Book and Literary Travel

The Magical Way into Harry Potter’s Wizarding World

If you are planning a vacation to Central Florida with young Muggles, odds are high that they’ve tugged on your arm begging you to take them to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The attraction, a part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, has been Orlando’s hottest attraction since it opened in June of 2010.

Nearly any kid who’s a fan of the J.K. Rowling books will eat up everything about the Wizarding World like so many Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. But what about the parents?

The good news for adults is that, while the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is far from mind blowingly amazing, it does have cool elements to it. There’s also one piece of advice that in itself can make your visit there turn out somewhere between tolerable and fun. For that, Dear Reader, continue on . . .

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One Fish, Two Fish,
Places That Look Dr. Seuss-ish

Anyone who grew up on The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham remembers the illustrations of one Mr. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Trees with elongated trucks or with improbable collections of limbs. Stark and scraggly landscapes with oddly balanced rocks and unlikely geometric shapes. Architecture with unusual protrusions and awkward angles where no two windows exactly the same. These were some of the hallmarks of the world Dr. Seuss illustrated in his 60 children’s books.

Here’s a look at some places on Planet Earth—places you can visit on your next vacation—that resemble scenes from a Dr. Seuss illustration. So, in the words of the doctor himself . . .


…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


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Tintin Goes to the Museum

Brussels might be best known as the center of European Union bureaucracy and as the namesake for terrible tasting sprouts but it is also a Mecca for comic book lovers. Cartoons are arguably the Belgian national art form and world-renoun characters such as The Smurfs, Asterix, Blake and Mortimer— and, of course, the Farting Pig—have their origins in this tiny country.

The most influential, and perhaps the most famous, of the Belgium comic characters is Tintin, an inexplicably young journalist with an even more inexplicable of hair who, together with his dog Snowy, explores the world sans visa problems solving mysteries and engaging in swashbuckling adventures. He made his debut in the politically-tinged Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in 1929. From there Tintin’s globetrotting took him to such places as Tibet, the Congo and even the moon.

In the summer of 2009 a new museum opened dedicated to Tintin and his creator, Georges Rémi. The appeal of the museum to fans of comics is obvious. For lovers of travel and architecture there’s lots to like too.

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The World’s 6 Coolest-Looking Bookstores

So how do you create a three-story bookstore in a cathedral when you can’t drill any holes into the building or attach anything load-bearing to its walls?

Usually a store is just a store. But a few stores are attractions in and of themselves. So it is with these six incredibly cool-looking bookstores. Next you are in Maastricht, Beijing, Porto, Buenos Aires, Paris or Mexico City, add these stores to your list of must-see attractions—even if you don’t plan on buying a book.

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The Glorious Clutter of London’s Hidden Hotel

Imagine you had eccentric British relatives who lived in an enormous 18th-century London townhouse, who were veracious collectors of antiques, and who stuffed their house full of every painting, sculpture, mirror, book, armoire, clock, chest, candelabra, and exotic curio they ever obtained. The hypothetical townhouse you are imagining probably looks something like the very real Miller’s Residence. But you needn’t be a relative of the Miller’s to stay there. The Miller’s Residence is a hotel.

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London Hotel or Opulent Victorian Novel?

To experience the high society of Victorian-era England you could read a Jane Austen novel. Or you could stay in London’s Gore Hotel.

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