Armchair Traveler ~ The Last Courts of Europe

Let’s go back in time for another Armchair Traveler journey. But not too far back …Let’s explore Europe, late 19th ~ early 20th century. And let’s narrow it down to royalty during this era. A marvelous book for just such a tour is “The Last Courts of Europe ~ A Royal Family Album 1860 – 1914.” Picture research and descriptions by Jeffrey Finestone.

The books’ well-written introduction by Robert K. Massie sets the scene for the reader. Each county or area has a very good overview of the monarchy plus fabulous photos, ranging from state funerals and family gatherings at marriages to candid shots. The books genealogical tables are interesting to note how all of the families were related.

The closing section, titled The Eleventh Hour, relates how many of the monarchies would not survive WWI. The age of royal pomp and splendor would end, tragically for some, but we can marvel at their unique world via beautiful photos and books.

Leafing through the book will transport you to another time and place. At the same time, it might awaken a desire to explore a particular country further. The internet is your starting point … pick a country or a royal family and explore. You may end up planning your next vacation.

As a start, here are my three favorite palaces in Europe. Each has a terrific web presence so that you can easily spend hours exploring … perhaps with a glass of wine from that country or a special dessert.

France ~ Versailles (a must visit!!)

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news/life-estate/versaillesvr-palace-yours

Austria ~ Vienna ~ Schoenbrunn (a delight)

https://www.schoenbrunn.at/en/

Should you journey to Vienna, definitely plan to visit Demel – the atmosphere and the desserts (think Sachertorte) are incredible

https://www.demel.com/en/

Sweden ~ Stockholm area (take the boat ~ beautiful palace)

https://www.kungligaslotten.se/english/royal-palaces-and-sites/drottningholm-palace.html

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

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 ~ 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.