Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City Notebooks

Moleskine journals are a particularly bad product for people who do not want to belong to a herd or follow trends. Especially if the attraction is not based on quality or attractiveness but merely on the reputation that the product was used by the likes of Picasso and Hemingway… a reputation that is difficult to believe since the brand did not even come into existence until 1996. For some of us who have journaled since before the company was around, the claim is funny. For the company spokesmen it is “not the absolute truth” i.e. “a lie.”

That being said, Moleskine has created one product worth checking out for people who meet the right criteria: the City Notebook. It is basically a blank journal designed to be used as a guidebook to a touristy city that is written by the user. It contains maps and a basic layout that can be adapted to meet the needs of the individual.

As a primary guide it is not the number one choice. It would also not be the best book for a first trip, unless you had the time beforehand to do the sort of research that might rob you of the initial discovery that is part of the joy of a new city. For someone who lived close to one of the cities and had the opportunity/ desire to repeatedly visit it, though, it is a good resource.

So far, the cities in Europe available from Moleskine are: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Prague, Rome, Vienna, Lisbon, Hamburg, Moscow, Florence, Venice, Athens, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Munich, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Torino, and Zurich. There are also some North American and Asian cities available.

1 comment:

  1. I recently broke down and bought the Berlin City Notebook in preparation for my third trip to that city. It turned out to be the best buy for that time. I had been a couple times already, so I was aware of what I had and had not yet seen, and what I wanted from the city. I also knew I planned to be back several times so I would be building on the experience. I spent most of my free moments in the week leading up to the trip preparing and filling out information in the journal, and it was a great resource on the day of the trip.

    I basically tossed out all the pre-created ideas of the tabs and made my own. On section that I created that would not be for everyone or all cities was a section on movies featuring Berlin. I like to know about films I have seen that take plce there, so I can see the places in person.

    I will probably buy one more of these notebooks: the one for Prague. We have been out there about 11 times in 3 years, and I imagine we will continue to explore it as it is so close and so full of things to see.


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