Friday, June 1, 2012

Work or Play?

What do you call two weeks abroad, work or play? My daughter had a conference in London and one in Portugal and invited me to go along and play while she worked. My husband, the wonderfully supportive guy that he is, said by all means go. So I did.
We arrived in London after a ten hour flight. I've never flown business class international...I could never afford it. (Shelley used her points to upgrade us) I love those seats that fold down into a bed....though I wondered which would overcome me first: my claustrophobia or sleep. But I read Sian's book till I finished it, then cocooned into the bed and actually slept pretty well, at least until they woke us for breakfast at 4 am.
While Shelley attended her conference, I scoped out the places my characters will go and planned what they will do while in London. Don't know If they are going to make it out to Leeds Castle, but I think they must go to Canterbury Cathedral. Loved it! Wish Imcould worked in a visit to Anna!
Our time was too short in London, though I'm not sure I could have survived walking any more. I did 13 plus miles that day. Loved the little cafes in the crypts at St. Martin's in the Field and St. Paul's.
We flew to Porto, Portugal om Saturday and though it is only a couple of hours flight, the trip took eight hours...two hours to the airport, two hours there waiting for the delayed flight, two hour flight and almost two hours from plane to our hotel. Traveling with my much traveled daughter is sheer pleasure. I just follow her lead and she takes care of everything. No stress. No problem.
Our hotel faces the main square in Porto and is incredible. I asked them to please unlock the French doors onto the balcony, and after I signed a release, we can now enjoy the hustle and bustle of the square below us.
I printed the list of the ten best things to see and do in Porto, and the ten things you should not miss. I've managed to do all but a couple. Two favorites besides the incredible cathedrals were the J.K.Rowling connections. Tradition has it when she came to Portugal to be with her husband/boy friend (Need to research source said one, the other said the other) that she wrote part of Harry Potter in the Majestic Cafe...a beautiful, elegant, upscale cafe/restaurant. We went there last night for dessert...split an order of scones and cream and a sliver of cheesecake. Delightful. Of course my characters will visit there and enjoy the ambiance and maybe a little mystery as well.
I sent you the pictures of the book store that she patterned the library after in Harry Potter. I can't say enough about that amazing place. So I've walked up and down hills and taken bus tours and eaten at wonderful little cafes where cute waiters love to talk to my daughter in Spanish..almost all of them speak at least three languages! I've plotted and planned and taken thousands of pictures and walked a minimum of ten miles a day...usually fifteen. Unfortunately, we eat late when she gets out of conference so I'm not losing a single ounce with all that walking!
She finished her conference today. Tomorrow and Saturday we are taking day tours out of Porto, then flying to Madrid on Sunday to catch our plane back to reality. But for a little while I lived the carefree life of the international traveler and I have a million stories to tell in the sequel to Too Many Ghosts. Now I just to get home and write them.

Posted for Lynn Gardner

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