Patricia Schultz is a charming and engaging speaker. Tonight, at the Museum of Nature here in Ottawa, she gave a presentation that highlighted the best, and sometimes, the least known treasures of Europe.
Starting with London, England, Schultz showed stunning pictures as she told personal stories of favourite places from the smallest countries (like the Vatican, Monaco, Malta) to the largest, France. “Russia,” she said, “is not in Europe, is not in Asia; it’s just Russia,” but she included it in her tour. She showed a slide of London’s parliament buildings and Big Ben taken from one of the capsules in the Millenium Wheel. We saw the amazing scenery in Scotland and the Coast Path of Wales which is a national park where you can trek all of the 870 miles of rugged coastline. We saw a castle in Ireland where you can stay overnight and there was talk about using London as a base to take day trips so you don’t have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road. Or, you can take the train from there to Paris for lunch and a bit of shopping — only 2h15m away. Italy is one of her favourite countries — a relatively small country — but it’s like an open-air museum you can walk through for free.
She added lots of interesting trivia to her talk as well. Some of the best cities to see are ones with universities — there’s always something going on. We saw wonderful slides of Spain and the Scandinavian countries. Did you know that Norway is the only one of the three that is actually mountainous? And all of them are extremely safe for tourists.
One of the best ways to see interesting places in Europe is to take a river cruise. She mentioned the Danube tour and the Rhine River tour but also a tour that goes up the Volga from Moscow to St. Petersburg (or you can come the other way round) and the capitals of some of the countries that used to be behind the iron curtain — Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland — have amazing architecture and heritage sites that are not only attractive but “teach us so much and makes us better people”.
At the end of her presentation, Ms. Schultz took questions from the gathering about other places around the world (China is amazing! she said and she went to Machu Pichu for her 50th birthday). She stressed that you can travel any time — even off season — as long as you’ve done your homework. It’s cheaper and there are no crowds. Her message — get up out of the armchair and go! Ms. Schultz graciously signed books for people at the end of the evening.
I haven’t quite decided if I’ll buy the book. I want my next trip to be to Spain and Italy and I already have several guide books that concentrate on those areas. I also can’t decide if I would want the trade paperback or the Kindle edition. A lot to think about!! Thank you, Ms. Schultz.