Hey-o, it is Tuesday again and time for another TTT, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is an extra cool one for me because it involves travel and I LOVE to travel. The actual topic is "Ten Bookish Settings I'd Love to Visit" but since my reads are non-fiction, I'll actually get to visit the places I read about. Some of this can be considered part of my itinerary for when my daughter is old enough to appreciate and understand the importance of these beautiful places.
Probably a no-brainer, if you know me at all. At Fontevraud Eleanor of Aquitaine was laid to rest, along with Henry II and Richard I. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about the day I will set foot into the place Eleanor called home in her final years. I'll cry, and it will be amazing. This is one of the few places left connected to Eleanor, and I plan to see as many of them as possible. It makes me heart hurt to think of all the history that has been lost over the centuries in the name of 'progress'.
Today the palace is a government building, though the same could be said for it functioning as such in its prime. The palace at Poitiers is one of the two most likely places where Eleanor of Aquitaine was born, and/or spent much of her childhood. It was the seat of power for the counts of Poitiers (and dukes of Aquitaine). The original palace on this site was destroyed by a fire in the 1018. It was rebuilt and through the 12th century remained an important palace. During Eleanor's estrangement from Henry, it is believed that she held her own court there, though not the 'Courts of Love' that have been romanticized by earlier historians.
Everyone else can see the Mona Lisa. I have eyes for one thing, and one thing only: the only known possession of Eleanor's to have survived. Known as the Eleanor crystal vase, it came into her possession either from her grandfather or father. She gifted it to her first husband, Louis VII. In time he then gifted it to Abbot Suger, who added mounting and a plaque.
A journey of this magnitude would not be complete without a visit to the final resting place of William Marshal, pretty much the most bad-ass knight in history. His life story is remarkable, even if only half of it were to be true.
There are so many amazing places in London alone that I must see. The Tower is absolutely the first stop though, right off the plane. I'll make time for Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, all the places associated with my fave and least fave Plantagenets and Tudors, and all the other places Joey made Chandler go while they were in London for Ross and Emily's wedding. I just hope I won't need to go into the map.
No, seriously. I love this country. In 2009 I surprised my mom with a trip to Scotland as her Mother's Day gift. I planned the trip for that November, so we would be there around her birthday (and see Wicked in London the night of her actual birthday). It was my mom's dream vacation, and became a place I fell in love with. The morning we arrived, we dropped our bags at our adorable guest house, The Ben Doran (I won't stay anywhere else, this place was wonderful. Carol was lovely, and assisted in any way she could.) and headed for the Royal Mile. The minute we stepped off the bus, onto the Mile, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. Edinburgh is where I belong. We did a lot of the tourist things and I am looking forward to a return trip where we can wander the city aimlessly and seek out the lesser-known spots - though, you can not beat the view from Edinburgh Castle.
While I love Edinburgh dearly, Stirling Castle is my most favorite of all the castles I have been to so far. The views from the castle are breathtaking, and I've a special place in my heart for Mary, Queen of Scots. There was a bit of restoration work going on when we visited, so I am anxious to go back and see it now, as it was where Mary was crowned. I also look forward to see Linlithgow, where Mary was born and Fotheringhay (in England) where she was unjustly executed by order of her jealous cousin. There are so many castles in general that I would love to see, and I am partial to the beauty and sadness of ruins. Ireland has some great castles as well, and I think Blarney is my favorite. Basically, #ALLTHECASTLES is my goal.
I'm not Catholic, but I do love Pope Francis. He's the pope the world needs, but doesn't deserve.
Please allow me to end on a serious note. As horrific and traumatic as a visit to this notorious camp might be, it is something we owe the millions of victims. We owe it to them to keep these memories alive, to continue educating future generations, so that atrocities such as these never happen again. In 8th grade our class trip was to Washington D.C. We visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and I bawled my eyes out for most of the tour. When we came to the train car, and we had to pass through it to continue the tour, I could not move. I cried and cried, and my friend Martha had to push me through, while also guiding me because I could not see on account of all the tears. After seeing the display of the hundreds of pairs of shoes confiscated from prisoners on their arrival, I was done. I knew from that moment on, at age 14, I would do whatever I could to be part of that education. I would do whatever I could by myself or through various organizations, to ensure that this does not happen again. Maintaining these camps is crucial. The programs that bring people to view these camps and see firsthand the horrors of life inside must never stop. We can not let the Holocaust-deniers ever gain a solid foothold. This is our duty.
Please take a moment and let me know what you think of my choices. Feel free to leave a link to your blog so I can do the same.