Dreaming of travelling to Europe? This selection of books will have you book your ticket in no time.
Journey Into Cyprus - Colin Thubron
This is an account of a 600-mile trek on foot around Cyprus in the last year of the island`s peace. The author intertwines myth, history and personal anecdote with descriptions of characters, places, architecture and landscape and traces the island's survival through centuries of invasion.
Adventure Coordinators review: Colin Thubron is one of my favourite travel authors and this book put Cyprus firmly on my wishlist. Thubron is a wordsmith and through his poetic descriptions evoked the atmosphere of a place. Take this description of his entering the ruins of Bellapaix Monastery:
"For a moment we were walking in a banked fragrance of flowers where the abbey overhung the hillside, and looking down a hundred feet on swallows crying faintly in the blue. Then all scent and colour had sobered to a cloister where grass and trees echoed old stone. In the centre of the courtyard four cypresses rose with a pencilled melancholy, and the mountain, close beyond, seemed to be pouring into its silence."
The book is full of such wonderful passages. 9 out of 10
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee
Abandoning the Cotswolds village that raised him, the young Laurie Lee walks to London. There he makes a living labouring and playing the violin. But, deciding to travel further afield and knowing only the Spanish phrase for 'Will you please give me a glass of water?', he heads for Spain. With just a blanket to sleep under and his trusty violin, he spends a year crossing Spain, from Vigo in the north to the southern coast. Only the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War puts an end to his extraordinary peregrinations.
Adventure Coordinators review - as interesting insight into Spain pre-WW2; it makes you realize how much has changed in the past 80 years. But the truly interesting part of the story is in the final chapters, as the Civil War engulfs a country ready to be torn apart by its ruling elite. 7 out of 10
Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe - Kapka Kassabova
In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria, from where she emigrated as a girl twenty-five years previously, to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece.
Kassabova discovers a place that has been shaped by successive forces of history: the Soviet and Ottoman empires, and, older still, myth and legend. Her exquisite portraits of fire walkers, smugglers, treasure hunters, botanists, and border guards populate the book. There are also the ragged men and women who have walked across Turkey from Syria and Iraq. But there seem to be nonhuman forces at work here too: This densely forested landscape is rich with curative springs and Thracian tombs, and the tug of the ancient world, of circular time and animism, is never far off.
Border is a scintillating, immersive travel narrative that is also a shadow history of the Cold War, a sideways look at the migration crisis troubling Europe, and a deep, witchy descent into interior and exterior geographies.
Adventure Coordinators review - a gem of a book - I could not put it down. 9.5 out of 10
True North: Travels In Arctic Europe - Gavin Francis
The stark, vast beauty of the remote Arctic Europe landscape has been the focus of human exploration for thousands of years. In this striking blend of travel writing, history and mythology, Gavin Francis offers a unique portrait of the northern fringes of Europe. His journey begins in the Shetland Isles, takes him to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and on to Lapland. Following in the footsteps of the region’s early pioneers, Francis observes how the region has adapted to the 21st century, giving an observed insight into the lives of people he encounters along the way. As with all the best travel writing, True North is an engaging, compassionate tale of self-discovery, whilst blending historical and contemporary narratives in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Robert Macfarlane.
Adventure Coordinators review - well researched and a good read about the furthest reaches of Europe. Some of these areas I have travelled to, which made some of his adventures recognizable. 7.5 out of 10