Good guidebook — bad guidebook

So prior to our departure for the Azores, we struggled to find available guidebooks for the place. At the end we landed on a book by David Sayers — it was one of the few guidebooks we found available in English — a language that we both thankfully understand!

The guidebook didn’t help us much, though.  We were quite disappointed as  the structure of the contents is directly unhelpful.  You can’t check the guidebook by geographical area, for example, because that would obviously have made sense. Instead, you are given long itineraries with detailed descriptions of suggestions as to which routes to take — and by reading those routes you might pick up a point or two that suit your interest and then you can do the job of finding out where on the island that actually is. The guidebook does not necessarily cluster the information we would find interesting together (though you learn a lot about the flora of the islands as it is written by a botanist).

Bad guidebook

Putting it this way: a guidebook should make planning and prioritising easy. This guidebook doesn’t.

It is also a bit far fetched if you travel on a regular economy — whilst the book suggests that taxi journeys around the islands is a sensible way to travel, we quickly work out that renting a car for a couple of day trips is much cheaper — and more enjoyable.

However, once in São Miguel we are saved by the dark powers of capitalism. Funded by advertising and therefore free to pick up — we got hold of “Azores, the living nature guide” that was simple to navigate, provided a map for each island of the Azores and gave a simple overview of the various sights and experiences recommended for each island.

Sometimes the best options are the free ones.

Good guidebook

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