Skookum titles for your travels

Looking for an answer to your travel prayers? Try Good Night & God Bless

Safety is – for cautious travellers – paramount when planning holidays. But, would being hosted by a higher power give you a better night’s sleep? If so, Good Night & God Bless may be the answer to your prayers. When author Trish Clark discovered that there was no room at her chosen Rome lodging in 1970, being redirected to a local convent wasn’t the answer to her prayers… so she thought. Thirty years later Clark has blessed adventurous travellers with two excellent guides to convent and monastery accommodation in Europe.Take Prague, for example. Casa Edith Stein began life as a 15th Century farmhouse. Today it is part of the Convent of St. Theresa owned by the Carmelite Order of nuns.Private bathrooms, comfortably quaint accommodation which includes two apartments if you are travelling with the family, an Italian restaurant, and a small chapel for guests are all part of the offering. Listed as open to men and women (some specify otherwise), rates listed at time of publication begin at 45 Euros.Good Night & God Bless is broken down into sections: Open Houses, Spiritual Retreats, and Other Accommodation.Take Tuscany (who wouldn’t), for example.  The Sanctuary of delle Grazie del Sasso near Fiesole is listed under Pilgrimages. In 1480, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to two shepherd girls and instructed them to build a church her name. The rest, you could say, is history. You might wish to be part of it.  Packed with practical trip planning data these sturdy little volumes may just be the answer to your prayers.Taking a different tack locally, armchair travelers and inveterate Canadian West Coast wanderers might enjoy Skookum Tugs. This classic hardcover book filled with outstanding photographs by North Vancouver photographer Robb Douglas, gave me a renewed admiration for the tugboaters who brave our coast and rivers.I’ve always termed tugs “cheeky”. Representing guts, adventure, and class, these hardy craft keep marine history alive and vibrant, while serving practical everyday purposes.  Peter Robson and Betty Keller prove this with interesting text which educated me on the work, the men and women, and what draws people to what can frequently be hazardous, but invariably satisfying, careers.In addition to everything else, the book may leave you with renewed determination to improve your photographic skills, particularly in such an image-rich area. (Published by Harbour Publishing.)Down at the Seaweed Café would be a charming choice for a car trip with a youngster. The child in me reacted instantly! “Everyone’s welcome at the Seaweed Café,” writes author Robert Perry, “Where seaweed tea is served all day.”Between the poetry, and Greta Guzek’s sketches, I wished that café was on my beach. If you don’t know what a Caborosaurus is, or wish to visit fish at school, you’ll ‘learn here. (Published by Nightwood Editions.)All titles are available in most local book stores.– Ursula Maxwell-Lewis is the founding editor/publisher of the Cloverdale Reporter.