Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review: Discovering Hidden Europe with Francis Tapon


So many books, essays and articles have been written about Europe, that there is not much to say anymore. Or is there?

Apparently, Francis Tapon still has a thing or two to argue when talking about Europe, the hidden Europe, the most unknown part of the Old Continent, that fascinating region from Germany eastward that still bears mystery and retains much of its old charm.

Reading his book, The Hidden Europe, you will embark on a journey of the unknown, that will still keep the European features of a rich culture and fascinating artistic traditions, with the additional benefit of visiting places that are seldom mentioned anywhere else.

The book, however, has a deeper mission than merely describing beautiful countries. As the author himself says, "the purpose of this book isn’t to just share Eastern European insights. Its purpose is also to stir curiosity in you. I hope to inspire you to wander and learn. I want America to open its borders and brains not just to the brightest minds of Eastern Europe, but to the brightest minds of the world."

Humor, vivid descriptions, anecdotes stemming from seven years of wandering around that not-so-remote European region, more or less straightforward interactions with locals and, last but not least, a stunning set of photos as the perfect closure, are the main ingredients of this unusual journey.

Despite its 700-something pages, you will read the book straight through. The topics you will find throughout the piece are all of deep importance, but Tapon's light style meets the challenge to make them pleasant (and hilarious!).

Please, travel vicariously through Francis Tapon's words towards unsung destinations, hostile-looking yet stunning landscapes, harsh weather conditions and their correspondent human attitudes in facing Mother Nature's tests, be amazed at the unexpected hospitality, if not pure candor, of Eastern Europeans towards foreigners, learn about Finland (you didn't know it was in Eastern Europe? Discover why), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova and the other countries and populations that make Eastern Europe such a demanding travel destination.

You will be enriched by this book, you will learn what "Eastern Europe can teach us" and you will be more encouraged and curious to book there your next trip.

To buy The Hidden Europe, click here.

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