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A holiday trip without a book? These travel experts say it's impossible to imagine. In our series, every day a blogger recommends books to travel with.
Name: Anne Steinbach
Occupations: Freelance Journalist, Content Manager
Blogging since: 2011
Most Recent Trip: Ethiopia
Future Trips: Dubai, Hong Kong, Indonesia
DW: Which books have helped you prepare for your trips?
Anne Steinbach: I always take a travel guide with me. But to find out even more about the country where I'm headed, I like to go beyond the travel guides. Before I visited the Ivory Coast, I read all three of Gabriella Baumann-von Arx's books on Lotti Latrous - the Swiss aid worker. She built a children's hospice in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, plus a dying hospice, an out-patient clinic, and a shelter for mothers and children. Those books gave me some really good background information on Ivory Coast, and its people. It was a great way to prepare for a trip to a country that's sort of off the beaten path when it comes to tourism. I even managed to meet Lotti at the hospice during my trip.
Do you have any other recommendations?
Anyone who's going to Paris should read "Monsieur Ibrahim and the flowers of the Koran," by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt. His descriptions of the French capital are remarkably vivid. When I got there and walked along the same streets that one of the main characters did, it's almost like I could relate to the book without having read it all.
I usually read print editions of books. In my opinion, they give you a more intensive reading experience than e-books do. After the trip, if the book has some travel damage, it means that I got my money's worth out of it - and it looks better in the bookcase, too.
Tell us about an interesting experience you've had with a book with traveling.
I was in Mumbai, and bought a copy of "The alchemist" by Paulo Coelho at a street-shop. A friend and I were just starting a trip to India at the time. Some people told us not to travel by train, but we did anyway. I pulled out the book while we were between Mumbai and Goa. I had just finished the first page, when an Indian man who was sitting next to me asked in broken English whether he could take a look at the book. He actually kept it for a couple of hours, but I didn't mind at all. We started talking about the book - and it turned out that the rest of the passengers in our compartment were listening to us. So I'm glad that we ignored that advice not to travel by train. Sometimes, all it takes is a book to break the ice with people when you are travelling in a far-off country.