Thursday, 26 May 2016

Take Me There // places I want to visit because BOOKS

Cait recently posted a very valid and not at all sarcastic list of the dire risks of reading too much. She's right, people, being a bookworm is dangerous. As well as giving you issues such as thinking too much and having opinions, it prompts you to SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY ON BOOKS, or if not on books, book-related activities.

As for me, I get terrible bookish wanderlust.

Because ten is a nice round number ... Ten Places I'd Eat My Head to Go, Because of Books.

[Images are not mine, obviously, because I haven't visited most of these places. Cry.]


Well, this one is pretty obvious. I have actually been to New York twice! The first time I was seven and I remember nothing. The second time I was twelve and I:
a) went to the Bronx Zoo,
b) went into the Met but left when we saw we needed to pay, and
c) spent ages queuing outside Hollister and got a dress and a jumper.

 I'm so so so so ashamed. 

Recently watching Friends, Penelope and What a Girl Wants has reinforced my desperate desire to live in New York for a little while. But also BOOKS. 

Twilight in Central Park, NYC! Def want to go here in the winter ! Done the middle of summer so pretty !!!:
Central Park South // [source]
I walked east to the library (the lions! I stood still for a moment, like a returning solider catching my first glimpse of home) and then I turned up Fifth Avenue -- streetlamps on, still fairly busy, though it was emptying out for the night -- up to Central Park South. As tired as I was, and cold, still my heart stiffened to see the Park, and I ran across Fifty-Seventh (Street of Joy!) to the leafy darkness. The smells, the shadows, even the dappled pale trunks of the plane trees lifted my spirits. 
Everything blazing, everything sweet. They were playing old Bob Dylan, more than perfect for narrow Village streets close to Christmas and the snow whirling down in big feathery flakes, the kind of winter where you want to be walking down a city street with you arm around a girl on an old record cover.
~ both from The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Often have I attempted to explain the brilliance of The Goldfinch; always have I failed. You guys know how much I love that book, because after all I never shut up about it, do I? One of its myriad beautiful qualities is the wonderful, vivid settings. New York, New York.
I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping along behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.
~ Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

 I have a proper thing for characters who love their hometowns -- it really endears me to them -- and one of my favourite things about the Percy Jackson series is how much he loves New York.


Hotel de Ville de Paris, France:
Hotel de Ville // [source]
One of my (many) favourite things about Les Mis was how awfully much Victor Hugo loves Paris. Just as I love characters who love their cities/countries/homes, I love to read authors writing settings that they clearly love themselves. He loves every inch of Paris, the people, the streets, the sewage system ...
Paris is a sum total. Paris is the ceiling of the human race. All this prodigious city is an epitome of dead and living manners and customs. He who sees Paris, seems to see all history through with the sky and constellations in the intervals.


Pispala, Tampere, Finland:
Pispala, Tampere // [source]
This is the newest addition to my list, brought to my attention by Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami.
There were forests on both sides of the highway. He got the impression that the whole country was covered, from one end to the other, by a rich green. Most of the trees were white birch, with occasional pines, spruce, and maples. ... The air felt purer here than in Helsinki, like it was freshly made. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the white birches, and the boat made an occasional clatter as it slapped against the pier. Birds cried out somewhere, with clear, concise calls.
I went into this book fully expecting to get wanderlust for Japan, where it's mostly set, but the descriptions (or rather, bland non-descriptions) of Tokyo and Nagoya had no effect on me. I think that was maybe the point. In contrast, Tsukuru's trip to Finland was vivid and beautiful and I want one.


Trafalgar Square.   ** Busy as always. Great shot with the buses in the middle ground.:
Trafalgar Square // [source]
Along with New York this is the place on this list I've visited. Like New York, I'd love to live there for a bit. Unlike New York, I actually made the most of my time there (you can read about my most recent exploits here and here).

I think the first books that made me desperate to visit were the Threads trilogy by Sophia Bennett (which I LOVE). They're set in London. The main characters just casually meet up in the V&A! My V&A dreams were realised once in 2012 when I visited an exhibition of ballgowns (I died. Repeatedly) but I want to go again and again and again!

More recently JK Rowling's crime series, the Cormoran Strike novels, have incited my London love. Cormoran loves London a lot and the settings are so vividly described. Take me there.


Lupins and phlox flowers, Clinton, Prince Edward Island by John Sylvester.:
You know, because I frigging never shut up about them, that I'm obsessed with I really love the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery. And, amongst the trillion reasons to love them, the setting towers!

The rocky red shores of Prince Edward Island Canada [OC] [4896x3264]:
Montgomery loves PEI. Anne loves PEI. The descriptions of the scenery are stunning. I have heard Canada is an amazingly beautiful country and I want to go there so badly.
It was a shore that knew the magic and mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude about such a shore. The woods are never solitary -- they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life. But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its infinite mystery -- we may only wander, awed and spell-bound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has only one -- a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is the company of the archangels.
~ Anne's House of Dreams 


Amsterdam, The Netherlands:
I was too disoriented by my surroundings to listen very closely and with almost painfully heightened senses I stirred at the potato mess with my fork and felt the strangeness of the city pressing in all around, smells of tobacco and malt and nutmeg, cafe walls the melancholy brown of an old leatherbound book and then beyond, dark passages and brackish water lapping, low skies and old buildings all leaning against each other with a moody, poetic, edge-of-destruction feel, the cobblestoned loneliness of a city that felt -- to me, anyway -- like a place where you might come to let the water close over your head.
Amsterdam- would love to live here! It is beautiful in the winter but it's too cold for me!:

Bells, bells. the streets were white and deserted. Frost glittered on tiled rooftops; outside, on the Herengracht, snow danced and flew. A flock of black birds was cawing and swooping over the canal, the sky was hectic with them, great sideways sweeps and undulations as a single, intelligent body, eddying to and fro, and their movement seemed to pass into me on almost a cellular level, white sky and whirling snow and the fierce gusting wind of poets.

~ both from The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Well, if you thought we'd get through a post with only one mention of The Goldfinch, YOU WERE MISTAKEN! Basically I want to visit all the European cities. But, Amsterdam, man. 


La Rambla
La Rambla // [source]
I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. It was the early summer, and we walked through the streets of a Barcelona trapped beneath ashen skies as dawn poured over Rambla de Santa Mónica in a wreath of liquid copper.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a really great book and it very much put Barcelona on my radar. I've been to Spain twice, once to Madrid -- a short and exceptionally badly organised school trip, but enough to make me desperate to go back -- and once to the beautiful coastal town of Roses. We flew to Barcelona for that holiday ... but driving out of the city by night does not count.

Catedral de Barcelona - I loved the courtyard here, not many cathedrals have courtyards with geese and palm trees!:
Barcelona Cathedral // [source]
You guys know I'm a tad obsessed with cathedrals.
Anyway, Shadow is a wonderful gothic novel set in 1945. Whilst I cannot visit that Barcelona, I'd love to see today's city of art, architecture and culture.


Precipice Walk, Barmouth. Wales, UK by Howard Somerville:
Barmouth // [source]
This is a weird one, because who wants to go to Wales, right? No one, that's who, it's wet and full of sheep. In Britain it's considered the boring tiny part of the UK that we don't really talk about. At least, that's what I thought ... until I read How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn.
In and out of the sunlight, under the shadow of the trees, into their coolnesses, where leaf mould was soft with richness and held a whispering of the smells of a hundred years that had grown and gone, through the lanes of wild rose that were red with blown flower, up past the flowering berry bushes, through the pasture that was high to the knees, and clinging, and that hissed at us with every step, up beyond the mossy rocks where the little firs made curtseys, and up again, to the briars, and the oaks, and the elms, where there was peace, and the sound of grasshoppers striking their flints with impatience, and birds playing hide and seek, and the sun blinding hot upon us, and the sky, plain bright blue.
This is one of my all time top 5 favourite books, though I feel like I rarely talk about it. It's unreasonably beautiful and wonderful and passionate and compelling and all the adjectives, OK? OK.
There is a look in the eyes of a man in love that will have you in fits unless you are in love yourself. If you are, you will feel something move inside you to be of help to him, to try and have him happy even if there is no chance for you.

This look was in his eyes. You will see part of it in the eyes of sheep fastened to the board and waiting for the knife. The other part you will only see in the eyes of a good man who has put his heart in the hands of a girl. It is a light that is rarely of the earth, a radiance that is holy, a warming, happy agony that do shine from inside and turn what it touches into something of paradise.
That one wasn't even about the scenery. Couldn't resist. I have an intense craving to reread this book.


Sacha Lodge, Ecuador:
Sacha Lodge, Ecuador // [source]
Do we have any Eva Ibbotson fans in the room? She was one of my favourite authors when I was younger -- HER BOOKS ARE SO GOOD -- and Journey to the River Sea is an adventure along the Amazon. I can't remember that much about the book, except desperately wanting to make the journey myself. As of February I am a denizen of South America (I went to Chile), but I want to go back and go everywhere!


Canal in Venice:
Prague sits at the very top of my European Bucket List (and just general travel bucket list, in fact), but Venice is a close second. For one thing I'm obsessed with the idea of Italy, especially ITALIAN ART HOLD ME (and Italian FOOD hello), and Venice is a city built on water. !!!

Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy  Just visited its namesake in Oxford :) <-- as have I! Last week!:
Bridge of Sighs // [source]
But even before I was wise about Venetian art and culture, I read The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, and it was incredible (cannot wait to return to her books this year!). This may be the book from this list I read longest ago, so I think it's fair to say Venice is my original Bookish Wanderlust destination.

If only I had an unlimited budget, eh?


What's been on your travel bucket list for longest? Did a book do it to you? Are there any places you've visited because of books? Tell me your stories!


  1. Beautiful post! I love it when a book describes a setting with such vivid detail and affection.

    George MacDonald's books made me realize that I must go to Scotland someday.
    L.M.Montgomery's books gave me the urge to see P.E.I
    After reading Rich Hobson's Grass Beyond the Mountains, I've wanted to have a ranch up in the mountains of British Columbia.
    Long ago I read Patricia St.John's Treasures of the Snow, since then I've longed to hike up the Swiss mountains.

    In other news, I just found that my library has How Green Was My Valley on order! I've placed a hold, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I'll also have to read these other books you mention, once I'm finished.

    1. I've never read George MacDonald, but yes, definitely come to Scotland! I am desperate to visit PEI. I'd forgotten about Treasures of the Snow, but that's another one to add to this list! I'd love to reread that book, actually.

      YESSSS! I only know three people who've read it! (Apart from me. Obviously). One fellow blogger, after I shrieked at her, and my parents, after I shrieked at them. I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ IT! ~dances manically~


    OH GOD HOW BEAUTIFUL IT LOOKS AND SOUNDS!!! <3 I have wanted to visit that city for as long as I can remember. Picking up Anne Frank's Diary as a child motivated my love of history and began my fascination for Amsterdam. Of course books like The GoldFinch and The Fault in Our Stars has really escalated my deep affection for this beautiful place.
    What's the quote again? "I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met". Well yeah, I am totally in love with Amsterdam.

    Everyone of your cities, I would be thrilled to visit! I've only been to London and Paris and my expectations were not disappointed. Although Paris did have a very odd smell...

    Movies too are a big reason for making me want to visit certain places. Like Penelope <3 , Monte Carlo made me crazy about Paris. Also the sisterhood of the Travelling Pants makes me want to visit Greece. Oh and Eat, Pray, Love and Marigold Hotel is practically begging me to go to India.
    My ambition in life is to travel the whole world, visit every city and experience every culture.

    And congrats on finishing school! *whooo* ^_^

    1. I KNOOOOW! Oh my GOSH but OK you have READ the GOLDFINCH without TELLING ME has this HAPPENED Marian WHAT?!!!!!!!!!

      That made me snort about Paris' smell XD

      Oh Penelope! I've not seen Monte Carlo but Mamma Mia has made me desperate for Greece! XD And Marigold Hotel, oh my gosh <3

      SAME ABOUT THE AMBITION. And thanks re school. Ungh!


    2. Uh YEAH!!! I read it AGES ago!! I even wrote a review on it XD you mean to say you haven't read my review?! Well here you go anyway
      The Goldfinch Review
      I can't believe we haven't gushed about this book before!

      Watch Monte Carlo! <3 it's totally a sappy teen movie but Paris <3 and the soundtrack is pretty good too ^_^



      Paris! Soundtrack! I'm there. Thanks for the rec!

  3. Meeeee??? Sarcastic???? NEVER. I WOULDN'T.
    But anyway, THANKS FOR NOTHING with this post because I hadn't even fallen to wanderlust for a while but now i HAVE ALL THESE FEELINGS AND OMG PLEASE SOMEONE TAKE ME TO PARIS IMMEDIATELY. *shrieks* Also to London and Wales. <3 I just want to seeeeeee places that books make sound so divine and wonderful, omg. WANDERLUST. *collapses in a heap wanting to go places but no monies*
    PS. This post is beautiful. ;)


    1. LET'S GO TO PARIS OK? OK! But SAME I just-- everywhere-- GAH!

      THANK YOU! It's a bit scary thoughhh D: But mostly good. I now have this amazing thing called TIME!

  4. JUST EVERYTHING. I've been to London and Paris and Venice and they were fantastic. I've never been to the East coast of Canada, though, and I'd love to go. And Wales.

    AND THE AMAZON. I really, really, REALLY want to go there. Eva Ibbotson rules. Journey to the River Sea pretty much changed my life. Man, loved this post.


      Did it?! I love Eva so much <3 <3 Must reread. I especially loved The Star of Kazan, did you read that one? Glad you enjoyed :)

  5. It's my dream to live in London.

  6. I've been to two places on your list - NYC (2007) and London / Stratford-Upon-Avon (2011)! The most bookish things we did in NYC - we got to walk in front of the library (didn't get the chance to actually go in) and we saw The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway which was fantastic! The London trip was extremely bookish - I didn't want to leave The British Library, The V & A Museum, or The British Museum - and we got to see three plays at the RST in Stratford - Macbeth, Cardenio, and The City Madam. :)

    1. Phantom on Broadway?! That sounds wonderful! Ugh. I am jealous! I've never visited the British Library, but I love love love the V&A. A lot. And I'd love to see Macbeth in Stratford! I've seen one performance of it in Glasgow but it wasn't very good :(

    2. It was the first time I had ever seen Macbeth staged and it was perfect! :)

    3. Jealousy! I will see a good performance one day <3

  7. Awesome post! Can I just say yes to ALL THE PLACES!? More often movies inspire the places I want to go. Like New York. Every single time I see or hear New York, my brain goes "New York, New York! It's a wonderful town!" from the musical On The Town. Also, You've Got Mail always makes me want to go to New York. And when I was a kid the Eloise movies made me want to see New York during Christmas.

    As for books though, Jane Austen makes me want to go to anywhere in England. But while Sherlock Holmes makes me want to go to London, Austen makes me want to visit English villages and stay awhile. Phantom of the Opera made me want to go to Paris. To be honest, I never thought much about Paris or France? It just seemed like a romantic cliche, I guess. But then I read Phantom and started doing all this research on Pairs. I really, really want to go.

    Also, The Mozart Season plus The Rivers Run Dry have always made me long for Seattle, Washington, or even just Washington state. For a while I considered going to college up there. It sounds beautiful and they have mountains and the ocean! Except not in the city. Ahem. Still. One day.

    When I was younger I adored The Phantom Stallion series and I had wanted to live in Nevada because wild mustangs live there. XD

    Very beautiful book excerpts! I love how you got Percy in there too! Him and New York. I like Percy. :)

    1. ELOISE! I didn't know there were films but I did have one of the books and YES I WANTED TO LIVE IN A HOTEL SO BADLY! That was probably one of my first New York influences XD

      Apparently lots of people want to go to Derbyshire because of P&P. I'm from Staffordshire, which is one county away from Derbyshire, and I'm afraid to say, not that great. But then again I was only 6 when we moved to Scotland, so appreciating natural beauty was not my strong suit.

      I've wanted to go to Paris since I got into art (the Impressionists are my baes so yeah), but Les Mis definitely augmented that. Is Phantom worth a read? (My friend who's obsessed with the musical says it's a weird, disjointed book but interesting for a lover of the musical. Thoughts?)

      Oh yeah, you said that before but you said “for no particular reason" or something like that, but there was a reason and the reason was BOOKS! XD Honestly I know nothing about Washington state, nor have I heard of either of those books. But the ocean! It is my aim never ever ever to live in a landlocked country/state. I would wither away and die, probably.

      My mum does love the film Sleepless in Seattle. She tried to make me watch it when I was younger and I did not like it and I think left after a few minutes but maybe I'd like it now. I should watch it and then I can update you on any (as yet undiscovered) Seattle feelings.

      Hahahaha sometimes I forget you are a horsey person but then you remind me! XD

      I love descriptions of setting, they're so often so beautiful! And Percy, my love <333

    2. Seattle just sounds so beautiful for some reason. And yes! I'd love, love to live some where the ocean was nearby. But I could see why you couldn't live without it. You're almost an islander? In a way? If I grew up within driving range of the ocean, I don't think I could abandoned it either.

      Haha! Yes. I'm not as much a horse person as I used to be. But now, apart from my own horse (because he is the best!) and revisiting horse books from those days, I'm not as much into horses?

      Ah, yes! PARIS! Your influence was Les Mis and mine Phantom. Since you did ask about Phantom the book specifically, I shall give you the long, nerdy answer. I took a Lit and Film class once and for the end of semester paper I did this huge research project on Phantom of the Opera. I only loved it more afterward. Okay, so the book is different, but I'll not go into plot and characters versus the musical. We shall talk book facts. Gaston Leroux, the author, was more of a journalist than a novelist. Later he did branch out into mystery writing, but you can tell POTO is written by a report both by the way it is told and how the story came to be. The first chapter starts out with something like "The Phantom of the Opera is Real." While the musical is more about the romance and love triangle, the book is about providing proof that there really is a Phantom. Leroux presents it as a mystery, almost gothic mystery. It's not really told as a story the way it is now in the musical. To be honest, a lot of people say that Leroux had a good story but didn't know how to go about writing it. In a way, I sort of agree with them. The POV he chooses to portray the story and the act of trying to prove the Phantom is real instead of telling us the tale of the Phantom and Christine, it's not as intriguing. BUT the other thing is 1) he did base the opera house on the real Paris Opera House 2) at the time he published the book the opera house really was believed to be haunted by a phantom, the theater people had some kind of totem that they all touched before each show in order to ward him off (and being a good reporter Leroux mentions it in the book) 3) there was a guy named Eric with a disfigured face who shared many characteristics and life events with the Eric in the book 5) the real Eric was associated with the real opera house as he was hired with the construction of the building, something book Eric also claims (6 the real Eric fell in love with an opera singer and supposedly kidnapped her for some weeks and, after letting her go, committed suicide 7) there was also a girl very similar to Christine Daae but she is not as similar to book Christine as real Eric is similar to book Eric, that and there is no real evidence that the real Eric and "Christine" ever met. There are other things too if you really dig deep and research it. It's a great story, but the way Leroux chose to tell it as well as his writing style is very. . . odd. Especially since half of it is from Raoul's POV and book Raoul is rather pathetic (kind of like what you were saying about book Marius). But it's cool how Leroux took real events, tied them together, and fictionalized them. It's just fascinating. Anyhow! I will stop or else I'll go on forever about POTO. XD

    3. I don't exactly think of myself as an islander but yeah, kind of!

      I like the idea of horses. I think I rode one on a beach once (and by rode I mean sat in the saddle while an instructor held me and led the horse. I was like five). But I don't have great balance so investing in lessons never seemed like the strongest choice. Corrie learns to ride when she goes to the palace and it does make me a bit wistful for my lost horsey ambitions ...

      Huh! That's really interesting how he was committed to the story and wanted to prove it. But I see how that would lose you some of the romance/drama. Real Eric sounds a bit creepy! But then Phantom is creepy and I guess the musical romanticises that. I have to ask, are you a Phantom or a Raoul shipper?
      (On another note, I think musical Raoul is a bit pathetic, so I imagine he would be in the book as well!)

    4. The Phantom is very much a creep. Especially if you read the book, you come to understand that he's murderous and sociopathic. I wouldn't ship anyone with the Phantom. He's an interesting character, but the guy needs help. Rauol from the movie (not really the musical) is okay. I don't like Rauol from the book at all (who is pathetic) or Rauol from the musical (who is pathetic AND condescending). I first saw the movie. Most hardcore Phans don't like it because the guy who played the Phantom apparently isn't really a singer? Could've fooled me. Not that I know a lot about singing, but he sounded pretty good for not being a singer. I prefer the movie to the actual musical. I like the translation of all the characters in the movie better than in the musical, which is obviously more about the music than the character development. XD While the movie has both. I don't know. Maybe I'm biased and I don't know what I'm talking about.

    5. Raoul IS pathetic and condescending! I do love his proposal song, but I still think he's pretty lame. I am readier to ship Phantom, but then I consider his, as you say, murderous and sociopathic character, and think, maybe better not ... (It's so easy to love murderers in books. Jaime Lannister, my true love ... oops!)

      I haven't seen the film, only the 25th anniversary production. Phantom in that can DEFINITELY sing.

  8. I want to go to Venice too!!!

    Also, you mentioning The Goldfinch so many times makes me want to read it! I have a copy of it, but I haven't got around to it yet. I NEED TO! PRONTO!

    1. So badly!

      You have a copy?! Well that's step #1! Looking forward to you reading it :)

  9. Oh yesssss so many places! I've actually been to Paris and I'm going to NYC for the first time next month! I'm so excited about that. I really want to go to Wales, London, Venice, and Amsterdam too. So many places I want to travel. XD

    1. You've been to Paris?! Wow! I am very envious XD I hope you have a marvellous time in NY; I'm sure you will!

  10. Aaaaahhh, so many places I want to visit! London is somewhere that I've always wanted to travel for as long as I could remember. Italy is a place that has been added to my list recently - it looks so beautiful!

    1. London is wonderful. And yes, ITALY! My #1 country!!!! Ugh. I just need unlimited time and funds, you know??

  11. Don't get me started! There are so many places I want to visit! Your entire list sounds absolutely lovely, especially London, Wales, and PEI. Oh, and Barcelona, which I know nothing about--but that cathedral picture is jaw-dropping.

    The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren influenced my strong desire to visit Italy. (In the books, we get a glimpse of modern Italy, but most of it takes place back in medieval times. GORGEOUS.)

    Too many books to count have made me want to visit Britain in general. ;)

    Mirriam Neal, an online friend of mine, wrote a book about vampires and such (and I am NOT a vampire person, but somehow this worked for me), and it took place in... I'd like to say South Carolina? All I remember is the Spanish moss hanging from the trees, and I love the look of it. XD

    And I must confess that the LotR/Hobbit movies have put New Zealand on my list as well!

    Now, if FANTASY countries were allowed on the list, we'd be here all day. Narnia, anyone? XD

    1. I JUST WANT TO GO TO ITALY IT'S MORE OR LESS ALL I WANT, TRACEY. But uh yeah come to Britain!? (Not joking! Come! Have adventures! You can stay at my house!)

      One of my friends recently had a trip to South Carolina. In my head it is flat and orange but I think that's just because it has the word south in it ... He said it was actually very green and nice. I can't imagine vampires in hot countries, though. Maybe that sounds stupid but it's true XD

      Not actually seen the films but NZ does look gorgeous! YES NARNIA. And Middle Earth. And Hogwarts. And-- well I should stop there XD


Thanks for commenting! :)