I am once again planning a long journey to Europe during the mid-year vacation period. Since I want to be able to quickly browse for information on destinations, I prefer travel guides that provide plenty of visual information. Here is a web page (Travel Guidebooks Europe) that lists a number of ebooks that can be downloaded and read on a tablet, ereader, laptop or smartphone, and that are rich in images and maps.
There are not many good guidebooks for the northernmost region of Europe (Lapland), but here seems to be one, as well as southern France, Sweden and Mongolia. Is Mongolia Europe – don’t think so.
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Summers are bright and green in Scandinavia – that much we knew already, but The Lighter Side of Finland claims that it is not all grey and gloomy in winter, either. The book is an entertaining description of this Nordic country that is renowned for its education system, racing car drivers, and Angry Birds.
For a tourist, the biggest attraction is the capital Helsinki, followed by Lapland, lake district in the East and South-West archipelago. This book, however, is not a travel guide (even though it includes a few travel tips as well), but a warm-hearted account of the culture, people, traditions, food and sauna etiquette.
It is a well-written book that is a pleasure to read even if your next travel destination wouldn’t be Finland, but if it is, and you are interested what makes the nation tick, this book is worth your time.
More reviews in Amazon.
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Finns are from Neptune and Italians from Mercury – that is what someone moving from Italy to Finland (or vice versa) might think. The differences in culture, behavior and socializing – not to mention weather and food – are so great that it can drive a normal, healthy person to believe that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy correctly defined the meaning of life.
Spaghetti and Sauna is a very personal story of a young woman who moved from Italy to Finland in order to study and work in the Nordic country. Her personal story, however, develops into a insightful description of Italian and Finnish cultures. The author believes that these two countries are the remotest countries in Europe culturally. She tells countless funny and humiliating stories how easy it is to misinterpret people who have different background than yourself.
I happen to be fairly familiar with both Italian and Nordic cultures, and I can confirm that the detailed insight in the book on the people, their customs and the way of thinking and behaving is similar to mine. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand at least two from the many diverse cultures of Europe.
Barnes & Noble