Washington Post travel writer Scott Vogel pulls triple duty this weekend, producing the newspaper’s “Europe 2009” package with three stories: from London, Florence and Berlin. The dispatch from Florence is the best of this bunch, the one from Berlin easily the worst, a tour through cliche as he moves from museum to museum to museum, focusing entirely on Berlin’s troubled past without making much of an effort to link it to how this vibrant city lives today.
For a more insightful look into the mindset of modern day Germany, check out Nick Kulish’s interesting essay on German rigidness in this weekend’s New York Times, a piece that seems to me to qualify as much as travel writing as commentary.
The Times travel pages are a little thin today. Writer Christopher Shaw gives us a rugged tour through France’s Dordogne. I like the mode of transportation he opted for this journey: a canoe. Also, Frugal Traveler Matt Gross muses on the benefits of Twitter for the traveler…not exactly new.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve always had a thing for Canada’s Maritime Provinces, especially Newfoundland, which I fell in love with on the page in Annie Proulx’s 1993 novel The Shipping News. So I was with interest that I read Phil Marty’s dispatch from The Rock in today’s Chicago Tribune, as he attempted to drive across most of the island. I’m fascinated by people who live in remote places, and Marty introduces us to some.
Over at the San Francisco Chronicle, staff writer Spud Hilton cruises down Australia’s languid Murray River about an old fashioned river boat, a lazy journey in a country with many of them (I mean this in a good way).
The Los Angeles Times’ travel section promises it is “taking Southern California on vacation.” But with features as a visit to a nearby wind farm, it seems the newspaper is running out of places to go.
Luckily the Ottawa Citizen does have places to go, in this case some cool recommendations on a road trip you can take from, say, Edmonton to Yellowknife, a remote outpost up in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place called Yellowknife?
The Financial Times calls on veteran travel writer Jan Morris for a dispatch from her native Wales, where she considers the mountain Arenig Fawr and the surrounding area of Gwynedd. As you would expect from someone writing about their own homeland, Morris’ essay drips with nuance and a sense of place — she’s the kind of writer that actually names the things she sees.
Finally, tease of the week goes to the Houston Chronicle, whose travel section front page, under the headline “Wish You Were Here,” promises a piece on a 12-day Mediterranean journey. Click on the article, however, and all you have is a lot of confusing reader-generated vacation suggestions. Lame.