November 06, 2013
Four Seasons of Travel by National Geographic
Oh! All the places I'm probably never going to get to visit. Good thing these sorts of books exist to live vicariously through the authors and their pictures. And this one is a little bit different than a lot because it breaks down the places into the best season to visit.
Obviously, since this is separated into seasons we have entries covering Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter; in that order. And these are United States seasons because in the winter section it will mention places around the world to visit that are actually in their summers (i.e. Antarctica). For each of these seasons there are several places that are highlighted with a page or two and pictures. The places are featured either because of the scenery, local events or music, food and sporting activities. Sometimes a small box would appear with the listing called "In the Know" that told about great places to stay, topics for foodies, and other such tidbits. Interspersed are also Top Ten lists featuring such things as Top Ten Hot Drinks, Top Ten Valentines Spots, etc. And at the end are two pages that have general destinations and activities listed and a Calendar of Events. This makes for a great area to look up things quickly. And in the front of the book is a large map that has all the places numbered and shown.
Spring started the book and it highlighted such areas as Idaho Craters of the Moon, Netherland's Scheveningen, and Romania's Danube Delta. Summer featured Rhode Island's Newport, Norway's Svalbard, and Kakadu National Park. Fall has raptor watching at Hawk Mountain in PA, the Galapagos Islands and Scotland's Shetland Islands. Finally, some of the places for Winter were Easter Island Tapati Rapa Nui, Mallorca and Prague. But these are only a little of the many places that were shown in this book.
I honestly couldn't really tell the different voices that wrote the articles in this book. They were all quite short, often only a few paragraphs and in some cases just a few sentences. So the pictures really showed more of what was going on than the writing did. I really wish there had been more description of the local activities and maybe some side lists of additional things you could do if you went to a location for a specific event. It would have made the book feel a little more complete. But as it is, this is a great coffee table book because of the short snippets of information and the vibrant pictures. I have no complaints on the pictures. The small ones had great clarity and color and the larger ones, while not quite as crisp, were still wonderfully done. They, more than anything, made me want to visit some of the places in the book.
Because this is a large and heavy book, it could be difficult for some people to read. Again, this is where the coffee table book comes into play. Having it on a flat surface is going to work much better for people than picking this up and reading it like you would a novel. So just a word of the wise to people who are looking for more of a pleasure reading travel book.
This was a fun book. I wouldn't say it would be something you'd plan a vacation on, but at least it gives you some ideas to get started. And best of all, it has things in the United States and all over the world, so even if you're not a world traveler, there still may be something for you here.