 

 

Hint: When you travel, check out not only history books of where you are visiting but also cookbooks. They are a marvelous reminder of your journeys or can take you on journeys that you have yet to take. And you can have great fun preparing the meals …

Bon folláin!! (Bon Appetit in Irish) …

Enjoy being being an armchair traveler. Pick a country or city — learn a few words of the language, fix a dinner or have a party with that country’s cuisine. Go to your library to get a foreign movie or cd’s with that country’s music.  

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

Savor your journeys… real and imagined.  

Armchair Traveler ~ Classic National Geographic ~ October 1946

This magazine, like the other two that I purchased at a library, has fascinating stories and photos from another era. WWII has ended and ads now feature travel to other parts of the globe. Below are some of the ads, followed by a recap of a few of the captivating narratives.

One of the stories, “Americans Stand Guard in Greenland” is about the US Army-weather station. The author recounts how US Coast Guard and infantry troops captured German weather stations during WWII. The weather stations in Greenland were vital for North Atlantic battle planning, including submarine activity. The scenery is desolate, yet spectacular.

Another story, “Palestine Today,” is very absorbing as this is several years before Israel became a nation. To the author, many parts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem reminded him of parts of Europe, including central European coffee houses and the streets of Paris. Southern Palestine reminds the author of California, especially in the area of agriculture. The photos and story capture a Palestine of more than 70 years ago.

 

Another article, “Back to Afghanistan,” really is back to this exotic area as the author had visited Afghanistan in 1931 as part of an expedition across Asia that summer. The story is eye-opening as he writes of a country, ruled by a European educated king. A country educating its youth, building roads, showing western movies in Kabul and being very hospitable to the author and his companions. The map is fascinating as in 1946 Afghanistan was a buffer between the USSR and India (Pakistan was not yet a country).

All of the stories capture the mystique of the areas making me want to discover more of the history of each country. Journeys need not be physical; reading magazines or books is a marvelous way to take a journey. You can go back in time and imagine what it was like and then, if intrigued, get some history books. Discover what the intervening years have brought to areas that interest you.  

Savor your journeys … past, present and future … real and imagined.

Armchair Traveler ~ Classic National Geographic Magazine ~ January 1943

Armchair Traveler ~ Classic National Geographic Magazines ~ Jan 1941

Armchair Traveler ~ Book: Rome, Then and Now

On a rainy day, what’s better than browsing a beautiful photo book of a place you have visited or want to visit?  I have visited Rome many times and always loved it. Below are photos, thoughts about “Rome, Then and Now” by Federica D’Orazio.

The book was published in 2004. Many of the vintage photos have dates (ranging from 1860’s to 1944) and the contrast is amazing: Rome has retained its ancient feel while being a vibrant modern city. The Eternal City is a marvelous blend of ancient and new, which you feel as you walk about this gorgeous city. Each photo has historical information so that the reader can fully appreciate the beauty of Rome. 

Let’s begin at the Baths of Caracalla, where you can attend operas or concerts during the summer. I did attend an opera and highly recommend it. We ate after the performance  at a local neighborhood ristorante where we saw many of the performers. Great fun. 

Rome is a marvelous city to walk about and get lost, even with a map (which happened to me several times). Think serendipity … you will eventually reach your destination, but if time is not a factor, enjoy the side streets …. you never know where they will lead. Wander about the Piazza Barberini (at the foot of the Via Veneto), walk to the Trevi Fountain (on a side street) … check out the Spanish Steps.

Tour ancient Rome visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum, take the time to walk about;; imagine what it must have been like during Caesar’s time … 

Other marvelous photos show the changes to the Piazza St. Peter, Piazza del Popolo, and Piazza Navona, where I have marvelous memories of Tre Scalini Ristorante.

As you wander about Rome, either for real or as an armchair traveler, here are some additional sights … 

Browse thru your photo books or visit your library for ideas. Pick a special destination. The photos will have you reminiscing about previous journeys and/or planning a new adventure. After browsing this splendid book, what better way to continue my Italian armchair travel than preparing an Italian dinner (a favorite: spaghetti carbonara with Orvieto wine).  Viva Roma! 

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

Armchair Traveler ~ Classic National Geographic Magazine ~ January 1943

On a recent visit to Boise, Idaho, I purchased three old National Geographic Magazines at the Main Library. The January 1943 issue has 6 articles, including 16 pages of illustrations in color. As it was published during World War II, five of the six articles pertain to the War. Two articles specifically stood out to me.

The first, “American Bombers Attacking from Australia” contains a lot of information about U.S airmen at an active war base. The correspondent spent time with the airmen, including going on several dangerous missions. The 20 page article takes the reader into the heroic lives  of these airmen. The photos are a fascinating look book at history.

As I read the article, I was thinking of how this and similar articles would be eagerly read by the families and friends of military who were stationed in the South Pacific. There is a terrific two page map and I bet it was the first time that many people saw where the Gilbert Islands, Solomon Islands, etc. were located.

The second article, “Your Dog Joins Up” is on a slightly lighter note. But again, it brings the war home to the reader. Any owner of a dog would relate to the article and learn a lot about canine training. The author spent time at a K-9 training center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It was the first time the US trained dogs to use in a war.

Dogs were trained as messengers, carrying medical supplies, dragging telephone wires to the front lines plus guarding and patrolling. The author points out that by day, a dog could be friendly but at night, on patrol, that dog would become a suspicious, watchful beast.

 

Check out your library or used book stores for ideas for your journeys. The articles and photos will conjure up future journeys and/or have you reminiscing about previous journeys. And, they are also great history lessons — which is a fabulous part of taking a journey.

 

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

Armchair Traveler ~ Classic National Geographic Magazines ~ Jan 1941

On a recent visit to Boise, Idaho a friend suggested that we visit the main library as it has a room where they sell donated books and magazines. In addition to some very good books, they had the most marvelous old magazine selection. I immediately spotted several National Geographic Magazines from the 1940’s (Jan 1941, Jan 1943 and Oct 1946) and purchased them.

 

Each is a fascinating look not only at travel but also at history. The January 1941 magazine has 7 articles, including stories about Winchester, England’s Early Capital, a British West Indian Interlude and the Flame-Feathered Flamingos of Florida. Two of the articles feature color photos. It’s fascinating comparing these magazines to a current National Geographic. 

A favorite article is “Turning Back Time in the South Seas” by Thor Heyerdahl, of Kon-Tiki fame. He and his wife spent several months living on the sparsely inhabited island of Fatu-Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. The black and white photos and captivating story transported me to a different time and place.

I’ve visited both Tahiti and Fiji and love the South Pacific. It was eye-opening seeing it through their perspective and I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in their exotic adventures in this remote part of our world. 

Another article, “Classic Greece Merges Into 1941 News” has 19 illustrations of Greece.  The photos show ancient Greece merging with the Greece of 1941, which was under attack by Italy. I studied Greek history and it was the first European country I visited. It holds many marvelous memories (especially Athens and Delphi), made more so after seeing these incredible photos of a beautiful country. 

 

 

Check out your library or used book stores for ideas for your journeys, both real and armchair. The articles and photos that you find will conjure up future travels and/or have you reminiscing about previous journeys. Plus they are a gateway to exploring the history of an area you wish to visit. 

 

Savor your journeys … past, present and future …

Travel Memoir ~ Thailand

In a recent post, I wrote how foreign currency left over from a journey can evoke marvelous travel memories. The Thai currency I have certainly fits the bill. It brought back marvelous memories of my first trip to Asia (solo traveler) as I loved every minute of that fabulous journey. I explored Tokyo, Thailand, Hong Kong and Honolulu. 

I spent about five days days in Bangkok, taking several half day tours, including the Floating Market (fascinating) and the Royal Palaces (beautiful) tours. The people were delightful and very helpful. It was off-season so not that crowded with tourists.

It was the first time I ate Thai food and quickly became a fan. 

The hotel where I stayed (Siam Inter Continental) was fabulous. I fondly recall meeting a Pan Am flight crew and we all celebrated Thanksgiving at the hotel. It was a very memorable meal, high-lighted by a fun group, a special menu for the Holiday, including turkey, French wine and rather than pumpkin pie, we were served sweet potato pie. It was another first for me and it was delicious. We had lots of laughs and very much enjoyed Thanksgiving abroad.

I checked online and unfortunately the hotel was torn down in 2002 to make way for a shopping mall. I was sad when I read the article; however, memories are forever.

http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok-masstransit-intercon.html

After several days, I flew north to Chiang Mai. It is breathtakingly beautiful and I was very fortunate that I went before it was “discovered” and it was also off-season. Temples were beautiful to explore as was the botanic gardens. People were warm and friendly and eager to please. 

I reserved a ½ day tour to see the surrounding area. As I was the only person on the tour, the guide asked me if I’d prefer a private car or go on his motorcycle. Of course, I opted for the motorcycle. It was a memorable afternoon. We explored several villages where people enjoyed showing us what they crafted. We stopped for delicious local food.  Somehow we managed to carry my “souvenir treasures” on the motorcycle as we headed back to the hotel.

In addition to currency, post cards make memorable mementos, They are wonderful to look at years after a trip as they will conjure up memories of your journeys. Several are shown on this post. 

Savor your journeys… current ones as well as those that you have taken and are re-living via your memories.

 

Armchair Traveler ~ Foreign Currency Evokes Memories