100 Great Wonders of the World
100 Great Wonders of the World, the latest book from the AA's publishing division, is a selection of some of the most spectacular buildings, monuments and natural features around the world.
If you're anything like me, the first thing you do when opening a book like this is to check out how many of the places you've actually seen or visited. Despite being lucky enough to have travelled widely (well, I am a travel writer), there were some surprising gaps in my experience, particularly, I'm ashamed to say, around the UK. But 100 Great Wonders of the World, only spurs you on to make more effort next time!
I wondered at this particular selection but it can only be a subjective list and if you're going for the 100 greatest sights in the world, you have to start somewhere. Naturally places such as the Alhambra in Granada, Spain and the Parthenon in Athens are included, as are the Sahara, Galapagos Islands and the Himalayas, but other choices left me a little baffled. Having said that, choosing just 100 wonderful sights to see around the world is a pretty impossible task.
While 100 Great Wonders of the World may not be guaranteed to prompt you to take annual leave and book your flights immediately, the images and text do inspire dreams. It certainly whetted my appetite to have another go at a couple of places. A working weekend to Istanbul happened to coincide with a public holiday, which meant all the sights were closed so I had only 20 minutes to gain an impression of Aghia Sofia and no time at all for the Blue Mosque, which is included in the book. Thanks to swine flu, Chichen Itza in Mexico was closed when we got there and unrest in the Middle East has temporarily postponed a trip to Petra, the Nile and The Great Pyramid.
Illustrated with inspiring photos and accompanied by interesting snippets of information, the 100 Great Wonders of the World also provides longer items of interest such as features on Renaissance Europe and the Great Civilisations of the world. And I found that even if I had visited some of the places covered, there were still gaps in my knowledge that the book filled.
So, all in all, this book can help you while away a wet winter's evening or be food for thought when holiday planning.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Published by the AA, 100 Great Wonders of the World (Aa Illustrated Reference) is available from Amazon.