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501 Must Visit Cities
Member Name: catsholiday
501 Must Visit Cities
Advantages: Nicely presented book with just enough info to pique your interest
Disadvantages: Strange logic to the order of the cities
ISBN - 978-0-753716-03-8
This is yet another of my many travel inspiration books that grace our shelves and get thumbed through regularly. We use ours as more that just coffee table books as we read them thoroughly prior to visiting any destination and when we come back we put stickers on the pages of places we have been.
But as the publishers of the book say; "501 Must Visit Cities is an invaluable source of inspiration for those seeking to explore the great cities of the world, either in reality or from the comfort of an armchair!"
ONE OF MANY
" 501 Destinations Your must visit" 501 Must Visit Cities is part of a series of books that list the best of the best of and Must see places, movies or events or natural wonders and so on. These kind of books we love as we get quite inspired by lists and are both counting our countries visited as we travel and it is getting quite competitive!
This specific book has a one or sometimes a double page spread on each of the chosen cities. These cities are chosen by the authors and as such it is not necessarily going to be the cities you personally might choose but then you also might read about a city that you had not previously had on your list to visit but then you find out some little feature that grabs your attention and then you have another one to add to your personal list of cities to visit.
The book features a range of cities from famous capitals through to some quite small cities that have something of special interest. So you find London, Edinburgh and St Davids from the UK as well as ones that may well not be on your list these days as they are in war torn areas like Kabul for example.
The book is arranged in five sections, each covering a major continent or part of the world. These sections are:
*Europe and The Middle East
*Australia and New Zealand
*Americas and Caribbean
After this the sections are broken down yet again into sub sections and then again into countries. I have to say I didn't find the layout that obvious and I would have preferred continents then countries. As it is I rarely look for a city but use it rather as an inspiration and look through section by section just reading each as I come to them so it doesn't really matter to me.
So if you are looking for Glasgow, which is the last city we actually looked for then you first head for - Europe and the Middle East, then Western Europe then Scotland.
What I find rather annoying is that although there are blocks of countries according to region once you get to that section there appears to be no logic to the order of either the countries of the cities so that can be a bit irritating. I found the easiest way to find a specific city was to head straight to the index and look it up there as that is at least in alphabetical order.
USING THE CITY GUIDE
Once we'd found Glasgow which was the city we planned to visit last November we saw a double page with a colour photo of an aerial view of the city, a few paragraphs about the history and sights to see. There is an information sub section giving population and other facts and also 'Don't Miss' which lists the most special parts of the city you should visit. In Glasgow they suggest visiting the Kelvin Art gallery and Museum, the Necropolis, The Provand's Lordship in Castle Street. I have to say we ignored these suggestions as we headed for the Charles Rennie Mackintosh sights but we did also visit the Cathedral and necropolis, however it did give us the idea of visiting the necropolis which we hadn't thought of before.
Also on the page we are told that "Daniel Defoe of 'Robinson Crusoe' fame called Glasgow 'the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain, London excepted.' " Made me smile!
According to the cover price it should be £25 but I got mine from TK Maxx for about £5 and I believe it is probably on sale in reduced price book shops like 'The Works' by now so have a look around before buying if you are interested. I don't think i would pay £25 but for £5 it is good value.
WHAT OTHER CITIES MIGHT SURPRISE YOU IN THERE?
I Was surprised to find Rio de Janeiro only got a single page spread as did Buenos Aires as both these cities have some much to see and do there. Cities I have never heard of are in the book such as Tarija in Bolivia and Bagerhat in Bangladesh , Yaroslavl in Russia and Gostivar in Macedonia but that might say more about my ignorance than the choice of the cities in the book.
I do find I learn a lot from books like this. I love looking through them and reading about different places as I find it both educational and inspirational. I like the fact that it is not overly informative. It gives just enough information to be interesting and should I want to learn more I can then look the place up to find out more.
I have found cities that I have never heard of before and also found out things about cities I thought I knew quite well.
I find the lack of obvious organisation annoying but if using the book just to look through this is less of a problem that if you are after one in particular. The index is actually handy as both the countries and the cities are listed alphabetically. Why the cities cannot be listed alphabetically within each country beats me but that would seem the obvious way to me.
This is available in hardback and has to be read at a table or sitting up. You would struggle to hold this and read it in bed as it is pretty heavy.
Other books in this series are: 501: Days Out in the UK; Must-take Journeys; Must Visit Islands; Must Visit Natural Wonders; Must-drink Cocktails; Destinations; Must Read Books, Must See Movies.
Yes i like it but it is a book that you can easily live without. It is not a travel guide so would not be one yiu would buy to organise a trip somewhere as it tries to cobver too much ground and as such the information is limited.
It has lovely photos, what a great job that must be to travel and take photos of all those places! It is inspirational and educational but not a book I would give someone who was not interested in travel though.
This is not the sort of book that you would sit and read the book from cover to cover. We often have books like this on our kitchen table and we read them at breakfast so you can flick through and read a couple of pages while enjoying you tea and toast. It doesn't matter that you are only there for five minutes or so as each entry is very brief and it makes far more interesting reading than the cereal packet.
Our book has stickers on the cities we have visited and if only one of us has been there it has our initial. We are like big kids really as all our travel books have stickers on the pages. We also have a jigsaw puzzle map of the world stuck on a cork board with pins in it for the countries we have visited. We also have a second one of the British Isles with pins for the cities we have been to. My husband also has a spread sheet of all the countries in the world with columns for those countries we have visited, planning to visit, and finally a third column for those we have no interest in visiting because of wars or the like.
I haven't actually counted all the cities I have visited but so far I have been to sixty four countries (and another two planned for 2013) according to my husband's spread sheet!
If you like books about different places in the world and enjoy browsing travel books then this is a good buy especially if, like me you can find it for a fiver.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Summary: A great book to educate and inspire the armchair travel to explore further
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