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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe

36-hours-europe-nytimes-bookThe New York Times’ 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe was a Christmas gift to me this year from my sister and her family. Since receiving it, I’ve thumbed through the book a great many times in search of ideas for a trip back across the pond. What? Go for only a weekend? No way. But I’d certainly string a bunch of these ideas together to form a much longer trip. Let me explain.

36 Hours is organized geographically. So, that means, everything up in the area of the United Kingdom and Ireland is grouped together, just as southwest Europe – Portugal, Spain, and France – is also in the same chapter. That way, if I’m planning a trip to one area of Europe, I can look at the region to see if there’s anything else I want to do there. It’s really quite handy in that respect.

What’s even better, and what makes it unique, is that it’s not an everyday type of guidebook you’d find from Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, or the like. This actually has some quirky things that only the locals may know about. For instance, how many of the bigger guidebooks would list London’s Borough Market? Maybe one or two, but certainly not many. And not prominently. Why not? Because it’s on the other side of the Thames.

Sure, a lot of London’s new attractions are moving in that direction, but the focus is still on the Westminster side of the river. As such, we’d all miss out on London’s oldest covered fruit and vegetable market. Who cares, though, right? That doesn’t exactly sound exciting. But it’s a huge thing for the city, and you’ll find quite a few people there. So, if you’d want to travel and spend some time as a resident would, then that’s where you’d go – not on a tour of Buckingham, Westminster Abbey, or the Tower of London. But, in truth, those are also all quite worthwhile. I’ve done them. I know. And those suggestions are also in the book, just not so prominently placed in such a whirlwind sort of an itinerary as 36 hours.NYTimes_Europe_HBL

It seems like everyone is going to London, though, right? So how about something a little more off the beaten path? After all, you and I both want to go places and see things that not everyone else does. So how about some place like the Swedish Riviera? Bratislava, Slovakia? Or what about Tbilisi, Georgia? They’re all in 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe, as are places in Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Baltic countries, since, technically speaking, Europe doesn’t really end until you hit the Ural Mountains. That means a whole bunch of suggestions from Portugal all the way over into Russia. Not too bad, huh?

The New York Times’ 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe is built with both the local and tourist in mind. The means a good mix of locals-only types of places, touristy spots, and history and culture. That makes it, all-in-all, one of the best guidebooks I’ve picked up in ages. (How many other guidebooks do you know of now a days that get reviewed?) So if you’re looking for a good mix of the sites and suggestions, I recommend grabbing a copy. I know I’ll be using it quite a bit in my travels, particularly as I begin to plan 18th birthday celebration trips for my niece and nephews to destinations of their choice.

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One Comment on “36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe”

  1. The Guy January 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Thanks for the recommendation Jason. This sounds like it could be an interesting read.

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