I realised recently that a few of my travels in the past few years have inadvertently taken on a literary theme and seen me visit some locations of my favourite characters and books.
Some of the best:
As I was travelling around Dresden in 2011 I was thinking about Slaughterhouse five and Billy Pilgrim. Much of the city was destroyed in the war and rebuilt with the original materials. Kurt Vonnegut had written about the city and its destruction as seen through his main characters eyes when he was a soldier hiding out in Dresden. Since reading those pages, Dresden was one of my must see places in Germany.
When I first moved to Berlin a friend of mine lent me the book Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. While I was reading it I was still getting used to Berlin and learning my way around different districts. The characters in the book were living in different parts of Berlin and going out in different areas that inspired me to venture to these places and see how closely they could match the description from 80 years ago. About a year after living in Berlin I took that same friend on a little trip one day to visit the apartment in Schoneberg where Christopher Isherwood had lived while he wrote Goodbye to Berlin.
Although this one is a little bit of a stretch, I went to Oxford last weekend and Gatsby is described as an Oxford man in the Great Gatsby and claims to have gone there. Although a lot of my friends may have expected my Oxford adventure to be more geared towards the Harry Potter association, sorry folks, that’s just not my cup of tea.
While I was visiting Paris I was finishing reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. He wrote the memoirs of his Paris years with his first wife Hadley. As a tourist in Paris, walking around landmarks and visiting areas on walking tours takes you past so many of Hemingway's old haunts, which inspires a desire to read all about his old crew Gertrude Stein, the Fitzgeralds and James Joyce. They all have deep set roots all over Paris.
Next on my literary travel list: Yorkshire to the Wuthering Heights Moors. I don’t know when I’ll be in Yorkshire but it’s in the UK so I should find the opportunity at some point!