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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Bluelist 2007: The Best in Travel

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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bookBluelist 2007: The Best in Travel by Lonely Planet Books covers an astounding variety of places and kinds of travel.  Its publisher describes it as ‘a conversation about travel’ and it is always changing pace like a lively chat.


Lonely Planet created a dictionary definition for their ‘new word’ bluelist (which seems a little over the top).  Bluelist (blu`list) v. To recommend a travel experience.


The book begins with the ‘Travelers Pulse 2007’ – its reader’s favorite countries – which are pretty traditional destinations, the top five being Australia, New Zealand, USA, Italy, and Thailand.  On each they point out a region of choice and some ‘sights unseen’, some alternatives to the over-traveled hotspots.


Next there are the ‘Bluelists’ – interesting ‘best of lists’ from the best middle of nowhere places to most amazing natural phenomena to most obscure festivals.  Topping the list of best journeys is ballooning over Luxor, Egypt, floating in a gondola around Venice, and experiencing the Trans-Siberian railway.  Best value destinations were Indonesia, Croatia, and the United Arab Emirates (not the cities, though!).  The most eccentric places to stay were Mammut Snow Hotel in Finland, a Bedouin tent in Jordan, and the Imperial Boat House Hotel in Thailand.


 If you’re interested in where the US scored highest it was the ‘Best music and place combinations’ category with 4 of the top ten.  Hip-hop and rap & New York was at #1, and the others were country & Nashville, jazz & New Orleans, and blues & Chicago (but don’t forget that #2 is salsa & Havana, Cuba!).


The featured section is on ‘Dark Tourism’ – ‘travel sites associated with death, disaster, and depravity’ though this was my least favorite part of the book.  It focuses on sites of natural disasters, war memorials, and ‘tasteless tours’ like the Jack the Ripper tour in London.  It talks about the type of person that is fascinated with these sites where very bad things happened and how some people go too early after a disaster when tourism resembles more of a sick voyeurism, but after an appropriate healing time-sites like Tuol Sleng in Cambodia, Auschwitz, and Ground Zero are fine to visit.  On a more positive note were the people who are involved in aid and relief volunteering which became popular during the Asian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, and hurricane Katrina.


Finally the 30 countries or cities on ‘The Go List’ that are on the rise and they discuss what to see, festivals and events, and travel tips.  For some destinations on the list, the writers urged travelers to go now before the places are completely outed and become tourist traps.


There is also a reference list of every country in the world in the back with a mini description of each. 


This great book requires no linear thinking- it is one which you can just open to any page and see where you end up; I especially enjoyed the bluelists and the go lists.  If you can’t find something of interest in this varied, eccentric book I’d be shocked.  That being said, the book just briefly touches upon most of its highlighted destinations, so it is definitely more a book of ideas rather than for planning.


Bluelist 2007: The Best in Travel, Lonely Planet Books 2007, $19.95


©Christina Kay Bolton


Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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