The Travel Book: A journey Through Every Country in the World


Even in light of the recent scandal, the Lonely Planet guidebooks remain my favorite travel bibles when I decide to go on a trip. Everyone who knows me is aware of this, which is why my good friend Géraldine gave me this huge coffee table book for my birthday last spring.

Even if you know the food is bad, it's actually much worse. (CUBA)

1200 images, 230 countries, One Complete Picture. Reading these words on the back cover and flipping through this tome told me that I was in for a rare treat. Lonely Planet's objective for this big project: With the traveller's experience at its heart, this book shows a slice of life in every corner of the globe, and all points in between, engaging the reader's senses in an adventure which conjures up the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feel of our amazing world.

It's forbidden for parents to bestow non-Icelandic or foreign-sounding names
on their children.
(ICELAND)

Every single country is covered. In addition, many of the larger dependencies and a number of smaller destinations were included. I wholeheartedly agree that this one of the definitive pictorial guides to travel. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page, or so claimed St. Augustine. Well, by checking out this book you'll read a few more!
Kyz-kumay (kiss-the-girl) involves a man who furiously chases a woman on horseback in an attempt to kiss her. The woman gets the faster horse and a head start and if she wins gets to chase and whip her shamed suitor. This allegedly began as a formalised alternative to abduction, the traditional nomadic way to take a bride. (KYRGYZSTAN)


Each destination is covered by a two-page spread. The text is broken down into a number of categories: Best Time to Visit, Essential Experiences, Getting under the Skin (which covers what to read, watch, eat, and drink), In a Word, Trademarks, and Surprises. Even though you may believe you know a lot about one country or another, you'll learn quite a few facts as well as a quirky thing or two about each destination.

Mongolians sing to their animals: there are lullabies to coax sheep to
suckle their lambs, croons to control a goat, to milk a cow or imitate a camel's cry -- there are far more Mongolian songs about the love of a good horse than the love of a good woman. (MONGOLIA)

The icing on the cake would have to be the 1200 photos found throughout the tome, all of them of a quality you would expect in an issue of National Geographic. Added to the informative and entertaining text, these gorgeous images make The Travel Book a "must read!"


Under the Treaty of Breda (1667), the Dutch retained Suriname and their colonies on the Guyanese coast in exchange for a tiny island now called Manhattan. (SURINAME)

An inspirational read, this tome takes you on a stunning journey across the globe, one that globetrotters and would-be travelers will cherish.


The world's largest country encompasses all the pleasure and pain of the human condition, with the last decade's social and economic revolutions giving a dynamic -- and disastrous -- spin to Russian lives. . . It's precisely the Russian people's endearing combination of gloom and high spirits, rudeness and warmth, secrecy and openness that makes journeying through their country such a different experience. (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)

For my money, The Travel Book could well be the very best travel-related tome I have ever come across. It would make the perfect Christmas present for any avid adventurer, backpacker, or armchair travelers!


Some local buses don't break down; large bottoms are considered beautiful. (TANZANIA)

As you can see, a number of quotes from various entries have been inserted in this review. . .


By the end of the Vietnam War, Laos had the dubious distinction of being the most bombed country in the history of warfare. (LAOS)

The final verdict: 10/10


It is actually possible to fill an entire day doing absolutely nothing. (BELIZE)

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

5 commentaires:

pacamanca said...

I have that book, I absolutely love it! And everybody who comes here ends up picking it up and leafing through it :)

May I ask you about the scandal you mentioned? (I live in Italy, news travel slowly ;)

Larry said...

So I saw. Limecat (and I) is doubtless pleased. It made this review much better for the quotes to support the near-frenzied praise :D

Patrick said...

Pacamanca: A few months back it was reported that one of the LP writers (don't remember for which guidebook) actually wrote entire sections of said guidebook without ever setting foot in the city/region... If I remember correctly, the writer in question was only updating those sections.

Needless to say, it caused an uproar in the traveling industry.

ediFanoB said...

Sounds great. Put it onmy list. Thanks for recommendation.

Roderick said...

I like this book, but does anybody have a recommendation for another similar book?