Subject: Re: Planning holidays around famous people
Dear Lucy and Ziners,

I certainly have planned trips around authors and artists that I love. Being mad for the PreRaphealite painters, I have journeyed to Broadway, in the Cotswolds, and amazingly bought a lovely drawing from a bin on the street for 10 pounds. Lord Leighton's house in Kensington, London is a worthy destination if you like this kind of art. Wallpapers and tiles by Morris, as well as paintings by Leighton and other PreRaphealites.

I would go far to see Victorian paintings and I have traveled to Washington DC and New York for shows of Victorian painting. Sadly, a museum in Toronto had to close for repairs when we wanted to see a similar show there.

In Italy, any place that is associated with S. Francesco is good for me, as are all churches devoted to Mary (in any country). San Francesco and Santa Chiara draw me to Assisi and the surrounding areas. I love S. F. We've also had Bernini days in Rome; Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Fra Lippi days in Florence and/or Rome; and Tintoretto and Titian days in Venice.

In England, we have gone on trips that concentrated on Thomas Hardy's Wessex and tried to retrace the steps of Jane Austen in Bath, Chawton, Winchester, Lyme Regis, and London. We have also spent time in Winchester and Salisbury, searching for the sites of Trollope's Barchester Chronicles. (That was very much fun, and very rewarding).

Dickens was the focus of my first trips to London, and I actually cried when I first stood in the middle of Legal London, overwhelmed by the myriad associations with nearly all of his works. We've also done a little of Notting Hill in honor of Martin Amis, and Highgate Cemetery for my beloved George Eliot and Karl Marx. More bits of London in honor of George Orwell. As a girl, I couldn't wait to get to Cornwall after reading Daphne DuMaurier, and I still love to go to Cornwall now.

Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome, as well as New York and Boston for Henry James. Edith Wharton for New York and the Hudson Valley.

Steinbeck for the Monterey Peninsula and Central California, and of course, my favorite Richard Brautigan for San Francisco, Big Sur, and the Pacific Northwest. The latter area for Lynda Barry. It was very exciting to go to City Lights in San Francisco and know that Lawrence Ferlinghetti could have been there, even though he wasn't. I left with a huge stack of books.

So, most of my Famous People Holidays are about authors and artists, and some are about the spiritual leaders of the area. Next, in honor of a dear friend, I'm going to explore bits of the Piero della Francesca Trail in Tuscany. I've just ordered books from the library to help me.

Also, since I love Roddy Doyle so much, I think I must go to Dublin.

I just remembered: bands! The Kinks, The Clash, The Jam, The Housemartins, The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello: London! Waterloo Sunset! Tube Station at Midnight! London Calling! Take me off of this English Roundabout! I Don't Want to go to Chelsea! Anarchy in the UK!

These are some of my favorite songs, and I am very disappointed that no traces of the rock, punk and new wave days exist for me in modern London. I went looking for a Jam t-shirt in London about 5 years ago, and people kept offering me Pearl Jam t-shirts. No, I cried!

I must stop, because I just realized that all my holidays have something to do with famous people. If it wasn't for famous people, I might not go anywhere...

Ciao, Debbie in Pittsburgh