Booking it in Europe

It all started here…in Barcelona…

Yep, we, hubby and I, found this statue while strolling the busy streets of Barcelona. What a tribute to reading and a book fair was going on but I think it was on going because when we returned a week later, the little shops lining the street were still there and open. Couldn’t buy anything because it was all in Spanish.

Then it was off to Westminster College to the Historical Novel Conference where writers of historical novel gather every other year. The other year is in the US.

It was a wonderful conference to meet new friends and learn new things as that Europe is glutted with Ancient Roman novels while the US is not which makes one wonder why? There are lots of people who want to read about ancient Rome here. What’s the deal? I’m working on this. my book Vows of Revenge is out at Amazon (JF Ridgley) if you are interested in the Amalfi Coast, pirates, godfathers and forbidden love set in 295B.C. It’s great even if I say so myself.

Then back to Barcelona to meet up with our arriving kids to go on a cruise of the Med.

Jade and Leonidus

My son and I love the Spartans and were thrilled to actually stand on the birthplace of democracy…where the 300 Spartans held off the Persians long enough for Greece to create a republic state. It was a lot different from the movie. But wow. Shocking thing was it was one place where few tourists gather. That is unfortunate.

The final stand of the 300

This was the hill where the last of the 300 held ground.  So beautiful. So remarkable. So real. If you haven’t read Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. You are really missing a great book.

Then it was off to Italy…and of course Roma.

The Flavian Amphitheater or Collesium

He who hides behind camera does not enter picture

Jess, my daughter, wanted to see the Vatican. So off we went. Jade thought it just another church but we barely got him out of the place. So magnificent and beautiful

It got to be the tour guide in Herculaneum which I’m pleased to say has really been worked on since the last visit.

Ahh… me, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius

Yep, this is the setting of my next book Threatened Loyalties coming out at the end of the year.  What is amazing alone is standing on the shelf of volcanic vomit and taking this picture. If you don’t know the history here, you will miss it and miss the real tragedy here.

And then Pompeii. Yes. I do have another book set here too but Pompeii is also in Vows of Revenge. Especially the brothel.

This way to the Brothel.
A street sign

Seriously, this is a street sign to point visitors to the brothel. It was something I would have never noticed or guessed. Fortunately, the guide pointed them out. Yep. More than one lined the way.

Rain keeps falling on
Pompeii’s forum. Only the guide had protection.

We caught Pompeii in the rain. It was fun but slippery.  In the distance is the Temple to Jupiter and those are the real limestone slabs buried by Vesuvius.

One bad day at the office
A victim of Vesuvius’s wrath. Notice the skull bone and teeth

They poured plaster into the remains buried in the ash that covered Pompeii only to find the true horror that buried this city.  This entire town is unbelievable.  One can not do it in one day. But we did our best.

Ciao from the bunch and Gio too.

I’m homesick. I wanna go back. It was too much fun. Never a bad bottle of wine. Never a bad meal. And Gio…has to be my next hero in my story. hummmm. I think I have a perfect role for him.

This was a chance of a life time. I wish you such ventures too.

As all Romans say with such a grand smile. Ciao! Ciao!


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