East Meets West

Hagia Sophia Andrea here. As you may have noticed, some of the Wenches have recently been gallivanting around the globe, as the world begins to open up to exploration. I’m adding to the exotic travelogue, as I’ve just returned from an amazing journey through the ancient treasures of the Mediterranean, starting in Istanbul and ending in Athens.

Istanbul has always been at the top of of my To-Do List, as its exotic allure of East meets West, and its place as  such a special crossroads of history have always fascinated me. So I’m going to talk a little bit about the city, and my whirlwind impressions, though that won’t begin to do justice to the rich tapestry of its past and present.

One of the pleasures about taking a cruise on a Viking ship (the modern-day cruise line, NOT the longboat of one of Pia's fabulous heroes!) are the resident historians, who give evening talks on Astrolabeach destination. One of the basic points our professor made was that the city’s has three distinct “personalities,” reflected in its three different names throughout history. Though the site has been inhabited since Neolithic times, the first great city was said to be founded by by a Greek king named Byzas around 660 BC and became known as Byzantium. (Its acropolis was on the site of today’s Topkapi Palace. (Left: Hagia Sophia; Right: Islamic astrolabe from the Museum of Islamic Arts.)


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Turkish Delight!

IMG_0877Turkish Delight

By Mary Jo

In April and May of this year, we took a marvelous cruise from Italy to Istanbul.  I've written three blogs already:

The first was our time in Northern Italy, staying at a grand hotel on the legendary Lake IMG_0588Maggiore, and enjoying the all time best, warm-hearted wine tasting:


Next was cruising down the Eastern Adriatic and visiting several amazingly beautiful and hospitable countries. (That's Kotor, Montenegro on the right.)

https://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2022/05/adriatic-shores.html  IMG_0665

Next was Greece, mother of so much Western European culture, where we saw several splendid islands as well as notable mainland sites:



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Travelling with Vikings

Christina here. Next week sees the publication of the second book in my Viking series – The Runes of Destiny. It is the story of Linnea, a twenty-first century woman who ends up travelling back in time to the Viking age. Here’s a short blurb:-

TROD Medium“When helping out at an archaeological dig, Linnea uncovers an exquisite brooch, but blacks out after reading the runic inscription. She wakes up surrounded by men in Viking costume, who seem to take re-enactment very seriously. Lost and confused, she finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking warrior who claims her as his thrall and takes her on a journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Setting sail, she confronts the unthinkable: she has travelled back to the 9th century. Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there’s a connection forming with Hrafn. Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here …”

This story was inspire3d by the incredible Viking travels I’d read about. Despite their reputation as ferocious marauders, there was much to admire about the Vikings, and the one thing I am in total awe of is their fearless exploration of the world around them. It didn’t happen overnight, of course, and Scandinavian people had been travelling in all directions for decades (perhaps centuries) before the era we call the Viking age. However, the refinement of their sleek, clinker-built ships allowed them to go further and faster than ever before because of the invention of the keel. It gave the ships a stability they’d lacked and allowed them to take to the high seas. The fact that the vessels were shallow with a fairly flat bottom also made it easy for them to land on any beach and to travel far along most rivers without getting stuck.

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Pack Your Bags!

here, in a traveling state of mind. That's because Pat, Mary Jo and I have been gallivanting around the British Isles after doing the RNA Conference in Leeds, England with Nicola. Since we're on the fly, and summer (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) is the quintessential time for for packing your bags and heading off hither and yon, we thought it would be fun to talk about dream vacations. Where to the Wenches yearn to go? Read on!

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