I’ve written before about the unique ability books have to transport you anywhere and everywhere. With a good book in hand time, space and distance are not a concern. A well written book has the ability to take you places you’ve longed to visit and also places that you’ve never even thought existed. Whether these literary places actually exist or not is not of concern, in your mind you’ve been to many different places, in many different times in the past, the present and perhaps the distant future.
Even though we have travelled to many different places in our minds, with the help of a good book, sometimes it only leaves you longing for more. Sometimes you still long to experience the “real thing” and the book itself does nothing but spur on your desire to see the world.
You see, last week for my birthday one of my closest friends bought me the first volume of the Outlander series on DVD (thanks Jess!), as she understands my appreciation for a man with a great accent. The books by Diana Gabaldon, that the series is based on, have been on my TBR list for quite some time, but as the list kept increasing I haven’t actually gotten around to reading them. After watching the first few episodes I am totally hooked, but not just on the good looks of the men in kilts and the great accents, but also the setting of the series – the Scottish Highlands.
This got me thinking about other places in the world I would love to explore with my family and I came up with a list of sorts I would like to share with you all. Some of the places on the list are inspired by books, authors and works of fiction, others are there for other reasons which I will attempt to explain.
Salzburg and Vienna, Austria
These are two places I have longed to visit since I was a little girl and first saw the movie “The Sound of Music”. Of course I loved the musical element to the movie, but I was also in awe of the beautiful locations included in this cinematic classic. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie and also the number of hours I have spent on the internet Googling the story of the real Von Trapp family, as well as the locations used in the movie. I also really would love to say, “In the morning, I’m going to Vienna,” just like Captain Von Trapp.
Scottish Highlands, Scotland
I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with Scotland in general, the history, the kilts, the accent, the Loch Ness Monster and of course the beautiful Scottish Highlands. After watching Outlander, my fascination with Scotland has only increased and I would love to be able to explore the region with my family, you can call me sassenach, I won’t take offence.
Hill Top, Cumbria UK
If you’re not familiar with Hill Top, it is the beloved place where Beatrix Potter took inspiration for many of her stories and characters. As a lover of many of the classic Beatrix Potter characters and tales, Hill Top is definitely anothere place I would love to explore in person.
4. Château d’Ussé, France
Once upon a time, a princess slept for 100 years. The Château d’Ussé provided the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s tale, now commonly known as Sleeping Beauty. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciation the fact that this picturesque castle was the inspiration for one of the most memorable fairy tales, in fact Charles Perrault is credited with laying the foundations for the development of the entire fairy tale genre.
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire UK
Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, The Twits, The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and countless other magnificent pieces of literary brilliance. Any lover of literature cannot deny the indelible mark that Roald Dahl has left on the literary world. I’ve recently began sharing some of Roald Dahl’s brilliance with my seven year old daughter and my boys love watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original film with Gene Wilder. I cannot wait to hopefully explore this wonderful museum one day and even though the webpage says the museum is aimed at 6-12 year olds, I’m pretty sure the adults would love to explore this great destination as well.
Bran Castle, Transylvania Romania
Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, Dracula, was inspired by the legends told of Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), who is said to have lived in Bran Castle. I love places that have a story to tell and Bran Castle is definitely one of those places, perhaps not the same story Bram Stoker had to tell, but a very interesting story nonetheless.
Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Copenhagen Denmark
Having grown up with many of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes and so on, visiting the childhood home of such a magnificent writer definitely had to make my list of places to see.
Like I’ve said, I love a place with a story to tell and I think Venice would have many great stories to reveal from its past. As the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello, I believe Venice would offer a wonderful world of inspiration and history which anyone could enjoy, although I have heard that it does smell a little.
Those of you who know me, would understand why the entire country of Hungary has been included on this list, in fact you might even be asking why it wasn’t first on the list. Well, perhaps I was saving the best for last or something. Hungary is a country steeped in tradition with many beautiful sites, castles and rich history, making it an ideal place of inspiration for just about any writer. In fact, as I’ve already said, Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula was inspired by the stories and legends of Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania. Transylvania at the time was actually part of Hungary. The country of Hungary has a rich and colourful history and the legends and fairytales of each region are fascinating. The legends of vampires is often said to have originated with the legends and stories of Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory (Báthory Erzsébet), more commonly known as Count and Countess Dracula, two separate people in Hungarian history, whose lives gave fuel to the legends and myths of vampires.
IAs you may have noticed, I am very much a lover of history and I’m always interested in the stories and history of a particular place or location. Some of the locations on this list are purely for ‘fan girl’ reasons and others are for reasons of inspiration, exploration and adventure. This is by no means a definitive list, but simply a short list of some of the places I would love to explore.
Now it’s over to you, what ‘bookish’ places would you love to visit?
© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.