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Need good books for Frace, Spain, Italy

Travel and Exploration literature

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1AndreaBurke
Dec 30, 2009, 1:53pm Top

Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm leaving in February and would love to read about the places or people from the places where I'll be traveling.

I'll be going to France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, G.B., Greece and maybe Germany. If you have been, I would love if you could recommend small cities or things to see or do specifically.

Thanks so much!

2CarolO
Edited: Dec 30, 2009, 3:04pm Top

I always enjoy buying books while I travel, I always find something interesting.

Bruges Belgium is one of my all time favorite European cities - it is beautiful, quaint and has great chocolate.

I took the trains around Switzerland last fall stopping in Geneva, Luzern, Chur, Pontresina, and Lugano. Switzerland is VERY expensive.

I recommend Kenny's Bookshop in Galway Ireland.

I like all of Peter Mayle's books about living in France, but I think that French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew is a really good one to start with before travelling.

Feel free to look through my library, the books that I buy when I travel are tagged by 'bought in ___"

Sounds like you are going to have a fabulous trip. Happy Travels!

3nemoman
Edited: Jan 3, 2010, 10:11am Top

I envy you. I lived in Germany for three years on the Mosel River near Briedel. I highly recommend touring the Mosel between Koblenz (at its confluence with the Rhine) and Trier (an old Roman capital and a university town). It is quieter and more rural than the Rhine with the best Riesling in the world. Elsewhere in Germany I loved the small town of Meersburg on the Bodensee (Lake Constance). For a book pairing I would recommend Small Boat On The Moselle by Roger Pilkington and Roman Trier And The Treveri. In Switzerland. I loved camping in the Lauterbrunnen Valley with the train ride up through the Eiger to the top of Jungfrau (I do not know about winter operations; however, there is skiing at the top). I also liked a medieval walled city named Murten/Morat.I do not have a lot of Swiss travel books; however, I do recommend La Place De La Concorde Suisse by John McPhee. In France, I love Provence with Aix en Provence my favorite town. Bookwise I would recommend: Two Towns In Provence by MFK Fisher; Provence, From Minstrels To The Machine by Ford Madox Ford; and Ceasar's Vast Ghost by Durrell. In Italy I am partial to Tuscany with my favorite towns being Lucca, Volterra and Cortona. Book recommendation would be Love and War In The Appennines followed by A small Place In Italy both by Eric Newby. My favorite city in Spain is Barcelona. Read Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell. In Greece I particularly like the island of Corfu. Read Prospero's Cell by Lawrence Durell, or a trio of books by his brother Gerald Durrell beginning with My Family And Other Animals, and Birds, Beasts And Relatives concerning ther family's life on the island just prior to WWII.

4AndreaBurke
Jan 2, 2010, 2:45am Top

THANK YOU both for the recommendations!

Carol, My local library actually has some of Peter Mayle's books which I'm planning to pick up tomorrow!

Nemo, Thank you so much for all the information. I've never been and I've been asking around for what to do, where to go specifically, but I can't really get many clear answers. So it's great to hear cities and books I can see and pick up to help me on my way.

I can't wait to read these books, but my library doesn't have them...just an excuse to spend some money at Amazon!

Are either of you doing any traveling this year?

5ReadStreetDave
Jan 2, 2010, 8:19am Top

If you're going to be in Paris, I'd recommend reading The Flaneur by Edmund White and Metro Stop Paris by Gregor Dallas. Both provide interesting social and cultural histories of the city's neighborhoods.
And be sure to visit Shakespeare & Co., a fascinating bookshop. Have a great time!

6CarolO
Jan 3, 2010, 1:41am Top

You're welcome!

I'll give a plug for my favorite Europe travel guru - Rick Steves. His books are very user friendly and he focuses on the small off-the-tourbus-route kind of spots. He has a show on PBS and does a radio show. You can get a ton of information off of his website too at www.ricksteves.com

I've got some family commitments that probably won't allow too much travel this year, but you never know!

7Robreads
Jan 10, 2010, 3:38pm Top

You might want to read The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon -- a book about books and Barcelona.

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