There are many marvelous travel memoirs out there. Some, written by lyricists like Frances Mayes beautifully portray far flung locations while others by authors such as Bill Bryson and Peter Mayle humorously describe situations that travellers will never forget.
But, there is another type of travel book exemplified by the following two books that offers valuable advice and insight. Food Journeys of A Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe with an introduction by Keith Bellows is published by the National Geographic Society. Unknown, far away and also familiar places are captured in this coffee table style book that has breathtaking and magnificent photos. There are top ten lists for the best wine trips in the world, food festivals, cheese tours of France, famous literary watering holes, outstanding markets, extreme restaurants and more. This is a great book to browse and armchair travel your way through delicious and sometime distasteful (lutefish, anyone?) culinary traditions around the world.
Off the Tourist Trail: 1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives is published by Dorling Kindersley and is the perfect gift book for your friend or family member who has been everywhere. You know, the person who thinks he has seen it all. This book takes the most popular and overvisited destinations around the world and offers some less known and often less expensive, but equally fascinating alternatives. Rather than visiting the overcrowded Colosseum in Rome you might try the Anifiteatro di Merida in western Spain. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival or nightly jazz jams in St. Lucia could make you forget Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. St. Peter’s Basilica is deservedly famous, but no more spectacular than the Suleymaniye Mosque in Turkey. Like the National Geographic book, this volume has postcard quality pictures. Even if you are not planning a trip in the future, you owe it to yourself to order these books and take the trip of a lifetime from the comfort of your favorite chair.