Life as world travelers were in many ways easier back in the old days -before Google and TripAdvisor (and all the other online services) send recommendations to you even before you knew you needed them.
Back in the days where Rough Guide, Fodor, Lonely Travel etc were the main source of information, and National Geographic our main source of inspiration.
Back then we were forced to pick our preferred source of information – simply because we couldn’t carry a library of books with us.
So how do you select one series from the other – or within one serie – one guidebook from the other?
To do so, you had to know who was behind each serie – and within the serie – who was the writer.
Lonely Planet’s strengths were its information about how to get around the world. Was it possible to go from A to B, and how. And where can you stay… etc.
Even within the Lonely Planet Serie there was a huge difference between continents. Maybe due to LP’s history (Asia Countries were the first LP covered) – LP was much more useful in Asia compared to South America.
And even within each country there were big differences in the quality of informations – it all depends on the author.
In 2007 BBC bought Lonely Planet, and the books changed from being adventurous to corporate… we haven’t read them since.
Just call me a snob.
But how can you recommend a restaurant if you don’t know how to make a beurre blanc?
Getting recommendations and advice from writers with century old food culture & traditions is much more credible and reliable compared with information from writers from other cultures…
And no matter where you are (countries or cities) – most of the time the recommendation you get from locals are useless. They are emotionally involved, don’t go out as much as visitors, don’t know your background & references and/or don’t cook themselves. And when it comes to expensive restaurants they most probably haven’t been to the places themselves.
So back in the days when we needed information about food and drinks – restaurants, cafes bars, street kitchens etc. the most useful and reliable serie was the French Guide Routard.
And it’s the same today.
When it comes to food & drinks – recommendations, background, culture, whats-happening etc, I always try to find the French crowd… (or Italians but they are just more difficult to find).
In Lisbon we use twitter & google news to stay updated on the food scene. Articles, Blogs and websites we find that way we follow. And we almost always follow the French – like Mon Lisbonne.
Besides having a passion for food, drinks and nigth life they run a guide business that keeps them up-dated on what´s happening on the food scene… (and then the guys behind shop at our preferred butcher….).
We don’t necessarily agree in their picks…. it’s all about getting inspirations. We get it from them…
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