Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now that I’m back in the US after 4 years abroad in Europe, I’ve noticed thousands of photos I’ve haven’t gone through from my travels there. So, each third week of the month, I’ll be posting favorite photos from the travel archives…
I’ve posted previously on Italy’s Lost City of Pompeii and separately on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, but often the two aren’t connected though they’re merely a handful of miles apart. Here, find photos from both, one of my favorite regions in Europe: Italy’s Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, south of Rome.
The Amalfi Coast is a gem with dazzling turquoise waters and steep, sheer cliffs that drop breathlessly into the Mediterranean.
“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” -John Steinbeck, Harper’s Bazaar, 1953Read More»
”History teaches everything including the future.” -Lamartine
When I stand in Prague along the Vltava River and see this view, I can hardly imagine the hundreds of years of stories and history tucked into the walls and crevices of the buildings:
- Prague Castle (the long, horizontal building that stretches across much of this photograph) was founded around the year 880 and is made up of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles. The Castle has hosted the region’s ruling powers through countless wars, the Nazi occupation, the Soviet Communist rule, and the post-Velvet Revolution government — for over one thousand years.
- St Vitus Cathedral, with its high Baroque and Gothic spires inside the Prague Castle walls, was founded on the 21st of November, 1344, during the reign of King Charles IV. The beauty inside is astounding, especially considering the cathedral is approaching 700 years old.
- St Nicholas of Mala Strana Church, constructed around 1750 (the spires on the left of the photograph), was a favorite Nazi spying outpost, from the top of its bell tower. Also, famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the organ in the church.
- Charles Bridge, the historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River, was constructed in the 1350s by King Charles IV. Its presence across the river helped make Prague an important trade route between eastern and western Europe.
There is so much to see, feel, and experience just by standing in one small spot in a historic city like Prague.
What do you think about when you experience something so much bigger than you and your time?
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo
In the past few years, since my family and I moved to Europe from the US Midwest, I’ve had the opportunity to see and travel to far more places than I ever dreamed. It’s been one incredible adventure.
During that time, I’ve written dozens of posts on my travels around Europe, from places like Dubrovnik to Paris, from Sweden to Tuscany. We’ve traveled to 23 countries in Europe, and dipped our toes in 5 seas!
visited 24 countries (10.6%)
“Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.” – Raymond Chandler, from The Big Sleep
If there would be one scene that defines Prague for me, it is the serpentine Vltava River winding through the city. Bridges cross the river at regular intervals, artistic in their arches, their Gothic architecture, and their spacing. Vintage red trams cross several bridges, along with cars and trucks and buses. But one bridge in Prague is completely special: the Charles Bridge.Read More»
“The Hills are alive …” -The Sound of Music
It’s no secret that I love to travel. My favorite places to venture to are always into mountains or to a beach, anywhere.
Living in Prague has many advantages for its central location in Europe. My family and I have definitely taken roadtrips, and one of our favorites is to the Austrian Alps, to a region east of Salzburg called Salzgammergut. Most Americans know the region as the Sound of Music region. Yes, it is even more beautiful than in the movie!
Years ago, we found a village called St. Gilgen that has drawn us back time and time again over the 3 1/2 years we’ve lived here. I’ve written posts for AOL Travel and many posts here. But in all the times we’ve traveled to St. Gilgen, we’ve never gone in the autumn, and we’d never hiked the main peak, the Zwölferhorn.
This time, we did. Instead of a ten minute cable car ride, we did the 3 hour
hike climb. And it was amazing. So, without further ado, I want to show you the best of the photos I took last weekend.
Autumn Views from the Austrian Alps: a PhotojournalRead More»
“The monumental Nelahozeves Castle, one of Bohemia’s finest Renaissance castles, is situated on a gentle slope overlooking the Vltava River in the village of Nelahozeves (birthplace of the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák), approximately 35 km north of Prague.”
-from the website (Lobkowicz.cz) of the former Czech royal family, the Lobkowiczes
Music has always been an important part of my life. Not just rock music (which I love, and blogged about going to see U2 in Vienna and Coldplay in Prague), but classical music as well. This is the story …
I distinctly remember the day I chose what instrument I would play when I was a girl in the 5th grade. My family had recently moved from the South (Texas) to the cosmopolitan North (suburban Philadelphia), and I was an awkward 11 year old with a hard twang of an accent, dressed in prairie clothes my mother made and double braids my mother braided every day, and stood taller than my male 5th grade teacher. Yes, that was a tough time. Music was one of the things that saved me, I’m sure.
The cart the music teacher rolled into the school auditorium had been loaded with instruments — flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and a violin. Perhaps a few more. But I remember I only had eyes for the stringed instrument. When the teacher saw the size of my hands, she told me I needed to play something larger than a violin. A viola or cello, she said. I agreed. A viola sounded nice.
For the next many years, I played my viola. I toted it with me when we moved to another new state, and also when I ventured to college. I played the same viola when I became a mom and after, at friends’ events or at church. My viola still sits upstairs in a special boy-proof spot. The sheet music waiting inside the viola case still calls my name, though I don’t play it nearly as often as I like. Several of the pieces inside the case were written by Beethoven, and one was by Dvořák — all are favorites.
Fast forward to Czech Republic, where I currently live with my family. One day, when playing the music from my viola case, I recognized a name written at the top of the music, in German. Lobkowicz.
Soon, I discovered the 7th Prince Lobkowicz had been the prinicipal sponsor of Beethoven, including his 3rd, 5th, and 6th symphonies. Stunning!
And Dvořák grew up literally beside the Lobkowicz family castle called Nelahozeves Castle in Nelahozeves, Czech Republic (then Austrian empire). It was then, at these discoveries, that I began to dig in to see everything I could about the rich history in this enchanted region near Prague. Seeing all of the history, standing inches from the original Beethoven manuscripts, hearing the music played in castles and theaters near Prague — these all have left an imprint upon me and my life.
So, I must share them here as best I can with you — today, Nelahozeves Castle.
The Lobkowicz family has made an enormous mark on the world, through so many things, but also through music. Last week, I featured one of the Lobkowicz castles, Strekov Castle. I have talked about the Lobkowicz Palace inside the Prague Castle. And following, photos from one of my visits to the Lobkowiczs’ magnificent Nelahozeves Castle.
One of the most incredible parts of the Lobkowicz story happened when their properties and possessions — castles, music, palaces, and everything — were confiscated by the Nazis in 1939 and then by the Communists in 1948. In recent years, since the fall of Communism and the Soviet bloc, the Lobkowicz family has been working to restore all that had been taken from them, and put back on display for the public to see.
And since photography isn’t allowed inside the Lobkowicz properties, you must go and see the incredible exhibits for yourself. Priceless music, art, household items, armor — the Lobkowicz palace and castles are must-see places when you visit Prague. For more, visit their website at Lobkowicz.cz.
For you: What are your favorite classical musicians? Do you play an instrument? How does seeing such history and grandeur affect you?
The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” ~Daniel J. Boorstin
It’s no secret that I love to travel.
For the past three years, as my family and I have lived in Prague as expats, my love for travel has only grown. We have seen and traveled and experienced more languages and countries (over 20) in these three years than I could have ever imagined. Well, more than I could have imagined from my life in the US.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that traveling Europe is doable on a tight budget. Most of Europe is within a day’s drive. It’s all dependent on how you travel.
Following, the top ten tips (from my experience) for how to travel Europe on a budget:
1) Research: buy or borrow a few good books on Europe. Make a list of the top places you’d like to visit in Europe. Start gathering links or clippings on the places you’d like to visit.
“Known as the “golden city of 100 spires” and a “symphony in stone”, Prague boasts architectural styles ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque right up to the art nouveau and cubist styles of the 20th Century.” -Prague Guidebook
To walk around Prague for a day is to walk through time. From the cobblestone streets to the hundreds of spires stretching skyward, Prague is an enchantress.
Even after living in Prague for almost 3 years, I can’t seem to get enough of Prague and her beauty. I savor time out on the Charles Bridge, where tourists pass under the Saints guarding over the Vltava River. I love exploring the nooks carved into the centuries of buildings here, and discovering the artistic palette of a city that does play a symphony with her stones.
Recently, I took my camera along for a day out in Prague. So, following, join me in a photojournal of Prague’s famed artist’s lane, Golden Lane, built inside the Prague Castle wall, and of the spires along the way. I hope you enjoy them, this glimpse of Prague in March at the brink of Spring!Read More»
Captain von Trapp: It’s the dress. You’ll have to put on another one before you meet the children.
Maria: But I don’t have another one. When we entered the abbey our worldly clothes were given to the poor.
Captain von Trapp: What about this one?
Maria: The poor didn’t want this one. ~ The Sound of Music
The Austrian Alps have many meanings. To some, they mean great skiing in winter. To others, they make a wonderful place to hike and bike in summer. To many, the Austrian Alps bring the Sound of Music directly to mind. For me, Austria and its beautiful Alpine region means all of the above. I simply love Austria.
A few weeks ago, my family and I drove from Prague to Venice, Italy. The main reason we wanted to drive, despite the ski season traffic, was to experience the views. The Alps are truly glorious in the wintertime, especially on days of blue skies after a heavy snow. It just so happened that this trip, the weather was perfect. Perfect for photographs, too. So, this week, as I work intensely on my work-in-progress novel, I’m posting a photojournal of Austria.
I hope you enjoy the views as much as I do!Read More»
A tavola non si invecchia. – Italian proverb.
Translation: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.
I love Italy. There is so much to love, especially for enjoying the values of good food and wine, and the wealth of family.
Last week, my husband and I and our three sons spent ten days in Italy. Since we live in Prague as expats, we could drive in and through Italy’s beautiful regions, from the Alpine Dolomites to the colorful wine regions. For me, a week retreat along Italy’s coast with my family is pretty much paradise … We spent much time on the beach and around a weathered kitchen table, enjoying the best Tuscany has to offer. It was divine!
We ventured for the first time into the UNESCO World Heritage area called the Cinque Terre, and stayed in a village called Monterosso al Mare. The Cinque Terre, along Italy’s Northwestern coast, is known for its centuries-old villages nestled high among the rocks of the Ligurian Sea, along the Mediterranean. The Italian seafood dishes, the house wines, the clanging of the town bells, and the stunning sunrise linger in my memory.
As we left Cinque Terre on teetering roads over a thousand meters above the sea, we passed into Tuscany by Pisa and settled into our favorite spot along the Mare in Tuscany’s southwestern seaside region called the Maremma. I have written about the region before (click here), as this was our third year to spend time there in October. And, wow, there are not many words to describe the beautiful weather and countryside … so, some photos to share:
Next week, I’ll share more photos, including Siena and Rome.
Question for you: Where is your favorite family retreat?