Where To Go And What To Read This Winter

THERE’S NOTHING FOR WINTER LIKE CURLING UP IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE IN A SNOW-COVERED MOUNTAIN VILLAGE. AND IT’S EVEN BETTER WITH A GOOD BOOK.

Tanzania promises a mid-winter summer with culture and natural beauty stretching all the way from Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro. But the main attraction of this country that joins Africa to the Indian Ocean is a safari through Serengeti National Park. You will feel close enough to reach out and touch the wild herds and broad savannahs as you read Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro or Danish writer Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. What’s more, the Serengeti turns green starting in December when wild flowers carpet the plains.

Capital Cairo earns kudos for everything from its mosques and markets to the pyramids. And Cairo Museum is first stop for those keen to follow the traces of Ancient Egypt. After seeing the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Karnak at Luxor, where Agatha Christie penned her famous Death on the Nile, you can forge ahead to Aswan. Meanwhile on the shores of the Red Sea, Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh attract for their beautiful beaches and colorful underwater world. And if you’re eager to delve into the soul of this landscape, your best bet among Egypt’s literary figures is Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz.

One of the most vibrant destinations for a winter holiday, India is more like a continent than a country. Besides the holy city of Varanesi, the giant capital Mumbai and Goa of the famous beaches, the Rajasthan region also captivates with its many colors representative of the entire country. A magnificent itinerary awaits you here from Agra and the Taj Mahal to Jaipur and its Amber Castle. Our reading recommendations for this dream trip: The Inheritance of Loss (Kiran Desai), The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) and Gora (Rabindranath Tagore).

Haiku, bonsai, sushi, Mount Fuji, Japanese gardens… Spring in Japan dazzles the eye when the country is decked bridal white with cherry blossoms in February and March, the ideal time for a winter holiday. If you visit Tokyo and the old capital Kyoto in succession, you can see Japan’s magnificent synthesis of tradition and modernity with your own eyes. Some authors whose books will help you get to know the country include Basho, Kenzaburo Oe, Yasunari Kawabata, Kazuo Ishiguro and Haruki Murakami.

How about viewing Paris or the French Alps through the eyes of the country’s writers and fictional heroes? Gourmet Alpine village Courchevel, Val d’Isère with its Olympic pistes, and mountain climbers’ favorite Chamonix are just waiting for you to spend your winter vacation. Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, George Perec’s A Man Asleep and André Breton’s Mad Love are your admission ticket to the French soul. And if you have time, you can follow the footsteps of Balzac, Molière and Proust in Paris.

You will discover the old imperial capital Vienna and its Christmas markets all over again as you read Wolf Wondratschek’s Mozart’s Barber. The country’s winter resorts are among the best in Europe: Hansel and Gretel village Kitzbühel, St. Anton’s with its thrilling ski runs, Ischgl and its colorful festivals, and pearl of the Tyrol St. Johann. And all those ski centers with their splendid snowy landscapes go even better with famous writers like Stefan Zweig, Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Bernhard.