East of Paris Bookstore

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11

We are traveling in France visiting the WWII battlefields in Normandy. Seeing where so many gave their lives for freedom is very moving and makes alive the many stories my father told me about his WWII experiences.

It all reminds me of the evil we saw played out ten years ago today when the US was attacked. It also reminds me of the heroic firefighters who went up the steps of the twin towers while encouraging others to hurry down and out.

The WWII generation is often referred to as the "Greatest Generation."  The 9/11 responders remind us that there is greatness in every generation.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Travel Books

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

Being self-sufficient in a strange place is empowering. Traveling heavy reduces anxiety. (p. 22)
While Stoddard's advice applies to the broader spectrum of life, for purposes of my upcoming trip, I am taking her advice on the simple level and am packing four books that will add weight to my luggage. I made this decision after weighing the pros and cons of only taking my iPad and eschewing traditional books. It is easier to share printed books with my husband. It is easier to make notes in the margins of printed books. And I am taking my laptop anyway because I need a traditional keyboard to write at any length.

Since we are embarking for France, the books I'm taking focus on France.  David McCullough's biography of John Adams was so interesting that I just bought The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, which sketches the lives of Americans in Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900.

Back Roads France (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)
The Back Roads France provides 24 "leisurely drives" in different regions -- maps and suggestions on what to see and where to stay.  It will come in handy if we are in search of additional inspiration.
Champlain's Dream
Champlain's Dream tells the story of the remarkable Samuel de Champlain, the father of New France and the reason why my husband's family set off for the New World centuries ago.
Michelin Red Guide France 2011: Hotels and Restaurants (Michelin Guide France) (French Edition)
Finally, when in France one must eat ... and eat. The little red book from Michelin is invaluable for finding hotels and restaurants in every town. Why wait to get there before buying the book? It is a perfect airplane companion.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Packing Browsers

If you read this blog, you already know that I often fume at hotels that charge extra for an Internet connection or that have poor Wi-fi. But, what if the Internet works and everything seems to be OK, but you still cannot connect?  

This connection problem happened to me in Bukhara at the lovely boutique hotel Sasha & Son. I had been off line forever (well, that's how long it seemed) and the frustration of not being able to connect was almost unbearable. Fortunately, the hotel staff were already familiar with this issue. They told me that I had to use the Opera browser.

Last year I had never heard of the Opera browser. I have grown up with Internet Explorer from Microsoft and then moved on to Safari from Apple and Firefox from Mozilla. Opera was something new. Once I downloaded it, everything worked fine ... although I reverted back to Safari and Firefox when I got home.

The pie-chart above shows the different browsers readers use when accessing this blog. There is more out there than I had realized, and Internet users in a local community can quickly tell you what works in their area.

So, when traveling to new places, pack an open mind and download a few extra browsers just in case. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

La Posta Vecchia

In Ladispoli on the Tyrrhenean Sea lies one of the world's loveliest small hotels:  La Posta Vecchia. It is 44 km northwest of Rome's Termini train station, and with good traffic conditions only 25 minutes from Rome’s International Leonardo Da Vinci airport and 20 minutes from one of Italy’s major cruise ship ports -- Civitavecchia.

The hotel, which looks like a perfect and symmetrical villa, is inviting from its open gate
to it's comfortable public spaces ...

and airy halls,
which had some of the nicest wall sconces ...
I want these for my next house!
We were taking a cruise with a group of people interested in history and art.  Before going to our ship in Civitavecchia, we stopped at La Posta Vecchia for a lecture, 
and a delicious lunch, which included perfect roast chicken and ended with a dessert of pineapple carpaccio.

While I have not stayed at this hotel, after experiencing its ambiance, public rooms and gardens, it is high on my list for a real visit. Given its proximity to Rome, it makes for a nice alternative home base.

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