Top positive review
51 people found this helpful
Extremely useful and well organised but...
on 10 November 2012
This was another book I came across in Blackwell's and occupied me through my morning coffee. I find it quite hard to review - partly of course because I haven't actually taken it to an unknown city and used it - but also because it covers some places that I know quite well and where I would have written the guide differently.
The concept is excellent - a short schedule for a 36 hour stay in various cities in Europe - conveniently arranged by general area and then grouped by country.
The general descriptions are good and you can't quarrel with what they recommend you spend your time on - the Oxford one was not bad atall I thought - although I would dispute some of the food recommendations but other than that they hit the highlights. Bologna was OK; Venice I wasn't so keen on. And I think it is because the time is short they are concentrating on seeing all the key sites and missing some of the real pleasures in the cities which you find by accident as you wander around - the serendipitous discoveries.
This is particularly marked in the Amsterdam account - I know the city reasonably well and I guess I would have written it entirely differently. But that reflects my own preferences for sightseeing I guess - not ticking off the 7 must sees and moving on.
Not meant in any negative way but it is a very American guide and lacks - on the whole - quirkiness. But it certainly serves a purpose very competently. So if you really want to ensure you have spent your brief time seeing what you HAVE to see then it is probably excellent.
I would have liked more alternatives - but I suspect that would just have undermined its core purpose as a guide.