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1000 Places to see Before You Die by Patricia Schultz
RRP for the paperback edition is £10.49 with free P&P from Amazon or 1p plus P&P used
Hardback is £19.04 with free P&P
Kindle does not seem to be an option.
This book was a gift from my daughter when she moved out of the family home and down to London. She gave it to us to say thank you for all our help with moving her down there. This was the start of our Travel book collection and has been the inspiration for many of our trips.
This one is a very chunky paperback of nearly 1000 pages of fairly small print with quite a large number of smaller black and white photos. This has none of the beautiful colour photos to marvel at and is more of a reference that some of the other books we have with lovely colourful pictures that really tempt you to visit that place. I wouldn't describe this as a coffee table book but neither would it be the sort of book that you read from cover to cover as it has an amazing number of places that are described in some detail.
I do love the quotation on the inside front cover:
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." - Anonymous but I wish I could be credited with it!
Another interesting aspect also on the inside front cover the author states that although they have made every effort to ensure what they have printed is accurate if you spot anything out of date or incorrect then contact the publisher via the website www.workman.com/1000places which I think is very honest and straightforward of them.
ON TO THE BOOK ITSELF
The book is set out in continents initially and then within each continent individual countries are taken one by one and with each country the 'must see' sites are then each written about one by one. The contents page does list where you will find each different country by page number. If you want to look up a specific site then the index at the back is where you need to turn. At the start of each continent chapter there is a political map in black and white so that you can see which countries are covered in that section.
This is a very thorough book and it deals with a huge number of entries for each country but I find the way it is laid out within the countries is really not user friendly at all. So although the initial breakdown of continent to country is very easy to follow once you get to the actual sites listed there is no logic at all. I would have thought alphabetical order would be logical for the entries but they are not in any logical order that I can work out.
In the England section it starts with 'Cliveden' then 'Windsor castle' then 'Chester', so to me no logic has been applied at all there. They are not grouped into cities, castles, restaurant, and hotels either. This to me is a huge error as it makes browsing for places to visit where going to a certain country very difficult. At least Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland/Northern Ireland each get separate sections. Within the England section 'London' has its own mini section but why this was not at the start of the 'England' section doesn't make sense either as it is arbitrarily in the middle.
Once you get to the USA at least the states are in alphabetical order which makes it a little more user friendly, why they couldn't have done that for England and the counties I don't understand.
The other thing I find a bit annoying about this book and its list of 'Must See' places is that a huge number of these are very expensive hotels. Now we don't mind treating ourselves to somewhere special occasionally but we really cannot bring ourselves to stay in a hotel which costs about £500 for ONE night. That is a good chunk of a holiday budget to spend on one night. We have just booked a week away in Scotland at four different hotels for less than that and they are not (I hope) rubbish hotels but they are nothing flash either. We are more interested in seeing the places in the area than the hotel. That doesn't mean to say that we won't go and have a Singapore Sling at 'Raffles' or something like our Afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.
Some places that are really fascinating and I would put in my list are not given any space at all in this book so it is not an exhaustive list merely one person's collection of what they consider to be "1000 Places to see before you Die". Other people might have a completely different idea of what these 1000 places should be. This is, of course what these books are, simply an inspiration for anyone who likes travelling and also enjoys lists and challenges.
Rather sadly I am sure some people will think, our copy has little stickers throughout the book on the places where we have been. We do like challenges and this book is a major challenge. There is no way we would ever achieve visiting all the 1000 Places and there are many we have no chance of ever visiting and one of these is the 'Highland Sing Sing Festival' in Mount Hagen ,Papua New Guinea. PNG is not the safest place to visit and although I have been to Port Moresby, Mount Hagen is a distance away without any easy transport and no where to stay so really places like that are for BBC travel journalists rather than your average traveller.
Although this book has a lot of negatives that I have discussed, it is still one of the first books we turn to when planning our holidays. We decide where we are going then look up in all our travel inspiration books to see if anything is suggested in any of them. Once we have these suggestions we then turn to the internet for further ideas. I think this book is a wonderful one to refer to in this way. It does have telephone numbers and prices though of course as it becomes further from its publication date this are liable to be different so you cannot totally rely on them.
It is nice to have a few photos but they don't compare to the books we have with wonderful colour plates. They are really no more than a bit of interest of the pages and break up the pages of solid text a little.
The style of writing is factual and there is very little opinion or poetic use of language so if that is what you are looking for this is not the book for you.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Yes ,if you are interested in travelling and also enjoy lists and these kinds of books. I realise they are an acquired taste and obviously for someone who doesn't enjoy travel this will be of no interest at all. I wouldn't describe this as an armchair travel book either as the photos are not that great and certainly not anything that you would say 'wow' to.
Written for the Relay-ables dooyoo relay team
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