We sometimes forget how beautiful our own continent is. The coffee table book Wanderlust Europe, The Great European Hike, focuses on approximately 50 long-distance routes and day trips, in which publisher Gestalten and co-writer Alex Roddie show that varied and extensive nature can still be found in Europe.
Text: Angelique van Os | Photography: Gestalten.
That walking encourages reflection of the mind has now become a much-discussed topic. Especially in uncertain times. It is also a sustainable way of traveling, which will only increase in the future. These two elements alone make Wanderlust Europe an interesting book for hiking enthusiasts. But it is the combination of good photo work, the carefully selected routes and the clear descriptions of the English or German book that stimulates.
The hardcover coffee table book has 328 pages and is practically divided into five sections: from East to West to Central Europe. British outdoor specialist and writer Alex Roddie, together with German publisher Gestalten, presents approximately 50 long-distance routes, day trips and weekend escapades for hikers of all levels. Complemented by beautiful photography from which the tranquil nature appeals to the imagination. Each story starts with a description of distance, duration and level, followed by a route description. The description of the environment is sometimes somewhat general; more personal experiences could have been woven into it. The enclosed regional maps where the routes are written and the practical boxes full of tips and bonus routes make up for a lot.
Wanderlust Europe shows how diverse our continent is. We travel from the rolling and rugged Scottish highlands, to the stately Alps and Dolomites to Mediterranean and quiet coastlines. Highlights are routes such as the Kerlingarfjöl Circle, which runs through the highlands and flowing valleys of Iceland. And the Kings- and Artic trail (Finland, Sweden and Norway), which shows the beauty of desolate landscapes. Consider the Menalon route in Greece, where remote rock monasteries alternate with the wooded environment. I myself would like to leave for the pristine Caucasus in Georgia or to the (well-known) paradise lakes of Plivice in Croatia.
Almost all routes and places breathe peace, space and purity. Away from the daily hustle and bustle, looking for tranquility. That creates a nice overview. A side note is that when a book focuses on the most beautiful European hiking trails, it is striking that quite a few countries have not been covered, such as Portugal, The Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Albania, Denmark and Austria. At the back of the book are seven pages where in short paragraphs 22 trails from most of the above countries are highlighted. That is brief, but it does add something. Of course, no book is complete, nor is it necessary. Nevertheless, an introduction would not have been out of place to allow the reader to know more about the choices made by author and publisher.
In summary, Wanderlust Europe is a pleasant manageable book, which makes you spontaneously want to pack your backpack, put on your hiking shoes and walk one of those beautiful routes.
WANDERLUST EUROPE The Great European Hike |Publisher: Gestalten | Editors: Gestalten & Alex Roddie | Features: full color, hardcover, stitch bound, 328 pages| Format: 22,5 x 29 cm & 9 x 11 1/2 inches| Price: € 39,90 (D) £ 35 $ 50 (US)| ISBN: 978-3-89955-866-1