Lonely Planet California by Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet California (Travel Guide)Lonely Planet California by Lonely Planet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FORGET La La Land. Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, writer, and statesman whose ingenious wit melded with erudition and humanity endeared him to the American public urged the people on the East Coast, especially educated unmarried women in the east – to move to California for its primordial beauty: “Fly, scatter through the country, go to the Great West, anything rather than remain here.” Also, Henry David Thoreau described California as a pristine virgin land where a terrestrial River of Lethe flew the Lethe of the Pacific. The collective literary rhapsody comes to life in this world-famous travel book with its signature vivid colorful pictures and detailed, itemized information on the region in suavely offhand  convivial narrative style that entices you to love California at first sight.

Abundant with its rustic and restive natural beauty unsurpassed by glamour of tinsel cities and its unique melding of multifarious cultures and rich history, California is a sun-kissed prize of the States. Take a hiking in Mt. Shasta, and this awe-inspiring mountain will stir your imagination and makes you believe it a home of a sky-spirit as the native tribe believe. If you are in mood for being in touch with the caress of the blue waves away from the meele and reality just for one day, you can elope with your beloved or with your own weary self to Big Sur. Nested against mysterious-looking redwood forests, the Big Sur Coast has all the elements for being a lovers’ paradise where you can be in your most unguarded self and be a Phoebe Cates or her lover in movie Paradise. On the next day, a visit to Santa Barbara will be quite a cultural feat by visiting the 18th century villas, shops, and churches built by Spanish conquistadors and priests. Or you and your fido friend can do some super-fun splashes or even venture surfing at Huntington Beach on weekends. And of course, there are Disneyland and Universal Studio if you want to meet your favorite characters from childhood and roll with what the best amusement parks can provide to your wildest dream at the best.

This book is a comprehensive overview of the places and history of California in addition to rich remedial information on the rates of currency and estimated expenses expected of traveling the region if you come from a different country. Written by several veteran globe trotters and well-traveled Californians in compilation, reading the book will give you a sensation of listening to your friend’s travelogue or experiencing a jolly tour guide by an amiable cicerone all to yourself for free. Moreover, the book will equip your mind with knowledge of the region, so that when you actually go there, you will appreciate the beauty of the region like never before.

Italy Dreamin’

Amalfi Coast photo book, Italy (60 photos) : Europe series 4Amalfi Coast photo book, Italy (60 photos) : Europe series 4 by Akira Okubo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

When my spirit feels weary of existential dealings of daily life and whets a desire of carefree escapade from the reality I am anchored in, I tend to daydream about places I want to travel alone. John Steinbeck once admitted that oftentimes, reading magazines and books full of colorful pictures of foreign countries would be more satisfying than actually going there, save all the hustling and bustling, flotsam and jetsam related to traveling. Hence my choice was this beautiful pictorial read of Amalfi Coast in Italy on my Kindle Fire. The delightful pix of southern Italy will take you out of your humdrum life while looking at them; they bring vibrancy of the ambience of the region to your eyes and allure your heart to the romance with the beauty in a heartbeat, alone with yourself.  The rustic and restive sensuousness of the scenery as vividly illustrated in the pictures will dazzle the reader’s eye like a beautiful paramour secretly pleading with you not to leave.

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It’s a Strange Place, England by Jack Strange

It's A Strange Place, EnglandIt’s A Strange Place, England by Jack Strange

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jack Strange’s England is never a bore; it is a mystifying country with its tempestuous history and colorful characters populated by the ever undead of the bygone eras still roaming their past abodes or workplaces among the quick. It is a quaint country where history meets myth and legend. This book will guide the reader to Strange England where fanciful folklores and historical facts are anchored in the traditions and customs.

The author admits that England is perhaps arguably one of the most haunted countries in the world, thanks to its religiously and politically tempestuous pasts spanning the wheel of time from the Roman colonial period to the present. To illustrate, in Derbyshire a spectral Roman sentinel is often seen leading a parade of a circus comprising gladiators, chariots, and slaves, then all of them disappear into the mist. Another lovelorn Roman soldier is witnessed alongside Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, wandering in despair of his betrayed love for a fair English maiden. The phantom English residents also encompass the Benedictine monks led by St, Cuthbert in Lindisfarne, which was a target for frequent raiding by Norsemen who also threatened the cradle of English Christianity. It is said that the best time to see the saint or the monks is when the tides are high and a full moon lights the shore as a natural lantern.

England is also a home of many interesting sports that are historically – and sometimes by happenstance – originated. The World Gurning Championship in Egremont in Cumbria was originated in 1267 when the Lord of the manor gave out crabapples to the locals. One can imagine without difficulty the consequence of tasting the apple, and thus can master the art of making as ugly face as possible. Hence this hilarious tournament comes to exist to this day. It’s open to everyone – yes, even to the fairest of all – , and it’s all about fun and participation. Also, there is Black Pudding Throwing Championship in Ridge, Lancashire. Originated in 1455, this tournament shows English humor mixed with historical irony, which makes it all the more convincing. It was during the period of “War of the Roses” elegantly referred by Sir Walter Scott (who was a Scot) to the feud between the House of York whose symbol was a white rose and the House of Lancashire a red rose. At the Battle of Stubbins in Lancashire in 1455, both forces decided to throw puddings at one another instead of lances. Believe it or not, the descendents still commemorate the incident by holding a championship every year with mirthful popularity.

Subsequent to Strange Tales of the Sea, the author Jack Strange has done a marvelous job gleaning the extensive historical documents and cultural artifacts from his tireless research to provide his reader with interesting facts about his England. Strange is a gifted artificer who digs artifacts buried in the depths of forgotten times and lost folklores. Strange is also a mysteriously reclusive figure himself because there’s no personal information about him. Maybe that’s why his writings are so hauntingly attractive and oddly addictive. Strange is an excellent storyteller who weaves a tapestry  of legends and folklores imbued with his impressive knowledge of the history of England and his English humor permeated in his writings. This book is Strange’s winking invitation to his beloved England that spins a general image of the country with enchanting oddity and wide-eyed wonder that the readers will not tire of.

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