The first time I bought a DK travel guide was our trip to Amsterdam a few years ago. I looked at several books, and bought only two: DK’s Amsterdam and Holland books. I felt quite fortunate for my selection. Unlike many of the guides, the DK travel guides are very pictorial. They have breakout images of key sights so that you know exactly where to look. This works for visually oriented travelers.
The Amsterdam and Holland books included a delightful canal walk. A long, glossy page unfolds from the book, and it depicts detailed images of the buildings along the canal. The page provides tidbits about the history and architecture of each building. The houses along the canals in Amsterdam are quite narrow. They were built with a tilt to them and a winch mechanism on the roof so that people could haul furniture and large things up the floors. Without the book in my hands along the walk, I would have missed this bit of detail. The canal walk is my most treasured memory of Amsterdam.
The DK city and country books overlap enough that you only need to buy one. I’ve purchased Ireland, Scotland, Rome, and Florence & Tuscany. The Ireland and Scotland books were quite helpful for the Rosslyn Chapel. I purchased the Rome book despite the negative reviews.
The Rome trip is making me uncomfortable because it’s out of my comfort zone. The only places I’ve been so far are the Netherlands (Amsterdam, basically), Ireland, Scotland and England, where everyone speaks English. Yeah, the brogue can be hard to follow sometimes, but still it’s English. This trip seems more complicated than the others. Ethnocentricity rears its head.
So, I’m loaded up with books and maps, all likely to get heavy, and I will lug them around like a security blanket just to compensate for the fact that I’m too American to speak a foreign language. But I’m determined to have fun and go with the flow. How can we go wrong? There’s so much to do and see that any little bit of it will be enriching and we can always go back for seconds.