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

 

 

 

 

 

Armchair Traveler ~ Foreign Currency Evokes Memories

I have a large bowl where over the years I have put currency from some of my travels. It’s fun to spread out the coins and bills as a great way to remember past trips and special moments.

Looking at the Austrian currency, I fondly remember a trip to Vienna with a friend. It was one of my first trips to Europe. We took a local bus to Schonbrunn Palace and as we did not want to wait for the English speaking tour, we joined the German speaking tour. We looked about at paintings or artwork when everyone else did and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though we did not speak a word of German.

Schonbrunn is a gorgeous palace with beautiful gardens. We loved the pastries (sacher torte a specialty) and Viennese coffee at Demels and other pastru shops. Vienna has many other memories including walking about the beautiful city and meeting friendly Austrians at the Giant Ferris wheel in the evenings. It was great fun and a marvelous introduction to Europe.

The currency from Hungary reminds me of my journey there in the early 1980’s while it was still part of the USSR. As I was on a tour, there was no time to wander about by myself. I remember so much gray (it was a November), but also having great fun at a disco, marvelous food and Tokay Wine and Budapest being a beautiful city.

Coins from Denmark remind me of Tivoli Gardens, a magical amusement part in Copenhagen. The city has many beautiful parks, especially Kings Garden. I took a mini tour to Legoland (great fun). And I can taste the fabulous open sandwiches, great desserts and fondly recall the friendly people.

In addition to looking at your photos or reading about your favorite places, it’s enjoyable to look at mementos of your travels. Ask friends about their mementos – share your love of travel with others. Even if you cannot travel to a place you dream of, keep dreaming. It will become a part of you.

Be an armchair traveler … learn all about your favorite places. Study their language, cuisine and culture. You might learn more than tourists who travel abroad but never become travelers.

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.

 

The Journey of a Lifetime

Should someone ask you if you have been on or are planning your “journey of a lifetime”

Smile broadly and proclaim, “YES, I AM ON IT”

  • Your journey of a lifetime is not checking off places or things to do on a “bucket list”
  • Rather, it is every moment of YOUR life, from birth to passing on … 
  • Always remember that it is YOUR journey… do what makes you happy, gives  you fulfillment.. fall madly in love, travel the world or not, dream, walk sandy beaches, dine & laugh with friends, be a hermit, read, write, teach, dance to music others do not hear, gaze at the stars in wonder, encourage others on their journey  … 
  • Be in awe of the universe …
  • Create your destiny …
  • Each of us is on a different journey with different experiences … 
  • Savor each moment of YOUR journey of a lifetime

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.  – J. Krishnamurti

The Armchair Traveler ~ 20th Century Travel Posters

Recently, I was browsing books in Barnes and Noble and came across “20th Century Travel” by Jim Heimann and Allison Silver. It is a marvelous book detailing the changes in travel (in both text and posters/ads) from the grand tours of wealthy tourists to the jet age. It’s a terrific book to browse and dream and whet your appetite for travel. I added some favorites below.

  • Think about your favorite places.
  • Immerse yourself in the images you create.
  • Visualize the glamour associated with embarking on a deluxe ocean liner or taking a flight to a favorite spot or a place you have always wanted to visit.
  • Check out the posters below and imagine taking a journey in the beginning of the 20th century, before travel became popular.
  • Imagine yourself on a beautiful beach or an ocean liner or a Pan Am Clipper flying to Asia or Europe.
  • Have fun and enjoy your dreams.

Plan your journeys using the mystique of your imagination. Pick a spot and learn all about it – its history, culture, cuisine, art, literature, etc. The world is yours to explore. Savor it.