Lonely Planet is most famous for its guide books but Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing is a collection of 26 travelogue stories rather than the more familiar facts and figures publication.
Some well known names in (and out of) the travel world author the pages: Jan Morris, Simon Winchester and Pico Iyer and there’s a particularly amusing tale from Danny Wallace who is dazzled by the kindness of his Czech fixer in Prague.
After a frosty start, he lets go of his inhibitions and allows his new found friend to take him out on the town, introduce him to friends, buy him food, even invite him to sleep on his sofa (despite Wallace’s protests).
“These Czechs are alright” thinks Wallace, warmed by his experience. But the warmth soon goes cold. On the way to the airport, the fixer presents Wallace with a hefty bill, which not only covers the cost of all Wallace’s meals and beer, but the cost of all the beer and food of everyone he met and a charge for sleeping on the sofa!
Each story is just a few pages long, but topics are wide ranging; from adventures in the Ethiopian outback to Iraqi train journeys; from the hunt for Turkish tigers to somewhere you will never have heard of but may be closer to home than you realise: Kanasankatan.
For fans of travel writing, this book is a taster menu from which you can choose something more meaty if you find something you like. Showcasing a broad selection of writing styles and topics in one book, a short bio is given for each author, so you can easily track down more of the their writing if you wish.
Overall, Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing is a very good collection of some great travel writing and for fans of intrepid travellers’ tales, this is recommended reading.
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