Saturday, October 17, 2009

Traveling oddities

We have a slew of guidebooks that cover pretty much every continent (there is actually a Lonely Planet guide to Antarctica out there, but we don't own it). Interspersed with all those Frommer's, Fodor's, Lonely Planets and Eyewitness guides are some other travel books that can actually be read purely for pleasure. Here's some new ones:
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. Steves is a travel guru, having written his first guidebook almost 30 years ago; he has also produced a very successful PBS series (Rick Steves' Europe). In this book, however, he muses on one of the hidden benefits of travel: acting as an ambassador for your country. He talks about visiting the former Yugoslavia after the war, of the hospitality of Iranians, and the attitude of Europeans towards Americans. He advocates choosing travel destinations that allow you to truly learn about a nation and her people, rather than just shopping for cheap curios and lying on the beach. He promises you a more rewarding vacation experience, and I think he's right on the mark.
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle by Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens. Since I live in Alaska, I generally view my forays to Seattle as an opportunity to suck up a little urban living: good food, funky architecture, artistic events and lots of shopping. But if you're planning on an extended stay in the Puget Sound area and you need to knock the urban grime off a bit, then you might enjoy sampling some of the beautiful day hikes near Seattle. There are plenty of large city parks to choose from, or you could head all the way out to Mount Rainer National Park or the Snoqualmie Pass area.
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne. You're biking through various cities around the world with Talking Heads-frontman Bryne. Need I say more?

No comments: