Roughing it without a guide

In Colombia Fiona was never alone because her Lonely Planet was never far away. We weren’t wild about Lonely Planet’s insights in Colombia to be honest. We’ve a sense that it’s trying too much to be all things to all people. But is not yet really a friend of the backpacker unless you’re picking a restaurant; the trusty guidebook is still key.

Traveling for months, and all over the place, its impractical for us to carry guides for everywhere. We did our best to pick up a guide for Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in Colombia but came up with nothing. There’s a startling lack of reading in Colombia, and a lack of bookstores as a result. We were betting on book exchanges for a while but came up with nothing.

In desperation we downloaded a Footprint guide. But it just wasn’t the same. For one thing, Footprint didn’t really do it for us. It’s too objective. Pages and pages of accommodation listings for Quito, but no real suggestion of what might be best. Plus it was cumbersome to peal through a 700 page PDF, and wasn’t portable. That’s to say nothing of the contribution to our laptop use congestion.

Fiona, like a kid at Christmas.
Fiona, like a kid at Christmas.

I hadn’t realised quite how frustrating Fiona was finding this until I saw her exponential delight when leafing through a Rough Guide for South America in a second hand English language bookstore in Quito. There is something enormously satisfying about a guidebook that seems to speak your language. As I blog, Fiona is now happily at work planning us a walking tour for the old town tomorrow. And for us to enjoy big city culinary variety while in Quito before turning back to the carb loaded local cuisine. All round win.


One thought on “Roughing it without a guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *