Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Travel Guides? No Thanks.

There are travel guides and there are travel books. For me, the former for the most part are a complete waste of time. A year or so after publication, they are mostly out of date and are of little use. I've always held the belief that to experience a place as yet unseen, better to go for and 'individual experience' whether it be now, or from times past, when Brits abroad, was less than common particularly on the continent.
'Portal To Paradise', written in 1955 by the English writer and poet Cecil Roberts is a 'must read' for anybody visiting Genoa or Alassio in Northern Italy. His descriptions of those places and others just leap of the page, it's almost like you are there with him, walking by his side, experiencing both the sound and colour of post war Southern Europe. And many of the places he talks about are still there for you to enjoy. The book even contains beautiful black and white photographs, so you can stand in the same location and see and feel what he saw.
Closer to home, his book 'And So To Bath' is a wonderful, novel-cum-travel guide of the old Bath Road from London to the South West in the days before the onslaught of motorways and traffic jams. Sheer unapologetic nostalgia for today's readers,  and again beautifully written. Seek out and enjoy.

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