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Unforgettable Places to see Before You Die : Steve Davey
One of many of these type of 'Bucket List' books that grace our shelves and I felt that I should share with you.
This one is a BBC publication but I am not aware if it was based on a programme or series of programmes but it may well have been one we missed. Ours now has little sticker on the places we have managed to visit so that shows how sad we are. It joins the map of the word jigsaw on the wall with pins in it and the one of the UK also with pins stuck in to show where we have been.
We have put our stickers on the pictorial contents pages where all the places are listed with the page numbers and we are doing quite well thank you. The first double page of contents has twenty two places and the second double page lists twenty four places so all together this lists forty six unforgettable places. Between us we have managed to see thirteen of the first twenty two and nine of the second twenty four but sadly my husband has seen some that I haven't and vice versa so we have to have little family discussions as to who is going to re- visit a place and that is always very tense!.
So what do we have that must be seen in this list? What is nice is that quite a few of the places are very easy to visit and these include, Venice in Italy, The Alhambra Palace in Granada ,Spain and Manhattan island in new York, Dubrovnik in Croatia and Monet's water Garden in France as well as one neither of us has yet seen which is the closest and that is Eileen Donan Castle in Scotland. You then have to start going further afield to places like Taj Mahal in India, Grand Canyon, USA, Iguassu Falls in Brazil/Argentina, Rio de Janeiro, College Fjord in Alaska, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and so on.
So once you get past the two double pages listing these 'must see places' with photos to tempt you ,you then come to the text which explains what an unforgettable place is! I would have thought that was pretty obvious but the author goes on to say that not only are they unforgettable but they are the sorts of place that once you know they exist then you feel that you really HAVE to go there. The author also admits that though all the places are special and no one would argue with that but whether you agree that these are the definitive 'must see ' places is very unlikely as everyone feels and sees things differently and that is what the book invites. He says it is a book of what he feels are his must see places and each of us is different. Everyone has a different favourite city so it is very unlikely that this book will have everyone agreeing 100% with his choices.
Once he has admitted that this list is not definitive he then goes on the take each of his forty four places one by one and justify why he has put them in the book. He also sytes that he and his photographer travelled to all the places to retake fresh photographs all within a time frame of nine months. I wish I could have gone along to hold the tripod as this must have been a fabulous nine months! I have quite a few more to tick off his list before starting on the other lists. I do quite like his list as they are places that are on the whole accessible. He doesn't have an odd little temple in Timbuktu or a tribe that can only be reached on foot in the middle of the Venezuelan rainforest; these are reachable places and at present none are in a war zone which is always a bonus.
Let's start with a close and easy to get to choice of Eileen Donan Castle and why he feels this is a 'Must see' place. He feels that this castle "combines a spectacular location and colourful history in a way that makes it everything a British castle should be."
I have not seen the castle but everyone I know who has been says how beautiful it is. The photos look stunning, must have been taken in summer as the sky os blue and the plants are all flowering. His descriptions are vivid and he tells the history of the place before explaining that it is very remote and about 16km from the bridge to the Isle of Skye (which I also have not managed to get to yet as my husband has been in his former marriage) . Driving from either Edinburgh or Glasgow takes about 7 hours so not really a trip you can do in a day. Reading this again has inspired me to try and sort out a Scottish break to this part of the country as I have missed that experience.
Looking further afield why does he feel the lump of red rock stuck in the dessert in Australia is a 'must see ' place? Strangely this is somewhere I have been but I had to visit many years AFTER I had lived in Australia for thirteen years. It is strange how when you live somewhere you always think I'll do that one day and do so many other things further afield but I did manage to go finally only a few years ago.
Not only is the largest monolith in the world but it is also a deeply sacred place for the Aboriginal people in Australia. When you visit you are now requested not to climb up the rock and asked to behave in a respectful manner whilst in this place of special spiritual significance. There is something very magical about the place and I think you get the most from a visit by walking around the rock, choosing a time when it isn't 40+°C in the shade. You do have to wear fly nets too as the flies do somewhat distract from the feeling of spirituality but after walking around find somewhere quiet an just sit and watch the colour change at sunset and sunrise and you cannot fail to be moved by this beautiful rock in the middle of the dessert.
There are a few 'Must See 'places in the book that is fairly high on my list of 'must see' places and apart from Eileen Donan Castle we have Dubrovnik, the Galapagos Islands, Easter island Lhasa in Tibet. Ones in the book that I totally agree with because I have been to visit them are the Taj Mahal in India, Ephesus in Turkey, the Grand Canyon, The Bund in Shanghai and Machu Picchu in Peru. There are so many more and I could go on forever but I think you probably get the idea.
The book is an easy read, one you can dip in and out of. You can read each place's section as it is by itself of read the book from cover to cover. There isn't huge amount of text but what he says is interesting without being superior of lecturing. He gives you enough info to tempt you and explain his reason for choosing the place but not so much that it bores the pants off you.
The photos are stunning and sell the book; they draw you in to each new place and invite that one to become the next 'must see place on your own list. This is not a book that everyone will be interested in having on their shelves as it more for people like us who like lists and travelling. Great for someone who likes these bucket list types of books and enjoys a bit of armchair travelling.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
We only get one life so we owe it to ourselves to see as much of this beautiful world as possible. As we work longer hours our leisure time becomes more and more valuable and increasingly it's how we spend it that gives meaning and value to our lives. That's not to say that we are unhappy with our lot but, in the absence of religion, personal fulfilment is the new god and for growing numbers of people this comes from new experiences and sights. Holidays are what we live for - whether it's to see endangered wildlife, ancient monuments, modern architecture, art, foreign cultures, extraordinary scenery or whatever, holidays offer us the chance to grow and expand our horizons. For many of us today lying on a beach for two weeks is just not enough any more. Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die is the first in a new series of books that will help you search out some of these essential places and experiences. These books are not travel guides and they're certainly not definitive, but they will introduce you to a host of spectacular places that can all be visited in a regular two-week holiday or less. Compiled by the people who really know, each book will be written by an expert writer and photographer who will visit each location in person. In the first title, international travel writer and photographer, Steve Davey, draws on his years of experience and selects 40 of his personal favourite destinations that will inspire you to think beyond your office walls.