What a good guide should do - and what a bad guide usually does

London Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 2 › view all entries

You've paid your money, you've managed to get the time off work, you've ended up in the office until 9pm the night before you set off trying to get everything sorted out and even then peope have been pretty grumpy about you taking time off. If you've done all this the thing you really want to do is to enjoy your break and not hang around.

You want a guide to Paris, a guide to Rome, a guide to Prague, a guide to Barcelona, a guide to Berlin, a guide to Paris, a guide to Venice, a guide to Vienna that will show you the sites and get you around quickly. Paris might be the most beautiful city in the world but you want an audio guide of Paris that will show you the Louvre and tell you something about it.  Did you know that one of its most famous residents, for instance, was Catherine de Medici, who brought her chefs from Florence and created haute cuisine?  Well, that's what I learnt from mp3cityguides.com is true?  I don't know but a guide to Paris should tell you that.

Say you're going to Prague, you want a city guide of Prague that will show you old Town Square and then lead you up to the castle and explain what you're seeing on the way.  You want something that will not only tell you where Franz Kafka lived but also explain that the stories he wrote are full of paranoia and suspense.  You want to know about cool restaurants and hotel bargains in Paris, the best bars in Rome and what to see in Venice.  You want your Rome audio guide to explain where the term paparazzi comes from - Paparazzo was a photographer of celebrities in the movie La Dolce Vita - again courtesy of mp3cityguides.com You want to be able to see the sites of Vienna without having your head stuck in a guide book you want an audio guide to Vienna that will tell you what you're seeing as you seeing it - including the tragedy of Mayerling.

An audio guide to Venice should show you St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. You also want audioguide to Amsterdam that will not just tell you what you're seeing but put it in context.  Why are there no great palaces in Amsterdam?  Because the wealth of the Venice of the North, as your Amsterdam guide will tell, came from its traders, not princes and bishops.  In your guide to Barcelona, for instance, you want to know that this is Catalonia, not Spain and everything you see during your city guide to Barcelona should explain why the city looks like it does and why it's so keen to differentiate itself from Spain.  A good audioguide of Barcelona will tell you this.

OK, city guide writers... you've got your work cut out!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: ulysses