On choosing literary travel companions

In exactly one week I will be zooming across oceans and seas to Europe! I’m very excited. I’ve been a bit too busy to think about it, and then suddenly, when I realised how close it was, excited has started to build. I’ve started to pack, and yesterday I went to the bookstore I used to work at to pick some books for the plane. This is very important. Fashionistas plan outfits to wear overseas, history buffs plan out museum and churches, and book lovers plan what they are going to read on the flight. It’s 23 hours door to door, so plenty of reading time!

Last night I also write a list of all potential bookstore I might visit while overseas. There is this great site called Bookstore Guide, which lists heaps of bookstores across Europe. Who knew that Budapest had a dedicated children’s bookstore, with a significant number of english books? Or how many bookstores there are that include the word ‘Shakespeare’? I knew about ‘Shakespeare & Co’ in Paris, of course – Vienna also has a ‘Shakespeare & Co’, and Prague has a ‘Shakespeare and Son’. I’m so excited to poke my nose into lots of new bookstores.

Ben has warned me about buying too many books – we have booked a flight between different cities and my luggage mustn’t weight over 15 kilos! This might be problematic. Books, unfortunately, are rather weighty. My friend at my old bookstore offered to install a kindle app on my phone, or suggested buying books I wouldn’t mind leaving behind once I’d finished them, but I just don’t think I can do it! Books that you read on holiday are like souvenirs – they get imprinted with the experiences around you. They become symbols of your trip. And I don’t think I could read off a screen. It is so much less picturesque, if you are travelling by train through Austria, to be staring at a screen ….

To those of you who have travelled to or live in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary or Holland, what are some of your favourite bookstores? Where should a travelling literary lover visit?



One comment

  1. Mad Martha also found this difficult when going overseas…of course one wants to buy books, but they are so heavy. Martha was lucky enough to spend a snowy afternoon shopping in Hay-on-Wye (that bookiest of all book towns) and also visited Whitby…home of Dracula! We wish you good hunting on your travels 🙂

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