for Unconventional Women
for Unconventional Women
That saying—off the beaten path—is used so much in travel books and blogs that it’s sometimes hard to believe that anything is truly off the beaten path anymore. That said, a few years ago, I picked up a book called “500 Hidden Secrets Of Rome,” a few months before we planned to visit the city with our kids. A number of the places noted in the book are actually very well known, but I was utterly entranced with all the history, insights, and secrets it did contain. I actually read the entire thing cover to cover. Twice.
Most people know that while I’m pretty vanilla on the outside—just a working mom with two kids, a husband of almost twenty years, and (gasp) a minivan—I LOVE quirky and unusual places and people. This book, without a doubt, fed my need to experience the unique and curious. Did you know there is a church in Rome that claims to have the foreskin of Jesus? The book even acknowledges that such a thing isn’t true, but it’s kind of interesting to know (and visit) a place that actually believes this to be true. Some of the other spots we visited based on this book included a house with monsters for doors, an absolutely gorgeous spot for lunch in a quiet courtyard not four blocks from the Vatican (part of an old palace and the inside is just as lovely as the outside), and a monastery with crypts made of bones (It’s totally wild. And bizarre. And fascinating in a macabre kind of way). We hit all the usual haunts too, but these slightly out of the way places definitely made the trip just a little more unique and memorable.
Even the more well-known spots covered in the book included some unusual aspect of the location—you know, the kind of things you might hear on a private tour but not likely to see in a standard guide book. And each “secret” is covered entirely on one page only, so the information is easy to absorb and refer to.
There are over twenty destination in the series including New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Los Angeles, Barcelona, and London so if you’re looking for something to make your visits to any of these cities just a little different, I’d highly recommend picking up one these books. I’ve gifted the New York edition to a couple of people and you can be sure I’ll be picking up the Los Angeles edition before we head down that way in February for a family vacation!
(I bought my books from Bas Blu, my favorite bookish catalogue, but I see they are also available on Amazon)
About the Author: Tamsen Schultz is an avid traveler and prefers to seek out the different or unusual even when visiting some of the more tourist-heavy spots (Capuchin Monastery in Rome, anyone?). Her contemporary novels are set on the other side of the country from where she lives (which may or may not be an excuse to travel) and she’s currently writing an historical mystery set in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, which adds a new dimension to her obsession by giving her a reason to travel in both space and time.
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