Sunday, 14 August 2016

How far will a book take you?

My big loves are books and travel. But short of reading abroad or reading travel book, the two have remained separate entities in my life. Most of the books I read are set in fantasy lands, which is great and makes for some beautiful world maps, but it's not like you can pack your bags and pay them a visit (as much as you sometimes want to).

I loved Kate Mosse’s Languedoc trilogy; Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel. They’re worldwide bestsellers, and with good reason. Set in Carcassonne, the mix of fiction and history, along with engaging heroines and a sprinkling of the supernatural, this series is an instant win in for me, and I’ve read them time and again over the last ten years or so. And when I was browsing SkyScanner the other day, I suddenly had an idea. Why not go to Carcassone?
So when it came to choosing the next destination for the next Gray mother-daughter trip abroad, I actually came to the table with a suggestion as opposed to our usual method of selection – putting a bunch of ideas in a jar and picking one at random. My suggestion was Carcassonne.

Mosse’s books have been such an inspiration, that I felt I owed it to the stories I've loved so much to see the place where they were born. That, plus the fact that France is a mere hop, skip and a jump from the UK and there are an abundance of cheap flights (thanks Easyjet!) and Air B&B deals made this one a no brainer. Plus, after the UK's questionnable decision to leave the EU, I feel like I should get all the hassle-free eurotravel in while I can still swan through immigration under the European freedom of movement law.

This is one of those wonderful times in my life where I can actually use the phrase "the book made me do it". Handily, Mosse’s books also come with a mini tour guide in the back of them, highlighting the spots where key scenes take place.

You're a better woman than me if you can resist this!
I'm so excited to finally see this beauty in real life! It's going to be a patchwork of flights, train transfers and remembering to drive on the right-hand side of the road whilst trying to not crash the hire car, but I can't wait! How I will fit three large, hardback books in my backpack remains to be seen...

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