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Around the World in Four Must-Reads, by Bianca Matley

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Travel can seem almost incomplete without a good book; lounging around the pool, following guidebooks or a novel to inspire a new trip. Before Instagram, books such as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, ‘The Beach’, ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘On the Road’, were and are well known for acting as travel inspiration to the locations so inspiringly described on their pages, leaving us to discover even more through our own experiences.

To satiate the travel hungry and recognise World Book Day (2nd March), I’ve picked a ‘novel journey’ that has inspired my wanderlust travels or have bookmarked for the (hopefully) not-so-distant future.

 

Spain

The book – The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set in the post-Spanish Civil War period, this story within a story sees a boy, Daniel, discover the history of his chosen book ‘The Shadow of The Wind’ from the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. His attempts to find more by the author Julián Carax, lead him down a path to more than he could have imagined.

Must see:  Barcelona plays a huge part in this novel and the most noted thing to see is Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família. Ninety years after Gaudí’s death, the basilica is in its final stages of construction – over 180 years’ in creation, it’s a sight to be seen.

 

Cuba

The book – The Old Man & The Sea, Ernest Hemingway

A short novel about the struggle of an old Cuban fisherman, Santiago, and his five-day battle with a giant marlin off the Gulf Stream after a long streak of bad luck fishing. It goes through the motions of defeat, struggle and determination.

Must See: Tipped as the number one holiday destination for 2017, Cuba’s streets are steeped in history and exceptionally lively so it’s easy to wander and become lost among the street food and live music, especially along The Malecón. You can also get adventurous and hike the highest point on the island – Pico Turquino. Or simply head to one of Hemingway’s two favourite watering holes in Havana, La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, which still stand today, to sip a Mojito or two.

 

India

The book – The Mountain Shadow, Gregory David Roberts

Roberts, a former convicted bank robber in Australia who escaped Pentridge Prison in 1980, fled to India for ten years where he wrote the famous Shantaram. This sequel is a thriller that takes you through a mafia culture in Mumbai that’s changed since the events in the first book. The main character, Lin, can’t leave without his soul mate and caught in the clutches of a fatal promise.

Must See: Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is home to rock-cut temples on Gharapuri – or Elephanta Island – a Unesco World Heritage Site. An hour ferry trip out from the Gateway of India, marvel at the immense temple carvings through the caves.

 

Italy

The book –  A Room with a View, E.M. Forster

Between England and Italy, this classic novel depicts the struggles of a young woman, Lucy, and her modernised views against Victorian values. Her trip to Italy with her cousin opens her eyes to a wider world and their relaxed society compared to Victorian England and her love interests along the way.

Must See: With part of the book set in Florence, also known as the ‘the cradle of the Renaissance’, a visit to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral should be top of the list. Take a walk up to the rooftop for the views at night and see a close-up of the intricately painted ceiling of the dome, then amble through the Piazza della Signoria, walking in Lucy’s footsteps.

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