Choosing entries for Words of the Week, our celebration of travel blogging/writing which elevates the craft, can be a difficult task.
At times, our search gives us pause because we want to scream out — many well-known travel bloggers post about their visits to Barcelona, only to smear the city with cliché observations and factual errors.
When we come across a well-written, accurate piece, we rejoice. Nothing makes us happier than artistic writing which elevates the craft and the subject of the writing. In that vein, we’ve chosen a recent article in the U.K.-based The Guardian to lead our list of selections for this week’s Words of the Week.
1. Giles Fraser, The Guardian, “Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia“
Fraser’s story about the Sagrada Familia is an interesting read because he apporaches the storied church with skepticism, then is struck mightly by the grandeur of Gaudi’s creation. That grandeur, however, is limited to the artistry within the doors of Sagrada. Giles appraisal of the church’s facades is caustic, giving this article a duality we thoroughly enjoyed. The complexities are a marked departure from the monotone mountain of banality “professional” travel bloggers produce:
But it is the dizzying verticality that creates the strongest impression, as if the world is tipped up towards heaven. All of which – stone, light, verticality – are the central ingredients of the medieval cathedral too. Indeed, for all its contemporary decoration and geometrical wizardry, it is still a remarkably traditional building.
2. Jennifer Leo, SFGATE, “San Diego craft beer scene well worth a trip“
Leo’s article takes us right into the middle of a glass of blond ale, using the sudsy quaff to communicate the unique and ever-changing nature of the San Diego craft brewing scene. Choosing the right imagery or metaphor for your intro is crucial to keeping a tight focus and an interesting narrative:
It wasn’t clear which was more like an actual cupcake: the blond ale in my hand or the purple-haired woman with the sweet demeanor and sugary-white teeth who poured it.
3. Tasha Hacker, Turf to Surf, “Blanc du Nil: Sailing to St. Barthelemy“
Hacker, a sailor who chronicles her journeys, has a very likable narrative voice. She uses the present tense as she tells her stories. Some handle this tense clumsily; Hacker does not. Her travel narratives are like the stories of old relatives — warm and simple. Straightforward dialogue adds honest structure to her stories:
Slowly and steadily, we traverse the hills to Gustavia, jogging past gleaming mega yachts and running to the famed “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” bar of Jimmy Buffet’s song. We slow down to walk the narrow, cobbled streets lined with pink bougainvillea spilling over the balconies and fences. Tanned, muscular men and slim, bra-less women draped in loose white linen sit at outdoor tables, smoking and sipping chilled glasses of white wine. French bakeries display their buttery pastries in the windows, making me wish I wasn’t running back to the boat so I could take a box home with me.
Beer Photo Credit: 2kids Brewing Company Facebook Page