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Clean Breaks

These are the personal selections of two very well travelled individuals ? the choices obviously reflect their interests ? Richard is a keen natural water swimmer, a wild simmer, and amongst the 500 are wild swimming in Australia, England, Finland, Italy, France, Kenya 'surely the best pool view in Africa?, and the USA (Yosemite). This is a guide book which encourages you to actively enjoy other peoples? places, their environments and cultures. It is a great place to look for new ideas and to think about how you travel ? how to get more out of your break, perhaps to clean and refresh the mind as well as the body ? there are spas as well.   Clean Breaks includes advice about how to travel by rail and sail in the Med, how to go green, and about how to travel differently: volunteering, cycling, travelling by train, horse-drawn caravanning; and not flying. There is information about certification and green labels, taking the train to ski, green festivals, going by cargo ship and living with the locals. It has inspired me to want to visit the southern side of the Pyrenees and to see a rainforest being born in Sri Lanka.   This is a personal choice ? they feature Grootbos in South Africa, I would too, but they didn?t include Dyer Island Cruises which offers great whale and dolphin watching just down the road. They don?t mention Wild Scotland and Scotland's position as the best wildlife watching destination in Europe. The UK is over represented, there is strangely little in Germany and France, nothing in Belgium. But this is to carp ? any choice is personal and reflects both the interests and knowledge of the writers. It does not claim to be encyclopaedic; it is the 500 choices of two well informed and widely travelled men, but they don?t know everywhere ? which means there is space for another book.   They?ve not connected with the movement for responsible tourism, they have not encouraged people to Fly Smart, they have not been sufficiently critical of offsetting. Their selection includes cultural icons and heritage and the living culture of the people ? there are some excellent resources listed at the back suggesting different ways of meeting people on your travels and about how to engage and behave like a guest showing respect for your hosts. In going green they make the point that we have to make informed decisions- the train is not always the most environmentally friendly way to go, a full car or coach may cause less carbon pollution?  A Clean Break they say is about ?minimizing your environmental impact? and they encourage us to choose carefully how we travel and where we stay. They have they say ?done our best to make sure all of the experiences featured in this book show a tangible commitment to environmental and social responsibility and reflect a new, progressive way to see the world?.   I am glad to have the book on my shelves ? best to ration how much you look at it; it can only increase your wanderlust and think about your air miles.   Clean Breaks 500 new ways to see the world Richard Hammond and Jeremy Smith Rough Guides 2009   Richard's is always worth a visit.

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