Marco Polo books and maps

Top marks for the imprint name of this series of books and maps from Marco Polo. Wasn't old Marco the guy reputed to be the first to forge eastwards from Venice, venturing (he said, anyway) well into China?

That said, he is synonymous with brave and daring travellers who choose to go to lands where they don't know the language, have only a hazy idea of what's there anyway, and (until now) didn't even have a map of the place.

All that has changed with this range, yes, still printed on paper, because let's face it, paper is durable, it doesn't drop out in way out places when you lose the signal, and you can write on it. Or, in the case of the Marco Polo maps, mark it with the thoughtfully provided 'mark it' stickers.

But what evryone needs is a proper atlas, and here Marco Polo rises to the occasion again with a comprehensive spiral-backed book that sits easily on your navigator's lap or passenger seat while travelling. It has those so-useful 'mark-it stickers' too, and the France atlas (above) with its 1cm=3km scale. shows even the tiniest places.

Even more helpful are the city maps at the back of the atlas where 1cm=200m, and in some places 100m or 150m, vital when you are locked in traffic in unfamiliar cities.

Much thought has gone into making these atlases useful. A page at the front provides basic road rules and emergency numbers for France, Monaco and Andorra. At the back there are 1cm-45km maps for other European countries.

The guidebooks (Spiral Handbooks and Travel Guides) pictured at top, are equally user-friendly with maps tucked into the back plastic pocket, and well-marked Insider Tips. Good maps, plenty of hints and dos and don'ts, photographs, phrases, and a good index, yet still small enough to tuck into a daypack or backpack.

 

There are Insider Tips again in the phrasebooks, and a series of hugely helpful pictures that make you wonder why no one has thought of this before. No need to know the word, just point at the picture. Food and drink, shopping, cuts of various meats (ideal if self-catering), parts of a car, if you need to explain to someone what just went clunk on your self-drive vehicle, are all covered. Perhaps just as helpful is a round up of local slang words - including some rather earthy ones, which may help you give the proper retort if they are being used personally!

Marco Polo phrasebooks (A$14.95), guidebooks (A$17.95) atlas (A$39.95) and maps (A$19.95) are published by Marco Polo, www.marco-polo.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcopologuides

- Reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

 

 

 

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