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Displaying items by tag: travel book reviews

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Forever Paris

ParisFor those of us not familiar with the ins and outs of Paris, this book will take you on one small adventure at a time, making sure you don’t miss the little things. It’s a small pocket-size book, but what it offers within its pages is invaluable. 

The book is in two parts. The first being maps or walks around the city; there are twenty-five in total. Most consist of five places you will visit all within the same area. The only thing required are good shoes and the desire to spend a leisurely day walking the neighborhood. Each map is based on a person and where they visited on their own adventure in Paris. As you travel to each destination you can read a small anecdote about the place you’re visiting. It could be a burial site, a secret rendezvous or the author might suggest coming back in the evening to have a drink and watch a show. Each place has its own story to tell. 

The second part of this book is a small essay on each person that a walk is based on. I found this to be fascinating and full of information. The author takes you through the lives of Picasso, Julia Child, Ernest Hemingway and of course Marie Antoinette and so many others. The book is chock-full of small gems about the people that have traveled through Paris. Not too many travel books can keep my attention from the front cover to the back, but this one has just the right amount of research, personal opinion and direction. 

If you find yourself in Paris and are not sure where to go or what to do, this book will be a wonderful guide in helping you discover places not always on the beaten path. You’ll discover where Monet painted, Coco Chanel’s apartment, and so many other spots unique to Paris. The city will come alive and at least for a day you will walk in the same footprints as those before you. 

Forever Paris, Christina Henry de Tessan, Chronicle Books

©Antoinette Marie

Published in ink
Sunday, 30 October 2011

The World’s Must-See Places

InkThe World’s Must-See Places is a compilation of 103 sights not to miss. All the places mentioned are human-made – from famous spots such as the Taj Mahal and Versailles to less widely known places such as Krak des Chevaliers in Syria and Pura Ulun Danu Batur in Bali.

If you’re interested in natural wonders this is not the book for you, but if you’re inspired by architectural wonders and human history these places are great choices to visit. Many traditional castles and cathedrals in Europe are highlighted as well as modern designs such as the Guggenheim.  All of the recently voted ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ such as Machu Picchu, Petra, and the Great Wall of China are included with the notable exception of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue.

This coffee table book is loaded with pictures and has 3-D drawings of each building or monument and a brief history with highlights of what to see while you’re there. It covers every continent though the large majority are located in Europe and Asia.

If you need ideas about where to go next pick up The World’s Must-See Places for inspiration.

The World’s Must-See Places, DK Publishing, 2011

(c)Christina Bolton

Published in ink
Thursday, 28 October 2010

Somewhere South of Tuscany


TuscanySomewhere South of Tuscany, by Diana Armstrong, is the story of an American buying a home in Lubriano— a small Italian village near Umbria; and restoring the house while being slowly integrated into the community.


Armstrong and her husband rented houses in the area for several years before deciding to take the plunge into homeownership when they found a place with a stunning view. In buying a place from a local baroness, they were surprised when she stripped the house of everything before they closed on the sale. Restoration was quite a process involving learning to understand the Italian way of doing things and making many discoveries such as finding a well inside one of their walls.


Armstrong is a chef and includes many recipes— from classics to her own creations. Though rambling at times, this book is often funny, with likeable personas who are just as concerned with having a good meal as creating a home. They seem to be practicing the art of “La Dolce Vita.”


The picture she paints of her life in the local village is where the book inspires. She visits the local butcher, markets, and wineries for the ingredients of the many recipes she showcases. From traditional peasant dishes cooked in the dying embers of a fire, to carefully explained recipes from her neighbors, to her own creations, there are plenty of recipes to keep you busy. The question remains whether the recipes could possibly taste as good outside of Italy with its emphasis on the freshness and quality of ingredients. In one exchange with a neighbor, she learns why no one seems to patronize one of the two butcher’s shops in town—because they are suspected of getting meat from a wholesaler (gasp!).


This book would be a good read for anyone planning to purchase and restore a house in Italy and offers some classic Italian recipes to boot.



Somewhere South of Tuscany, Diana Armstrong, 2010



©Christina K Bolton

Published in ink
Monday, 03 May 2010

The Sweet Life in Paris

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz offers anecdotes about living in the city of lights as well as recipes to inspire your inner chef. Lebowitz, a pastry chef from San Francisco moves to Paris and while settling in experiences a series of humorous adjustments to Parisians and their lifestyle. .

Published in ink

Off the Tourist Trail: 1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives by Eyewitness Travel (with a foreword by Bill Bryson) is an inspiring book offering a plethora of choices for the traveler who feels beleaguered by crowds of tourists and the hawks they spawn.

Published in ink
Friday, 03 July 2009

Good Night and God Bless

Good Night and God Bless by Trish Clark is a guide to the best monastery and convent accommodations in Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The book begins with the author’s tale of how she stumbled upon staying in a convent guesthouse in Rome when the hostel she normally stayed at was overbooked. Seeing that it was a fine place for a traveler to stay and it required no religious affiliation or attendance, she began seeking these places out.

Published in ink

I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany by Mark Greenside is a memoir about an artistic couple who decide to spend the summer in Brittany, France.

Published in ink
Monday, 05 May 2008

The Art of Travel

For those who are addicted to travel – who plan their next vacation as soon as they return; who look for a plane, train, boat, anything to move from A to B – one constant underlying question pervades: Why?  Why do we love travel?  Why do we feel the need to escape our comfort zone and dive into the foreign?  Most importantly, what do we expect to get out of it?
Published in ink

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