Whether walking along Wordsworth Lake District or sipping martinis like James Bond at DUKES Bar in London, literary travel is the bookworm’s pilgrimage. By Shrimayee Thakur
The origin of literary tourism might lie in the 5th century AD when Greek writer and historian Herodotus wrote magical accounts of ancient Egypt in his work, The Histories. His readers, both Greek and Roman citizens, travelled to the shores of the Nile to look for the wonders he described.
Literary travel is the best way to connect with our favourite stories and authors. Finding real locations where fictional events took place, or the places where authors dreamt up stories that stoke our imagination and curiosity is a thrilling experience for avid admirers.
Check out below five places that are topping the charts of literature lovers:
1. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla and surrounding places, like Dharamshala and Mussoorie, attract a lot of attention from literary tourists for their association with author Rudyard Kipling. The British author is famous for his work, The Jungle Book, which has spawned a couple of movies and a massive fan following. Tour guides also do readings at places where the author is thought to have stayed or passed through.
2. London, United Kingdom
London is the site for so many novels and authors, it is impossible to list all of them. William Shakespeare’s First Folio is on display at the British Library, for the public to see. London Walk even offers a closer look at London through the times of Shakespeare and Dickens. VisitLondon, a website, has an itinerary for fans of Sherlock Holmes, and Dukes Bar is where Ian Fleming was struck with the idea of making martinis — 007’s favourite drink.
3. Paris, France
The City of Love also has many attractions. Among them is Irish author Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, for fans of classics such as The Canterville Ghost or Picture of Dorian Gray. Ernest Hemingway frequented a St. Germain café, known as Les Deux Magots, and at one time lived in Latin Quarter. French literature readers can explore house-museums dedicated to Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. Take your fascination one step further at hotel Le Pavillon des Lettres, where all 26 rooms are dedicated to a letter of the alphabet, and represent a famous author.
4. St. Petersburg, Russia
Follow the trail of infamous murderer Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment, as he went from his residence to that of the pawnbroker. Visit the abode of author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov. You can also pay your respects to Aleksandr Pushkin, considered by many to be the founder of modern Russian literature, at the Aleksandr Pushkin Memorial Apartment Museum, where the author breathed his last.
5. Santiago, Chile
Explore La Chascona, home to Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, better known as Pablo Neruda, a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet. Neruda is best known for his romantic verses, and was an influential poet and later a politician. His home is located in the Bellavista neighbourhood. Another Nobel Prize–winning poet-diplomat, Gabriela Mistral has been honoured by Chile with a mural constructed in her memory at the Cerro Santa Lucia park. She is also on the country’s 5,000 peso note.