Page 76. " like the Dorchester "

The Dorchester Hotel, London
Creative Commons AttributionThe Dorchester Hotel, London - Credit: UggBoy
 The Dorchester is one of London’s most famous five-star hotels. Opened by Malcom McAlpine in 1931, the luxury hotel was extremely modern and also extremely safe due to its reinforced construction – during World War Two it was considered one of London’s sturdiest buildings and attracted senior politicians including Winston Churchill.

Situated on Park Lane and overlooking Hyde Park, on the site previously occupied by Dorchester House, the Dorchester is today owned by the Dorchester Group and remains famous amongst London hotels.

Page 77. " helped her kick her cocaine habit "

Cocaine is a stimulative drug which is a crystallized substance made from the leaves of the coca plant. It is illegal to grow, possess, sell or use cocaine in most countries around the world due to its highly addictive and damaging properties, however many people still use and are addicted to it.

Powdered cocaine
Public DomainPowdered cocaine - Credit: DEA Drug Enforcement Agency USA
Cocaine is a white powder which is usually snorted through the nose, rubbed onto the gums or sometimes injected. Crack cocaine is a mixture of cocaine and a solution of baking powder and water which is then vaporized and inhaled.

Cocaine stimulates the nervous system and causes the user to feel euphoric, energetic and more powerful than usual. Anxiety, nervousness and depression are however also common and once the ‘high’ fades the user is often left feeling worse than before. The addiction of the high is what causes many people to continue taking the drug. Usage however leads to many medical complications, from nausea, headaches and fevers to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, damage of the nasal cartilage and brain damage.

Once addicted to cocaine it is very hard to kick the habit, often requiring counselling, medical help or a period in rehabilitation.

Page 83. " into your Calvin Kleins "

 Calvin Klein is the eponymous fashion brand of the American designer Calvin Richard Klein. Founded in New York City in 1968 as a coat shop, the brand quickly became popular and grew rapidly with the addition of womenswear and, famously, jeans in the 1980s. Calvin Klein underwear (featuring boxer shorts for men and women) was launched in the 1980s and became incredibly famous, partly due to a 1990s billboard advert featuring Mark Wahlberg. The name ‘Calvin Klein’ is now synonymous with this particular style and quality of underwear.

Calvin Klein today is owned by Phillips Van Heusen and the creative directors are Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli and Kevin Carrigan.

Page 85. " based in Dallas "

The skyline of Dallas
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe skyline of Dallas - Credit: Cordphaeton

 Dallas (population 1.2 million) is the third-largest city in Texas. Founded in 1841 as a centre of the oil and cotton industries, it has always been strategically positioned close to railways and roads which traverse the United States both north-south and east-west. Today it is an important centre of commerce, with many financial, computer and medical research companies based there.

The State Fair of Texas is held yearly in Dallas and it has a thriving Arts District and successful major league sports teams. It is historically famous as the location for the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Page 85. " scenic roads of the Arno valley "

Cavadenti, in the hills of the Arno Valley near Arezzo
Public DomainCavadenti, in the hills of the Arno Valley near Arezzo - Credit: Pigellino74
The Arno Valley follows nearly the entire course of Tuscany’s most important river, flowing over a distance of 150 miles (241km) from Monte Falterona to Marina di Pisa and through Tuscany’s principle settlements such as Florence and Pisa. The valley actually begins at Arezzo, at which point the infant river changes its direction and takes a northerly course, and is incredibly scenic with its rolling verdant hills and liberal spattering of ancient castles, villas and fortresses.

Page 86. " stopping first in Vinci to visit the museum "

The rooftops of Vinci
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe rooftops of Vinci - Credit: lamthestig
 Vinci is a town in the Tuscan hills not far from Florence, with a population of around 14,300. Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance painter, inventor and engineer, was born in 1452 in the countryside just outside the town which has remained largely unchanged since his time, consisting largely still of olive groves and terraced vineyards. The town features a small museum displaying a collection of da Vinci’s notebooks and sketched inventions, and his birthplace is also a museum showing some of his drawings.

Page 88. " annual crostini festival "

Tuna, red pepper and green onion crostini
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTuna, red pepper and green onion crostini - Credit: Charlie Haynes
Crostini is an Italian snack or appetizer very similar to bruschetta. The name means ‘little toasts’ and it consists of small slices of grilled or toasted bread topped with oil and herbs, cheeses, meat or vegetables. Typically made using baguettes which can be cut into rounds, the dish originated from Italian peasants who would eat their meals off bread instead of plates and because it is a good way to use up slightly stale bread. Crostini is also popular as a canapé served with wine.

A selection of crostini and various toppings can be found here.

Page 89. " the Italian equivalent of Transylvania "
Sirnea in Transylvania
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSirnea in Transylvania - Credit: Lenard denes

 Transylvania is a large historical area of countryside in the centre of Romania, bounded by the Carpathian and Apuseni Mountains. Throughout history it has fallen under the reign of numerous rulers but has retained its traditions and unique characteristics. The area has a population of around 7.2 million and its economy relies on its rich mineral deposits as well as tourism.

Transylvania is famed for its beauty – mountains, castles and forests abound – and also for its associations with vampires, as the setting of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. At the same time, many areas of Transylvania are quiet, remote hamlets steeped in history and a traditional agricultural way of life.

 

Dracula on Book Drum

Page 90. " footballer from Sardinia "
Lagoon Beach in Sardinia
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLagoon Beach in Sardinia - Credit: Robin Corps

 Sardinia is an island region of Italy in the Mediterranean to the West of the country. It is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean with a mountainous topography and rocky coastline. The main town is Cagliari and the island has a population of around 1.7 million. Whilst it is Italian, Sardinia also retains its own cultural identity and strong heritage; Sardinian is widely spoken across the island. Football is very popular and the Cagliari Calcio is one of the best teams in Italy.

Page 93. " his Herculean efforts "

Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek mythological figure Heracles, who was adopted and adapted in Roman culture.

Hercules is famous for the story in which in a fit of madness he killed his sons and in order to cleanse himself he had to perform twelve tasks or ‘labours’ set to him by an oracle. These labours, which he managed to complete, showing super-human strength and determination, included capturing the Golden Hind of Artemis, stealing the girdle of Hippolyta and bringing back Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to the Underworld. A full list can be found here.

Page 95. " The Gardens of Babylon "

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World which may in fact just have been a myth as opposed to a real place. The Gardens were said to have been created by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife in the ancient city of Babylon, in what is modern-day Iraq and featured stone terraces of beautiful exotic plants, flowers and animals which were sustained by complicated watering systems. The Gardens were supposed to have been destroyed by an earthquake around the 2nd century BC.

Page 96. " that's the Trevi fountain "

Crowds in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCrowds in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome - Credit: Bodow
The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most famous landmarks and one of the most famous fountains in the world. It was built to mark the end of the Acqua Vergine, an aqueduct which carried fresh water from the surrounding hills into the city, and takes its name from the three roads (tre vie) which intersected at the spot on which is was constructed. The fountain as it is today was designed by the Baroque architect Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762 – it is a colossal structure 26 metres tall and 20 metres wide. The central figure is Oceanus, a divine being who personified the World Ocean, a river circling the world.

There is a tradition which says that if a visitor throws a coin into the Trevi Fountain they are destined to return to Rome – an estimated 3,000 euro coins are thrown into the water each day.