Books and traveling… Two of my most favorite things in life.
If I´m not reading / book blogging or going after my highly demanding duties as a mom and wife I´m always on tour. And by on tour I don´t mean hopping in the car and visiting surrounding cities. I mean I actually do some serious country hopping.
Some say it´s because I´m an Aquarius ( I fail to see that connection ). Some say I travel a lot because I´m bored out of my wits….
I think it´goes deeper than that. You see, I´m an Army brat. I´ve been to places. I´ve seen my fair share of countries against my will as a kid ( because moving a lot and having to make new friends at a new school ALWAYS sucked ). Years ago, once I settled down and stopped moving, I felt a certain unease. I felt caged by life. It´s funny because, as a kid I wanted nothing more than for my family to settle down. When I became an adult I didn´t want to be settled. I wanted out. And not only out of the house. I wanted out of the country. To be able to see new places, taste new dishes, meet new people and just…. enjoy what the world has to offer.
What I used to hate with a passion became by second greatest passion.
Reading books helped a lot to ease the nerve wrecking itch I felt. I had the power to dive into a story and live wherever the story was set at. But books only helped to a limited extent. I actually WANTED to visit the places I read about. I wanted to be in Paris and sit at a Café and drink hot chocolate while watching tourists and Parisians pass by. I wanted to walk through the Black Forest and feel the Snow White aura.
But reading about those fabulous places and seeing them with your own eyes are two completely different things.
Sure, I could gush over the beautiful details talented authors provide. And I do. I soak up every stinking detail authors give on certain places. Some writers are brilliant at painting a picture for a reader.
But wouldn´t it be even better to visit those places that inspired authors to include in their stories?
My grande idea: Visit the places I loved so much in books.
I´d like to clarify something real quick before I´m shoved into an unloving category.
I live in central Europe. In Germany, to be exact. And, flights are super cheap within Europe. I can be in a lot of places within 1 – 2 hours ( flight!) for a more than affordable price. Of course, taking the car is also cheap. But who wants to sit in a car for 12 hours when they can book a flight to the UK for 14.00 Euros pP. ?
Here are the books that inspired me to travel. Cities and countries I highly recommend any book lover ( and non book lover ) to visit soon!
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Genre – Time Travel, Historical Fiction, Romance
Set in – Highlands, Scotland
Outlander made me visit Scotland and boy, was I ever grateful I decided to do a short trip through the Highlands. The people were amazingly friendly, the weather was perfect ( for me ). The food was exactly the way I like it – Hearty. It didn´t matter where I went I was surrounded by the magic so many authors swoon about in their stories.
Seven Ages Of Paris – Alistair Horne
Genre – History, Non Fiction
About – Paris, France
What can I say? I´m a sucker for knowledge. I love to learn new things. And…I love to know things. Knowing stuff rocks. Paris is my go – to place when I can´t decide where to travel next. The city is actually not the cleanest but it definitely has that special flair that´s been described in many books. You can literally smell and taste the history when you walk the old streets and visit certain areas of the city. The people aren´t as friendly as they are in the UK but since I´m used to rudeness ( yeah. Germans aren´t known to be a friendly bunch, either ) I have no problem with Parisians.
Goddess Of Yesterday – Caroline B. Cooney
Genre – Fantasy, YA, Mythology
Set in – Greece
I´m some – what of a Greek Mythology geek. For as long as I can remember I´ve loved stories told about the Gods. Hence the reason why I´ll read anything involving Greek Mythology.
Sadly enough, I only have 1 picture from my 2009 Greece vacation because my, then 2 yr old daughter, deleted them. All 200 pictures. But I have those great memories to hang on to. Greece is one of those history packed countries where you can also feel it´s ancient aura. The people are great. The food…. GOOD GODS ABOVE! You´ll think you´re in Heaven when you eat a Gyros Pita. It´s truly no wonder many authors choose Greece for their story and / or write about Greek Mythology.
Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
Genre – Mystery, Historical Fiction
Set in – London, UK
To be honest- this isn´t the book that set off my need to travel to London. Many MANY books before the Fingersmith had accomplished that years before. Still, a great book, though. London belongs to the cities I´ll never grow tired of. The city flair matches no other. It´s a super busy place and I get lost every time I´m there. The people “bless” me all the time ( which can get confusing because I only use the term when someone sneezes ). Plus- I get to see my bestie when I visit. London is just THE place to be.
Zoo Station – Christiane F.
Genre – Non Fiction, Biography
Set in – Berlin, Germany
This was the first book I read that was set in Berlin. Of course, the true story of a teenage drug addict didn´t necessarily inspire me to travel to Berlin. The book itself is not for the faint of heart but still worth reading ( even if it´s to cure teenagers from taking drugs. THAT´S how graphic this book is). No. It wasn´t Christiane F´s story that made me want to visit the city with depressing history. I´ve always been some – what of a fan of the Golden 20´s era in Berlin. I thought some of that magic was still lurking around ( like it does with Paris and London ) but, nope. I´d say Berlin is my LEAST favorite city in all Europe. It´s just…. super modern and super sad. You get an awful lot of reminders of how Berlin ( or Germany, for that matter) had once suffered. I understand the importance of history. But… there´s needs to be a break somewhere. Still, the place is packed with tourists from all over the world.
PS, I Love You – Cecelia Ahern
Genre – Romance, Chick Lit
Set In – Ireland
Ireland is the place I want to retire at. I want to spend the rest of my glorious old days on the small Island, preferably out in the country, living in a cozy cottage, surrounded by sheep. I LOVE Ireland. Ever since I read PS, I Love You I wanted to visit. And when I did I refused to leave. What a beautiful place. The weather is definitely something you could argue over but the rest? That´s the place I want to be. I can hear Ireland calling my name.
Midnight In Sicily – Peter Robb
Genre – Non Fiction, Cultural
Set In – Sicily, Italy
While Sicily isn´t and has never been on my Top 10 list of place I want to travel, Italy was.
This book is a glorious piece of wonderful, but I sort of lost interest in visiting Sicily. IT`S DANGEROUS! People don´t gossip for nothing. And when someone writes a great book on the good and bad of that Island then you´ll think twice before booking a flight. But the rest of Italy is fantabulous! My favorite cities are, without a doubt, Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence and Pisa ( because I tackle all the tourist favorites before getting lost in the middle of nowhere).
And then there´s Pasta. Need I say more?
Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm – The Grimm Brothers
Genre – Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Children, Classic
Set In – Germany
I really REALLY don´t want to toot my horn, here. Seriously, I don´t. But there is NO WAY I can leave this one out. I live just a handful of miles away from where the Grimm Brothers were born and where they grew up. Yupp. I´ve walked through the forest where they got some of their inspiration for their Fairy Tales. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Yes. My all time favorite Fairy Tale story tellers. Of course, I was unaware of that fact for years ( It took 5 years after moving to Germany for someone to point that little fun fact out. 5 YEARS!), which makes the whole situation more exciting for me. their history is just a short car drive away from my house! It´s a feeling that comes close to winning the lottery.
Of course, there are quite a few more places I´ve been to but those countries / cities had nothing to do with books / story settings.
Is there a book that inspired you to travel somewhere? Where was the destination? Or have you ever taken a literary – themed vacation? Is there a book place you´d love to travel to?
I hope you enjoyed my little travel / book inspiration adventure. Thank you for reading! ❤
Morgana ❤ ❤