Travel to Vienna with Mona

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Vienna, the capital of Austria, is known as the City of Music due to its musical legacy. Many famous classical musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Johann Strauss (father and son), Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler called it home. Vienna is also said to be the City of Dreams because it was home to the world’s first psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud.

I visited Vienna in the nineties and was impressed by the elegance of people in the streets. The picture of an older couple relaxing in a public park is forever etched in my memory. Dressed in suit and fur coat, they were sitting on a bench, their haughty dignity contrasting with the simplicity of the children playing and running around.

When I returned in 2011 and 2014, I was struck by the diversity of the population and costumes. Vienna had become more cosmopolitan and less European. But the monuments and landmarks haven’t changed and attract interest even more than in the past. Vienna has so much to offer to the tourist.

The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna is where the two houses of the Austrian Parliament conduct their sessions. The foundation stone was laid in 1874; the building was completed in 1883. 
The Austrian Parliament Building: Theophil Hansen, the architect responsible for its Greek Revival style, designed the building in a comprehensive way, aiming to have each element in harmony with all the others. 
St. Stephen Cathedral is the most important religious building in Vienna and has borne witness to many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history. With its multi-colored tile roof, it has become one of the city’s most
recognizable symbols. 
The Maria Theresien Platz is located directly at the Ringstrasse, embedded in an imperial scenery between the Museum of Natural History and the one for Art History. Directly across the Ringstrasse you can find the Hofburg Palace.
The monument of Empress Maria-Theresa
One of the Museums at the Maria Theresien Platz.
My husband and I in front of the Maria-Theresa monument
Heldenplatz is a public space in front of the Hofburg Palace. The President of Austria resides in the adjoining Hofburg wing, while the Federal Chancellery is on the adjacent Ballhausplatz. Many important actions and events took place here, most notably Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on 15 March 1938. 
The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world that has existed for 450 years and continues to cultivate classical horsemanship in the Renaissance tradition– It can also be found on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

The Spanish Riding School is dedicated to the training of Lipizzaner horses. The performances taking place in the Hofburg are also a tourist attraction.
St. Peter Church
St. Stephen Platz (plaza) with the Plague Memorial Monument
Art History Museum at Maria-Theresia Platz
Mozart
Goethe

There are so many palaces in Vienna. Some are now museums, some are still used as official sites for the government. We never had time to visit the Vienna Opera House, but we attended a fabulous Strauss concert with a performance of waltz presented by professional dancers.

The Music Palace and garden during the day
Strauss Concert and performance of waltz.

A visit to Vienna is not complete without a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Hasburg emperors.

Schönbrunn Palace: Front view
Schönbrunn Palace: Back view

 

Baroque Sculpture that intrigued me in the fabulous gardens of Schönbrunn Palace. It represents the abduction of Helen of Troy by Paris.

Vienna is one of the most romantic capitals of the world.

Four books in each box– Eight romance novels, romantic comedy or romantic suspense set at Christmas time.

If there is one thing Senator Howard Dutton hates, it’s scandal, and all that it entails, juicy gossip, paparazzi, tabloid magazines, and the likes that could negatively affect his career. A family man with political ambitions, he’s happily married to a beautiful woman and he adores his four sons, David, Joshua, Ethan, and Brian, and his only daughter, Julia. Fiercely protecting his stellar reputation, he taught his children at an early age to work hard and avoid disreputable people. While in college, the children made him proud, until things turned rotten … just before a re-election campaign.

His sweet Julia, the apple of his eye and a gorgeous fashion designer, breaks her engagement a week before her wedding—the wedding of the century with seven hundred guests, all loyal supporters of Senator Dutton.

Joshua, a successful lawyer and his father’s right hand, now feeds the tabloids by flaunting a new beauty every week. David, a dedicated doctor, has marital problems and is going through a messy divorce. Senator Dutton would rather not talk about Ethan, the black sheep of the family who dropped out of college after a noisy argument with his dad. And what could he say about the relatives who add their share of problems. Thank God, young Brian discreetly restricts his amorous pursuits to his medical school and hospital.

Senator Dutton is ready to issue a warning. They should reform, at least during his campaign season, or else…

The Senator’s Family Series #1

The Senator’s Family Series #2

Travel with Mona to Hungary

We visited Hungary twice, the first time while on a cruise along the Danube River and the second time as part of a land tour through Eastern Europe. I enjoyed both visits and can’t wait to return.

The capital, Budapest also called the ‘Queen of the Danube’ is bisected by the Danube. A 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. Buda was the kernel of settlement in the Middle Ages, and the cobbled streets and Gothic houses of the castle town have preserved their old layout. Until the late 18th century, Pest remained a tiny enclave, but then its population exploded, leaving Buda far behind. In the latter half of the 20th century, growth has been more evenly distributed between the two parts. There are so many landmarks to visit.

As we cruised toward Budapest, we encountered a steep limestone escarpment overlooking the Danube. It provided a panoramic view of the whole city. At the top stood the Citadella—built by the Austrian army in the mid-19th century in order to keep watch over the town. Today it serves as a hotel and restaurant and doubles as the stage for a splendid fireworks display on St. Stephen’s Day (August 20). 

Sights include the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle hilltop complex, and the stately Hungarian Parliament Building.

Heroes’ Square: We walked through the statue complex of Hősök tere. Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) stands out for its iconic, towering pillar and Millenium Monument complex that dates back to 1896. The complex honors Hungary’s 7 founding figures, together with a few other important national leaders. The square serves as a convenient central point for exploring the city.

Tombs of the Heroes

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the grand icon of Hungary’s democratic government. The majestic, neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament Building dates back to 1904 and looms over the Pest side of the Danube River. It’s the largest building in the country. Viewed from aboard river cruises or the western bank of the Danube, the structure’s reflection on the calm river surface adds to the breathtaking panorama. Its turrets and arches make up most of its façade and with Renaissance and Baroque interiors. Group tours are available at the visitor center.

The picture I took on a cloudy, rainy day from the river cruise ship.
Picture from the web

The Royal Palace in Buda: It now houses the National Széchényi Library, Budapest History Museum, and the Hungarian National Gallery. 

We had a tour of the palace

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica named after the first King of Hungary, King Stephen I. With its impressive architecture and decorations, it is a popular tourist destination and place of worship and also holds regular concerts. We visited the interior during the day and admired the illuminated façade during our night tour of the city.

The Fisherman’s Bastion, world-famous for its turrets and for spires is one of the most well-known attractions of the Buda Castle area and provides perhaps the most beautiful panorama of the city from the Buda side over the river Danube.

The Liberty Statue or Freedom Statue is a monument on the Gellért Hill in Budapest.

The Freedom Statue by night.
A view of the Danube, bridge, and Parliament by night.

There are so many statues in Budapest. I enjoyed two that were not famous!

Although we traveled twice to Hungary, we couldn’t see everything in Budapest. If I ever return, I would like to swim in Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the largest mineral bath in Europe, shop in the Great Market Hall, and listen to a Liszt symphony.

Love You Doc Series – New Release

Dr. Robert Olson was a well-known cardiac surgeon and heart transplant specialist who lived in Florida. His wife Janice was a nurse. Robert and Janice deeply cared for their close-knit family and encouraged their children to follow in their footsteps. At home, all they talked about was hospital, patients, surgery, recovery, etcetera…

Sure enough, their four kids studied medicine. The oldest brother, Nathan, became an orthopedic surgeon and worked in Boston. His brother Aidan finished a residency in neurosurgery and accepted a position in Cincinnati. Their sister, Sophia, was an ER doc, and the youngest sibling, Liam, was still in med school when their dad died.

In the four novels of this box, these successful doctors faced their share of problems before finding their HEA.

Hugging

We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need  twelve hugs a day for growth. ~ Virginia Satir

Hugging is healthy  It helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress and induces sleep. It’s invigorating, rejuvenating, and has no unpleasant side effects. Hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.

Hugging is all natural. It is organic, naturally sweet, no artificial ingredients, non-polluting, environmentally friendly,  and 100% wholesome.

Hugging is the ideal gift. Great for any occasion, fun to give and receive, shows you care, comes with its own wrapping and, of course, fully returnable.

Hugging is practically perfect. No batteries to wear out, inflation-proof, non-fattening, no monthly payment, theft-proof and non-taxable.

Hugging is an underutilized resource with magical powers. When we open our hearts and arms we encourage others to do the same.

 Think of the people in your life. Are there any hugs you want to share? Are you waiting for someone else to ask first? Don’t wait. Initiate. ~ Charles Faraone

After hugging, reading a good book is also an ideal gift, healthy, great for any occasion, fun to give and receive. May I suggest two new boxes of books just released.

HOLIDAY BABIES SERIES #2 Just released

MODERN PRINCES SERIES Just released

Take A Moment And Stretch by @TaylorLeeWrites

My writer friends and I spend a lot of our lives slaving over our computers. It’s not surprising that when we look at the clock we see that we have been writing for hours. And if you are like me, your head, hands, and butt make it clear you need to move, I need to stretch.

Stretch

I’m a dedicated exerciser so assume that I’m getting the body work I need. As a daily gym rat, my chosen body wreckers are the elliptical and the bike. I rate my work-out on the number of miles I put on my internal clock. Like every dedicated exerciser, I know the importance of stretching. And at other points of my life I’ve done that. How could I not in that two of my gorgeous daughters are lifetime yogis? Over the years, I’ve practiced yoga, but resisted getting back into it. That avoidance got its comeuppance when my youngest daughter visited and stayed in the room next to me for a week.

Julia is as much of an exercise zealot as I am. The only difference is that in addition to her long-distance running, gym work etc. she is a dedicated yogi. And a talented one. All you have to do is watch her twisting up and down on “silks”—what they call the cloth panels aerial yogis use to support themselves as they fly, flip, and swing in the air. Think Cirque de Solei. Julia is also a nationally recognized yoga guru and instructor.

After listening to the litany of aches and pains I’ve been suffering, Julia didn’t comment on my gym routine. Rather she said carefully, “You seem to be tight, Mom. Not as flexible as you once were.” Rather than pointing out that, yes, my 78 year old body has changed, she said, “I think it would help if you added stretching to your routine.” Of course as a life-long exerciser I know how important stretching is. I just don’t do it.

Before I listed all the reasons I don’t do things that I know are good for me, Julia said, “How about for a month you work some mild stretching into your routine?” While I wanted to let her know that I appreciated her concern but… she cut me off. “Mom, if I told you, that you could change your productivity dramatically if you added ten minutes of stretching into your routine a couple times a day, would you take that time?” Sigh. Of course, I agreed.

All her life Julia loved charts, calendars, diaries, colorfully documenting whatever she was working on at the moment. I wasn’t surprised when she suggested I might want to document my stretching on a calendar. Not finding a calendar we liked online, she said, “That’s okay, I’ll make one for you.” Bringing back memories of all the calendars, charts, etc., my sweet daughter made as a kid, she quickly made one for me. And like the mother I’ve always been, I headed for the Dollar Store to get stickers for my calendar. (Wonder where Julia gets it?)

This brings me to the purpose of this blog. That is to give my writer and reader friends a gift. Two videos of my lovely daughter doing simple stretches specifically for those of us who spend our lives bent over a computer. Honestly, the stretches seemed so basic, so simple, I didn’t know how they would work. BUT after nearly a month of doing them, I’m amazed at how much more flexible I am. My gift to you are two eight minute videos that I urge you to add to your routine. I think you will be surprised at the difference you feel. And just so you know that Julia learned her “documenting” lessons from her mom, I’m also attaching my calendar….

Enjoy!!!

8 minute chair stretches:

8 minute standing stretches:

PICTURE of MY CALENDAR

Taylor Lee Calendar

P.S. And if you want a relaxing evening routine, check out Julia’s twenty minute “Rest and Rejuvenate” nightly routine, guaranteed to relieve any and all tension from the day, check out:

Did you enjoy Julia Pearl’s videos? You can connect with her online:
Instagram    l     Facebook     l     YouTube Channel

 

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After you are relaxed and rejuvenated, throw yourself into my:

NEW RELEASE

Revenge by Taylor Lee

REVENGE, Book 3: Mayhem on the Mountain

By Taylor Lee

Wonder how vicious, make that malicious—a candidate for governor can be? Meet Whitney Chabot. Then know she has an eighty percent chance of winning the election. Unfortunately, in addition to secretly underwriting a human trafficking cartel, it doesn’t help that her choice of lovers is more than a tad too close to home.

Standing in her way is the arrogant county sheriff. Calian Begay knows just how bad the wicked woman is. Unfortunately taking her down puts him in the crosshairs of the insurrectionists. The gang determined to eliminate the Native American interloper who’s taken the state by storm.

The evil candidate isn’t Cal’s only challenge. Convinced that his lover agreed to keep him in the loop on her next exposé, he underestimated the depth of Scarlett’s passion for autonomy. When she accidently runs into a group of trafficked teenagers she knows she’s hit paydirt. As long as she can keep Cal out of it.

Fortunately the formidable sheriff and his compelling police chief and FBI agent partners are able to take down the evil woman and the wealthy kingmakers and political zealots determined to turn his county into a raging inferno.

Now his only issue is convincing his go-it-alone lover that having a powerful, albeit arrogant champion, can make for a riveting, and passionate love affair.

If brazen media stars, tough-as-nails lawmen, and scorching passion lights your fire, dive into Taylor Lee’s sizzling new thrill ride. Discover how challenging murder and anarchy can be when sex and passion are in the mix. Grab Revenge: Book 3; Mayhem on the Mountain and prepare to be wowed!

And while you are at it, check out this terrific box set from me and my Authors’ Billboard hotshots:

Brazen ProtectorsBrazen Protectors (Protect and Desire Book 4)

Engaging tales of heroes and heroines taking command in unlikely situations, these champions just as provocative as they are brave.

My book in the set is:

Line Of Fire

Line of Fire: Passion Meets Politics

Facing political opponents is a piece of cake for Gia. Facing her insecurities about her superstar lover is another matter.

Gia’s unconquerable political skills make winning the election a sure thing. If only she was as confident of her ability to capture and keep her inimitable lover. The arrival of one of his former paramours doesn’t help. Particularly, when the sexy blonde agent isn’t above sowing seeds of doubt in the insecure Gia—just for the heck of it.

Corrupt doesn’t begin to describe Gia’s political opponents. Try hooking up with international terrorists. Oh yes, and silencing a pregnant mistress when necessary. They might have been able to get away with it, if not for Logan and his super- secret agent team.

Unfortunately, the villains conclude if they can’t take Gia down at the polls they’ll have to take her down… permanently.

Grab Line of Fire today. Discover how challenging elections can be when sex and violence are in the mix.