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Tag Archives: travel

…I will be in Belgium for the events surrounding the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo! I bought my tickets for the reenactment yesterday, as soon as I heard they were available.

Waterloo reenactor

I’ve been planning this trip for over ten years, saving money and vacation time so I can take at least four weeks off work. The current plan is to fly into London so we can give our daughter, who’ll be 11 and just finished with 5th grade then, a soft, English-speaking landing for her first trip abroad. She’s such a huge Doctor Who fan that London should seem familiar to her.

Then it’s on to Belgium for the reenactment. From there our tentative itinerary is several days in Paris, followed by almost a week in the Dordogne River valley (for delicious food, prehistoric cave paintings, and some nice relaxation in the middle of what will surely be a hectic trip). After that I’ll put my Wellington fangirl hat back on as we go into Spain and Portugal, where we’ll visit at least a few Peninsular War sites.

Is anyone else going to be at the reenactment? And do you have a “trip of a lifetime,” either in your past or planned for your future?

After last week’s post about my reading of the non-fiction book Empire Adrift, I had some comments that I should write a novel with that setting and I have to say thanks for the encouragement!  I pitched a (very vague) idea for a Regency romance set in Rio to my Harlequin editor and got the go ahead, so yay!  I have a few books to write ahead of it, but look for it in (maybe) 2013…

And what am I reading this week?  I am reading a wonderfully fascinating travel book, Ina Caro’s Paris to the Past: Traveling Through French History By Train.  Caro has a great method of travel–25 easy day trips from Paris that trace the development of French history from the building of St. Denis in the early Middle Ages to the transformation of Paris by Baron Haussman and Napoleon III in the mid-19th century.  She moves from places like Chartres and Reims as well as places I haven’t heard of (like Blanche of Castile’s fortress at Angers) to Renaissance chateaus like Blois and Chambord, Versailles (of course), Paris sites like the Carnavalet and Conciergerie, and Malmaison.  I now have several more places on my To Visit list for the next time I’m in Paris, and I love her method of organizing a visit in historical chronological order (which could work wonderfully for England as well!)

So even though I’m stuck at home working on deadlines at the moment, I can pretend I’m in Paris or Rio or anywhere else my daydreams take me!  What are you fantasizing about this week??

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Notes from the road. I arrived in England late last night and decided that on the way I’d make note of interesting things and conversations I observed on the way.

Nice idea, but since I kept falling asleep (did I mention I had to get up at 2:30 am to get to the airport?) I don’t have a lot to report. First, Reagan National Airport at 3:30 am is a truly horrible place, but I could have guessed that. The first leg of the flight was to Toronto, my first venture into Canada, or strictly speaking, a Canadian airport. The security people were charming. Really!

I started reading the third Stieg Larsson book on the plane, highly recommended. And then I went to sleep a lot. But we were lucky enough to fly over England with very little cloud cover and I was amazed at how much rural land there was (unless we were passing over France). You could see what were once iron age hilltop forts and I think–but I’m not sure–that we were over Dorset and the west of England, which would make sense. Lots of medieval field patterns and once a stretch of what must have been a Roman road. We passed over London and you could see the Thames loop around just as it does in the maps, which always surprises me, but I’m not sure why.

So today I’m going up to London on the train and then to Greenwich for the RNA Conference, and after that to Hampshire and Chawton next week. There should be photos. I’d hoped to get one of my extremely ancient father, who is looking very patriarchal and bearded, but he’s gone for a lie down.

And that’s about all the news so far. I highly recommend daytime flights to England, btw. You have to get up so early to get to the airport you’re out like a light on the plane and then you go to bed when you arrive. A great sleeping experience.

What are you doing today/this week? What are you reading?

Don’t forget A Damned Good Contest!

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I really think I shall have to sack my maid. She is not only a saucy piece who makes the humble yet necessary job of ironing into some sort of grand seduction, but she’s incompetent! You should see the wrinkles in my clothes and the evidence of hasty, last minute laundering. When we reach our destination later today I shall have to stand over her and supervise her every move. I am just grateful that there will be very few gentlemen attending the event.

I shall spend the better part of an hour discussing the neverending problem of servants to anyone who cares to attend.

As for me, I shall be most modestly and suitably attired for travel–note that my maid seems to have lost her kerchief again–it is an excessively tiresome habit.

I shall take the precaution of taking my apothecary chest lest any of my acquaintances suffer a fit of the vapors or appear crapulous following an evening of gossip and refreshment.

And of course my writing slope will accompany me, for although I am not in such dire straits as Miss Jewell or Miss McCabe regarding their literary obligations, I do have a great deal of work to do.

In translation: Yes, I shall be attending the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, giving my workshop on servants, and signing at the Literacy Bookfair on Saturday. I hope I’ll see you there! Next week I shall have pictures.

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I confess that I have a very pretty commute to work. It’s not all that long (40-45 minutes door to door) but it’s through the vineyards here in Sonoma County, California. Every so often I actually notice that I’m driving through some lovely countryside. Mostly, I use the time to listen to the radio and find out what the heck is going on in the world. Quite often, though, I turn off the radio and think about my WIP (Wreck in Progress)1

Lately, there’s been some construction work on my route home and in order to avoid sitting in traffic ::::shudder:::: I’ve been taking the long way home. It takes longer, just under an hour, but it’s through the Sonoma Mountains then over and down into the valley to the back roads to my house.2 Until this detour I’ve been taking, I’d never been in the Sonoma Mountains, even though from my house we have a rather stunning view of them. Too often I take that view for granted, too. I live 30 minutes from the tallest tree in the whole freaking world and I’ve been to see it once since I was an adult. sigh

I think that I might, from time to time from now on, take this road not traveled to get home even if it does add few extra minutes to the drive. Sometimes, beauty is an end in itself. I do count myself quite lucky that my normal commute can be made without ever driving into a city (except when I get to work.) I think I’m even luckier that there’s a way home that takes my breath the way this does.

My apologies that my pictures don’t do justice to how pretty this is. Also, in order not to die in a flaming wreck of metal, there were prettier pictures I didn’t take.

Part of the drive goes through Glen Ellen (Population 992). You may be familiar with it as the city where Jack London lived out the final years of his life.

Please keep in mind that I took these photos with my iPhone. (I pulled over to take a couple of them.) The road is, in fact, even narrower than it looks in some of these photos. There’s barely room for one car.

1. OK, so that’s a wee joke. But whatever book I’m working on at the moment is always a wreck until the last minute. Most writers seem to explode that acronym to Work In Progress.

2 Rats. I forgot to get a picture of the giant chicken. Maybe tomorrow.

So, any roads taken you’d care to share in the comments?






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