Experimental Travel

Today is World Book Day, at least in the United Kingdom. So I wantd to join my fellow NN Bloggers in our newest SynchroBlogging effort and wrote this post about science and books. I decided to write about the last book I bought – which was yesterday.

The book is in German and is called Italien – Kurzes Reisehandbuch von Karl Baedeker. The Baedeker series of travel guides (this one is about Italy) is still popular, but was started around 150 years ago. My book is the third edition and was printed in 1895. I will be travelling to the Amalfi Coast near Naples for my Easter holiday and I thought this would be a good opportunity to do some exprimental tourism.

Experimental Travel is an playful new way of traveling that I learned about exactly one year ago on March 6 (another good reason for this post) when I bought this book – in a bookstore in Auckland on my first vacation day in New Zealand. The books describes many travel experiments and laboratory results, including

  • Airport tourism. Spend 24 hours in an airport without getting on a plane
  • Confluence seeking. Visit ordered points such as exactly 35° S / 117° E using a GPS device
  • Mascot travel. Take pictures of your mascot outside famous landmarks, made famous by the French movie Amelie.

The experiment I wanted to do since reading this book was historic travel, i.e. traveling with the help of a guidebook from a different time. Italy is perfect for that, because my 1895 guidebook can still be very useful for many places I will be visiting. Pompei is a good example. I will try to write lab notes and report on the outcome of the experiment.

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4 Responses to Experimental Travel

  1. Naveen Sinha says:

    Thanks for sharing the links about experimental travel: I’ve been doing biophysics research in Singapore for about half a year now and things have gotten too routine. Doing some experiments outside of lab should make life more interesting.

  2. Matt Brown says:

    I dabbled with experimental travel a few times. On one occasion, I decided to go on a European break with two friends. One of the friends suggested that he buy the tickets and not tell us where the destination was until the day of travel. We ended up on a budget flight to Altenburg – a small town in eastern Germany. However, as we’d never heard of Altenburg we had no idea which country we were in until we got off the plane and looked around.

  3. Martin Fenner says:

    Matt, I’ve never been to Altenburg, but it is of course famous for their playing cards production and the famous German card game “Skat”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skat_%28card_game%29, which was invented there about 200 years ago. Did you learn to play Skat on this trip?

  4. Scott Keir says:

    That’s a great idea – now, was this dreamed up by science types, or is this an example of people riffing with scientific concepts?
    I quite fancy doing a Markov-chain style walk around London, sometime – rolling a dice at each crossroads to see where to go.