Do you follow the royals? Even if you do, you probably wouldn't admit this publicly, would you? If you secretly wonder where they live and what their homes look like, guest editor Amber Lamboo takes you on a trip to five countries with royal households (see the story below). And she won't even tell anyone you're following along! Amber leaves us this month and this is her last issue as guest editor - thanks so much Amber, it's been wonderful working with you!
Now... have you ever met a royal? I admit I not only met but flew with HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Elizabeth's husband). I was working for the World Wildlife Fund at the time and he was the organization's International President. I flew on his plane, and actually visited Buckingham Palace through the side door but that's a story for another time. One thing I will say: his plane was small and not the latest model and definitely not luxurious. When I looked around and queried his bodyguard (who was sitting next to me), he said: "Don't worry. This is the best-maintained aircraft on the planet." And so I just sat back and relaxed.
I hope you enjoyed last month's chocolate travel extravaganza - I was in such a hurry to get it to you that I sent it off without giving due credit to guest editor Kaleena Quarles, who deliciously put that issue (and the initial chocolate travel issue) together. Thank you Kaleena!
A final word about this newsletter... Last month, I announced there would be fantastic changes to this newsletter. The new and improved ezine will be released in early November so please watch for my announcements - because you will have to re-subscribe if you want to continue receiving it. A pain, I know, but it's because I want to protect your privacy and security. More about this soon!
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Then you really NEED Women on the Road: the essential guide for baby boomer travel! This book is made for you.
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has been actively putting a more modern spin on the British royal family since marrying Prince William in 2011. From shopping for her own groceries to the recent family photograph taken by Catherine’s father in the Middleton’s backyard, Catherine has been presenting a down-to-earth image to the public and making the British royals more relatable.
Royal enthusiasts spending time in London should be sure to check out Buckingham Palace, home and official workplace of Queen Elizabeth II. Also of interest is Kensington Palace, once the official residence of Princess Diana and the future home of William and Catherine. It is currently undergoing renovations. Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church of the royal family since 1066 and was also the site of William and Catherine’s wedding in 2011. Those traveling further afield should be sure to make their way to the University of St. Andrews and the surrounding town, where William and Catherine first met.
The family of Ahmed Bin Khalifa has ruled the Kingdom of Bahrain, in the Arabian Gulf near Saudi Arabia, since 1783. The current Head of State is His Royal Highness King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa. His wife, Her Royal Highness Queen Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, is head of the Supreme Council for Women in Bahrain, which aims to empower Bahraini women and to elevate their quality of life. She is also the Chief patron of the Society for Women and Children in Bahrain.
There are a number of palaces in Bahrain, seen only by presidents or foreign dignitaries. Tourists can, however, get a glimpse of Manama’s Al-Qudaibiya Palace, which is visible through a set of iron gates. It is also possible to tour two former royal residences, which are less opulent than the current royal palaces but give you an idea of royal life in Bahrain. These are the Beit Shaikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa house in Muharraq City, and the Beit Al Jasra in Al-Jasra, on Bahrain’s west coast. Here's more about tourism in Bahrain.
Jordan – Queen Rania
The head of the monarchy in Jordan is King Abdullah II. His wife, Queen Rania al Abdullah is an extremely modern royal, making use of social media, including podcasts, to promote Jordan tourism and to advocate for global education initiatives. She established the Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans in 2006 to allow orphaned children living in SOS Villages to continue their education.
King Abdullah II’s website includes an overview of the royal palaces in the country. Al-Maquar is the palace complex in Amman, including the Raghadan Palace, which is still the location of important receptions and the offices of the King and Queen. The Throne Room hosts ceremonies with visiting Heads of State. Also of interest is Zahran Palace in West Amman, which was the location of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania’s wedding. The garden also hosts Jordan’s Independence Day celebrations. Want to know more and have a Pinterest account? You'll find everything about Jordan's royal family right here.
Monaco – Charlene, Princess of Monaco
Charlene, Princess of Monaco, is the wife of Albert II, Prince of Monaco. Born in Zimbabwe, Charlene is a former Olympic swimmer and is still quite involved in the Olympic community as a Special Olympics ambassador. She is also involved in fundraising for the Princess Grace Foundation and is a patron of the Giving Organisation Trust, a group of South African charities.
Charlene and Albert II were married in a civil ceremony on July 1, 2011, followed by a nuptial mass on July 2, 2011. Both ceremonies took place at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. It is possible to visit the State Rooms, as well as the museums on site. You can also visit the Opera de Monte-Carlo, where the wedding dinner reception took place. While in Monaco, be sure to take some time and shop like a royal at the Golden Circle, to rub shoulders with Europe’s high rollers. You can also do that at the Hotel de Paris and the Casino de Monte-Carlo, of course.
The Netherlands – Queen Beatrix
Despite her recent abdication of the throne to her son, Willem-Alexander, Queen Beatrix (now referred to as Princess Beatrix) remains important to the Netherlands. Beatrix has a law degree from Leiden University and an honorary doctorate.
There are numerous royal residences and buildings in the Netherlands, and while most are not open to the public, they can be seen from the street and the surrounding areas are great for exploring. Princess Beatrix lives in The Hague at Huis ten Bosch Palace, one of the Dutch royal family's three official residences. It is not open to the public, but it can be seen from the street. Noordeinde Palace is also in The Hague and is the working palace of King Willem-Alexander. Drakensteyn Castle is the private property of Princess Beatrix and is located near the town of Lage Vuursche. Villa Eikenhorst is the home of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima and is located in Wassenaar. It has beautiful forested surroundings to walk through and explore. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is where the King occasionally receives important guests. Located in Dam Square, it is open for tours, but reservations are recommended.
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Women on the Road Recommends
How to Become a Housesitter and See the World
by Pete and Dalene Heck
Fellow bloggers Pete and Dalene have put together the ultimate housesitting resource called How to Become a Housesitter and See the World. And they're experts because they've been paying their way on the road by housesitting for years. Now, they're sharing everything they know with you! So if you've ever wanted to travel and live in the lap of luxury while you do it, you have to read this.
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The Lost Girls
by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner
This might seem like high praise, but The Lost Girls is one of the best travel books I’ve read in a long time. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve dreamt of hiking the Inca Trail or taking a break from real life to explore the world, but this book made me feel like I was on a round-the-world journey with these wonderful women, a friend along for the ride. Their story telling is rich and vivid, and they manage to capture all of the emotions one feels while traveling, from homesickness to culture shock. This is a great book for those who are looking for travel inspiration, or for those who just want to do some armchair traveling.
›› Amber Lamboo
I've been busy since I returned from Malaysia! Of course I had to write about its majestic capital city. You'll find this at Kuala Lumpur: Bold and Beautiful?
I got hungry one night so dug through my food photos and remembered a love affair I'd had with a certain green pepper... the Pimiento de Padron in Santiago de Compostela, where I spent a week last year sampling tapas. Finally, I wrote about it!
Closer to home, I discovered three hidden gems in central France in the Loire 42 region - bet you've never heard of it! So I decided to share these gems with you in case you're looking for a corner of France that's a bit off the beaten path. You'll probably be the first person you know to visit.
I also wrote about the surprising discoveries I made in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysia state of Sabah, for my friend Jennifer's blog. Of all the things I expected to find in Sabah, luxury was not one of them. Warning: read only if you're in the mood for beaches, spas and picture-perfect resorts.
A Voyage of Discovery in Berlin
Hungary, the Heart of Europe
Top 10 Must Sees in Vienna
Hot, Wet, Cold, Blue: Bosnia
Living on the Edge of Africa
Black Church in Brasov
Meeting the World in Lisbon's Bairro Alto
10 Inspiring Cafes Around the World
If You're VisualAstonishing Images of Earth from Space
8 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations in Asia
The Streets of London
Anatolia, Asia Minor
Postcards from Poland
Street Food in New York City
Milan, Capital of Design?
Looking for an all-female B&B in Tenerife, Spain? Near beaches and rocky desert and no mass tourism at all, yet near everything. Check it out or write directly to Marina, one of three friends who own the house.
Braving It For Bears
My friend Jennifer Dombrowski of JDombs Travels has launched an interesting project for travelers and travel lovers: a bear conservation project. Through her blog she hopes to raise $6000 for bear conservation.
Included in her effort is my own favorite charity, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, or BSBCC, in Sabah, Malaysia. Do you know about sun bears? I wrote about them on Green Global Travel, one of the leading environmental blogs. You must read this - they are the smallest bears in the world, and incredibly cute!
Kaleena Quarles takes us to the best places to visit in autumn!
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