Before Ever After: A Novel Pre-Order

Friday Field Trip: What NOT to See in Europe

Hi, campers!  I hope you brought your passports because we’ll be taking a ride through Europe on this trip. I’m sure that you’ve come across lists of all the great things you need to see and do while you’re there, so I thought it would be fun if our itinerary covered the top five things you WON’T see. Confused? Great! It will make the adventure more fun ;-) Buckle up!


Père Lachaise Cemetery , Paris, France

credit: Bopet Gillego

What you’ll see: hauntingly beautiful tombs of the who’s who in Paris – James Morrison included.

What you won’t: the survivors of France’s Bloody Week who lived like animals among the graves by day and scavenged through the city by night.


“Schlaf im Stroh”

(“Sleep in Straw” – Swiss farmhouse accommodation experience), Switzerland

credit: Cecilia Beltran

What you’ll see: straw. Lots of it. And the majestic Alps if you look out the barn window.

What you won’t: Switzerland’s top export in the middle ages – mercenaries. The country’s richer neighbors needed soldiers to fight their wars, Swiss farmers needed to put food on the table. (The colorful uniform of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard is designed after the patchwork uniforms their predecessors made from the spoils of war.)


Ljubljanica, Slovenia

credit: Cecilia Beltran

What you’ll see: a fairytale castle, charming cobbled streets, rows of red tiled roofs and a small romantic river that runs through the Old Town district.

What you won’t: the surprisingly vast trove of ancient artifacts – from Stone Age to Renaissance – that can be found in certain parts of the river, making it a treasure hunter’s dream.


Torcello Island, Venice, Italy

credit: Wikipedia

What you’ll see: exquisite Byzantine mosaic of The Last Judgment in the Santa Maria Assunta Basilica

What you won’t: the barbarian hordes that sent the Romans fleeing to the Venetian lagoon. Torcello was their first sanctuary. At its peak, twenty thousand people lived on the island. Today, less than twenty people call it home.


Herculaneum Excavation Site, Naples, Italy

credit: Wikipedia

What you’ll see: uncannily intact Roman town, complete with villas, terraces, and boathouses

What you won’t: the devastating 79AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that entombed the town – and preserved it.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s tour, campers! For those who haven’t seen the virtual tour of Before Ever After, I suggest you keep your seat belts fastened as we take this slight detour… ;-)

See you next week!

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

39 Responses to “Friday Field Trip: What NOT to See in Europe”

  1. Awesome post with a twist Samantha, very creative! I enjoyed the tour a lot.

  2. “Confused? Great!” — I love it, Sam. I don’t get to travel nearly as often as I’d like. But, thanks to your words and photos I see a lot more than I used to. :)

  3. Jessica Bell says:

    What an interesting way to approach this. Great idea. And wow, Ljubljanica, Slovenia looks fascinating. I might have to see how far I am from there (yeah, I’m bad at geography :o )

  4. DEZMOND says:

    oooh, this was interesting. And Slovenia was once a part of my old country!

  5. Diane says:

    Great pictures and I would be happy to go to Europe and see anything at all. Wow, so much fun. :O)

  6. CM Villani says:

    I bet it would be really fun to go on a European tour with you. :D

  7. Your post made me think of all the lost lands of the past. I love how you pointed out what lies beneath.

  8. Katie says:

    Incredible! These pictures and the stories behind them are extraordinary. But my favorite part of this post? The virtual tour. I hadn’t seen it, and it gave me chills. The excerpts from the book are amazing. Your words are as descriptive as the pictures themselves.

  9. kat owens says:

    beautiful sites, and great insights!

  10. And “Bon Voyage” with the book too, Sam – not long now!

  11. What a wonderful tour! One of the best I’ve experienced :)

  12. Scrollwork says:

    Let me on that river in Slovenia that has artifacts!

  13. And I thought I was only going for a walk and a moive with my tweenager!! Thanks for adding a little spice and history to my day!!! Always a pleasure to visit you!!

  14. Hurray for Herculaneum–I almost always find it’s overlooked compared to the number of times Pompeii is mentioned!

    Great post!

    Also, I awarded you over at my blog. :)

  15. Sophia Chang says:

    I’m loving all these videos for your book Sam! And thank you for your sweet comment on my photoshoot post :)

  16. Bella says:

    Sam, I love the new blog! The layout and tour are just beautiful! Great post that took us on a European tour of very interesting places!

  17. I love stuff like this, how interesting! Great tour, it’s always fun to travel with you. :D

  18. tanya reimer says:

    I never seen the bus so shiny.
    Great tour, Samantha.

  19. I’ve never been to Europe! I’m dying to go… hopefully one day. Thanks for these tidbits – so fascinating!

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