Hi Everyone! PJ, here. Are you ready for an adventure? Our favorite romance author / world traveler is on the go again and taking all of us along. Anna Campbell will be joining us at the end of February, March, April, and May to share her journey through France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England. I hope you're as excited as I am. Welcome back, Anna!
Hi PJ! Hi Romance Dish girls!
Lovely to be back here talking travel again. I had such a good time last year when I talked about my travels around Europe. I’m away for four months in total—a lot of that is writing time, but writing time still leaves space for sightseeing. This trip, I’m doing Paris, Venice, Ireland, Scotland and England. No exotic Balkan destinations like Slovenia or Croatia this time around! But I’ll still have lots of photos to show you and lots of places to tell you about.
As I write this, it’s midday and I’m sitting in my apartment in a very cold and foggy Venice. It’s 3 degrees C outside (37F). I haven’t yet ventured out, although I will later. The plan while I’m here is to edit The Highlander’s Lost Lady (The Lairds Most Likely Book 3) which is out at the end of April. It’s a nice excuse to stay home in the warm!
I left Australia two weeks ago to fly into Paris, where I had a lovely week mainly pottering around the Louvre Museum and getting over my jetlag – oh, and eating lots of croissants! I’ve learned with big art galleries like the Louvre, the best way to do them is to arrive with no expectations of covering a lot of ground, take my time, and concentrate on small bites.
|Mary Magdalene by Quentin Metsys, The Annunciation by Rogier Van Der Weyden (detail), The Adoration of the Magi by Ulrich Apt the Elder|
As you can probably tell from the pictures here, I mainly hung around 15th, 16th and 17th century Northern European paintings. There are worse places to go to get over a flight from Australia!
I also went to the ballet twice. The weather outside was frightful and Palais Garnier, the elaborate 19th century opera house near where I was staying, was delightful! Get a load of that Chagall ceiling! The dance works were all cutting edge modern, which I enjoyed, although there’s something about that setting that cries out for tutus and blokes in tights.
After a week in Paris, I moved on to 19 days in Venice. I’ve been to Venice twice before, in 1985 and in 1995, so it’s nearly 25 years since my last drinks on the Rialto. Too long when I love it so much. I don’t drive, so there’s something particularly friendly to me about a place where nobody else does either, unless it’s a motorboat or a gondola.
Something I’d forgotten about Venice is how beautiful and clear the light is. I hadn’t forgotten how ridiculously photogenic it is. So far, the main change I’ve noticed is how many people are around. It’s Carnevale here, and I got caught up in huge crowds on Sunday when I went out. People were dressed up in all sorts of costumes, mainly 18th century, but there were quite a few aliens in the mix. Lots of beautiful masks, too.
I’m a week into my stay and so far, I’ve done a lot of editing and a lot of walking around, particularly in the quieter parts of town. I’m finding it’s difficult to take a bad photo here – there’s something about water and old buildings and that high clear, blue sky that makes for a great composition.
I’ll finish on a lovely, although sad romantic legend. On one of my walks around the area I’m staying, Canareggio, I saw this intriguing sculpture of a camel and a young handler in Turkish costume on the side of a rather run-down palazzo (run-down palazzos aren’t exactly thin on the ground here!). I went back to my apartment and looked the house up on Google. It turns out it’s unofficially called the House of the Camel and the legend is that it was built by an exiled Moorish merchant who told his lady love that when she made it to Venice, just ask for the House of the Camel and she’d find him. Sadly, she never turned up. Sob.
That’s the trouble with legends! No guaranteed happy endings. Believe me, if I was in charge, that Camel House would have seen a wedding before it was done!
My next post will be about Ireland where I haven’t been since 1986! I’m definitely travelling down memory lane this trip. See you in March!
And just to confuse things further, how about a Scottish book as a giveaway? Someone who leaves a comment here goes into the draw to win a download of the first of my Lairds Most Likely books, The Laird’s Willful Lass. No geographical restrictions. Just tell me what legend or fairy story you think is the most romantic and why. Good luck!
Deadline for comments to be entered into the giveaway is 11:00 PM, March 2.
For more photos from Anna's travels, visit her on Facebook.
For more information about her books, visit Anna's website.
Thank you Anna for taking us with you on your amazing journey! I so loved the pictures you shared! ❤️ReplyDelete
I love Beauty and the Beast! It what’s on the inside that counts and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.Delete
Kat, lovely to see you! I'm so glad you're enjoying the pics. I've so loved your responses to everything I've put up. I agree with you about BATB. It's definitely one of my favorites too. I love that Beauty's so brave and I love the Beast loving her so hopelessly. Sob. Have you seen the old French film La Belle et la Bete? It's far and away the most gorgeous version of the story, IMHO.Delete
Anna...I have not seen it but will see if it is available on Prime or NetFlix! I am having my knee replaced here in a few weeks so I will have plenty of time for movies and reading! ❤️Delete
Oh, hope the surgery goes well, Kat!Delete
Anna, I always love seeing all your photos--thanks for taking me armchair traveling with you again, this time through Paris and Venice! One of these days I'll make it to Italy in person! As for most romantic legend? I remember a big book of Chinese fairy tales my parents had... they had quite a few of star-crossed lovers. This is a version of one of them, the tale of a cowherd and his love: https://www.storynory.com/the-cowherd-and-the-weaving-maid/ReplyDelete
Oh, Fedora, that was such a sad story! But beautiful. It's funny - I listen to the local classical music station when I'm writing and they've got the Butterfly Lovers concerto playing. That's another star-crossed lovers special! So glad you're enjoying the pics!Delete
I know! I loved fairy tales, but so many of them don't have happy endings! I MUCH prefer romance, Anna ;) Thanks again for taking me with you on your travels!Delete
My pleasure, Fedora.Delete
Oh ! Vous allez aller en Irlande et en Écosse. Il me tarde de voir ces photos-là ! Merci pour le partage de ces jolies photos. Continuez votre périple et profitez bien ! Bisous BéatriceReplyDelete
Beatrice, quelle plaisir! Merci pour votre visite ici. Je suis si heureuse que vous profitez des photos!Delete
I loved your pictures Anna.You're going to all the places in my bucket list. My very favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast. It shows how gentle he became as she showed him gentleness & love. She saw through the exterior.ReplyDelete
Lucky4750 at aol dot com
Carol, so glad you're enjoying the pics! I'm having such fun sharing them with you all. I agree with you about BATB. I always get misty-eyed when she comes back to him and he's fading away, poor lad!Delete
Welcome back, Anna! I am so enjoying your photos and descriptions of the places you're visiting, especially those from Venice. It makes me want to grab my passport and book a flight. Venice is one of those places I don't think I'll ever tire of exploring...except during rainy season. I don't think I'd much enjoy that. ;-)ReplyDelete
I'll join the chorus and say my favorite fairy tale is also Beauty and the Beast. I've always loved the message it sends that it's what's in our hearts that really makes us beautiful, not the outer skin.
PJ, how lovely to be back talking about my travels with you and all your friends. I had such fun here last year! And now we get to do it all again. I've been SOOOOO lucky with the weather in Venice. While we've had some very cold days (a couple of days it was down to 1 degree C which translates as 33 F at midday!!!), it's been dry and a lovely mixture of romantic fog and beautifully clear. Interesting BATB is getting all the lurve. I think a lot of my stories, especially the earlier, darker ones were re-tellings of BATB.Delete
Hi Anna I’m so glad you’re having a good time in Europe!! One of my favorite tales is about the first graduated woman in the world: Elena Cornaro and she lived in Venice!! FulviaReplyDelete
Wow, Fulvia, I've never heard of her! I just looked her up. What an amazing woman. And what a love story her parents had - very Cinderella!ReplyDelete
Hi Anna! Looks like youre having a wonderful time travelling-I love your photos that take us all vicariously to such fantastic places (I have a separate digital album called Anna photos, as some are too pretty not to keep!). My first exposure to romance and ‘Happy Ever After’ was at the age of 8 when I saw Walt Disney’s Cinderella (the very first time it was released for movie theaters)...it remains my favorite in any genre, whether it be music, ballet, or movie.ReplyDelete
Kathleen, wow, I'm tickled pink you're keeping some of the photos! That's wonderful and I'm so flattered. I'm hoping I get some really lovely ones in Ireland although given I'm staying on an estate in the middle of nowhere, I suspect over a month they'll start to lack variety! Oh, the Disney fairytales! I think they brought romance to a lot of us. Would you believe I've never seen Cinderella, though? Not sure how I missed it. I've seen numerous live action versions.Delete
Hi Anna! It is such fun to read about your travels and to see the accompanying photos. It looks like people have already touched on my favorite fairy tales. Both Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are wonderful. As previously discussed, the former delves beneath the surface. As for the second, I have always loved that the hardworking, kind, worthwhile underdog gets her guy.ReplyDelete
Lil, I like Cinderella too. I thought it might get a few more votes in this particular poll. I think one of the reasons I love it is that I had a really beautiful edition when I was a toddler and the costumes were just magnificent (from memory, I think it was a famous Italian artist who used real costumes as the basis). So glad you're enjoying the pics!Delete
I've been watching and enjoying your travels on Facebook.ReplyDelete
I grew up reading fairy tales. I had books, actually I still have the books, full of fairy tales. Cinderella, Snow White, and Snow-White and Rose-Red, and so many more from the Brothers Grimm were childhood favorites. Beauty and the Beast has become a favorite as an adult.
Denise, thanks so much for swinging by. It's always so much fun to share my travels with you all. Like you, my main introduction to fairytales was reading. I think I'm a romance writer now, at least partly because I loved those stories so much. My mother's family were Danish, so we read a lot of the Hans Christian Andersen stories which strike me now as so terrifically sad (the poor Little Mermaid who in the original doesn't get a happy ending).Delete
Anna, I want to thank you for sharing your pictures and descriptions and comments. I feel as though you have taken me with you on your travels. I believe the best part is your personal descriptions about how places and sites affect you.ReplyDelete
I understand about the legend. I don't know which is worse....prolonging the legend because she never appeared or the fact that we don't find a happily ever after.
Annette, thank you so much for saying you're enjoying the trip with me. That's how I feel about you guys - like I've got a whole gang of girlfriends I can share all my adventures with. Yeah, that legend's a bit gutting, isn't it? I have a much better version where she disguised herself as the young camel handler and they got out together.Delete
I love reading about your trips, Anna! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
My favorite fairy tale has been Beauty and the Beast for ages. I appreciate the lesson of looking below the surface since appearances aren't everything.
Glenda, thanks for saying you're enjoying the update. The next one is when I'm doing a writing retreat in Ireland so I suspect it will be fairly short! I love that message of BATB too about monsters possibly being handsome princes on the inside.Delete
Hi,Anna! I always enjoy your travel pictures. I have also been to Paris andReplyDelete
Venice. I have been to the Louvre twice, but just for a few hours. I have always wished for more time there. The Palais Garnier is also one of my favorite places to visit.
I loved Venice, but I do worry that the charm of it may be ruined because of the mass of tourists that visit.
I adore fairy tales. Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are personal favorites.
Cheryl, the first time I went to the Louvre, I found it completely overwhelming and I didn't really stop and 'look' at anything if you know what I mean. Same for me with the Met in New York. I've learned over the years that I'm better off getting my head around a small section than getting dizzy trying to do all the famous bits in one go. Isn't Palais Garnier spectacular? I visited for the first time last year and was completely gobsmacked with awe. I'm lucky with Venice - I'm in Canareggio which is off the beaten track a bit so I've got somewhere sane to retreat to when the crowds get too much. I love BATB and Cinderella! Classics, both of them.Delete
Wizard of Oz! Has everything! The band of friends, wicked and evil, good and kind, a yellowbrick road for a wonderful journey. It's the first book I really remember.
A big, big white book. Sensational illustrations, and if we were good our kindergarten teacher read us a chapter a day.
So I fell in love with reading and that book and I have never really fallen out of love with either! ♡♡♡♡
Lynne & Yoda
Lynne, what an absolutely gorgeous story! I love it. I've never read the Wizard of Oz. I've seen the movie, obviously. Judy's voice always gives me a lump in my throat, especially when she sings Over the Rainbow.Delete
Hi Anna, I'm going to follow your travels and enjoy all of your lovely pics. Beauty and the Beast is a huge favorite of mine, to.ReplyDelete
Diane, thanks so much for checking out the travelers' tales! BATB is definitely the popularity winner here!Delete
Love seeing your pictures Anna! You've got to love a good Cinderella story where she overcomes her wicked stepmother and mean stepsisters to get the Prince!ReplyDelete
Amy, thanks for swinging by. Glad you're enjoying the photos. I love the makeover element of Cinderella too. I've used that a few times in my books, most recently in The Laird's Christmas Kiss. Love giving a wallflower some glam!Delete
Hi Anna, thank you for taking us with on your travels. I love the pictures and the stories. I've love Sleeping Beauty since I was a kid.ReplyDelete
Eileen, I must admit to a fondness for Sleeping Beauty too. I was talking about the beautiful book of Cinderella I had as a toddler. I had Sleeping Beauty in the same series too - the costumes were all what I now recognize as early medieval and they were stunning. I used to just stare at the pictures!Delete
Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are my favorite tropes. Overcoming difficult obstacles and being rewarded for it is reaffirming. In Cinderella, through no fault of her own, she is put in difficult circumstances and deals with it the best she can with a positive attitude. For that, she is rewarded with one night to shine which changes her life. Those who have suppressed and mistreated her get their due. When I was a children's librarian, I had maybe 15 to 20 different versions of the Cinderella story. The variations that I loved best were BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE by Helen Ketterman which is a delightful change of roles, and FANNY'S DREAM by Carolyn Buehner which has another twist when the fairy godmother shows up late. With Bubba, having a boy "Cinderella" with wicked step brothers and stepfather and a Dolly Parton look-alike rancher princess following the original pattern, you know what to expect and look for how it will play out. In Fanny, we learn that all dreams and wishes are just that and sometimes it is fine to just leave them in that category. If you can find them in your library, they are quick delightful, picture books. While I am on children's books, another one you should check out is SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA by Lisa Wheeler. It truly follows the romance novel format even though it is a children's picture book. From the desire to experience more of the world than the small town (farm) offer, to being captured by pirates, to finding her hero and her HEA, it is all there and delightfully illustrated.ReplyDelete
Patricia, love your recommendations. I will hunt them down. As you say, one of the joys of these old tales is that they're so malleable. Makes them wonderful inspirations.Delete
Hi Anna - I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing Venice through your camera lens - thank you so much for posting your pictures. Cinderella is a favourite fairy tale of mine- the sweet, pure-hearted, abused step child whose worth is seen by the handsome prince who falls in live with her and spirits her away to a life of joy with him!ReplyDelete
Maribeth, what a beautiful description of Cinderella. No wonder we all love it so much. So glad you're enjoying the Venice shots. Off to Ireland on Monday so new territory to conquer!ReplyDelete
I've always been partial to Robin Hood. The good guy trying to help others against the law.ReplyDelete
Meghan, I've loved the Robin Hood story since I first saw the Errol Flynn picture in primary school. He really could wear a pair of tights!Delete