One of my favorite tasks assigned to me by my company THE LONDON CONNECTION is to inspect the flats we offer to the public twice a year. Thomas Jr. checks on them twice a year as well. So, we are in London often, sometimes for rather long periods of time. We meet with our fabulous London team headed by Cristina Teixera whose capable organization cares for a remarkable operation. While I am in the flats, I note the many travel books that clients leave behind them in the flats for future visitors to these properties. In some flats, there may be as many as ten guide books which have been kindly left. From time to time, I find a stack of pages which have been ripped out of a guide books (pages of the particular places a visitor wishes to put in their itinerary) because travelers don’t wish to carry unnecessary weight. I read these guide books year after year, and I have concluded that I do not prefer editorialized travel guides. I prefer the hard facts, and I will search further if I wish to. The rows of guide books at Barnes and Noble seem all fluff to me and lack real depth. Knowing London as I do, I understand the wonderful information which these publications leave out.
When Stephanie and I were very young, we went to England and France with the great J. Reuben Clark III whose father was the under-secretary of State. Dr. Clark held a Ph.D. in the Classics from Columbia, and I was a Renaissance scholar studying with Rocco Montano from the University of Padua. You can imagine how a young scholar would thrive in such a learning situation. Our parents felt that such an experience was really necessary for a good education, and I am sure Stephanie and I had no objections–none whatsoever. The Clarks and my wife and I traveled extensively all over Europe, and I taught a few classes at the University of Grenoble where we had our apartment. During this long visit, I learned to use the early MICHELIN GUIDES. These were the days when books like EUROPE ON $50.00 A DAY were all the rage. I grew to love the Michelin Guides because the information was so precise and complete without a lot of editorializing from travel guides who really had a superficial knowledge of their subjects.
When my children came along, I took them to Europe every summer; we traveled from Cairo to Jerusalem to Athens, to Rome/Florence/Venice/, to Munich, on to Paris, and finally arriving in the United Kingdom rather tired and exhausted. Sometimes we made our way to Budapest or Madrid, and reluctantly to Switzerland. This trek usually took five or six weeks, and I was the guide. We had our bus and our driver, and I had arranged housing before we left the States. But, I relied heavily on my MICHELIN GUIDE which never let me down. When we arrived home in London, we evaluated our trip and talked about what we could have done better and where we might go the following year. We consulted our pile of MICHELIN GUIDES as we put these vacations together. Every couple of years, I buy a new guide; but, I rely on my old green one which I bought in 1990. It is filled with my notes and comments. I study the diagrams and engravings. I appreciate the details and specifics rather than “comments” about various places to visit from other guide books.
I decided that I would write this post because I think my visitors to our flats can have a better trip if they rely on a better source of information. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THE MICHELIN GUIDE TO LONDON. I need a new one from time to time because times and places change, and the careful information gets better and better. I find myself using it as a research source, particularly when I am double checking facts when writing my articles for the blog.
Another benefit of the Michelin Guide to London is it concise and easily packed in your hand luggage so you can read it during those hours in flight. When you arrive at the British Museum, why just wander around. Why not have a pictorial guide to the museum which show where to locate items of particular interest. As I get older, I have to admit that I forget details which I used to recall immediately. I just pull out my MICHELIN GUIDE, and the name/place I am thinking of is readily located. When I was young, I used to be able to name the Presidents/vice-Presidents and their dates in office as well as the sovereigns and consorts of England from William the Conqueror to the current sovereign. I don’t think I can do it any longer, so I just turn to my Michelin Guide. My father adored teaching us to memorize such trivia; he said it was good for the brain and a good way to entertain our teachers. Ha! Well, all I can repeat back these days is the alphabet–but said backwards; it amused my father and aunts immensely. In grades school, I had to write the alphabet like everyone else, but I had to start at the bottom of the paper with the letter Z. When called on to say the alphabet before the class in the first grade, I raced through it backwards to the teacher’s dismay and to the applause of my classmates. When I traveled with my father, he had us recite the alphabet backwards to his business friends who roared, but I felt like an entertaining monkey. Even now, I have to look up a phone number in the book from the back of the book forward! So, you can see how such a simple soul has to rely on a scholarly travel book like the Michelin Guide to London.
I would not travel to London under any circumstances without my Michelin Guide, and I strongly recommend this publication to my readers. It is a scholarly work. It is my old friend!
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918