Travels on the bookshelf: Czechoslovakia

Melnik, the wine town of Czechoslovakia, lies due north of Prague, and about a hour away by road. We left town by way of Karlin and Kobylisy, skirting the bend of the Vltava, and climbed out of the valley to rolling upland villages, leaving the military airfield away on our right hand. The factories of the north-eastern suburbs slipped behind us, and there was the true Bohemia, the clean, colour-washed houses, the ponds and greens and orchards of a garden and meadow country, made for the sun and the summer; and the day was opening in warm splendour, the very day for which the land was made. Strips of poppies, white and red, the white tinted at the roots of the petals with mauve, made gay patterns across the fields; geese were encamped in the stony beaches of ponds like miraculous drifts of fresh snow.” — Edith Pageter, The Coast of Bohemia.

It took me a while to get “into” this book’s writing style, since it isn’t like other books of Edith Pageter’s that I’ve read (the Brother Cadfael series). But now I’ve come back to the read it again, and to read it less like a history book of what Czechoslovakia was like right after WWII, and more like a time travel book. It’s worth reading, if only for the stories of misadventures (such as a tall fellow traveler who suffers when they can’t get seats on the bus because he scrapes his head on the roof while standing unless they’re lucky if it’s a “tall” bus). Or descriptions of what people at the time thought were important “sights” to show the author when she visited.

So, what books are you traveling through on your bookshelves? Are you getting any ideas for actual travels, or are you “revisiting” places by rereading books or novels?

I think next on my list is a Victorian travelogue about the Isle of Scilly, if I can find the book.


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