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Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthy Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

If you have a passionate interest in a particular topic — it could be just about anything — you’re a prime candidate for theme travel.

In my younger days, I was obsessed by the paintings of the 15th-century Flemish fantasist Hieronymus Bosch, and trekked all over Europe attempting to see every one of them; I fell a little short, but had a wonderful time and my  dedicated  purpose gave my journey added meaning.

I was traveling by myself, but theme travel often involves going with like-minded people who share your passion. Take theme cruises, for instance.

The Lure of Theme Cruises 

For six years I wrote a regular theme cruise column for Porthole Cruise Magazine, which chronicled the adventures of folks who are crazy about the most wide-ranging subjects imaginable:

Birding cruises….mah jongg cruises…vegan cruises…vampire cruises…marathon (running)… Continue reading

St. John on Patmos -- the missing link in my Bosch quest.

St. John on Patmos — the missing link in my Bosch quest.

Part II of a two-part series. Our story so far:

In my previous post, I confessed to spending three months in Europe shortly after finishing college determined to view every painting on the Continent by the 15th-century Flemish artist Hieronymus Bosch.

My quest took me the length and breadth of Western Europe on a tight budget, in rumpled clothing, and with an almost fanatical zeal to complete my Bosch life list. In the process,  I  befuddled just about everyone I knew. I was no trained art historian, just an amateur Bosch aficionado equipped with a rail pass and an oddly compelling travel obsession.

You can catch up by clicking here or just pick up the story at the point where I left off: A guard in Spain’s Prado Museum taking an… Continue reading

The Garden of Earthly Delights, a famous Bosch triptych in Madrid's Prado Museum

The Garden of Earthly Delights, a famous Bosch triptych in Madrid’s Prado Museum

Way back in 1971, shortly after graduating from college, I developed an obsession for the paintings of the 15th-century Flemish master Hieronymus Bosch, whose phantasmagorical — sometimes grotesque — artworks appealed to my psychedelic sensibilities of that era.

I spent days in libraries hand-copying notes from dusty tomes about the artist, sought out all of his works in American museums, and eventually embarked on a three-month pilgrimage to Europe determined to set eyes on every Bosch painting on the Continent.

On my target list were 31 museums and churches containing 58 works of art, scattered across a dozen countries and 26 cities and towns from Copenhagen to Vienna to Lisbon.

My resources were limited: a Eurailpass, a copy of Europe on $5 a Day when it was still called that, and a budget to match.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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