Anne here, and I'm just back from my travels. I went first to Brisbane (capital city of the state of Queensland) for the Romance Writers of Australia conference, and then to New Zealand for the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference but I'm blogging today about neither of those events (though I will, once I've unpacked my case and sorted out my thoughts.)   BlueDoor

Today it's all about Hobbiton, the "real live" movie set used in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

I first started to read Tolkien when I was fifteen, but never finished The Hobbit. And never read the rest. I tried again as an adult, but again, never finished. I also started to watch The Hobbit on a plane, and again, didn't finish it. So I was definitely the odd person out on the little tour I did. (I had to confess that what drew me to make the tour was my love of little houses. Yes, a deeply frivolous wench, I'm afraid. The tour guide thought so, too.) 

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Adventures in Middle Earth

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

I've already written about my visit to Melbourne,where I spoke at the annual conference of the Romance Writers of Australia.  The day after that conference ended, it was off to New Zealand for the conference of the Romance Writers of New Zealand.  

This is my third visit Down Under, and I firmly believe that one shouldn't fly that far without seeing both countries.  As former British colonies that are a long way from the rest of the world, Australia and New Zealand have much in common.  New Zealand MapBut they are also very different, and beautiful in very different ways.  Australia is vast and ancient and has a lot of desert, while New Zealand is green and lush and–Middle Earth-ish.  

Before traveling Down Under for our third visit, we watched the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy again, partly because it's a great story with great characters, but also to feast our eyes on the stunning scenery, from the green fields of Hobbiton to the rolling grasslands of Rohan and the dramatic snowy peaks that must be conquered on the route to Mordor.  Splendid!

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