My latest book, Believe in Me, takes place as my characters are traveling across Europe. The story is set in 1818, so I can’t have my hero and heroine making the trip alone. Rather, they have an entourage, including the heroine’s married cousin, her husband, their young son, and, of course, all of the family’s servants. Even with fast trains, cars, and planes, such a sojourn would be challenging today; in the nineteenth century, it required months of planning and was much more difficult.
Just getting from England to France had its problems. Unlike today, when you can take a ferry or the Channel Tunnel, in 1818, one relied on a sailboat to make the crossing. That, of course, meant the wind had to be blowing in the right direction. Until it was, a traveler was stuck in port, waiting for the weather to cooperate. Not only did one have to get oneself and one’s companions across the channel, but there were horses and carriages to consider as well.
This novel unfolds only a few years after Waterloo, so roads throughout Europe were not in the best condition. Hiring horses and coaches could be an uncertain proposition, and the land we know so well for its restaurants was not as fully equipped with eateries two hundred years ago.
Although the concept of the passport as we know it didn’t come about until much later, travelers of that era carried documents called passports that allowed visiting certain areas. This was important, as it allowed them to get from point A to point B without having to turn over all of their valuables.
Considering the hardships previously mentioned, getting to Paris was not terribly difficult, and neither was the trip onward to Vienna. But once one crossed into Germany, with its many castles dotting the landscape, having travel documents that granted permission to proceed unmolested was critical. The country was not under one government until late in the nineteenth century, so there were many principalities.
One of the ways the German princes and other members of the peerage made money was by stopping travelers and demanding fines. Also, it was not unusual for them to have small armies (think of medieval times). This custom extended from Germany east. When roads were no longer an option, either due to their condition or danger, travelers took to the rivers. Although not possible any longer, one could travel by boat from Vienna to Budapest.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of early nineteenth-century European travel. Sometimes I am so thankful for our modern travel conveniences!
About Believe in Me
Even the Worthington least likely to wed may find her perfect match.
Marriage has worked out quite nicely for her older sisters, yet Lady Augusta Vivers is certain it would end her studies in languages and geography, and stop her from traveling. But when her mother thwarts her plan to attend the only university in Europe that accepts women—in Italy—she is forced to agree to one London Season. Spending her time at parties proves an empty diversion, until she encounters the well-traveled Lord Phineas Carter-Wood. Still, Europe awaits . . .
Phineas has studied architecture all over the world, yet Augusta is his most intriguing discovery yet. How can he resist a woman who loves maps and far-off lands? But her longing for all things foreign hinders any hope of courtship. When he learns her cousins have offered a trip to Europe, he secretly arranges to join their party. For he is determined to show Augusta that a real union is a thrilling adventure of its own. And when their journey is beset by dangerous obstacles, he gets far more opportunity than he bargained for.
About the Author
USA Today–bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances—especially Regencies—was her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. Ella is currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband of thirty years is back at work, recovering from retirement. Visit Ella at her website or on the social media platforms below.