When I was a kid, I loved those choose-your-own-adventure books. You know the ones: where you get to the last page of a particular chapter and it’ll give you the option to choose between two other pages to head down the next path of the book. There’s something exciting about the unknown and discovering new things. Perhaps that’s why I love to travel kind of blindly too: learn a bit about a place and then hit the ground running, eager to stumble upon new and awesome things.
That’s where my friend Jim Cheney‘s new book comes into play. Choose A Way: Philadelphia is a grown-up travel version of those choose-your-own-adventure books that I loved as a kid. The book features 39 different things to see and do in the City of Brotherly love, some of which I’ve already talked about on my blog and others that are actually new to me (and I consider myself somewhat of a Philly buff!).
When I was growing up, I had a wicked imagination. It ran wild with all sorts of ideas and stories, so it’s only fitting that I had and still have a deep and profound love for the written word and for well-crafted and well-written books.
In the past few years, I’ve read some incredible books. Ones that have not only inspired in me a love of the world, but also a love for the characters, and a deep desire to have just that: love. Love, in this context, doesn’t necessarily mean in a romantic way or even for another person, but just in general. A love of language, of culture, of countries, of people. So, because I’ve gotten great joy and felt deep connections to these books, I wanted to share them with you. Here are some books to inspire travel (and love) in your lives as well.
“A small village, Portofino, stretches crescent-shaped along the edge of this calm bay.” – Guy de Maupassant
When I woke up around 10am, I felt like the previous day had been a dream—the short train ride from Genoa to Santa Margherita Ligure; the bus trip around winding, blind curves hovering on cliffs just above the sea on the way to Portofino; and finally, the arrival at the gorgeous Hotel Splendido.
But when I wandered out of the bedroom and into the living room, and clicked the button to raise the electric blinds, I realized it was all very real. I couldn’t help but stand in that exact position with a wide smile as I watched the view of Portofino’s yacht harbor come into view. I eagerly threw the glass door open and walked out onto one of the two terraces in the suite in which I was staying. For a few minutes I soaked up a bit of sun, breathed in the fresh air, and marveled at view of the tree-covered hillsides and sparkling blue waters dotted with boats.
When I visit a new place for the first time, I always do a bit of research on the neighborhoods in which to stay, and then try to find the perfect accommodation for that city.
Genoa is pretty small in comparison to other cities in Italy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in accommodation choices. When Cindy and I were planning our trip to Italy, we only really had two criteria: it had to be central and needed to have good reviews. Thankfully, she’d been to Genoa the year prior and had a pretty good hold on the city and already knew of a great place to stay—the Genoa City Best Western. She’d visited for a bloggers conference, and the hotel staff let all the bloggers take a tour of the penthouse suite while she was there, so she knew that the hotel was a great option for us.
My biggest complaint with The Rutland Hotel is that I didn’t get to stay longer. I loved this hotel. I mean loooooved it. I could probably live here.
The Rutland is an awesome boutique hotel located in the heart of Edinburgh just off Princes Street. The hotel boasts 12 totally unique rooms combining modern, baroque, and traditional styles.
Stoke Park is a luxury 5-star hotel surrounded by 350 acres of parks, lakes, and manicured gardens. If you’ve ever seen Bridget Jones’s Diary, you’ll recognize this hotel as the one that Bridget and Daniel stayed at during their “this must mean true love” mini-break. It’s been featured in a number of other movies as well, including James Bond’s Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies, and Layer Cake.
The Loews Hotel is housed in one of the most iconic buildings in the Philadelphia skyline. Formerly the Pennsylvania Savings Fund Society (PSFS) building, it opened in 1932 and was very modern for its time in the United States.