- Language: English
- Genre: Travelogue
- Pages: 250 pages
- Format: Hardcover
- Author: Ranjita Biswas
- Publishing Date: February, 2018
- Publisher: Niyogi Books
- ISBN-10: 9386906015
- ISBN-13: 978-9386906014
Travelling alone can be very daunting and challenging for any person who has never done it before. It is especially scary if you are an Indian woman. When you finally decide that you want to hit the road alone, everyone you know has some kind of advice for you; never go out after dark, be careful in discos or beaches, always keep a pepper spray with you and the list goes on. But no matter how many frightening stories you hear about lone tourists, there is always something magical about a solo woman traveler in a foreign land. That’s what great adventure stories are made of.
Notes from a Spanish Diary is a travelogue written by Ranjita Biswas who went on a solo trip to Spain. She is an award winning independent journalist, fiction & travel writer and translator. My favorite chapter in the book is the first one, where she shares her first night experience in Barcelona. She explains beautifully how a foreign land can also be a nightmare, especially if you are in a country where you do not speak the local language. Author’s realistic description paints a vivid picture in your head. Throughout the book, she interestingly compares Spanish and Bengali lifestyle. Such as both Bengalis and Spaniards take their fish and afternoon siesta quite seriously. She also mentions many Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese and European people whom she met while travelling.
Best part of the book is the variety it offers in terms of destination. Most people who write about Spain mainly focus on Madrid or Barcelona . But Ms. Biswas take you away from the famous tourist attractions to Andalusia; home of Flamenco and Mudéjar art form. She shows us more beautiful and less publicized Andalusian cities such as Seville, Ronda, Malaga, Granada and Cordoba. From there she goes northward to visit few more beautiful cities which often falls off the tourists’ map. She visits Zaragoza, Spain’s fifth largest city and home of painter Francisco Goya. Lastly she visits Santiago and Salamanca before her return to India. To tell the truth, this is the first time I read about these beautiful cities. I am thankful to Ms. Biswas for introducing me to these hidden gems. It certainly piqued my interest and I would love to read more about them.
The historical account of all the cities and monuments is very informative. However, after a certain point the descriptions bogged down the narrative for me. When I read a travelogue, I want to read more about author’s first person experiences. How they ditched the travel guide and did things their own way. Their mistakes, creative solutions, the laughter they couldn’t stop or the sudden friendships that surprised them. It makes me feel more connected to the story. Though author has shared interesting tidbits throughout the book, the historical information definitely took precedence over that. But even with too much information, this book is an excellent choice for a tourist as well as an armchair traveler. I will recommend this book to all travel lovers.
Thank you Niyogi Books for providing me the opportunity to review this book.