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Friday, 7 August 2009

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself

As well as reading the history section of the Rough Guides for Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary, we have also taken the opportunity to read some books appropriate to places we visit. In Slovenia we read Ernest Hemingway’s excellent and moving ‘Farewell to Arms’, which is set in Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. As we have finished books we have usually swopped them with other campers or in the campsite library, but we were pleased to be able to pass this novel on to a receptionist on a campsite in Slovenia who read English novels when reception was quiet.

We have both also thoroughly enjoyed the history and travel book ‘In Europe’ by Geert Mak, a journalist from the Netherlands. Geert spent 1999 travelling through Europe and through the 20th century and filled many gaps in our knowledge of the last hundred years with his informative and very engaging style. Reading about countries as we travel through them adds another layer to our understanding of these places and enables to appreciate some aspects we may have otherwise missed.

The Wieshof campsite at St Johann im Pongau is another idyllic spot. While preparing our evening meal we have a view of pink tinged craggy mountains and farmers hay-making; later we eat watching Redstarts potter about the meadow above us and swallows flit around overhead. There is also plenty to keep us occupied in this area, with a cable car to take us up to the mountains and cycle ways in the valleys.

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