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Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Budapest, Hungary

Explore This! Budapest, Hungary

Today, I have to give a big thanks to Stella for recommending Budapest, Hungary as an awesome city to feature. Not only is it Stella’s home town but also the setting for novels by Gena Showalter, and has been featured by Kristan Higgins and Gabi Stevens. I am ashamed to admit that I really had no idea about Budapest, its history or its beauty.

Researching, I’ve discovered that the “first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts…before 1 AD”. This would mean there could be a very slim chance I’m related to Stella, though no doubt many people have moved around since then, lol.  Regardless, here are some lovely images of a city that is obviously rich …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! The Auvergne Region, France

Explore This! The Auvergne Region, France

 This week we’re heading back to Europe, to the Auvergne Region of France. I was reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which inspired me to check out this area. Harkness’ vampire character, Matthew Clairmont (aka de Clermont), had his home base in a castle nestled somewhere in Auvergne. On further research, Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat also hailed from here, being born the “son of the marquis d’Auvergne”. Taking a look at the pictures, it is easy to understand the ancient nature of this part of France which lends a certain authenticity as an origin or home for vampires.

To me, this looks like a place that stands outside of time and still retains much of its natural beauty. Let’s start our tour:

Ancient brick work surround by a lush garden is reminiscent of a scene in …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Key West, Florida

Explore This! Key West, Florida

Today, we’re heading south, all the way down to the end of the US 1 highway. Key West has many claims to fame, including being the end of that particular highway(or is it the beginning?). It is the southernmost point in the (continental) US as well as being the closest point to Cuba. It’s also only one of two destinations that I’ve posted about, so far, that I have visited. To that end, Key West has this remarkable spot where you can look out over the water and see where the Gulf of Mexico meets with the Atlantic Ocean…just stunning!

I drew my inspiration for this post as I read Meg Cabot’s lastest book, Abandon. Meg herself lives in Key West and named her fictional island to resemble what has been described as the original name, Cayo …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Scotland: Land of the Bravehearted (and home of the kilt-clad men)

Explore This! Scotland: Land of the Bravehearted (and home of the kilt-clad men)

Today’s virtual travels take us to place I consider my home away from home. While not actually born in Scotland, I did spend some of my early years there and constantly long to go back. But, I will admit that my inspiration to post this comes from my fellow BookLover, JoJo and her month of Highlanders. Seriously, is there anything better than a man in a kilt?

Anyway, here are just a few of the many wonderful sites that you’ll see on a tour of Scotland (Lowland and Highland), most of which I have personally visited and would gladly do so again!

The majestic Ben Nevis, highest mountain in the UK.

The Brig O’Doon, famed by Robert Burns’ Tam O’Shanter poem.

Burns’ …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This!: New Jersey

Explore This!: New Jersey

Today we are heading States side, to visit New Jersey in all its mutli-facted character. I’ve had a few books cross my path recently that take place in Jersey, so I thought it would be neat to take a look at the landscape. “What books?” you might ask…well, I have recently given Holly Black’s Red Glove rave reviews and of course, Snooki’s A Shore Thing is out there on the shelves too.So here’s a state wide look at some of the sights you might find on a trip to New York’s neighbour.

From pretty ocean views… sporting arenas, New Jersey really goes to extremes.

I get the sense of hustle bustle, when it comes to the boardwalks,
but there are obviously …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Pondicherry, India

Explore This! Pondicherry, India

I’ve just finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel for my final first year English course at university. I was curious about the originating point in the main character (Pi’s) life…Pondicherry, India. Though most of his tale is told in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as a castaway, he retells, with such fond memories, his early life in this place I’d never heard of until now.

Pondicherry sits on the Bay of Bengal, and if you’ve read Martel’s book,
you’ll understand a bit more about the corrollation.

You can just feel the heat emanating from this image…

It is these brightly coloured buildings that enhance the contrast for me
between India and North American living…

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! La Jolla (San Diego, California)

Explore This! La Jolla (San Diego, California)

Today, we are heading west and getting ready to “Hang Ten”. And this is kind of exciting for me because, before today, I had never heard of La Jolla. So, why am I featuring it? Well, the inspiration for today’s locale comes from Susi Sunshine; she recommended La Jolla to me as it was the setting for Jill Sorenson’s book, Crash Into Me. With elements in the book including famous surfers, romance, and murder, it looks like this is the perfect place for it all to happen.

La Jolla, nicknamed Jewel City, is in the northwestern part of San Diego. It is called “affluent” and one look at these pics will reinforce its nickname and its desirability to the rich and famous.

A hotel in the city.

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Saint Petersburg, Russia

Explore This! Saint Petersburg, Russia

Today, our travels take us to a place that has always fascinated me. Thanks to Joy Preble’s new novel, Haunted, the second book in her Dreaming Anastasia series, I was inspired to revisit Russia during the time of Tsar Nicholas II. Though the Joy’s novel takes place in modern times and in New York, the story of the Tsar and his doomed family is one that is very sad and still fairly recent in history.With elements like the suspicious character of Rasputin, the illness of the young son, the deep affections of the Tsar and Tsarina, and of course, the mystery surrounding Anastasia, it has all the workings of an amazing work of fiction.

But, the story of the Romanovs and their ultimate tragedy is all too real. …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Meiringen, Switzerland

Explore This! Meiringen, Switzerland

Today, our world tour takes us to Meiringen, Switzerland. I must admit, before looking into this area, I had never even heard of Meiringen!

When I think Switzerland,  I think Geneva, mountains, skiing and just a general sense of peace. What I’ve never associated with it though is Sherlock Holmes! But, it is the famous detective that has brought me to this scenic destination, which, of course, I had to share with you.

Meiringen is the home of an apparently fantastic Sherlock Holmes museum, complete with items from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own study and a re-enacted set up of Holmes’ environ (this is according to Graham Moore, author of The Sherlockian.)

A statue of Holmes, truly a larger than life figure in popular fiction for over a …

Post Thumbnail of Explore This! Bozeman, Montana

Explore This! Bozeman, Montana

I’ve just finished reading Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann. The story takes place in Cryer’s Cross, Montana. My cursory Google check shows me that this is a fictional town, so I’ve decided our tour this week will be of Bozeman, Montana, another, larger, town mentioned in the book.

First, let me say, after reading the book, I wouldn’t be putting Cryer’s Cross on my wish list anyway, with all the disappearances and creepy goings-on there so, thankfully it is ficticious. Bozeman is, happily, not afflicted by Lisa McMann’s imagination making it a much more attractive place to visit. The book also mentions the remoteness of the area and the lack of cell phone accessibility or fast food restaurants. My big question for all of you out there: Could you give up technology and certain modern conveniences to live in a beautiful area …

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