Book Journeys – Vienna

Love in Three Quarter TimeI love to travel, whether through my imagination in a book or in real life. Well, Rachel McMillan’s newest novel takes us to the beautiful city of Vienna – and now I want to go there for real.

Since I can’t hop on a plane at this moment, with the handy dandy help of our cyberworld (and some guidance from Love in Three Quarter Time’s heroine, Evelyn Watt, let’s check out some of the lovely world of Vienna.

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Pixabay

As noted in Trip Advisor (and portrayed in Rachel’s novella), “In Vienna, the coffee shop isn’t just a hangout, it’s an institution.” A great coffee shop can create a sense of community, and Vienna is known for having quaint coffee shops where you can enjoy delicious pastries, strudels or cakes, as you pause between your walks down the traffic-free shopping streets from one architectural masterpiece to another. Café Mozart is the introduced to us in Rachel’s book and plays a significant role in the story and the especially the romance 😉

 

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Hofburg Palace – Pixabay

Much of the setting of Vienna comes from its “Imperial” architecture, which nods toward the Habsburg monarchy which ruled Vienna for over six hundred years, but it is also a thriving city with modern structures as well. The Hofburg palace, home of the Habsburg family,  is in the center of Vienna. Originally surrounded by a mote, parts of this ‘castle’ can be dated back to the 13th century. The rooms are amazing!! And as I look through the photos of the Redoutenstaal wing of the palace, in particular, I’m struck my its grandeur. Wow!

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The Belvedere Palace – Pixabay

For a few more breathtaking historical buildings tops, you could visit the Schonbrunn Palace, The Belvedere Palace (there are lots of palaces in Austria and Rachel mentions the winter garden for this one), or even St Stephen’s Cathedral (a roman gothic structure with a spectacular south tower and referred to as Stephansdom in the novella). Check out the roof of this church. The intricate design is amazing. And all of the palaces have extensive gardens to explore too. Really, there is no end to the historic churches to visit too – St. Peter’s, St. Anna’s…so many!

Museums run aplenty in this city rich in culture. From the Kunsthistorisches Museum which spans centuries of artwork to The Third Man Museum which gives a more modern look at Vienna. Basically, you can see about anything you want – science, art…there’s even a carriage museum. Rachel mentions Musiemsquartier in Love in Three Quarter Time, which basically is a beautiful complex of a myriad art museum, from historic to modern, and for some fresh air on a beautiful day, you can visit one of the many public parks, one, in particular, is Volksgarten.

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Staatsoper – Pixabay

Music is everywhere in Vienna, so a visit wouldn’t be complete without taking in an opera or concert (or lots more). Since Mozart’s house (Mozarthaus) is actually in town, why not catch a little tour of it as well. We could catch a performance in the same place as Evelyn Watt – at the Staatsoper – or also in the Musikverein, with its gilded exterior.

There are too many sites to mention in a blog post, but I’ve tried to highlight a few. One thing pictures and videos can’t do is give us a sense of place, which Rachel’s book does through descriptions and story, but I’d LOVE the opportunity to experience Vienna in person too. Have you been to Vienna? If so, what was one of your favorite sites? If not, where would you like to visit in this beautiful city?

You can read my review of Love in Three Quarter Time HERE.

Here are a few more gorgeous photos of the city!

(All photos from Pixabay.com)

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Book Journeys – Australia

Australia!!

The first things that come to mind for me are:

Adidas profits from bloody slaughter of kangaroos.  The bodies of slaughtered baby kangaroos - torn from their mother's pouches and too small to be of any commercial use - will lie for the eagles to peck at, while their slaughtered mothers are made into football boots for the sportswear giant.   Adidas has been accused of fuelling ♥Hugh Jackman ♥ Photshoot - Hugh Jackman Photo (26818914) - Fanpop

Kangaroos

Hugh Jackman

Sandy shores

Nicole Kidman

Opera house

Koalas

Thor is no longer arrogant; he's been humbled.  He's grown much since his last movie.  The Thunderer doesn't appear foolhardy in this picture.  Calm, confident, and prepared; but no longer looking for a fight.

Tony Atwood

And Thor (I know. Weird)

Plus, a whole slew of amazing people I’ve gotten to know through the writing process, like Karen Schravemade, Ian Acheson, Katie Donovan, Lucy Nel, Timmy Cleary, and Rel Mollet…plus my new acquaintance Jessica Kate. (If I missed some of my down under cyber-friends, I’m so sorry!!!)

Sydney.pngI just finished Kara Isaac’s novel, Then There Was You. You can find my review HERE. This book takes place almost completely in Australia, particularly in the Sydney area. So today we’re featuring a few lovely sites from that city 😊

  1. The ACCENTS!!! I know, I know. I can rent a movie or hang out on Youtube to get this fix, but live and in-person is so much better. Plus, you get to see the culture, which is another one of my favorite things to explore!! Come on, doesn’t everyone swoon just a wee bit when an Aussie starts talking? Or is that just me? Actually, I probably swoon over English, Irish, and…especially Scottish too, but, my oh my, there’s just something golden about an Australian accent.
  1. The Sydney Opera House – Wow! This magnificent edifice of modern architecture and an internationally recognizable feature associated with Sydney. (I even recognized it in Finding Nemo) The Opera House hosts over forty performances each week.
  1. Tamarama, Bondi, or Bronte beaches are nearby on the eastside and offer beautiful views and excellent spots for romantic beach walks or charming picnics. There are even walking trails connecting some of the beaches, so you can take a lovely stroll from one picturesque view to the next. Or take a half-hour ferry ride to manly for some surfing, snorkeling, and other sea adventures.
    Tamarama Beach via Beautifully, Suddenly
  1. Did you know that Australia has a mountain range known as the BLUE MOUNTAINS!!! (see, I was MEANT to visit there!!) Look at these beautiful mountains! I’d feel right at home (except there’s also a really cool beach nearby and we have to drive a ways to find a beach) http://www.australia.com/en-us/places/blue-mountains.htmlThree Sisters Sunset Blue Mountains New South Wales

The Blue Mountains feature bushland, waterfalls, hiking trails, forests, and… CLIFFS! Okay, okay, I just get nostalgic about cliffs. It’s a weird romantic thing in my head. Plus, they have something called Wentworth Falls???? Really? Engage daydream mode NOW.

Wentworth Rainbow, Wentworth Falls, Australia,  by Toma Iakopo,Tomojo Photography

    1. If you want to take in a great view of Sydney, take a Bridge Climb up Sydney Harbor Bridge. From the photos, the views look spectacular. However, I’m more of a country girl than a city girl, so if you’re looking for me, you’ll probably find me at one of the beaches or…the Blue Mountains 😊

I really hope some of my Aussie friends will chime in to share some great places to visit in Australia!! Have you visited? What did you love about the lovely land Down Under?

Pepper

Book Journeys – Roanoke

d87db-the2blady2band2bthe2blionheartI loved getting to return to my home state in Joanne Bischof’s beautiful novel, The Lady and The Lionheart. In Bischof’s excellent story of romance and redemption, the characters remain in the small city of Roanoke, Virginia for most of the book.

Roanoke is a beautiful little city located in the Roanoke Valley in the southwestern part of the state. In fact, a lot of people I’ve met from the northern part of Virginia think that Virginia ends at Roanoke 😉 (but thankfully Virginia Tech has put us a little more southerly on the map)

First named Big Lick (seriously) in 1852 for a large outcropping of salt marshes near the Roanoke River, the name was changed to Roanoke in 1882 (whew…)

The name Roanoke comes from the Algonquian word for ‘shell’ which was used as currency – and the native Americans called the large river nearby, Roanoke, so the town took on the name.

Smith Mountain Lake, VA (prints available here: http://www.smith-mountain-lake-visitor-center.com/prints/prints_smith_mountain_lake_01.htm)
Pinterest

As railroads became more common, Roanoke became an important hub for people to get from the more metropolitan northeast to the growing west.

Roanoke is a valley framed in by mountains. It’s actually a beautiful place to behold from the Blue Ridge Parkway that gives spectacular vistas of the city. The Appalachian Trail runs through the northern part of Roanoke and the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake is to the southeast (My dad LOVES Smith Mountain Lake!! Great catfish up there).

Visit one of these unbelievably odd yet fun museums to get a different take on Virginia’s history.
Pinterest

Although small, because of its unique location it’s become an eclectic arts and sciences community. Center in the Square brings this theory to view with a seven-story cultural center in the middle of downtown. The city also has some wonderful museums for history, science, music, and many other things. Oh, and for those with more ‘unique’ interests, there is even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.

For nature lovers, there is opportunity to go below or above. Dixie and Luray Caverns take you on a below-ground tour, but then you can drive to new heights on the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roanoke Mountain, off the Blue Ridge Parkway...I dream about talking long walks down roads like this...talking to Jesus as I walk! facebook.com/loveswish
Pinterest

One of my favorite places to visit near Roanoke is Explore Park. There’s SOOOOO much to do there, but I love the historical aspect of the Park. In fact, I have an entire scene devoted to Explore Park in a future book 😊  http://explorepark.org/375/Historical-Area

There are too many things to list to do in this beautiful part of the world, but Clifton Forge (also mentioned in The Lady and the Lionheart) isn’t too far away either. It’s part of the Alleghany Highlands and would have been a much more rural town when Charlie and Ella visited.

So there you have it. A little bit about Roanoke, Va. Subtract about a century, add a circus, and you could step into the world of the amazing novel, The Lady and the Lionheart.

Have you ever been to Roanoke? Would you like to go?

Read my review for The Lady and the Lionheart HERE.

Find The Lady and the Lionheart on….
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christian Book
Google Books

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.

 

Pepper

Book Journeys – Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield Title

There are some places that just Need to be in a book!

This gothic revival manor house is one that has found its way into many books as a model for its fictional counterpart. One of the authors whose book I’ve read most recently that used this beautiful estate as a muse is Carrie Turansky. In her novel, A Refuge at Highland Hall, Tyntesfield IS Highland Hall. (It is also featured in the previous two books, The Daughter of Highland Hall and the Governess of Highland Hall).

Continue reading “Book Journeys – Tyntesfield”