About PJ

Meandering Trail Media is a multimedia company focusing on world-wide travel, publishing, and psychology. PJ Adams, Meandering Trail Media's primary author, is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, and YouTube.

For more information on Meandering Trail Media OR to schedule an interview or book signing, contact: Info@pjadamsbooks.com OR John Birkhead, PR Director, john.birkhead@pjadamsbooks.com,  +1 (760) 707-2577, Fax +1 949-258-8693.

See our professional photographs on Shutterstock: 

See our France books trailer HERE.

See the Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire book trailer HERE. 

 

See the Intoxicating Southern France book trailer HERE 

See the Intoxicating Paris book trailer HERE     

         

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    PJ Adams

    PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and author in California.

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    Friday
    May182018

    Seine River Cruise + Champagne and Loire

    Uniworld's new ship, the Joie de Vivre, ferried us in April, 2018 from Paris to Rouen and back again in style. Along the way we eyed the beauties of Giverny, dined at the oldest restaurant in France in Rouen, visited the Normandy Beaches of Utah and Omaha plus the American Cemetery, and popped into Versailles for a behind-the-scenes tour of the royal apartments.

    Post cruise, we circumvented the newest train strike ("striking is our national sport" the locals whispered) and drove to Amboise to revisit my favorite castles. Amazingly, we were the first visitors to Château d'Azay-le-Rideau and since I knew it well AND had written a book about it, I got tasked to open the doors to the various apartments for the rest of the tourists when the guides forgot to do it! Later, we dropped by Villandry and Chenonceau. We visited my favorite restaurant in the Loire, L'Etape Gourmande, for a sumptuous repast.

    Rouen proved to be a fantastic new French locale for me. We toured the ancient town and lunched at La Couronne, founded in 1345, which is the oldest inn in France. Our meal for eight was beyond imagination and yes I was served a cheese tray with 25, I repeat, 25 choices. If you are lactose intolerant, skip this course.

    There was not a dry eye in our group as we toured the sobering Normandy Beaches and American Cemetery. I had two uncles who landed here--and luckily came home in one piece to welcome me when I was born decades later.

    But as I wandered through the cemetery, I saw thousands of their fellow soldiers who did not return home. Our group left roses and said prayers at as many of the gravesites as we could. We thank these brave lads who gave their lives in the name of peace.

    After frustrations with the train system in France (as I write in my books, always have a back plan or two) I drove our party out to Amboise from Paris along the A10 (one of the easiest freeways in France.) Loire was as beautiful as ever and I sigh a little sigh every time I see Chenonceau, the castle of the ladies, as she sits peacefully atop the Cher River. 

    In Champagne, our party of three sipped the bubbly for two days and toured small and large houses including Veuve Clicquot and Taittinger, as well as some smaller vintners in Epernay. Everytime I visit Reims, with its grand cathedral, I like it more.

    BTW, Reims was nearly flattened in WWII due to air strikes. But there are many preserved buildings and of course the cathedral where most of the kings of France have been crowned are still standing. I could see the cathedral from my hotel room, with the moon shining over it like a star.

    I plan to write a book about Champagne France one day when I have a moment. This trip, I returned with even more piles of research--and a few bottles of bubbly. I have to do research, after all!

    One more thing, our photography now appears on Shutterstock. So if you would like to access our hundreds of full color photographs for your own use, access Shutterstock and look for MeanderingTrailMedia. Happy Traveling!

    Saturday
    Dec092017

    AMA Waterways Christmas Cruise 2017

    The waves rippled gently against the bow of our elegant ship as we sailed from Hungary to Germany along the azure Danube. From my French-balconied AMA Serena cabin, Rachmaninoff played softly in the background. I couldn’t resist snapping image after image of the romantic countryside on this magical Danube voyage over seven days this November.

    I felt like I had entered a fantasy novel. In reality, I was sailing along in the flesh, feeling the wind on my face and a Christmas song in my heart! 

    AMA Waterways, my host for a week just before Christmas, is one of the premiere river cruise purveyors. Their routes across the globe include France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Africa. For our journey, AMA delighted 19 of us from my local town in California who boarded the AMA Serena along with 100 or so others for a Christmas Markets cruise up the Danube. We added some extra excursions to pretty Budapest and grand Prague at either end of the cruise.

    We were all primarily English speakers. That is except for a delightful Puerto Rican group of 30 or so who were escaping hurricane devastation. Their spirited camaraderie contributed substantially to the festive spirit onboard.  

    If you haven’t taken a river cruise, you might be amazed at the lyrical way a floating hotel can provide the best in elegant cuisine, exhilarating off-boat excursions, and quirky on-board entertainment. But there’s a lot of work happening behind the scenes to make all this merriment a reality. 

    I discovered there are three key entities aboard a cruise ship that make a voyage like this possible. First is the Cruise Director. He or she manages all on-board and off-board activities for passengers.

    Our AMA Serena Cruise Director was a gregarious Brit named John Riley. He made sure our days and nights were filled with nightly entertainment and daily excursions to legendary locales like Budapest (goulash central), Vienna (home to Mozart and fine waltzes), and Salzburg (of Sound of Music fame). A fine master of ceremonies, John even orchestrated an on-board Christmas extravaganza that featured tree decorating, holiday entertainment by the crew, and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

    Observing John coordinate multiple walking guides in a half dozen towns for us guests who chose to participate, as well as oversee all aspects of the cruise from guest fly in to fly out, was truly amazing. I found AMA Waterways to be particularly accommodating to the needs of passengers who chose less activity for a variety of reasons, including disability or the simple desire to stay on board and enjoy the AMA Serena’s offerings.

    A second critical onboard group is helmed by the Hotel Manager. We were lucky to have Zoran Gajanovic, formerly of Viking and Disney cruises, who oversaw the accommodations, food and beverage service, and general hotel staff who provided impeccable service and delicious food and drink to us in several venues. 

    It is no small task to manage a cruise ship of this size. The AMA Serena herself is a spacious vessel, modeled on a classic ocean yacht. She has 84 suites and staterooms accommodating 160+ passengers. We had the run of the ship, which included the upper Sun Deck complete with heated pool and canopied loungers offering us unfettered views of the beautiful countryside. With the Sun Deck’s walking track and heated swimming pool, a fitness room, and a fleet of onboard bicycles to use on our own or on one of the many guided bike tours, we had everything we needed to work off those extra Christmas pounds. Some of us also took advantage of the massages, hair salon, and the onboard gift shop opportunities as well. 

    The third and perhaps most important element of the AMA Serena staff was Captain Henk Klos and his burly crew who guided us expertly from Hungary to Germany.

    Captain Henk, who told me he was actually born on a vessel in his native Amsterdam, helmed our ship from Budapest to Nuremberg in true nautical style. I was fascinated by the AMA Serena’s progress up the Danube and managed to take videos of the crew showing how they helm the ship as she progresses through a series of locks along the winding river. 

    But I haven’t mentioned food yet! The AMA Serena offered a variety of choices for our dining pleasure. These included La-Chaîne-des- Rôtisseurs-level international cuisine in the general dining areas, a multi-course Chef’s Table tasting menu at the rear of the ship, and continuous food and beverage service in the handsome main lounge areas.

    But I can’t forget about the Christmas Markets! The cruise featured a holiday theme centered around Christmas Markets enticing us across four countries. In Hungary, we sampled tasty Hungarian goulash and Gluhwein (mulled wine) that Budapest is famous for, as well as loaded up on pretty ornaments, knitwear, and holiday treats available at the markets. 

    In Salzburg, home to all things Sound of Music, and Vienna, the heartland of waltz, we enjoyed dozens of Christmas Markets with specialty foods including Vienna sausages, strudel, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and bake goods and cookies unique to the areas. During our stops in various German locales including Regensberg and Nuremberg, we enjoyed German nibbles like Würstchen (sausages), fondue, and Christmas Punch.

    Our final stop was Prague in the Czech Republic. This old/new city has sophisticated people, bustling commerce, and fascinating cuisine. It delighted us with its ancient enclaves, Jewish Quarter, palace, lovely Vltava River, and sophisticated shopping streets that rival the Champs Élysée in Paris.

    But we couldn’t stay on board forever—although many of us would have liked to. Our Christmas cruise drew to a close on a fine holiday note with Christmas songs sung by the crew, a festive Captain’s Gala, and even a visit from you-know-who who brought every last one of us a present (and a hug)! 

    Thus if you find yourself fantasizing about a river cruise somewhere on this big blue marble we live on—no matter what time of year it is—I can highly recommend AMA Waterways at https://www.amawaterways.com. They have a way of making dreams—and fantasies—come true.

    Happy Holidays! For videos of our cruise, click on the following links:

    AMA Waterways Budapest Illuminations Cruise 2017

    AMA Serena Navigates the Misty Danube

    AMA Serena in Lock @Hilpoltstein Germany

    AMA Serena Crew Sings Jingle Bells

    Thursday
    Jul272017

    Brit Bite #3: Adventures in Wonderful & Weird England

    Who Knew Shakespeare was Hip? William Shakespeare is not only the best-selling fiction author of all time (estimated 4 billion copies of work sold). He may also have the face and name that shows up in more product placements than Mickey Mouse. 

    Shakespeare’s birthplace, marriage home, and surrounding buildings are now a Disney-like compound in Stratford-Upon-Avon that could rival Legoland. Characters tell his story of birth, upbringing, marriage, creative genius, death, and ongoing presentation at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s digs just down the street on the Avon River. 

    But Shakespeare hasn’t lost his panache over time one bit. For example, Shakespeare is now LA-hip on a variety of clothing and jewelry products. And why not? His thinning hairline is rad. His moustache makes him kissably cool. And his Elizabethan-swagger is right in keeping with our Kardashian-flavored times.

    Shakespeare is also “into” modern-day bubbly wine, as well as whites and reds. He well knew the power of wine when he wrote, “Your lips are like wine and I want to get drunk.” Or “the wine cup is the little silver well, where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell.” (He probably sipped on a goblet or two as he penned his plays.)

    Shakespeare would probably love how his wine influence has effervesced over the centuries. He’s on vintages, corks, coasters, wine paraphernalia, wine clothing, wine hats, wine glasses, and even wine corks masquerading as thumb drives.

    In Stratford-Upon-Avon, they sell a nice variety of Shakespeare wines. Among them are a sparkling bubbly and a decent red. I can hear him now, in the back of the Garrick Inn, sipping a bit of red and whispering to his companions: “Yo. Good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.”

    And of course Shakespeare shows up in a myriad of other products like books, bookends, posters, busts, platters, drapes, pillows, rugs, wall hangings, games, toys, masks, Halloween costumes, coloring books, and even fishing rods just to name a few.

    Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg eat your heart out. You’ll never overtake this guy. (At least for a few hundred years.)

    Sunday
    Jul232017

    Brit Bite #2: Adventures in Wonderful & Weird England

    It’s Ostrich for Lunch. Brits eat all kinds of “strange” things from my view: black pudding (made with blood), marmite, ice cream with jelly, chip butties (French fry sandwiches), mushy peas, fish in newspaper, scotch eggs, Yorkshire Pudding (that’s neither pudding or edible with a spoon), and haggis (sheep stomach mash).

    But I never knew they relished ostrich.

    These fine-feathered birds that stand nine feet tall on average, apparently make fine burgers—and even hot dogs!

    But I passed.

    I went with the traditional fish and chips instead. My fish hung off the platter like a whale, mind you, but it was actually very tasty. The chips and beer weren’t bad either. 

    I’m also always amazed at how much food is on the plate of a traditional English breakfast. It often includes eggs, sausage, mushrooms, ham, baked beans, chips, and fried tomatoes—all slathered in HP sauce and washed down with pots and pots of tea. A mere 800-1000 calories.

    But who’s counting.

     

    Sunday
    Jul232017

    Brit Bite #1: Adventures in Wonderful & Weird England

    Don't Mess With the Swans. Cambridge, England is a university ciy and official capital of Cambridgeshire located on the Cam River. It's approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of London.

    Famed for educating more than 30,000 students a year, it also offers some fine tourism. Among these is "punting" on flat gondolas called "punts" that go up and down the Cam River. You can either hire a "punter" to helm your punt or sail it yourself.

    A word of advice, however. When you’re punting with a family of kids, avoid running over a swan family of 10. Papa Swan will nip you in the punt…and possibly go after your pesky children trying to smack him in the head with an oar.

    On the other hand when you're punting with your sweetie (and have left the kids at home), don't forget to take champagne. Oh, and be sure your “punter” is a PhD Shakespeare scholar with whom you can have a literary conversation and probe for possibilities as a son-in-law.