Off the beaten track

December 12, 2009
By

The Road Less Travelled, foreword by Bill Bryson (Dorling Kindersley, RRP $80):

We all know about the favourite touristy places and events that everyone talks about but what about those that are just a little further off the beaten track and a little less populated by tourists?

This book takes a look at those places we have all read about and compares them with similar, usually not-so-well-known spots. Packed with beautiful photographs, you’ll feel like you’re looking through a travel brochure without all the corny hard-sell.

Ever fancied a trip to the Louvre? If you haven’t got your heart set on catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa you might find the Musee Nissim de Camondo, with its grand sculptures and tapestries, more to your taste.

The mansion of Count Moise de Camondo was modelled on Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon in Versailles and its history is every bit as interesting as its decor.

And why would you prefer these smaller museums to the world-famous Louvre? How about the more than 8 million visitors a year meaning you’ll be battling crushing crowds for your wee glimpse of the lady with the enigmatic smile? Who, by the way, is behind bullet-proof glass, so watch out for flash glare if you want to take a photo.

Ancient ruins your thing? The Pula Arena in Croatia is matched against the Colosseum in Rome and comes up a winner with shorter queues and less chance of being targeted by a pickpocket.

I always thought Mt Rushmore, with its 18m sculptures of the heads of some of the early United States presidents, was pretty impressive but just 17km away the Crazy Horse Memorial is another South Dakota landmark on a giant scale. Big enough, in fact, to dwarf Mt Rushmore’s faces. The face of the Indian chief, measuring 27m high, was completed in 1998. The head of his horse has now been blocked out and when finished, the sculpture will be 172m high and 195m long.

This is a must-have for anyone with the travel bug. And if you haven’t got it now, you will have once you get your hands on this book.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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