News from the Writing Trenches, or: The Wonders of Google Maps

In case I hadn’t mentioned, it’s NaNoWriMo, which means I’m in the throes of novelling – and novelling, for me, always involves copious researching.

The current story (not a Septimus series book, a standalone) is partially set in Munich, so I’ve got Google Maps permanently open to a map of the city. But not just a map – Google Street View is amazing. I’m constantly hopping back and forth between map view and panning around the streets of the city.

I’m also going back to my photos from last year’s trip, and among my pictures was one I took of a painting in the Neue Pinakothek: A view of the Residenzstrasse in Munich looking towards the Max-Joseph-Platz, painted in 1826 by Domenico Quaglio. Now check it out side by side with a screen shot of Google Street View of the same spot:


Is that cool, or what? I love how the basic line of the street really hasn’t changed much.

Anyway, just thought I’d share that with you. And if you spend the next three hours armchair sightseeing in Munich, don’t blame me. (Actually, yeah, I’ll gladly take the blame. Check out Nymphenburg Palace, for example, on Street View. It’s fabulous.)

Life, the Universe, and Google Street View. The more things change…

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Villa Malta, Rome, in Paintings

Some pictures of pictures I took last summer at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich: paintings of the Villa Malta in Rome. The first is a set of four by Johann Christian Reinhart (1761 – 1847), showing the view from the villa to the East, South, West and North. They’re hung in a small room in the museum around the four walls, so you can pretend it’s 1831 and you’re standing on the parapet of the Villa, looking out over the city.


And this is what the villa looked like from the city, painted by Domenico Quaglio in 1830. You see those little guys in the middleground, slightly to the left? At the bottom you can see just how tiny they are in the painting, with my thumb next to them to show the scale. Quaglio must have painted them with a single paintbrush hair.


That’s more words than normal for Wednesdays, but this little time travel excursion to 19th-century Rome needed a bit of explanation.

So that was Life, the Universe, and the Villa Malta in Rome in 1830. Apologies for all the words.