Travel in the Footsteps of Iconic Women Throughout History
International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe on 8 March and not only gives the world a day to focus its efforts on ambitions such as driving gender balance across the world, but also creates opportunity to celebrate and remember the mold-breaking women throughout history who made their own bold steps towards gender equality.
To celebrate this day we are presenting some gender-norm-breaking women and the destinations where they made history or where their stories began. With 55% of global female travelers* planning to do more independent travel in 2019, now is the perfect opportunity to take a solo trip and follow in the footsteps of these legendary women.
Amelia was an American aviator and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. In her lifetime she achieved a number of flying accomplishments, set many other records and authored books about her experiences. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. While she first made headlines for her first transatlantic flight as a passenger with Wilmer Stultz, she described her actions as “just like baggage” and set out to achieve the feat solo later that year. She was also key in setting up the Ninety-Nines, an organization championing female pilots.
As a pilot, Amelia traveled to many destinations. Her most iconic solo transatlantic flight took her from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to a farm near Derry, Northern Ireland nearly 15 hours later.
If looking to follow Amelia’s trailblazing route, why not visit one of these key landmarks. Prepare for take-off at Harbor Grace by visiting the Conception Bay Museum and learning more about the area and Amelia’s famous flight. Alternatively, close to the point of Amelia’s landing, is Northern-Ireland’s second largest city, Derry, with a rich history and culture of its own to keep travelers entertained.
Where to stay: The Bayside Bed and Breakfast is a short drive from Harbor Grace, the perfect base to explore the starting point of Amelia’s journey and take in the serene surroundings of Canada’s most easterly province. Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the property before heading to the nearby museum to learn more about Amelia’s heroic journey.
If your trip instead takes you to Amelia’s landing point, Crawford Square Apartment in Derry is the perfect base for a city break. While Amelia’s voyage took her to nearby farmland - after having to divert from her intended destination of Paris - you can take in the metropolitan sites of the city itself by taking a stroll along Derry's 17th-century walls.
Mexican artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo is famous for her signature folk-art style portraits and self-portraits which combine both realism and surrealist elements. Frida was part of the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity and her works continue to inspire popular culture and raise questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican society today.
Kahlo spent most of her childhood and adult life at her family home in Coyoacán, Mexico City, now known as the blue house which is publicly accessible as the Frida Kahlo Museum. Frida is also famous for her relationship with fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera, who she married in 1928. In 1930, Frida and Diego moved from Mexico to settle in San Francisco, USA, where Frida showed her painting of the pair “Frida and Diego Rivera” at the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists.
Where to stay: The Coyoacan City Lofts offer travelers a home-away-from-home just a short stroll from Frida’s family home, now the Frida Kahlo House Museum. The apartments offer a terrace for guests to enjoy and bask in Frida’s home suburb.
In 2018 San Francisco honored its connection to Frida’s legendary life by renaming a street in Ingleside in her honor. Visit the street for yourself while staying just a short drive away in a bustling hot spot near Union Square. A real boutique beauty in a renovated century-old building, The Axiom Hotel is the perfect base to explore the nearby San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, if you're feeling inspired by Frida’s artistic legacy.
Marie is famously renowned as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and in fact the only woman to date to win it twice. Marie was a physicist and chemist who conducted groundbreaking research on radioactivity (a term she coined and developed the theory for), discovered the elements polonium and radium and the techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland and later moved to Paris, France where she became the first female professor at the University of Paris.
Marie Curie founded the Curie Institutes in both Paris and Warsaw, which remain major research centers today, and the perfect destinations for anyone wishing to step into Marie’s trailblazing footsteps.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Marie’s home city of Warsaw at the Novotel Warszawa Centrum. Perfectly located, this hotel is opposite the Palace of Culture and Science and a short walk from Warsaw Central Train Station. The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum is just a short train trip away for those looking to learn more about the life and work of this iconic woman physicist and chemist..
While Warsaw is where Marie Curie’s life began, she made Paris her home and it too boasts a small museum in her honor. The Musée Curie celebrates Marie’s legacy and broader radiological research and is situated in her former lab. Le 66 bed and breakfast is just a short stroll away from Marie’s museum in the 5th arrondissement, the perfect spot for travelers interested in food, literature, history and art.
An notorious figure in ancient history, Cleopatra was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, renowned for her beauty, as well as for her mind. Speaking several languages and respected as a leader, Cleopatra secured a number of military alliances. Equally famous are her own romantic liaisons, which have been featured in works of art, theatre and film, cementing her as a truly iconic woman.
Cleopatra’s legacy is most famously linked to her capital, Alexandria, Egypt. Although the ancient glamorous city she knew no longer remains, modern Alexandria still boasts a beautiful harbor overlooking the Mediterranean for today’s visitors. Cleopatra later joined Julius Caesar in Rome, where he dedicated a golden statue of her in the temple of Venus Genetrix.
Where to stay: Although they won't erect statues in your honor, enjoy the celebrity treatment with a private sandy beach overlooking the Mediterranean sea at the Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria At San Stefano. To feel even closer to the ancient history of the area, the Graeco-Roman Museum is just a short drive away.
At the time of Caesar’s assassination, Cleopatra had settled in Rome, making her mark on city beyond the statue in her honor, with many women adopting the look of her exotic hairstyle and pearl jewelry. The New Generation Hostel Santa Maria Maggiore is the perfect city base for those wanting to explore Cleopatra’s second home, and just a short walk from the Temple of Venus Genetrix where her statue once stood. Offering both en suite private rooms and shared dormitories, this hostel is also a short walk from the Colosseum and Termini station, the perfect sightseeing base.
Anasuya was a pioneer of the women’s labor movement in India and supported in her work by Mahatma Gandhi, with whom she set up Gujarat’s oldest labor union for textile workers. The union later paved the way for the founding of the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), the founder of which Ela Bhatt, Anasuya mentored.
Anasuya was born in Ahmedabad, India, the largest city and former capital of the Indian state Gujarat. Orphaned at a young age, Anasuya left to England to study medicine but later switched to study at London School of Economics (LSE). In London, Anasuya was influenced and inspired by the suffragette movement.
Where to stay: Anasuya’s home is today home to the Calico Museum of textiles, a museum devoted to centuries of Indian fabrics and weaving techniques, the industry of which Anasuya’s trailblazing activism helped to protect. The Hyatt Regency Ahmedabad offers the perfect base to explore the central business district and surrounding areas, just a short drive from the Calico Museum.
While studying at LSE, Anasuya was inspired by the local suffragette movement. The school itself is based in Westminster, on the boundary between Covent Garden and Holborn, historically known as Clare Market. Nearby Apt No 9 is the perfect homestay to explore the local area and be inspired yourself by London’s diverse and bustling streets.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 21,500 respondents were polled (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Respondents completed an online survey between August 10th to August 30th, 2018.