Tag Archives: Vera Marie Badertscher

10 Posts from the First 100 at A Traveler’s Library

VMB in Kastro, Sifnos Island, Greece
VMB in Kastro, Sifnos Island, Greece

Yesterday A Traveler’s Library hit one of those landmark days, and I was not even here to celebrate. (I’m in New Orleans ensconced in my favorite hotel, Hotel Monteleone.)

Ta-Da–100 Posts!

Somehow, it seems appropriate, though, that I had a guest post on India here yesterday, because it is symbolic of the ways this blog has introduced me to people, places and books to read for travel.  I might not have met Sue Dickman, yesterday’s guest poster,  had it not been for the 30-day challenge started by Michelle Rafter.

I certainly would not have had much to say about India, since I have not been there myself.  But by using guest experts, A Traveler’s Library roams beyond the  destinations that I have traveled to personally. We have had guests posts on New England, Croatia, Mumbai, and now India again.

And I met the nice folks at Wandering Educators, who invited me to be the Traveler’s Library Editor. I wrote their earlier this month about popular posts from April at A Traveler’s Library.

In the first 100 posts, we have traveled to an amazing 53 different places! I hope you’ll join me as we travel to more places and learn about more great books in the 2nd hundred posts.

TEN random selections from the First Hundred:

Onward toward that First Year celebration  January 10, 2010!

In Africa Through Books, Movies and Crafts

Today I traveled to Africa. It only took a half hour to get there, since I was driving to the south in Tucson to the AfricanVillage, part of the Tucson Gem Show.  Great crafts, carvings, masks, beaded cloth, and a food booth with good African cooking.

African Village Food Booth at Tucson Gem Show
African Village Food Booth at Tucson Gem Show

I talked with a vendor who explained this mask to me. It comes from the Ivory coast, he said, and represents a bird who is a story teller.  How appropriate for A Traveler’s Library.

The Story Teller Mask
The Story Teller Mask. For more info go to http://www.africanmasks.ca/history-tradition

I mentioned in my post about geography, that I am rather clueless about Africa.  A whole continent, and what do I know?  I have seen a few movies. The Last King of Scotland Out of Africa with Meryl Streep. The Snows of Kilimanjaro with Ava Gardner. King Solomon’s Mine with Deborah Kerr.  I am dating myself here, so better stop.

And literature?  Well, despite the many fine books available on Africa, I do not have many in my travel library.  In my usual quest for detective stories that tell me about a country, I did read Alexander McCall Smith’s very humorous The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and The Kalahari Typing School for Men.  There are more in the series and I will probably read them, too.

But I need to find good literature by Africans, and here is a blog that is a good source. A writer from Zimbabwe, Emmanuel Sigauke, gives not only interesting posts, but links to many African sites and blogs and writers.  I am running out of excuses for my ignorance.

Photos by VMB

Riding through Mancha with Don Quixote

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza drawn by Honore Daumier
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza drawn by Honore Daumier

Destination: Spain

Book: Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

On the road south of Madrid, the names on restaurant and hotels begin to read: Sancho Panza, Dulcinea, Don Quixote–named for the characters in Spain’s most famous book.

As we travel through the flat, sun-baked landscape of La Mancha, we burst into song.

“To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear the unbearable sorrow,

To run where the brave dare not go.”

Stirring lyrics and a tune that climbs like the mountains surrounding these plains.

Cervantes story of the indomitable Don Quixote and his down-to-earth sidekick Sancho Panza, and the musical based on the tale, Man of La Mancha, have forever typecast the Spanish people. The men must be adventurous, dreamers, believers in fantasy (or stoically practical peasants). The women are so beautiful they even the poorest are mistaken for royalty.  Is Cervantes’ picture correct, or is our vision of Spain clouded by the dominant literary guidebook to Spanish culture?

Either way, the legend of Don Quixote ranks high as a must-read book in the traveler’s library.  Just try to drive across the dusty plains of La Mancha without thoughts of striving for  better worlds to conquer in the nearby mountains or across the sea.

Once you have seen the musical, Man of La Mancha (on stage, please, the movie disappoints), you will be singing, “To dream, the impossible dream…”

(See another post on Spain, Secrets of the Alhambra)

What books in your travel libary have defined Spain for you? Did you see Don Quixote in the windmills of La Mancha? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.