Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively, engaging and authoritative!, 4 Jun 2012
This review is from: Going Local in Gran Canaria. How to Turn a Holiday Destination Into a Home. (Paperback)
A few years ago an American travel writer admitted that he hadn't even been to the country (Colombia) that he'd written about for a Lonely Planet guide, instead cobbling together his info from the internet and a well-informed South American girlfriend. Ever since then, I've always been a bit suspicious about guide books - have the writers actually put in the legwork and been to all the places which feature in the text, or have they just spent hours browsing the web and let their imaginations run riot?

On a recent trip to the Canary Islands, however, I came across this book and it was clear from even the most cursory flick through that the author really knows his stuff. Formerly a London-based journalist, Matthew Hirtes has lived on Gran Canaria for nearly a decade and it is apparent that he is a genuine authority on virtually every aspect of life on the island: local culture, food and drink, transport and so on. Perhaps because Señor Hirtes is a bit of a sporty type - he has learned to surf since relocating to the Canaries and plays football for a Spanish-speaking veterans' team - the section on outdoor activities is particularly strong.

Throughout, the book is written in a lively and engaging style and, refreshingly, the author is not afraid to put the boot in if a bar, restaurant, hotel or whatever doesn't cut the mustard. Another aspect of the book I especially enjoyed were the various mini-interviews with other expats, providing their own particular slant on the pros and cons of local life. All in all, this is a guide I would thoroughly recommend, either to holiday-makers or to people thinking of making a permanent move to the Canaries.
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