My heart lives for Europe. Though I’m 15th generation American (yes, really) by birth, I’m drawn to what many of us on this side of the pond refer to as the “Old World”.
I suppose my fascination with Europe began with hundreds of books that I’ve read beginning in childhood. Historical fiction; English “cozies” and the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers; Jane Austen; Moliere; Shakespeare; Monsieur Pamplemousse; bodice-ripping romance novels (aka “brain candy”); international thrillers of le Carre; the early Outlander novels; historical sagas of Michener and Edward Rutherford; the Celtic mythologies of Morgan Llywelyn; Jean Auel’s pre- history series; Chekov’s plays…the list goes on.
With a memory quirk commonly referred to by family as “Jeopardy brain”, my knowledge base encompasses more than just hotels, the top tourist attractions, and Michelin star restaurants. There’s so much more…the Baroque design of the French court, the cuisine of Italy, country gardens that populate Brit Lit and beyond.
In 2000, I was lucky enough to take my first trip to Europe with my husband, our 15-year old son and his best friend. We started in Paris, and drove to Germany for about two weeks in total. My husband and I were then able to make trips about every two years and then in 2012, we were able to take a sabbatical and spent four months in Europe. Two of those months were spent working at a small chateau in France, and then we spent six weeks on the island of Great Britain. With a little time in Sweden and Denmark thrown into the mix for good measure and we’ve never looked back.