When we are not out on the road exploring new destinations, we love to read about travel!
From a Native-narrative history of Canada to a flying trip around Africa and walks across Europe, here are eight books that are sure to make you want to travel.
Borderland: A Journey Through The History Of Ukraine - by Anna Reid Centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the tenth century, then divided between warring neighbours for a millennium, Ukraine finally won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tiring of their own corrupt governments, Ukrainians have since mounted two popular revolutions, taking to the streets to demand fair elections and closer ties to Europe. In the spring of 2014, Russia responded by invading Crimea and sponsoring a civil war in the Russian-speaking Donbass. Threatened by Moscow, misunderstood in the West, Ukraine hangs once more in the balance. Speaking to pro-democracy activists and pro-Russia militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's famine, Anna Reid combines history and travel-writing to unpick the past and present of this bloody and complex borderland.
Ancient Land, Ancient Sky - The true story of the discovery of Canada - by Peter McFarlane and Wayne Haimila Two men - one Native, the other of Irish descent - fly from Newfoundland to British Columbia in a small plane on an adventure into Canadian history, tracing from the air the original routes of Europeans into Canada over 500 years ago, dropping down into native communities in out-of-the-way places to meet with descendants of the people who first greeted the arriving explorers. Ancient Land, Ancient Sky offers an essential view of Canada and encouragement for a new national integrity - a must read for all Canadians.
My Heart is Africa: A Flying Adventure - by Scott Griffin In 1996, successful businessman and certified pilot, Scott Griffin, decided to break from the comfortable routine of his life to go work for the Flying Doctors Service, an African organization that flies doctors to remote areas to administer medical assistance. Griffin also made the daring decision to fly his small, single-engine Cessna 180 solo from Canada to Africa and back again. My Heart is Africa is the engaging, personal story of Griffin’s two-year aviation adventure throughout Africa. Facing storms, equipment problems, fuel shortages and isolation, Griffin successfully made his way to Kenya – little did he know, his harrowing flight over the Atlantic was only the beginning of his adventure. Once in Africa, Griffin circumnavigated the continent, flying over deserts, mountains and jungles both as a medical volunteer and tourist. Throughout his journey – which included being arrested and crashing, then re-crashing, his plane – Griffin discovered the heartrending humanity and beauty of Africa.
From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East - by William Dalrymple
In 587 a.d., two monks set off on an extraordinary journey that would take them in an arc across the entire Byzantine world, from the shores of the Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. On the way John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist stayed in caves, monasteries, and remote hermitages, collecting the wisdom of the stylites and the desert fathers before their fragile world finally shattered under the great eruption of Islam. More than a thousand years later, using Moschos's writings as his guide, William Dalrymple sets off to retrace their footsteps and composes "an evensong for a dying civilization"
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason - recommended by your fellow traveller David Beres In 1886 a shy, middle-aged piano tuner named Edgar Drake receives an unusual commission from the British War Office: to travel to the remote jungles of northeast Burma and there repair a rare piano belonging to an eccentric army surgeon who has proven mysteriously indispensable to the imperial design. From this irresistible beginning, The Piano Tuner launches its protagonist into a world of seductive loveliness and nightmarish intrigue. And as he follows Drake’s journey, Mason dazzles readers with his erudition, moves them with his vibrantly rendered characters, and enmeshes them in the unbreakable spell of his storytelling.
A Time of Gifts - by Patrick Leigh Fermor, In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the reader with him as far as Hungary. It is a book of compelling glimpses - not only of the events which were curdling Europe at that time, but also of its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers, the sun on the Bavarian snow, the storks and frogs, the hospitable burgomasters who welcomed him, and that world's grandeurs and courtesies. His powers of recollection have astonishing sweep and verve, and the scope is majestic. First published to enormous acclaim, it confirmed Fermor's reputation as the greatest living travel writer, and has, together with its sequel Between the Woods and the Water (the third volume is famously yet to be published), been a perennial seller for 25 years.
Between the woods and the water - Patrick Leigh Fermor The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot proved so rich in experiences that when he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. The opening of this book finds Leigh Fermor crossing the Danube—at the very moment where his first volume left off. A detour to the luminous splendors of Prague is followed by a trip downriver to Budapest, passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into Transylvania. Remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges that are the haunt of bears, wolves, eagles, gypsies, and a variety of sects are all savored in the approach to the Iron Gates, the division between the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans, where, for now, the story ends.
Walking the woods and the water - Nick Hunt Aged eighteen, Nick Hunt read A Time of Gifts (above) and dreamed of following in Fermor's footsteps. In 2011 he began his own great trudge - on foot all the way to Istanbul. He walked across Europe through eight countries, following two major rivers and crossing three mountain ranges. Using Fermor's books as his only travel guide, he trekked some 2,500 miles through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. His aim? To have an old-fashioned adventure. To slow down and linger in a world where we pass by so much, so fast. To discover for himself what remained of hospitality, kindness to strangers, freedom, wildness, adventure, the mysterious, the unknown, the deeper currents of myth and story that still flow beneath Europe's surface.