Have you ever seen the village of Lacock? You might have

Have you ever seen the village of Lacock in Wiltshire, UK?

Before you say “No,” let me ask you – Have you ever watched the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Cranford, Wolfman, Downton Abbey, or Harry Potter?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, then you have seen Lacock. On screen.

Compare the image above with the shot below. Look familiar?

shot of the corner of East and High Streets in Lacock, during filming of the BBC Pride and Prejudice
shot of the corner of East and High Streets in Lacock, during filming of the BBC Pride and Prejudice

You can also see some great shots of the cast of Downton Abbey in “Downton Abbey filming held back by local tour guide.”



Get Chatty! Tips on getting the most out of Twitter chats

Are you on Twitter, but not sure whom to follow, and how to get anyone to follow you back?

Get chatty!

One of the best ways to meet fellow travelers on Twitter are Twitter chats.

I admit, I’m a social media junkie, and I love Twitter chats.

If you take time to read the discussion during or after the chat, you’ll notice that some people post answer similar to what you said = they are probably a lot like you.

I tend to follow those folks, and sometimes they follow me back.

In fact, after every chat I participate in, I get new followers. Sometimes there’s just one or two, sometimes there are more.

But it’s not about numbers, it’s about growing your community of fellow travelers, who think and feel like you. That’s the most important part.

How do you find a Twitter chat?


Visiting the Roman Sights in Merida, Spain

When we decided to do a road trip from Madrid, Spain to the coast of Portugal last year, we decided to find a city or a town to stay overnight on the way, rather than drive the 600 km (372 miles) or so in one day.

The names of towns and cities along the three different routes that GoogleMaps suggested for us didn’t tell me much, so I turned to guidebooks of Spain from Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and to TripAdvisor reviews.

three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested  as a possibility
three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested as a possibility

In the end, I’ve decided we should stop in Mérida, a place I’d never heard of before, because every guidebook I looked at suggested visiting the city’s Roman ruins, and we like ancient stuff like that.

We arrived in Mérida on a Friday afternoon and went sightseeing on Saturday. Given all the historical attractions in Mérida, I was really surprised by the low number of tourists we saw.

Clearly Mérida is not as popular as it was during the Roman times, which is really too bad.

MORE (takes you to our self-hosted site, which looks a tiny bit different)

The Rocky Coast of Peniche, Portugal

There’s something powerful and captivating about waves crashing into a rocky cliff, sending up a fountain of sea foam, then retreating back into the ocean.

It’s calming. It’s humbling. And it’s beautiful.

kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal
kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal

An old fishing town on the coast of Portugal, Peniche is known most of all for its beaches, great surfing waves, fortresses and sanctuaries, and the nearby Nature Reserve on the Island of Berlengas.

screen shot of Peniche, Portugal from Google Maps
screen shot of Peniche, Portugal from Google Maps

But the thing that I liked the most was the rugged, rocky shore of the westernmost part of Peniche, that you can access if you take the N114 around the cape.


Self-Guided Tour of Harvard University’s Old Yard

If you’re in Boston, Massachusetts, don’t forget to visit the city on the other bank of the Charles River – Cambridge, MA!

And while you’re in Cambridge, you might as well visit Harvard University, the oldest university in the United States.

I’d suggest you put aside a whole day just for Harvard, since in addition to the one-hour Guided Historical tour of the university, Harvard museums – Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture – are worth a visit as well.

Quincy Street entrance to the newly renovated and reopened Harvard Art Museums
Quincy Street entrance to the newly renovated and reopened Harvard Art Museums

If you don’t have that much time, at least do the tour of the university, either with Guided Historical Tours of Harvard or on your own.


Period Clothing at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

When my husband suggested we go across the street to the V&A after we left the Natural History Museum in London, I honesty hesitated, wondering whether it’s a good idea to take the kids to a museum about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Yes. That is correct. I really thought the Victoria and Albert Museum is ABOUT Victoria and Albert, and thought it would be better to go to the Science Museum instead.


The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with kids

It’s the vacation week, and since I have time off as well, I’ve decided to take my eight-year-old daughter to a few local museums, starting with the Museum of Fine Arts.

"Think Pink" exhibit we saw in April 2014
“Think Pink” exhibit we saw in April 2014

She’d seen it several months ago when my friend and I took her to see the “Think Pink” exhibit. She liked the “Pink Room,” and spent quite a bit of time looking at the pink dresses, shoes, suits, and doll clothes, but didn’t care too much for paintings and other collections.

This time it was just me and my daughter, going with another girl, who supposedly really liked the Egyptian area, especially the mummies.


A few thoughts on Nicolas Regnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel”

If you are planning to visit the newly opened Harvard Art Museums, and are willing to play “scavenger hunt” with me, please read first “Invitation to Play ‘Scavenger Hunt’ at the Harvard Art Museums – The Clues.” 🙂

If you are not going to visit the Harvard Art Museums for a while, or at all, because Cambridge, Massachusetts way off your itinerary route, and you like to read about art, read on.

Last week I posted close up photos of a few details from five paintings at Harvard Art Museums that I found interesting. Some of them would be hard to miss as they are quite prominent in the painting, some might take some looking for, since they are just a small part of the overall piece.

detail from a 1620s Flemish painting
detail from a 1620s Flemish painting

The blobs of paint on the easel in Nicolas Régnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel” are hard to miss because the easel is positioned right in the center of the paining and is quite prominent, though it would not be the first thing you’ll look at, I bet.

What captivated me in Nicolas Régnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel,” painted around 1620s was… well…. how pasty pale he is. 😉


Invitation to Play “Scavenger Hunt” at the Harvard Art Museums – The Clues

You may have heard that Sunday, November 16, 2014 is the Opening Celebration at Harvard Art Museums, which is reopening after a long renovation that started with the closing of Harvard’s Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums in June 2008, and the Sackler Museum  in June 2013.

Now, collections from all three museums are  housed under one roof in the completely renovated and expanded site of the former Fogg Museum designed by Renzo Piano, renowned architect who also designed the post-modern The Centre Pompidou in Paris and the expansion of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Even though the official opening is on Sunday, two days away, Harvard Art Museums had opened its doors to Harvard affiliates earlier today and of course I simply could not miss the chance to go see it.


Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH

I admit, if it weren’t for the M.C. Escher exhibit, I’d probably never think of going to the Currier Museum of Art, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Which means I’d miss out on a fun, inspiring, and educational afternoon.

Currier Gallery of Art: a small but distinctive collection,” published in The Christian Science Monitor in 1981 said:

[T]he Currier, considered to be one of the best small art museums in the US, is better known among curators and art historians in Paris and New York than it is in its own region. Both the Louvre and the Metropolitan have borrowed artwork from the compact gallery, which has as its motto, “One masterpiece is more to be desired than a roomful of run-of-the-mill paintings.”


because the world is too interesting to stay home