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Summer 2018 Reading Challenge: Backpack Across Europe

summer reading 2018.JPG

Challenge is closed. Please stay tuned. I’m verifying all the scores and it’s taking me a while. Winners will be announced in the next few days.

Update September 17
Travel hub for the week: Italy
Weather delay: No more delays for the final weeks
Traveler delay: No more traveler delays for the final month.
Creativity points: @bookandcat, the Other Diane (goodreads), @Simona, and Kelly (GoodReads). You each get an extra 2 points added to your score.
Special challenge: As we wrap up the challenge, it’s time for you to create your travel scrapbooks of places visited. This challenge will close on the last day of the challenge (Sept 30). You must create some kind of log, photo “album”, to show off the countries visited, books read, or landmarks. Show us your favorite and least favorite stops, show us where you traveled and some of the highlights (best books, etc.)

This special challenge is open to all participants. If you complete this challenge, you get to add a whopping 10 points to your final score. You can use bullet journal, photo collage, diary logs, maps, etc. If you are on Litsy, you may use several posts to fully illustrate your travels.

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Welcome to our summer 2018 reading challenge where together we will read our way across Europe! The goal of the challenge is to backpack (a.k.a. read) across Europe and amass the highest points. The challenge will begin July 2 and will end September 30 at midnight EST.

How to play:
All players will begin in their home country and will fly to one of the following airports: Heathrow (UK), Charles de Gaulle (France), or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands). Once you arrive you must read a book from that country in order to begin your travels and move on to the next country.

To travel across the Europe you must read and review books corresponding to each country that you visit. The book either must be predominantly set in that country or the author has to be from that country. You will be awarded points for each country that you visit. To fully participate you must travel to at least 4 European countries prior to arriving back home. You must move across the continent in the same way you would travel over land. You can’t skip over countries (see exception below) by using water travel. You may only use water travel to visit island countries.

To move across a continent you must complete your book and post a mini review (or link to your review on Goodreads or your blog) as a comment on this page.

Four bonus points will be awarded for visiting landmarks. To get credit for visiting a landmark, you must be able to draw a link between your book and the landmark. This can be a quote, a reference to a historical event, a central theme of the book, or another type of tie-in (character in the book visits the location, etc). A moderator (Book Worm or myself will determine whether the reason you provide is sufficient to merit the landmark points). The landmarks are the following:

Mont-Saint-Michel, France
Alhambra
Parthenon, Greece
The Charles Bridge, Prague
La Grand-Place, Brussels
Brandenburg Gate
The Gran Bazaar, Istanbul

Old city of Dubrovnik
Buda Castle

Your trip will end when you arrive back in your home country and complete a book for your home country. To travel back to your home country, you must depart from one of the following airports: Frankfurt (Germany), Istanbul (Turkey), or Adolfo Suarez Madrid (Spain). If you live in Europe you may travel back to your home country over land, bypassing the final air travel requirement.

Travel Exceptions: Each Monday (starting July 2) three types of major events will happen that can impact your game. One event type will advance your game and the other two event types will delay you. In addition, a fourth type of event will pop up periodically and could help you.

  1. Travel hubs: Each Monday we will use random.org to select 1 country that will become a travel hub for the week (Monday-Sunday). If you arrive in this country any time in the week it is the designated travel hub, you will be able to move to any other European country from that travel hub. In order to take advantage of this opportunity you must declare that you are using the travel hub and where you are going before the end of the week.
  2. Travel delays: Two randomly selected participants will be picked each Monday to experience a travel delay. If you are selected, then you will not be able to advance to a new country until the following Monday. You can finish your current book but will not be able to start a new book until your travel restriction is lifted. You may be delayed multiple times throughout the game. We want you to take your time “traveling” and enjoying the sites. Speeding through countries too fast may result in more frequent travel delays. Each week players’ names will be entered into the randomizer for travel delays based on how many countries they visited in the prior week. So if you didn’t complete any books your name won’t be entered into the randomizer but if you complete 5 books in a week, your name will be entered  5 times and the likelihood that you will be delayed will increase.
  3. Weather warning. Two countries will be randomly selected as blackout countries each Monday. This means that for that week, you will be unable to travel through that country. If you are already in that country when the weather warning occurs, you may finish your current book but  may not start your next country until the blackout is over. If you are adjacent to that country and want to travel through it, you must either wait until the end of the week OR find a alternate route.
  4. Special events. At periodic times through the challenge, special events will be announced that impact a specific country. If you happen to be located in that country in the week of the special event, you will have the opportunity to participate in a special (non-reading) mini-challenge to earn more points.

Additional Rules:

  • You can only read one book/country at a time.
  • You may only get points for a country once. If you travel through it again, you need to read a new book in order to pass through the country BUT you will not get points for reading that book. We suggest you plan a trip that avoids visiting the same country more than once.
  • You must complete the book and write a mini review BEFORE you move onto the next country.
  • Please keep track of your own score on this page. You can start a thread for yourself by posting a comment with your name. Then each time you return to update, just hit reply to your original comment with the mini review and score update. I will double check all scores.
  • Books must be over 120 pages.

Travel by Ferry. We are limiting ferry travel. You are backpacking through Europe and are strapped for cash so you can’t afford to travel by Ferry or airline. You may use ferry for the following:
Iceland to and from Norway & any UK country
UK (we will allow any UK country to count) to and from France
Greece to and from Italy

Be Creative and make it fun!

For a truly immersive experience, go the extra mile. Post photos, journal entries, maps, quotes, etc! Photoshop yourself into travel pictures, write short stories about your experiences “visiting” each country. We want you to tell your travel story.  At the end of the game, we’ll be picking 5 people who’ve done the best job in creating a complete travel experience and our readers will pick their favorite. You can post your updates on Litsy (but make sure to tag both me @jenP and @bookwormM and use #backpackEurope. You can also post your journey on your own blogs, goodreads, or instagram – just make sure to let us know so we see the posts. 

Points & Prizes:
-Country points: 1 point per country completed. NOTE: You will only receive point the first time you visit a country.
-Landmark points: You can earn 4 bonus points for each landmark visited. Your must post how your book ties into the landmark and a moderator must approve the tie in for you to receive these bonus points. NOTE: You will only receive points the first time you visit a landmark.
-creativity points: Each week I will award one participant with 1 bonus point for creativity. The person who is most creative in their posts (photos, stories of their travels, tie-in, etc) will be awarded with an extra point. I will announce that person at the beginning of the week.

Grand Prize: Fabulous mystery box filled with books and bookish items. To win this prize you must a) reach your home country AND b) have the highest number of points among all those who also reach home. If you have the most points but fail to reach your home country by end of game (September 30) you will not be eligible for the grand prize.
Creative Reader: One lucky winner will be selected who best represents the spirit of the game and immerses themselves in the experience. Myself and Book Worm will select 5 top contenders and everyone will have a change to view their posts and vote on their favorite.
Early Bird prize: $25 Amazon gift card for the first person to arrive home (must visit at least 4 countries prior to returning home).

TO SIGN UP: Simply create a thread in the comments section here for yourself. See the example I created for myself.

List of participants:

  1. Diane S
  2. Jen (Goodreads & Litsy)
  3. Jamie B (Goodreads & Listy)
  4. The Other Jen (Goodreads 1001 member)
  5. Paula S (Goodreads 1001 member)
  6. Claire B (Litsy @Dulcinella & Goodreads)
  7. Kelly (Goodreads and Litsy)
  8. The other Diane (P) (goodreads 1001 member)
  9. Liz M (goodreads 1001 member & Litsy)
  10. Tatjana (Goodreads 1001 member)
  11. WanderingLynn (Litsy)
  12. Tatiana (TCLinrow on Litsy)
  13. Katja (Litsy)
  14. Cindy (Litsy @cinfhen)
  15. Tanya D (here)
  16. Andrea J. (Litsy)
  17. Jan H (wordpress blog)
  18. Rachel O (Litsy)
  19. Molly G (Litsy)
  20. Allissa (@lapreader Litsy)
  21. Parzival
  22. Jessica H (Litsy)
  23. Nicole D
  24. Charisma
  25. Rachel N
  26. Tessa B
  27. Denise (jerdencon Litsy)
  28. mhillis (mhillis Litsy)
  29. Cindy (here)
  30. Ashley (Ash.on.The.Line Litsy)
  31. Simona (Litsy)
  32. Nikki (@VeganCleopatra Litsy)
  33. Juliana Brina (blog: The blank Garden)
  34. Elizabeth G (@Mabell Litsy)
  35. Jo (Litsy)
  36. Hilde (GR and Litsy)
  37. Hallie (@Hes7 Litsy)
  38. Amelia (Litsy @schmia)
  39. Amanda (Litsy @Amanda61)
  40. Linsy (Litsy)
  41. April (@AAdamson Litsy)
  42. Kristel (goodreads and Litsy)
  43. Barbara (@Barbarabb)
458 Comments Post a comment
  1. bellavitagirl4 #

    bookandcat – Litsy @bookandcat and likely Instagram @bookandcat_ig

    Late to the party but ready to go!

    Liked by 2 people

    July 13, 2018
    • Glad you could join in!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2018
    • bellavitagirl4 #

      Home : USA.
      Internet has been spotty so I will send some updates from the past few !

      Country 1 (England, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen): Well, I made it England! The flight from the US was long. I spent some time in London and got to see the specialty blimp everyone was talking about. I also visited Bath, where I had a tea party and finished up Mansfield Park for my #janeaustenreadalong #mansfieldparkredaysadlalong – I have always wanted to visit England! Book was 3/5.

      Country 2 (Scotland, The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith): next up on my list was Scotland. While I didn’t see any murders in Edinburgh like the heroine of my book did, I saw plenty of tartan and wool! I decided against the haggis. I also listened a bit to Harry Potter on audiobook and imagined taking the Hogwarts Express through the Scottish countryside.
      I love Alexander McCall Smith but this book wasnt my cup of tea. Dalhousie needed more to do.

      Country 3 (Ireland, The Likeness by Tana French): here’s a spooky reading in the dark picture from my hotel in Ireland for a very spooky, dark book. Tana French is my favorite crime writer and writes all about the Dublin Murder Squad. I went on a ghost tour. No beer drinking for me because it tastes gross. I’ve enjoyed walking amid all the greenery in the countryside. Ireland is as green as they say, but haven’t found a pot of gold yet. 5/5 stars.

      Current score: 3

      Like

      July 13, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      JUNE 16-22: Country 4 (Iceland, Independent People by Halldor Laxness): TRAVEL DELAY. I was 80% set to move on from Iceland when my ferry got delayed due to rough seas! I won’t be able to move on for another week😣. I have enjoyed touring Reykjavik in the summer (I hate the cold, so it’s a *bit warmer* now. And I took time with my delay to see the Northern Lights!)
      This book was not my fave. It was about farming but not comforting/pastoral. My first Icelandic author! 2/5

      Points: 4

      Like

      July 18, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 5 (Norway, Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard): Travel delay is over, I made it to Norway! It’s nice during the summer – gorgeous hiking scenery!!
      Karl Ove Knausgaard is the master of the micromundane. These meditations written for the impending birth of his daughter are stunning. I’ve loved his My Struggle books but had never finished this one – I restarted it and devoured it a day. Looking forward to the sequel. 5/5

      Current score: 5

      Like

      July 23, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 6 (Sweden, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman)) Sweden is an interesting place! People are very friendly here. I went to a crayfish party and didn’t mind it, but I’m not a fan of all of the other fish. The castles are pretty amazing too. I wanted to go to the beach but the water is too cold!
      This is now my 2nd favorite Backman book. I hope I am like the grandma one day. I liked the HP references and found it uplifting and very touching. 4/5
      score: 6

      Liked by 1 person

      July 24, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 7: (Finland, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida)
      I spent some time in Lapland, where I heard some local Sami people sing some yoiks (yodeling folk songs like these: https://youtu.be/2_gnoljjBW8 ).
      Oooh this book was SO good but the last few pages of the ending made me so MAD. I had a different book planned (The Finnish Line) but opened this for a page or two and couldn’t stop til it was done. Clarissa’s grief and pain is so raw and beautifully drawn in her search for her bio dad. The writing is as sparkling as the Finnish landscape. 4/5

      Score: 7

      Like

      July 25, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 8: (Russia, The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra) I was a bit nervous traveling to Russia (some family members were under Soviet rule) but I enjoyed seeing the Faberge museum, Red Square, and the old palace in St Petersburg.
      This book is lovely but sad – the short stories all link together, from the censor who paints out the ballerina whose granddaughter is an actress who…
      It’s like a lovely piece of music, but the censorship hurt to read about. 4/5
      Score: 8

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 9: (Estonia, When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen) I feel like Estonia gets forgotten a lot. I saw the old city of Tallinn and the KGB Museum.
      This book was okay, I think it hit me in the wrong mood. Well-written, it details the national traumas of Naziism and Soviet Communist rule through cousins on opposite sides (Roland and Edgar). The USSR was so Orwellian…and right after Nazi rule…this book made me feel so badly for the people of Estonia but amazed at how they keep on going. 2/5
      Current score: 9

      Like

      July 28, 2018
      • I was in Tallinn one day (less than a day) as a port on a Baltic cruise. I would LOVE to get back there some day!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 28, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 10: (Latvia, The Hidden Letters of Velta B. By Gina Ochsner) Baltic tour continues in Latvia, one of the countries of the Singing Revolution. I attended a concert in Riga. Music is very important to Latvia – many songs were used as protest songs and to help gain independence from the Soviets, such as this one: https://youtu.be/qrK5WkKIpuE
      I loved how this book contained so much music, and so much musical language. Inara’s words to her son were powerful.4/5

      Current score: 10

      Also Cindy: my choir went on tour to the Baltics but I couldn’t go, I’d love to go IRL!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 29, 2018
      • Mine was a Baltic cruise, so I was there for less than a day. You should get there if you can! Doing a cruise, then booking a tour for the 2 days we were in St. Petersburg was probably the easiest way to get in to Russia, as they organize any visas and whatnot you’d need.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 29, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 11: (Lithuania, Indelible by Adelia Saunders) I explored street art in Vilnius, Lithuania!
      This was the only Lithuania book my library system had😣-a Lithuanian woman can see invisible words on others’ skin. In Paris, she sees her name on Neil. When they return to Vilnius you find out what links them. I’m part Polish; it has been enlightening to read Eastern European books and see similarities/differences in customs/language/attitudes across the region (especially coming through the Nordic – Baltic route). 3/5

      Current score: 11

      Like

      July 29, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 12: (Belarus, The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach) Belarus has some lovely castles and a great Chagall museum with hundreds of his paintings!
      If The Fault In Our Stars and It’s Kind of a Funny Story had a Belarusian baby, it would be this. This book was heartbreaking and darkly comic and wonderful. Ivan has been hospitalized in Belarus since birth (parents lived near Chernobyl in Ukraine). But there he meets Polina…
      Gorgeous YA book. 5/5!!

      Score: 12

      Like

      July 29, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Quick question – will there be traveler delays or weather delays the final week of the challenge or will people be free to move towards airports during the last week? Since I’ve gotten delayed twice already it may affect my route planning – it’s hard because if I get delayed it means I try to catch up the next week which means I get delayed again -_-

      Like

      July 30, 2018
      • None the final week. If you want to reduce the likelihood of getting a delay, you should read fewer books each week.
        Most participants are logging 1 book a week so their names only get entered in 1. We did this to level the playing field so that all readers stand a chance of winning rather than just awarding prizes to fast readers. I think this week the two of you who were selected by the randomizer read/logged had
        your names entered into the randomizer a lot of times each. One other player has been delayed twice bc she is also reading like 7-9 books a week

        Like

        July 30, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Makes sense, unfortunately because I took the Nordic/Baltic route I was worried I’d get stuck up there (it’s very far from any airports and is possible to get blocked in with no way out!). But I’m also just a quick reader (230 books so far this year) O_o thanks for letting me know about the final week, that helps me plan where I go next as I leave the Baltics/Eastern Europe.

      Like

      July 30, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Quick question – assuming I go this way at some point and find books for them – for small places contained in Italy like San Marino and Vatican City, can you ferry there from Greece? Do you need to read Italy to get in and out of them (g. Italy, Vatican City, Italy, San Marino, Italy, France) or can you do something like Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, France? Also is Denmark only attached to Germany or does it connect anywhere else via boat?

      Like

      August 1, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      County 13 (Ukraine, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer): I was in Ukraine when I got word I was delayed for a week. I saw churches, toured Pripyat (abandoned city where Chernobyl sits) and the Tunnel of Love (treelined railway, it’s beautiful).
      Everything is Illuminated is one of my favorite books. I was happy to revisit it. I love parts with Alex (such unique dialogue).
      Fave OOC quote: “Your books are arranged by color of their spine. How stupid.”😂5/5
      Current score: 13

      Liked by 1 person

      August 4, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 14 (Moldova, Lenin’s Asylum: Two Years in Moldova by A.A. Weiss): Delay over–to Moldova! The poorest country in Europe (formed post-Cold War), 1 in 4 leave the country to work elsewhere. 3 languages spoken: Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian. I saw Orheiul Vechi (archeological site/monastery), Bendery Fortress (Ottomans!), + Museum of Ethnography+Natural History.
      This memoir about teaching in Peace Corps was funny and engaging. But some country stats made me sad. 3.5/5

      Current score: 15

      (13 before this week + 1 creativity point (thanks!) + 1 point for Moldova)

      Like

      August 7, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 16 (Romania, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova [approved]): Romania is beautiful! I read Dracula while delayed in Ukraine to prepare for visiting here – I got to see Dracula’s Bran Castle! I also saw the painted cemetary, some wooden and painted churches, and rode a Carpathian forest railway!
      The Historian is one of my favorite books – it’s about multiple generations hunting for Dracula, who appears to be upset about being discovered. It’s full of libraries and is a bit chilling. 5/5

      Current score: 16

      Liked by 1 person

      August 17, 2018
      • bookandcat #

        I meant country 15*

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      #backpackEurope travelogue *fictional*
      Country 16 (Bulgaria, The Shadow Land byElizabeth Kostova): Bulgaria is lovely. Beautiful Roman ruins, Black Sea beaches, monasteries, old streets. They’re preparing for the Apollonia Arts Festival right now.
      Another Kostova book – this again tells multiple stories across past and present and involves a mystery, albeit not as scary as Dracula’s tomb. It’s like a tour of Bulgaria with a story, though the history of gulags is a sad one. Scenic writing. 4/5

      Fun fact: at the end of The Historian, an interview with Kostova states she wants to write a travel book or fiction book that travels through Bulgaria. This is it! Her husband is from there and she has writing initiatives there.

      Current score: 18 (includes +1 creativity point earned 8/20)

      Like

      August 20, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 17 (Turkey, Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak) : Turkey is awesome. I spent time in Istanbul–I shopped til I dropped at the Grand Bazaar (LANDMARK) and gaped at the stunning former church-now-mosque of Hagia Sophia. Way bigger IRL.
      This book was lovely. I loved Peri’s character, seeing how her choices influenced her growth. It tackles big subjects like religion, feminism, terrorism, and more. Reminded me of Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. 4/5

      Current score: 23
      (19 plus 4 landmark points pending approval, see Litsy post for direct quote mentioning Grand Bazaar)

      Like

      August 26, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 18 (Greece, Outline by Rachel Cusk): Greece is stunning. I loved seeing the Parthenon (LANDMARK) and the Acropolis in Athens (Greek mythology/history is fun!). I also toured the islands of Santorini and Mykonos and ate so much good food (pita and hummus, yogurt and honey and more)!
      This book is also stunning. A woman goes to Greece and has conversations. Meditative, philosophical, thoughtful. Like a concise Karl Ove Knausgaard. 5/5

      Current score: 28 (if Parthenon landmark and prior post’s Grand Bazaar are both approved, see Litsy for direct quotes from book)

      Like

      August 26, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 19 (Italy, Casa Rossa by Francesca Marciano):
      VIVA ITALIA! Italy IS a walking museum – every building is filled with history. You can visit the Cumae Archoelogical Park (and see the Sibyl’s cave from the Aenied), the Roman Forum and museum (Afternoon of a Faun sculpture!), old Greek temples or the Panthenon, or beautifully painted churches (that are closed to the public).
      Marciano is one of my fave writers, but this is not my fave of her books (I’ve read all of her others) – the writing is beautiful and I love how it tracks many generations but it’s not my fave plot. I didn’t care a lot about anyone else besides Alina. But it makes me want to go back to Italy!

      Regarding museum challenge: go to http://litsy.com/p/dmNHTTdkUTh6 to see the pictures, which are all (excluding book cover) taken myself IRL and feature some of my favorite artworks/museum sites/historical places of Italy.

      Current score: 29, plus whatever points we get for the museum challenge this week (I don’t know – please advise)

      Like

      September 1, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 20 (Vatican City, The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell):
      Vatican City has amazing art. I saw the Pope at the Angelus blessing, climbed St Peter’s Basilica and saw the Pieta, visited Vatican Museums (love the School of Athens painting – you can see a grumpy Michaelangelo in it🤣) and of course the Sistine Chapel. The Last Just (back wall) separates sinners/saints – guess where M. painted his enemies!
      The Fifth Gospel is set within Vatican City and all of the main characters are priests. It is an erudite murder mystery with lots of nuance about church history, relics, church relations and more. Caldwell does a good job keeping the story moving, but it’s more tell than show at times, and not as gripping as The Rule of Four. 3.5/5

      This is also for the museum challenge this week. See Litsy for pics.

      http://litsy.com/p/VGRoMUxVOTRz

      Current score: 30, plus any points for museum challenge completion (Italy and Vatican City)

      Like

      September 2, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 21 (Italy [repeat], A Stopover in Venice by Kathryn Walker): Back to Italy with a quick Stopover in Venice🤣. I sadly get a little seasick in this romantic city. St Mark’s, The Doge’s Palace, The Rialto Bridge. The Bridge of Sighs connects to the historic jail and gave sighing prisoners a last look at the city through a small window.
      This book was cute but it was trying to be too many things at once. My favorite parts were with Matteo discussing frescos. 3/5

      No score added due to repeat country.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 2, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 22 (Malta, The Religion by Tim Willocks): Malta is a tiny island nation near Italy and it is beautiful. I saw the Azure Window, St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valetta, and Mdina (where GoT films for King’s Landing. I took the location tour). East meets west here, Crusade ruins galore.
      This book stunk. Total sausage fest. Like a bad Ken Follett book. The women had little characterization/were mostly used for sex. Never reading Willocks again. 1/5

      If this counts for this week’s challenge, the full post is on Litsy as usual.

      Current score: 31, plus any points earned this week in challenges.

      Back to Italy I go (I really like pizza and gelato, okay?)

      Like

      September 3, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 23 (Italy [repeat], Eva Sleeps by Francesca Melandri): Italy again (I like the food, okay?) – this time visiting Trentino-Alto Adige, a northern Alpine region (good hiking) that actually held some German-speaking people due to its proximity to Austria. After fascism fell, there were tensions in the region in the 60s – a so-called liberation group wanting to rejoin Austria even blew up 30+ electricity pylons. This sweeping book taught me TONS about the region/era pre/post WWII as it followed Eva’s mother, Eva’s birth and growth, and Eva as an adult learning more about her mom and the region’s past. 3.5/5

      Current score: 31 (repeat country), plus any points earned for museum challenge last week.

      Like

      September 3, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 24 (San Marino, A Freak of Freedom or The Republic of San Marino by James Theodore Bent): San Marino! It’s so tiny and is one of the world’s oldest republics. It’s on a huge mountain. I toured the palace, basilica and Three Towers. Today (9/3) was San Marino Day celebrating St Marinus and the republic’s founding!
      This book, from 1879, gives a slice of history (legend and fact) about the region as well as a slice of life there (at least, 1800s life). It was charming and informative! 4/5

      Current score: 32, plus any museum challebge points last week.

      Back…to…Italy…again… O_O I’ve gained 15 lbs from the food at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 3, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 25 (Italy [repeat], Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli): Italy, again – en route to Switzerland!
      I’m posting pic of Abruzzo – stunning.
      But because I’ve posted about Italy a lot, here are some IRL things I’ve done in Italy in the past:
      -lunched (illegally?) in Pompeii aquaduct
      -boated around Capri
      -Scavi tour in Rome
      -ate cliffside Montepertuso
      -walked Appian Way
      -seen art: David/Sistine Chapel
      -processed ahead of the Pope
      This book was cute but meh – a fluffier, Italian, lighter Major Pettigrew. 3/5

      Current score: 32 plus museum challenge
      (Repeat country)

      Arrivederci Italia! You definitely helped me clear many books from my TBR 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      September 4, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 26 (Switzerland, And Both Were Young by Madeline L’Engle): Switzerland! Fresh mountain air. Lots of chocolate. Mmm. Boated on Lake Lucerne, road the Jungfraujoch mountain railway, saw Rhine Falls, and hiked among the mountains.
      This book is sweet – L’Engle’s 2nd earliest book, from 1949, set at a boarding school in Switzerland. Flip is lovely and her friendship/romance with Paul is sweet. Fans of Back Home will enjoy this one. 5/5

      Current score: 33 plus museum challenge last week

      Like

      September 4, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 27 (Austria, One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss by Barry Denenberg) Austria! THE HIIIILLLLS ARE ALIVE…*twirls* I HAD to do the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, the abbey and beyond. I also visited Vienna, home of Freud, Mozart, Beethoven and more.
      This book was a reread, one of my favorite Dear America books. The girl, Julie, lives through the Anschluss, but not everyone in her Jewish family is so lucky. This book was devastating to read, but so important. I cried a lot reading it this time, I suppose I understand the horrors more now, and can read between the lines, plus have real life experience (visits to Holocaust museum, Auschwitz, Terezin, etc) to help me imagine further. Beautifully written. 5/5

      Score: 34 plus…museum challenge last week?

      Liked by 1 person

      September 5, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 28 (Slovenia, After Yugoslavia by Zoe Bran): Slovenia is gorgeous–Bled castle (in the middle of a lake), Triglav mountain, Postojna cave, and the town of Ljubljana.
      As I move into former Yugoslavia territories, I’m learning lots. Slovenes don’t like to be lumped into with former Yugoslavia, Italy treated them poorly, etc. The book is interesting/informational, though some say it writer can be othering (it was the only one I could get😐).4/5

      Current score 35 (plus museum?)

      Liked by 1 person

      September 5, 2018
      • bookandcat #

        I meant 3/5 for my book rating :-/ lol

        Like

        September 5, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 29 (Croatia, The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid): Croatia has some very pretty sites! I spent most of my time in Dubrovnik *LANDMARK ALERT*, touring the walled city and the coastline. I also went on another GoT filming tour (King’s Landing)!
      This book was meh. It made me sad to read about the atrocities of the Balkan Wars, and it also made me sad to read a boring book about a cold case in the style of many CBS shows I don’t care to watch. 2/5 🤷

      Current score: 40 + museum challenge last week?
      (35+1 for Croatia + 4 for Dubrovnik: http://litsy.com/p/MmMxbnM2UUx5 for passage for landmark approval)

      Liked by 1 person

      September 6, 2018
      • Landmark and museum are approved

        Like

        September 7, 2018
      • bookandcat #

        Thank you! Regarding museum challenge approval: I visited 3 unique country’s museums last week – how many points should I add to my score? I was never quite clear as to how many points the challenge was worth.

        Like

        September 7, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 30 (Bosnia and Herzegovina, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks): Bosnia and Herzegovina time! I toured Sarajevo, walked Stari Most (bridge from 1566), and hiked near Kravice waterfalls.
      I adore this book. It is a reread for me – it has been about 10 years which is far too long. Hanna’s job as a book conservator fascinates me, and I love all of the historical vignettes about how the book got to Sarajevo. It’s based on a real Sarajevo Haggadah! 5/5

      Current score,: 41 + museum challenge (assuming Dubrovnik points are awarded)

      Liked by 1 person

      September 6, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 31 (Montenegro, The Black Mountain by Rex Stout): Montenegro – I went to the capital of Pogorica and saw the Millennium Bridge. I saw the Cijevna river and visited Our Lady of the Rocks (on an artificial island) and Lovcen mountain/museum. I also saw the namesake Black Mountain.
      This book was okay, I’ve never read any Rex Stout before and he’s somewhat hard-boiled. It was fun to see him traipse around Montenegro but I likely won’t be any others. 2/5

      Current score: 42+ museum

      Like

      September 6, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 32 (Albania, The Accident by Ismail Kadare): In Albania I visited Blue Eye lake, the national history museum, Skanderbeg Square, and rode the gondolas up Dajti mountain!
      Ismail Kadare is an Albanian writer and winner of the Man Booker International prize. This book, the backstory of individuals found dead in a taxi accident, was well written but I docked a star because the obnoxious objectification of Rovena (machismo writing of sex, ugh).

      Current score: 43 + museum (got approved for museum challenge but I’m not sure how many points it was worth – I visited 3 unique country’s museums).

      Like

      September 7, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 33: In Macedonia I walked around Matka Canyon, shopped at Skopje Bazaar, and visited the Monastery of St Naun!
      This book discusses what happens in the power vacuum that Alexander the Great’s death left behind. He and Aristotle were both Macedonian, and fun fact: Aristotle (who did train in Greece) tutored Alexander. I wish I knew more about the “before” part because the after is quite dramatic! 3/5

      Current score: 44 + museums from museum challenge once I know what they are each worth

      Like

      September 7, 2018
      • bookandcat #

        This was country 33 (Macedonia, Ghost on the Throne by James Romm)

        Like

        September 7, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Catch-up updates because I was away over the weekend.

      Country 34 (Kosovo, Madness Visible by Janine di Giovanni): I visited an archeological site (Nebeske stolice) and saw scenery at Hajla and Fierza!
      This book was heartbreaking to read. di Giovanni traveled in Kosovo and some other former Yugoslavia states and saw some horrific things in the ethnic wars that followed. I was terrified when she got captured and had to quickly shred her notes. 3.5/5

      Country 35 (Serbia, Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix): In Serbia I saw Belgrade Castle (from 535 BCE!), Church of Saint Sava, and Petrovaradin Fortress.
      Caught is a time travel adventure – Einstein’s secret daughter is suddenly in the wrong place, wrong time, wrong age. They have to return her to Serbia, but her mother will lose her forever if time is set right. I loved The Other Einstein and this gives more on the story of Einstein’s 1st wife. 3/5

      Country 36 (Hungary, The Sound of Blue by Holly Payne):
      I visited Buda Castle (LANDMARK ALERT – direct quote proof below in link), Szechenyi thermal bath, and Lake Balaton.
      Sara has gone to Hungary to work with refugees from the Croatian area. There’s a rude awakening from her romanticized idea of what her journey will be like. It was very challenging to read about the struggles of the refugees. Music was threaded throughout, but writing was just ok. 2.5/5

      **LANDMARK PROOF (Buda Castle): provided in picture at:
      http://litsy.com/p/SnVMVEZiVWJo

      Country 37 (Slovakia, Zoli by Colum McCann): I visited the beautiful Bratislava Castle and Spis Castle, and saw a performance at the Slovak National Theater!
      This novel is about a Roma poet/musician in Slovakia who flees from oppressive government. McCann writes beautifully, making the language appropriately musical AND poetic. I especially loved reading Zoli’s poetry towards the end. 4/5

      Current score: 57

      {Math: 44 (old score) +5 (museum challenge) +1 (Kosovo) +1 (Serbia) +1 (Hungary) +4 (Buda Castle, pending approval) +1 (Slovakia) = 57}

      Like

      September 9, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 38 (Poland, Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson): Poland (the motherland)! I slid down a mountain slide in Zakopane, visited Wieliczka salt mine (amazing sculptures) and Krakow including Wawel Castle, paid my respects at Auschwitz and more. All pics taken by me IRL!
      This book was very moving and Lena’s and Karolina’s’ tenacity during the Holocaust was astounding. I liked the courtroom drama too! I met Balson; he autographed my book. Nice guy. 4/5

      Current score: 58 (pending Buda Castle approval)

      Liked by 1 person

      September 10, 2018
      • Sorry been sick for the last few days. I’ll be going through all the posts in the next few days approving things and getting back to people.

        Like

        September 11, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 39 (Czech Republic, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor): Prague is a beautiful city in the Czech Republic I’ve been there a few times so I saw the Astronomical Clock, Prague Castle, St Vitus (good king Wenceslas), a hilarious Don Giovanni opera marionette show, and walked Old Town and Charles Bridge. Many pics mine IRL (c. 2010, including bridge *LANDMARK ALERT*)
      This book was meh. Liked some language, loved the setting, but got boring and cliched. 2/5

      Link to proof for landmark (Charles Bridge, Czech Republic): http://litsy.com/p/SjBCbThQZFJm

      Score: 63 (pending Buda Castle and Charles Bridge approval – feel better btw!)

      Like

      September 12, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 40 (Germany, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson): In Germany I went to Berlin to see the Brandenburg Gate *LANDMARK ALERT* and the former site of the Berlin Wall (I have a piece at home!). I also visited Munich and Dresden – very walkable cities.
      Larson is a great nonfiction writer. He describes the rise of Nazi Germany with clarity and detail. Tense and scary at times but one could also see how the rise to power snuck up on some people. 5/5

      Landmark proof:
      http://litsy.com/p/R2Y1WDFVNXBZ

      Current score: 68 (63+1+4 landmark, pending approval for Brandenburg Gate, Buda Castle, Charles Bridge)

      Like

      September 14, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 41 (Denmark, Hamlet by William Shakespeare): Something is NOT rotten in Denmark, because I had a wonderful time! I visited Copenhagen, stopping to enjoy Tivoli Gardens theme park, the Nyhavn harbor section, and the Little Mermaid statue.
      I ❤ Shakespeare. It was wonderful to reread Hamlet with my copy from college that was full of notes about rhetoric. If you've never read it or seen it performed, do (I rec the Cumberbatch version). 5/5
      Current score: 69

      P.S. use this week's travel hub (Denmark) to go to Liechtenstein, which I missed the first time around.

      Like

      September 14, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 42 (Liechtenstein, Holland House by Marie von Liechtenstein): Liechtenstein is wedged between Switzerland and Austria, I missed it the first time. I visited Vaduz Castle and Galina Falcon Center!
      This book was by an author of Liechtenstein – Marie Fox, Princess of Liechtenstein (circa 1800s). The book is a history of Holland House and its art collection. The book is at times tediously thorough, but has beautiful woodcuts and some charming anecdotes. 2/5

      Current score: 70

      Like

      September 14, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 43 (Switzerland [repeat], Bloomability by Sharon Creech) On my way out of Liechtenstein, I stopped in Lugano, Switzerland, a beautiful lakeside and mountainside town that is the setting for Bloomability. It was nice to revisit.
      I love Sharon Creech and this might be my favorite book by her. Dinnie and her boarding schoolmates are rendered so beautifully in a coming of age story. A reread, this was the book that made me love the Italian language. 5/5

      Current score: 70 (no points added due to repeat country)

      Like

      September 14, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 44 (Germany [repeat], Inkheart by Cornelia Funke): back to Germany, en route to the Netherlands – stopped in Hamburg (home of Cornelia Funke) to visit the city. Saw the model railway museum and their concert hall.
      I started this book 15 years ago but abandoned it (I even found a Return of the King AOL-sponsored bookmark when I restarted from the beginning). It was good to finally read the whole thing – dark, but celebrates the magic of books. 4/5

      Current score 70 (no points added due to repeat country).

      Like

      September 15, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 45 (The Netherlands, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank): The Netherlands – I ate some stroopwaffel as I toured Amsterdam (canal tours, and a visit to the Secret Annex to pay my respects). I also kept my eyes peeled for windmills and tulips!
      Rereading this book for the first time as an adult and it breaks my heart. Probably one of the most important books ever. Everyone should read it…and recognize how horrific it is she never got to grow up. 5/5

      Current score: 71

      Liked by 1 person

      September 16, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 46 (Belgium, An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer): I’ve wanted to visit Belgium since I saw the movie In Bruges – I enjoyrd visiting the canal-laden city of Bruges and also Brussels, where I spent a lot of time at La Grand Place *LANDMARK ALERT*, the central square of the capital (they have a yearly flower carpet in the square).
      My first Heyer book. Well-researched but Waterloo bores me (*cough* Les Mis). I like lighter regency romances. 2.5/5

      Landmark proof for La Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium (previously approved for Elizabeth G): http://litsy.com/p/SHo2TmFLUHZW

      Current score: 76 (71+1+4landmark)

      Liked by 1 person

      September 16, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 47 (Luxembourg, The Expats by Chris Pavone): Luxembourg is the world’s only grand duchy (duke-ruled), about the size of Rhode Island. I enjoyed seeing the palace and walking and seeing the old buildings. I also visited the National Art Museum.
      This was a reread. I love Pavone. It’s a spy thriller of an expat family in Luxembourg. I’m so excited because a sequel is coming soon. Kate is a fun heroine and this reminds me a bit of Alias. 4/5

      Current score: 77

      Like

      September 16, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 48 (France, The Missing Masterpiece by Jeanne M. Dams): Here I am in Mont Saint-Michel, France! *LANDMARK ALERT* It’s an old island abbey with a beautiful chapel and lovely stonework.
      This book was okay. Dorothy Martin is a sweet character, but I didn’t find the way the mystery was written very compelling. It felt like there was a lot of talking rather than doing, despite there being multiple murder/assault mysteries to solve. 2/5

      LANDMARK: Mont Saint Michel France
      Landmark proof (cover image and story setting): http://litsy.com/p/WDE5d0FWbWRD

      Current score: 84 (Old score 77 + France 1 + Landmark 4 + Creativity 2)

      Like

      September 17, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 49 (Monaco, Anything Considered by Peter Mayle): To Monaco I go! It’s a small country encompassed entirely within France. I gambled in Monte Carlo and watched a Formula 1 race and enjoyed the beautiful coastline.
      Omg, this book was TOO fun. A man gets a job posing as a rich guy (for tax reasons; the rich guy wants to live in France but needs to reside in Monaco) and gets involved in an epic accidental caper. Reads like European Carl Hiassen. 4/5

      Current score: 85

      Like

      September 17, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 50 (France [repeat], Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky): back to France. In honor of my countryside-set book, visited multiple locations in the countryside/coastline, such as Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Marseille. Too bad I missed the Cannes Film Festival!
      Nemirovsky’s story is so sad – she is a talented writer who was killed in Auschwitz. Her writing feels urgent, and was left unfinished. Good but I found her own story more compelling. 3/5

      Score: 85 (no points added due to repeat country)

      Like

      September 18, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 51 (Andorra, Andorra by Peter Cameron): Andorra! Tiny country, but one of the longest life expectancies. Spa time in Caldea, hiked Madriu-Perafita-Claror (UNESCO, 10% of Andorra land!)
      If you want a thriller that doesn’t read like one til the last page, set in Andorra but written so placelessly it could be a Wikipedia page summary, with a self-important jacket description, this is the book for you. Could have been set anywhere. 1.5/5.

      Current score: 86

      Like

      September 18, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 52 (Spain, Court of Lions by Jane Johnson) Spain! My first time here, I am spending most of my time in Granada, where I fully explored the Alahambra, a fortress/palace from 889 AD. *LANDMARK ALERT* It is so beautiful! I’ve wanted to go here since I read about it in A Little Life.
      I quite liked this book, set past and present around the Alhambra. I preferred Kate’s story to Blessings’ story, but can understand why the latter was needed. 4/5

      Landmark proof: http://litsy.com/p/UXFadEhpTDlU
      ALAHAMBRA, Spain

      Current score: 91 (86 + 1 country + 1 landmark)

      And with that, all landmarks are done. Please let me know if you need links for any of the posts for approval – I think they were all approved.

      Like

      September 18, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 53: Portugal, my last unique country in Western Europe. I visited Lisbon and saw Cabo da Roca lighthouse and Belem medieval tower!
      Holy moly this book was hard to read (due to how horrific it is) – a blindness epidemic occurs and the inflicted folks are put into quarantine camps. Humanity devolves from there. Well written but SO, SO upsetting. And I thought Handmaid’s Tale was tough to read! 3/5

      Current score: 92

      Like

      September 19, 2018
      • bookandcat #

        Above post should read Country 53 (Portugal, Blindness by Jose Saramago)

        Like

        September 19, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 54 (Spain [repeat], Isabel by Carolyn Meyer): back to Spain! Did the grand tour: Barcelona and Sagrada Familia, Madrid (caught a football game), Sevilla, and visited Castilla where my book is set. Ate some paella, too 😀
      This book was a reread for me – I love Royal Diaries and I love Carolyn Meyer. I love how you can see Isabel’s strict Catholic upbringing in this book, and how it might influence her daughter, Catherine of Aragon.4/5

      Current score: 92 (repeat country, no points added)

      Like

      September 19, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 55 (France [repeat], Up the See Without a Paddle by Elizabeth Watson): France, mon couer, I return! Saved the City of Lights, Paris, for last. Louvre, Notre Dame, River Seine, Tuilleries, and a side trip to Versailles. Lovely!
      I LOVE THIS SERIES! I liked this 2nd book even more than the first. It has heart and romance and lots of lovely sightseeing. It made me so happy and I’ve stayed up too late finishing it. 5/5
      Current score: 92 (no points added due to repeat country)

      Like

      September 20, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 56 (Italy [repeat], The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje): Okay, I lied. I’m back in Italy again, for the 5th time, so I can use this week’s *travel hub* to fly to Azerbaijan. Though I had planned to fly home from Spain, I couldn’t resist the chance to go for the last few countries!
      I visited Capri (Blue Grotto, beach club) and Positano (including Montepertuso restaurants!) like I did on my honeymoon.
      Book was very nice, set in an Italian Villa during WWII – lovely prose but very sad. 4/5

      Current score: 92 (no points added due to repeat country), am using Italy as this week’s travel hub to go to Azerbaijan (for one final push!)

      Like

      September 20, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 57 (Azerbaijan, Ali and Nino by Kurban Said): Used travel hub in Italy to fly to Azerbaijan! This capital city is beautiful. I visited Maiden Tower, Old City, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, the Heydar Aliyev art center, and Yanar Dag perpetual natural fire.
      This book had some lovely qualities. I loved Ali and Nino’s love story (set in Baku) as they faced WWI and Soviet Revolution in their area, and it gave a good sense of time/place. 3.5/5

      Current score: 93

      Like

      September 23, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 58 (Armenia, Passage to Ararat by Michael J Arlen): in Armenia, I visited Lake Sevan, Geghard monastery, Garni temple, and Mt Ararat, of course!
      I learned so much from this book, like it being the 1st whole country to adopt Christianity, and about the Turkish/Ottoman-led Armenian genocide. Arlen’s quest to learn about the land of his father and instantly recognizing himself in the people there reminded me of my time visiting Eastern Europe IRL. 4/5

      Current score: 94

      Like

      September 27, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 59 (Georgia, A Time for Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux): my last uniquely untraveled country in ALL OF EUROPE is complete! In Georgia, I saw Narikala fort ruins, Ananuri Riverside castle, Gergeti Trinity Church/mountain/glacier, and Uplistsikhe (rock-hewn Iron age town).
      This book wasn’t good – maybe a bad translation. It never spent much time on any feelings/locations. Things happened too quickly/too surface-y. I enjoyed cameos from prior places! 2/5

      Current score: 95!

      Like

      September 27, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 60 (Turkey [repeat], The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak): Turkey (repeat) to catch my flight home to the US. I’ve had a wonderful time in Europe! This time in Turkey, I relaxed at some Turkish baths and shopped for some last minute souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
      One discovery this trip is the author Elif Shafak – I read her 2x this trip. Wonderful writer. I’m glad I learned more about the Armenian genocide, as it was a plot point here.
      3.5/5

      Current score: 95 due to repeat country. Flying out of Istanbul to go home to the US next.

      Like

      September 27, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Country 61 (USA, Every Day by David Levithan): RETURNED HOME TO THE USA! The first thing I did was get some tacos, because you can’t find good Tex Mex in Europe, or good food on planes.
      What a ride this reading challenge has been! Wrap-up coming soon.
      This book–AWESOME. I stayed up way too late finishing it. “A” is bodiless and wakes up inside a different person every day, but what happens when A falls in love? Need the sequel asap! 5/5

      Current score: 95, because I’m assuming we don’t add a point for our return flight home. (If I should add a point, let me know.)

      But I’M HOME! I read a book for every single European country. I plan to do a final wrap-up post soon for this week’s creativity challenge. Woo! Thanks for hosting a great challenge.

      Like

      September 28, 2018
    • bookandcat #

      Wrap-up/special challenge material for final week:

      I’ve been doing a #backpackeurope photo scrapbook all along with my *fictional* travelogues. Posting some wrap-up posts for the special challenge.
      61 books
      20,896 pages
      2 travel delays

      Points:
      50 unique countries covered – every single country in Europe
      4 creativity pts (1+1+2)
      36 landmarks visited (all 9 landmarks x 4 pts)
      5 museum challenge pts earned
      10 special challenge/final scrapbook pts earned here
      =105 total

      Pictured on Litsy: collage of every travel post!

      http://litsy.com/p/cnppclpFNFBu

      ***
      Here is how I physically kept track of my journey! I’m especially proud of the completely filled in map. I kept track of delays, landmarks, travel hubs used, repeat countries, challenge and creative points etc.
      It got tricky because I started to run out of colors!!!!
      #bujo

      http://litsy.com/p/ZEhJNnYwZnZk

      ****
      Here are all of my #5starreads from the challenge!
      http://litsy.com/p/TWdyWlRKMFpI

      7 or 8 were rereads from long ago. The Eliza Watson one was most fun, French had the best thriller, the last three I the bottom row were saddest, Cusk and Knausgaard stuck with me for a while, Levithan I stayed up late reading, and I leaned most from Larson.
      Shout-out to Elif Shafak, who was a new discovery for me, but whose books earned 4 🌟. Very solid writer.

      You may also see my whole list of books and ratings at Goodreads (link shortened for convenience): https://bit.ly/2xY49eT or look for the Litsy backpack Europe shelf on http://www.goodreads.com/bookandcat

      *******
      http://litsy.com/p/UTFpVGZQc2dT

      Favorite sites seen:
      Northern Lights in Iceland
      Szechenyi baths in Hungary
      Hagia Sophia in Turkey
      Sistine Chapel in Vatican City
      Anne Frank House in the Netherlands
      Eiffel Tower in Paris
      Sagrada Familia aka Gaudi Cathedral in Spain

      Least favorite: I don’t like to say, but it was awfully hard for me to find tourist-type landmarks in Kosovo and Moldova.

      Thanks for following my journey! 💙 And thank you for hosting such a great challenge!

      SCORE: 105
      (assuming i receive the 10 points for final scratch special challenge)!

      Like

      September 28, 2018
  2. Diane M Shea #

    Do we need to have our playlists by tomorrow, or can we post them with a finished book?

    Liked by 1 person

    July 14, 2018
    • Has to be posted by tomorrow

      Like

      July 14, 2018
    • But you don’t have to finish the book by tomorrow. Mini challenges have time limits

      Like

      July 14, 2018
  3. LAL #

    I just finished France and am heading to Spain. My post on France is up on my blog (which has the link to my Goodreads review): https://wanderinglynn.com/2018/07/14/au-revoir-france-hola-spain/

    Current Score: 8
    2 countries
    +2 for the Henley Royal Regatta (England) special event
    +4 for visiting Mont Saint-Michel (France)

    Liked by 1 person

    July 14, 2018
  4. Diane M Shea #

    This bonus sounds like so much fun! Unfortunately, I am still recovering from surgery and I’m not able to make any meals yet. I would have made Palatshinken (an Austrian crepe-like pancake with apple filling) and a Sachertorte (a super deluxe chocolate torte with apricot jam filling). I wasn’t able to find much for an appetizer, but the other 2 would have been delicious beyond belief!

    Like

    August 16, 2018
  5. Diane P. #

    Should be 12 points pending. I forgot to include Hungary.

    Like

    August 19, 2018
  6. Jo / itchyfeetreader #

    I have been bad again (I know this means multiple traveler delay entries, real life has been a bit of a challenge!) So after Austria I travelled to Italy (review on GR and litsy) and then Malta (litsy only at the moment) and then back to Italy (litsy only at the moment) where I also managed starter and main course but failed on making a desert (see litsy), I am now in Slovenia and slogging through the post war years!

    I think that leaves me languishing on points 5 country plus 3 extras for the food !

    Like

    August 20, 2018
  7. I’ve been trying to find my post/updates here. Have they disappeared?

    Liked by 2 people

    September 2, 2018
    • Cindy Wiebe #

      Hi, Charisma. I find whenever I come to this page, I have to click “older comments” at the bottom to be able to see all of them. I hope that works for you, too!

      Like

      September 2, 2018
    • I see them them there. If it’s easier, just send me a word doc with all your updates at the end. Whatever works for you

      Like

      September 4, 2018
      • Hi Jen, sorry I didn’t reply. I didn’t realize there were comments that got hidden in-a-way. I saw them after I saw Cindy’s comment 🙂

        Posting-comments-wise: never mind 🙂 I’m not going to make it to the ‘finale’ so no worries there 🙂 I’m glad I got a chance to read some 1001 books again this summer 🙂 All thanks to you and BW 🙂

        Thank you, I enjoyed the game a lot, just didn’t have time to post pics for it (I hardly had any time for reading, couldn’t spend even more on looking for nice pics :))

        Like

        September 30, 2018
  8. Cindy Wiebe #

    It occurred to me recently that I never saw any winners announced for this! It looks like it was not announced on this thread (which would explain why I missed it). It’s just for curiosity, but where might I find it? Thanks!

    Like

    October 15, 2018
    • I’m tabulating the scores. It is taking me a while to confirm each score since there are tons of people and some people are taking me 30-60 minutes to verify. I will be posting the winners soon.

      Like

      October 15, 2018
      • Cindy Wiebe #

        I realized after I posted that it wasn’t as far from the end of the game as I thought it was! I’m so sorry to bother you about it. I didn’t mean to sound impatient – I legitimately thought I’d missed it somewhere!

        Like

        October 16, 2018

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