Movies provide ‘magic carpet rides’ to foreign landsWritten by Judy Pfaffenberger | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In these times of airport security hassles, the weak dollar, high fuel prices and airline cuts (of almost everything except prices), traveling vicariously through the silver screen is not such a bad idea. You can travel the world for the price of admission or even free with videos from the public library. “Eat, Pray, Love” has been at the forefront of this genre this summer. Another current “chick flick” with sumptuous scenery is “Letters from Juliet,” which I liked even more. “Knight and Day” was also touted as a good location movie, but the action was so fast and furious with bullets flying that it was difficult to savor the beautiful cities of Salzburg and Seville.
A movie had a very important role in my travel life since I retired from teaching. Our lunch group at school often talked travel, and one day my dear friend and colleague, LaTrelle Peterson, who is a movie buff supreme, asked me if I would, when we retired, take her to Austria to see the places connected with “The Sound of Music.” The plan in 1999 was for us to rent a car and do just that. As friends and family found out, our numbers grew to nine of us. The trip was so successful that it spawned several more wonderful European road trips.
On those trips, we were fortunate to visit several more “movie sets,” although in most cases this was not a deliberate move. My second favorite city next to Salzburg is Venice, and watching “Summertime” (completely filmed in Venice) with Katharine Hepburn always brings back wonderful memories. The movie also briefly shows the island of Burano, which Rossano Brazzi in the movie aptly calls “the island where the rainbow fell.” If you are ever in Venice, don’t miss it. Burano (not Murano, famous for glass) is less than one hour by boat across the lagoon, but a world away. It is a quaint fishing village with its own leaning tower.
Two more places in Italy that we visited because of movies were San Gimignano (“Tea with Mussolini”) and Cortona (“Under the Tuscan Sun”). They did not disappoint. Other Italian movies are: “Light in the Piazza,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Roman Holiday,” “A Room with a View,” “Only You” and “When in Rome.” There are many more that can be found on the Internet, but these are a few that I enjoy.
France also has an abundance of films with Paris taking the lead. Some are action-adventure, but romance abounds. “Before Sunset,” “Chocolat,” “Paris When It Sizzles,” “French Kiss,” “Charade” and “Amelie” all can be a pleasant way to spend a “foreign” evening.
Other movies with a variety of European locations are: “European Vacation,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Chasing Liberty,” “Before Sunrise (Vienna),” “Au Pair” and “Au Pair II” (some of the Austrian or Swiss scenes were actually filmed in the quaint town of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic), “Shirley Valentine” (England and Mykonos), and “Cold Mountain” (which is about the American Civil War but was filmed in Transylvania, Romania).
Even more exotic films can be viewed at the Way Library in Perrysburg as part of their International and Art Film Series. The films are presented free on Fridays at 7 p.m. complete with free refreshments. Oct. 15: “Departures” (Japan); Nov. 19:“Lemon Tree” (Palestine); Dec. 10: “As It Is in Heaven” (Sweden). These are in the foreign language with English subtitles.
If you enjoy professionally photographed and narrated travelogues, the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh Travel and Adventure Cinema might be what you’re looking for. They are held at 7:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts, just off M-50 to the north, at the first traffic light (right turn coming from U.S. 23). Tickets are $5 at the door. Oct 12: “Gulf Coast RV Adventure,” Nov. 9: “Prague to Paris” and “A Cruise Too.” Tecumseh is about a 45-minute drive from Toledo.
I would like to dedicate this column to LaTrelle: friend, traveling companion, and “roomie.” Thanks for the incredible memories. To her I say “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu” because she is moving to Texas to care for her sisters. I had hoped we would continue to “Climb Every Mountain” but we have done so many of “My Favorite Things.” One of my treasured memories is of the two of us standing on the stage of the empty Festspielhaus in Salzburg singing “Edelweiss.”
Corny, but “Something Good,” very, very good!
E-mail travel columnist Judy Pfaffenberger at email@example.com.