Sunday, 1 September 2013

The DaVinci Code

One of my favourite things to do, especially when I have free time, is to read. I love the journey, adventure, emotions and inspiration a good book can invoke. Ally also has the reading bug and Meghan is getting there too.
Ally reading in the car - she is using the sweatshirt as a shield to
prevent her from getting motion sick!
Mark loves a good survival or adventure book, and usually passes them on to me when he is finished.  Touching the Void, Alive, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Adrift and Ice Bound were among some of our favourites. I find I get caught up in the passion, adventure and the series of unfortunate situations. As the girls have gotten older, they too are dabbling with more and more of the books found on our bookshelves as opposed to those on their own. With the age of Kobo’s and e-Readers the girls have access to virtually anything that interests them.

The Game of Thrones, Mark and his other wife IPad. 
I enjoy fluffy reads like a good romance with a happy ending and have dabbled with historic novels and realistic fiction. I like learning the history of different places and events through story, and so do the girls. Some of our favourites have been The Help, The Book of Negroes, Sarah's Key and Secret Daughter. The girls tend to ask me what the current book I am reading is about. A quick synopsis will not suffice and I end up giving a play-by-play account of the whole book to the girls, answering umpteen questions along the way. It certainly has allowed for some interesting conversations about books.

I suppose reading allows us to experience people, places and things without any risk (or the packing and expense). I never really gave the settings in the books I read much consideration, particularly when it came to travel. I was and still am a typical sun-worshipping traveller. I have visited Florida, Barbados and Mexico and driven across much of Canada and the USA, but beyond that I really hadn’t had much interest or experience with the rest of the world. I know, what could I possibly have in common with a Geography teacher!

As my reading interests broadened so did my interest in seeing some of the places I had only read about. One book in particular stood out in my mind, The DaVinci Code. I am not a deeply religious person nor would I say I have much knowledge about the Church and its teachings; however, I found myself drawn into the history, symbolism, code breaking and most of all, the settings in The DaVinci Code. It must have had quite the impact because Mark, nine or so years later, can still remember me saying how I wanted to see the Louvre, Westminster Abbey and some of the other places mentioned, after reading the book. I think that was the first time I had expressed a real interest in seeing Europe and other parts of the world. I was totally hooked and along with being a novel, thriller, conspiracy fiction and romance, they could add travel brochure to the list of genre possibilities for The DaVinci Code.

This week, I loaded The DaVinci Code on to my Kobo to read again. While we were in Edinburgh we stayed with a fellow who briefly told us about the research his partner had been doing. She was currently in London researching peoples reaction to the castle where Harry Potter (another one of my favourites) had been filmed. Her last job had been at Rosslyn Chapel, the chapel where the Holy Grail was to have resided. I wished we had had the opportunity to meet her as her work sounded very interesting.
The carvings inside the Rosslyn Chapel were incredible, we spent an hour
or so on a carving treasure hunt and saw everything from a bagpiping angel to the
Mason's and Apprentice's Pillars.
During our visit to Rosslyn Chapel, the tour guide reminded us that we were in a church and not a Hollywood movie set and told us how their visitor rate in one month, had surpassed the previous years number, after The DaVinci Code movie release, and continues to do so year after year. Clearly, I am not the only person influenced to visit a place I have read about in a book, or seen in a movie. Ally and Meg had also wanted to visit the Hollywood Movie set and castles where Harry Potter had been filmed, but unfortunately, it was booked until late September.
Mark and the girls checking out the carvings on the Rosslyn Chapel.

I finished the DaVinci Code this afternoon and was thrilled to discover that we had already visited some of the sights mentioned in the book.
Like St. James Park,
Westminster Abbey,
and the National Gallery.  The Louvre is definitely on our list when we hit Paris.
Although Inverary Castle is not in the DaVinci Code,
Downtown Abbey has been filmed here.
I am still the sun-worshipping traveller – I actually had my bathing suit on yesterday trying to catch a few rays in Scotland. I know, ridiculous! But, as I was reading, I reported into Mark and the girls the whereabouts of Sophie Nouveau and Robert Langdon, and how we had or would soon be visiting all of the wonderful places mentioned in the book.  To Mark’s surprise I shared with him the list of places we would visit on our next trip too – South America baby…here we come! Maybe I do have something in common with that Geography teacher after all! As far as the girls went, I didn’t give the blow-by-blow of the DaVinci Code, instead, I loaded it onto their Kobo’s.
Meg plugged in - notice the Kobo and the iPod - and yes she is fast asleep, but it is quite late!
Reading by the fire at Portsonachan Hotel, Scotland Highlands.


  1. Oh is amazing when books come alive before your eyes. Yes, I am now officially green with envy!!

    1. Thank Auntie Sue, are you counting down the days till you move to the lake? We are camping in Loch Ness right now, I think we might have seen Nessie :)

  2. I have a good friend, Brian, that loves to get books about the places he is visiting. I was immediately thinking of him when I read your blog. Usually he purchases a book at the museum after asking about a good book the staff would recommend about the place (fictional or non). The DaVinci Code is classic. I loved that book for many reasons - one of them being the recognition of places I had visited in Europe too. You're closer to the setting when you can see it for real or in the memory of past visits. Another great blog, Lisa, well done!

    1. Neat idea! Ally was recommended a book series after visiting Hadrian's Wall, but she has a reading list a mile long, so we haven't purchased it yet. We are loving Scotland, only a couple more days left before we head for Ireland. We just got back from piping on the shore of Loch Ness. Hope your first day back at school was good!

  3. When we went to the Louvre, we had booked a day's itinerary through a travel company. Best decision. The guide pushed us right through the Hundreds of ppl waiting to get in, and pushed us past crowds surrounding art, to the front row.... We felt very special and heard what she wanted to tell us. We had to go at her pace, but we couldn't have seen it all and been to our next tour without her.
    Lunch in the Eiffel tower too. You gotta say you did.
    Cath S.

    1. Thanks Cathy, we will have to look into that. Avoiding lineups sounds great!


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