Here’s my latest post on Austen Authors:
My husband works for Boeing and he occasionally travels with his job, jetting off to exotic vacation destinations like Glasgow Montana, Roswell New Mexico, and Fairbanks Alaska in the dead of winter. Needless to say, I’ve never felt the desire to accompany him on these business trips. But a few years ago, he casually dropped the news that he was being sent to Venice, Italy, for a couple of weeks, and asked if I wanted to go.
When I finally finished squealing with delight and jumping up and down, I ran to find my passport, arranged for a sub at work, and began making reservations. Boeing had taken care of my husband’s travel arrangements, but I was on my own. The first thing I discovered was that there are no direct flights from Seattle to Venice. I would have to stop over, or at least change planes somewhere – Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, or London.
London? Hmm. That’s when the wheels started turning.
I was at the time working on my second Jane-Austen-inspired novel, For Myself Alone, which is set partially in Bath. I’d gleaned what I could about the town from Austen’s writings and other sources, but I couldn’t help thinking how fantastic it would be to visit the place in person. If I had to pass through London anyway, why not stay a day or two and hop on an excursion to Bath? An inspired idea! So, I booked two nights at a London hotel and started hunting for a tour to Bath.
In hindsight, it probably would have been smarter to consult a train schedule. But, since I’m not a seasoned international traveler, I was still hoping to avoid the scary prospect of navigating public transportation on my own in a foreign country. So I signed on to the only bus tour I could find going to Bath, with the bonus that it made stops at Hampton Court Palace and Stonehenge on the way. The big plus was that it was supposed to pick me up at my hotel. Nothing could be simpler or more convenient. Right?
As you might have guessed, my carefully laid plans didn’t work out exactly as I had envisioned… (Please continue reading about my adventure here, at Austen Authors)
They arrived at Bath. Catherine was all eager delight – her eyes were here, there, everywhere as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already. (Northanger Abbey, chapter 2)