Finding Your Fairytale Adventure in a French Castle

Donna Wichelman Castles, Europe

I suspect many of us, at least in the Western world, grew up on fairytales. At one time or another, we imagined ourselves as the strong and courageous Cinderella whose prince came galloping in to save her from her evil stepmother and took her off to live happily ever after in his royal castle. Or perhaps you were King Arthur …

How Did Louis XIV’s Belief in the Divine Power and Authority of the Monarchy Reach into Religious Freedoms in Europe?

Donna Wichelman Europe, Uncategorized

Have you ever visited a historical site that stirred your heart and left an indelible effect on your life? Several places have done that for me, but I confess a particular sympathy toward the Waldensian Valleys of the Cottian Alps in the Savoy region between France and Italy. Today, I continue the series I began on April 4th, 2023 about …

How the Palace of Versailles Has Has Played a Key Role in History

Donna Wichelman Europe

My daughter instigated my first visit to the Palace of Versailles in the summer of 2018. She’d known about its extraordinary role in history, heard about the spectacular gardens, and seen a feature film that took place there during the time of Marie Antoinette. Since we were already going to take a family vacation to Ireland and England, it would …

How an 18th Century Sea Fortress Has Become One of Finland’s Most Popular Tourist Attractions

Donna Wichelman Europe

Winter bashed Northern Colorado this year. We’re not used to endless days of arctic cold, snow, and cloud cover. Colorado claims 300 days of sunshine a year with average January and February temperatures in the low 40s ℉ (4 ℃), and we grouse when we don’t get them. Yet there are regions like Finland, where arctic winters provide great enjoyment …

What One Remarkable Experience in Lucerne, Switzerland Taught Me

Donna Wichelman Europe

If you’ve read my travel/history blogs, you may know that I developed some insights about traveling Europe while attending an international college in Wales as a high school student. I’ve never taken the opportunity for granted since I came from a modest family. They made a great sacrifice by sending me to the United World College of the Atlantic (aka …

Flash Back Scene, A Song of Deliverance

How a Sixty-Five-Room Historic Mansion Became the First Irish National Park

Donna Wichelman Europe

If you’ve read my blogs, you know one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a writer of historical fiction for me is research, especially if I have the chance to go to the place that I’m researching. In the case of Muckross House, the historical mansion and environs became a flashback scene for my protagonist, Anna, in A Song …

Discover Where Dublin’s Literary Treasures Come to Life in Illustrious Color

Donna Wichelman Europe

A number of images come to mind when people think of Dublin, Ireland—from Guinness Ale to musical pub crawls to clam chowder to four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, and St. Patrick’s Day. Many Americans go to Ireland to discover their ancestral roots. Some people have romantic notions of rugged shorelines and pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. While these …

Have They Really Found the Prison Where Peter and Paul Were Incarcerated Two Millennia Ago?

Donna Wichelman Europe, Uncategorized

The unsuspecting tourist visiting Rome may not know that at the north end of the Forum they have just walked past one of the most revealing archaeological finds in the city discovered a little over a decade ago. Since Medieval times the Mamertine Prison, also known as the Carcere Tullianum in Biblical times, was hallowed as the prison where Christians …

When Finding Family Roots Digs Into Deeper Soil

Donna Wichelman Europe

Have you ever had a strong desire to discover your roots—I mean, where you hail from, the place where your grandparents or great-grandparents once called home? It seems a lot of us have. Ancestry.com claims more than 15 million people are currently in their network, and more than 16 million have gone through their DNA analysis. Sometimes, the results are …