Guidebooks are of course an essential staple of the independent traveller. We consulted three:
- Kerry’s Rough Guide to Greece which her brother got when he went to Greece a few years ago. Good descriptions of most of the places we went to.
- I was worried that the Rough Guide would be a bit out of date, so I bought a current copy of Lonely Planet Greece. It covers all the ground, and the background info on history and culture is great, but I found the descriptions of the islands frustratingly terse. (And of course, even the latest edition of a guide book won’t be totally accurate. For example, Lonely Planet says there is no bus service on Kimolos, but one has started since their researcher last visited.)
- Two days before we left Scotland, I picked up a 1999 vintage second-hand copy of Greek Island Hopping (published by Thomas Cook, makers of the mighty rail timetable) at Elvis Shakespeare, the most excellent second-hand book and record shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh. (The guy in the shop was so excited when I bought the book, and started reminiscing about his own Greek island travels. “You must visit Patmos…” A bit too far off our track, sadly!) For descriptions of the islands, this is by far the best of the bunch, and I brought photocopies of the relevant pages. The ferry information was of course hopelessly out of date. Another time though, I would probably bring a copy of the latest edition.
The Thomas Cook timetable continues to prove its worth — help us catch the earlier train last night and get to Brasov at a reasonable hour and exhausted into bed…