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Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Egypt: Worthy of a Painting!

We visited Egypt quite a few years ago now and had a brilliant time. Egypt is a country full of fascinating history. Mummies. I gravitate to them in museums! But I was also taken by the scenery. The Nile, which is like a backbone, provides a lifeline for the people living along its banks. They rely on the water in the river to irrigate their crops and to feed their animals.

There is a distinct band of green on both sides of the river. Farther away, the dryness of the desert takes over. It makes for an interesting photo—one of big contrasts.

Cruising the Nile, Egypt 

This is the view we saw from our boat as we sailed down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. Isn’t it amazing? Almost like a painting, but I can assure you this is real.

I have a new release – a boxed set of my contemporary romances called Ain’t Misbehaving.

ShelleyMunro_Ain'tMisbehaving3D_200px

The boxed set contains:

Lovers at Last

One Night of Misbehavior

Blindside

Fringe Benefits

Wild Child

So far this set is available at All Romance ebooks. It should be available at other online retailers very soon.

Have you been to Egypt? Do mummies fascinate you? And a question about boxed sets – do you read all the books contained in a boxed set or do you just read the ones that interest you?

The Otago Peninsula – World Famous!

On Christmas day we spent time in Port Chalmers. The sail away was beautiful with fine weather – very different from the last time we were there when the peninsula was covered with fog and visibility was nil!

The scenery was gorgeous – blue skies and this group of people cheering and waving as the cruise ship sailed past.

Farewell_PortChalmers

This is me seeing the sights and waving back…

Shelley_PortChalmers

You get an idea of the scenery. New Zealand really is pretty. I hope you all get an opportunity to visit one day.

The Otago peninsula is special because it’s the only mainland colony of the Royal Albatross. Hubby took some awesome long range photos of the albatross on their nesting sites.

Albatros Colony

An albatross flies for long distances across the seas and oceans, but they always return to the same place and the same partner. Isn’t that romantic?

Albatros Love

A matched pair…yes, I think that’s romantic. Smile

At the farthest point of the peninsula there is a lighthouse, shown below.

Lighthouse

The endangered yellow-eyed penguin also makes its home on the Otago peninsula, although we didn’t see any of those.

Is New Zealand on your bucket list? As me some questions or tell me where you’d like to visit first when you come.

The Lindow Man: Found in a Bog

The British Museum is a must-see stop during a visit to London. It’s full of fascinating exhibits, and I could spend hours there. Unfortunately, I had Mr Munro in tow, and he has a much shorter attention span!

British Museum

I love the imposing facade of the museum, and even better, entrance is free. No matter what your interest, there will be something to excite you. The mummy section is amazing.

Every time I visit the museum, I like to see the Lindow Man. He’s a blog man, his body found in a peat bog at Lindow, north England in 1984.

Bog Man

This poor man died a particularly gruesome death. He was struck on the head several times and strangled. His throat was also cut, and he was left in the bog. It’s thought he was around 25 years of age and was in good health prior to his death. The bog preserved his hair, skin and many of his internal organs.

You can see and read more about Lindow Man at the museum website.

Do you have a favorite museum? A favorite exhibition?

World War 1 and ANZAC Girls

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of World War 1.

Earlier this year, Mr Munro and I visited Flander’s Fields in Belgium. It was a sobering and emotional experience seeing Tyne Cot, the Commonwealth war cemetery, and also the Menin Gate Memorial. There are so many unmarked graves at Tyne Cot—all from Commonwealth countries. The Menin Gate memorial commemorates 55,000 men who died and do not have graves. So many names, many of them very young. Just heart-breaking.

MrMunro_TyneCot

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium

Tyne Cot

A few of the many headstones. Some have names while others show the country with the name unknown.

TyneCot

The cemetery is beautifully kept.

Menin Gate

This is the Menin Gate memorial. The Last Post is played here every night and our guide said the crowds get bigger every year.

Menin Gate Top

Menin Gate again.

Menin Gat Interior

This is a shot of the interior of the gate and some of the 55000 names engraved into the walls.

Tonight we watched a new TV series called ANZAC Girls. It’s set during the time of the Gallipoli campaign. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it, because I knew it would pull at the heartstrings. The series focuses on the nurses who traveled from Australia and New Zealand and who worked on hospital ships off Gallipoli or in Cairo. The show is based on fact and is fairly graphic and real when it comes to the medical scenes. I thought the first show was good and time will tell if I can make it through the entire series.

Thirteen Holiday Highlights

Thursday Thirteen

Hubby and I had an awesome holiday in September and visited the Baltic area along with parts of the Mediterranean.

Thirteen Holiday Highlights

1. Visiting St Petersburg, Russia and gawking at some of the many treasures displayed in the palaces and mansions. So many valuables everywhere!

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace and the gravity fed fountains in front of the palace. They’re switched on a 11.00am each day.

2. Eating fresh wild blueberries purchased from a Helsinki market. Hubby ate the reindeer meatballs and some tiny fish.

3. Seeing the Viking Museum and the incredible boats, which are still mainly intact in Oslo, Norway.

Viking Ship

4. Visiting the Folk Museum with the range of old buildings that have been relocated to make a village. Loved the Stave Church and the buildings with grass growing on the roofs. Saw a man up on a roof, mowing the grass.

Stave Church

5. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The Vasa is an old ship that sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage. The king had ordered more cannons, which wasn’t a good idea! Who was going to argue?

Vasa, Stockholm

6. Dubrovnik  – a place I’ve wanted to visit for ages. We spent far too long in the heat, wandering around the walls of the old city and exploring the buildings inside.

7. Corfu – exploring the old fort and finding a taverna for lunch. Delicious!

8. Venice. I love Venice, and it’s never a hardship to get lost in the back streets. It was the Regatta on the day we were there, and we saw the parade of old gondolas down the Grand Canal. Discovered a fun place to have a drink (The Corner Pub), tried a peach bellini and had a hazelnut gelato. Yum, yum, yum!

Me in a Traghetto on the Grand Canal

9. Visited Gibraltar and caught the cable car up to the top of the Rock. Got up close to the Barbary apes that make the Rock their home.

10. Visited London where we lived for six years and hadn’t realized how much I missed this city. It was the same but different too, with lots of rebuilding going on.

11. Made quick visits to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museums. So much history and lots of fascinating things to gawk at.

12 Walking around many of the London sights. Walking in Hyde Park and visiting the pubs where we worked in London. Walking, walking, walking until our feet ached.

13. Afternoon tea at the Ritz. Expensive but such a lot of fun and so memorable. Scones with jam and clotted cream, tiny sandwiches and lots of delicious cakes plus lots of tea. Oh, and a glass of champagne to start.

Golden Square, London

Visitors to London will notice there are lots of green areas in the Westminster and central city areas. Some offer workers a breath of fresh air and a place to while away their time during a lunch break while others are a private oasis available to the surrounding homeowners.

London’s squares date back to the mid 17th century. They were an English concept, copied by other cities and countries.

Golden Square (thought to originate from Gelding Close when the land was used for grazing horses) began life in 1673 when John Emlyn and Isaac Symball initiated development here.

Early residents of the thirty-nine houses that surrounded the square were the Duke of Chandos, the 1st Viscount Bolingbroke and the Duchess of Cleveland. During its early years the square was a political centre and a sought-after address. This changed by the 1750s when newer and more fashionable addresses to the west on the Burlington estates became favored.

Foreign diplomats moved in from 1724 to 1768 and later 18th century residents included dancer Elizabeth Gamberini and singer Caterina Gabrielli.

Charles Dickens used Golden Square as a setting for one of the houses in his novel Nicholas Nickelby in 1839. The woollen and worsted trade moved in toward the end of the 19th century.

During the Second World War an air raid shelter was dug beneath the garden and the iron fence taken for salvage. Restoration work took place after the war and the garden was opened to the public in November 1952.

We visited on a sunny weekday and the square was full of workers eating their lunches. Not a bad place to be during a lunch break.

Golden Square

Golden Square Sign

Golden Square

Sources:

Informational sign at Golden Square

The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Southampton, Winchester and Jane Austen

During our recent visit to Great Britain, we stayed in Southampton and did a day trip to Winchester. These are both places with Jane Austen connections, and as a writer I was intrigued.

After Jane’s father died, the family had to move to Southampton for financial reasons. Jane, her sister and mother moved in with a married son. We stayed at the Dolphin hotel in Southampton, which is where Jane reportedly went dancing. Jane Austen’s 21st birthday party was held in the ballroom at this hotel. We also wandered along the city wall promenade where Jane Austen walked with her family.

Dolphin Hotel, Southampton

Jane lived in Chawton, Alton from 1809 to 1817 with her mother, her sister Cassandra and a friend Martha Lloyd. Jane became ill with a mystery disease (some sources say it was her kidneys) and Cassandra and Jane traveled to Winchester in order to receive better medical treatment. They stayed in a Castle Street house (currently a private residence) and Jane died at age 41 on 18 July 1817.

JaneAusten_CastleStreet

Jane was laid to rest at the Winchester cathedral. Her memorial stone doesn’t mention her writing and a brass plaque was added in 1872 to rectify this shortcoming.

Memorial Stone, Winchester Cathedral

Double click for larger version

JaneAusten_BrassPlaque

Brass Plaque commemorating Jane Austen’s writing.

There are lots of Jane Austen landmarks in Winchester and the surrounding Hampshire countryside. I visited only a few, given my limited time, but it was a pleasure and a privilege walking in Jane’s footsteps.

Are you a Jane Austen fan?

This is War!

Grant's Gazelle

Grant's Gazelle

My husband took these photos in Kenya. The two Grant’s Gazelles were calmly standing there, gawking at tourists, then it was war! The tourists were forgotten as they got down to the important stuff of exerting dominance.

Life is a bit hectic in my world at present, and until things settle down, I’m going to blog twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays – instead of every day.

See you tomorrow Smile

Q is for Queenstown

Q

Queenstown is a tourist destination in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s the place where adventure awaits, and from here you can go jet boating on the Shotover River, skiing during the winter, fishing, do helicopter rides, go bungy jumping, ride on the Skyline Gondola, go wine tasting and try any number of scary adventure sports.

The town is built on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by mountain ranges called the Remarkables. The setting is just stunning as you’ll see in the photo below.

Queenstown-1

The area where the town is now was once a high country farm. When gold was discovered in the nearby Arrow River, Rees, the owner converted his woolshed into a hotel and things went from there.

Lake Wakatipu

I’ve posted about the legend of how Lake Wakatipu was formed. You can read it here. I’ve also used the Queenstown area as the setting for two of my Middlemarch books, Assassin and Cat and Mouse.

I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground, which means I enjoy walking and trekking rather than trying any of these adventurous sports like bungy jumping.

Are you the adventurous sort?

M is for Middlemarch

M

Middlemarch is a small country town in the South Island of New Zealand. A few years ago I happened to catch a special interest story on our local news. The town of Middlemarch had a shortage of women of marriageable age. In order to attract more women, the town decided to hold a ball.

This idea struck me as brilliant and a good plot for one of my stories. My erotic romance series Middlemarch Mates was born—a series of twelve romances that feature a community of black leopard shapeshifters who live and love in the country town of Middlemarch.

Middlemarch

Middlemarch Cafe

Middlemarch1

ScarletWoman200x300

Emily Scarlet’s husband left her for his secretary and died in a car accident—all on the same day. Now, six months later, Emily has emerged from her chrysalis of painful memories. And to prove she has what it takes to attract a man, she’s determined to experience one perfect night of passion.

Feline shape shifter, Saber Mitchell has a problem with his four boisterous younger brothers. They’re out of control. It’s too late for him, but he hopes to get his brothers mated and settled, and the ball is the place to introduce them to marriageable women.

Unbridled sex is the last thing he plans on, but one glimpse of Emily Scarlet changes his mind. Sex with her is a necessity. They dance. They make love.

One thing is clear—a single night isn’t enough. Saber must have her for his mate, but Emily isn’t so easy to convince…or trust.

Take a visit to small town Middlemarch today Winking smile